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The Big Spring Pick A Dot SALE

February 7th, 2013

You’ve got to pick a Dot or Two

You’ve got to pick a dot or two. Fagin would be in for the new Sale that we have just launched in Red Nose Wine. The theory is simple and I shall now attempt to keep it simple in my elaboration of the said same theory.


We are making room for lots of new wines we are currently sourcing and are having a bit of a cull. We have 3 levels of the SALE and these are represented by 3 different dots – Red, Blue & Green. In a nutshell, if you’re bottle has a Red dot, then its 50% off – if it has a Blue dot, then its 30% off and if it has a green dot, its 20% off.

WIne Sale

Old Bordeaux – New New Zealand

Some of the wines included are 2000 Bordeaux Medoc, New Zealand Pinot Noir, Sauvignon, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. There are some SUPER Loire Valley wines including biodynamic Bourguiel and Sancerre. We have Australian Shiraz, Riesling and Chardonnay as well some great Spanish reds and whites. There is some serious Italian Pinot Grigio on offer as well.

This is just a sprinkling of what’s in the sale and it is while stocks last. Call in and see the whole selection. Many of them are open to taste. We are not putting them online because there really is only small amounts of the wines, but if anyone wants a list to put a mix together, we can send it to them via email and if they’re lucky their favourite wines will still be there.

Get them when they’re cheap !!!

Article – Carcassonne to Bordeaux, the journey ends

August 6th, 2010

BBQ in the Rain

The Irish are a tough bunch. I am just in from a very nice BBQ on the neighbourhood green. It is the 3rd attempt ( in 3 years ) at it, but we would not let the rain dictate us this time. We stood out on the green in defiance until the drizzle stopped and the sun ( almost ) came out. It was a coming together of neighbours and the local butcher, baker and wine merchant supplied the goods. I spent last Saturday at another barbeque with Pat Whelan at his Oakville emporium of all things nice and tasty. I was giving out free samples of artisan wine to match Pat’s artisan food. One lady came out laden down with meat and before I could offer her a taste, she pronounced that she was a pioneer. I looked at her bag of meat and said, “It could be worse, you could be a vegetarian”. She laughed, but still didn’t break her pledge. However, I have no doubt that she was stocking up for a wonderful party with friends and family, and it is interesting to see the change in people’s attitude to eating and drinking at home. What was great at our local event tonight was that everyone pitched in and brought a plate and did their bit. I grew up in Cherrymount in the 70s and 80s and we would regularly be in our neighbours houses. They were dark days but people knew no better is what they tell us. I think that the current recession ( or maybe it’s a cultural shift ) is making people re-evaluate their social venues. I still like a night out, but it’s nice to meet the neighbours as well.

An Irish BBQ


An Irish BBQ

Leaving the Rat Race

The last leg of my French odyssey took place from Carcassonne to Bordeaux with a stop in the Dordogne valley along the way. I visited Sean and Caroline Feely of Chateau Haut Garrigue. Some of you will know them from one of our first tastings with Caroline in 2008. Others will know them from their cover story on the Irish Times or maybe it was the big TV feature on Nationwide last November. They get a lot of press and for a variety of reasons. Tomas Clancy of the Sunday Business Post calls their wines “a dazzling winery which is a model of organic and biodynamic excellence”. Their Bordeaux style blends have often been compared to a top end Bordeaux that sell for much more. If you ever want to try a 30 euro Bordeaux for half the price, try their red wines. Taste them blind and you will find it hard to pick it out. Regardless of all of this, their story is fascinating and they basically left the “rat race” of Dublin to start a new life in the country with their two young children. They somehow made it work and in a relatively short space of time, they have made superb wines that reflect both the land they come from and the people who make them. The really made me feel welcome and I wish I sold more of their wonderful wines than I do.

Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine and Sean Feely of Chateau Haut Garrigue


Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine and Sean Feely of Chateau Haut Garrigue

An evening with Brando & Pacino

I booked into a cheap hotel in the suburbs of Libourne, near St Emilion for my final night in France. I was expecting the worst, but was pleasantly surprised. My room was modern with a flat screen TV and the hotel was immaculate. I watched the Godfather in French in complete comfort. Both Marlon Brando and Al Pacino are still cool in French. There was a little restaurant downstairs and I had a fantastic meal for 12 euros. The jug of wine cost 4 euros. One thing I have learned on this trip through the cheap hotels of France is that the house wine is worth trying. In Ireland, the general rule is the house wine is not for drinking, unless supplied by Red Nose Wine of course. You are usually better to try the 2nd or 3rd wine on the list. However in France, if you visit places that the locals frequent, then they cannot afford to have bad house wine as the people will not come back. If you go to a tourist spot, you are fair game and you will often do well to get a bottle worth the price. Some of the best wines I drank ( as opposed to tasted for work ) on my trip were carafes of house wines. It’s great to find a cheap wine that you can enjoy.

A morning in St Emilion

Saint Emilion Terrace view

Saint Emilion Terrace view

After my good meal, Italian mafia movie in French and power shower the next morning, I headed to the beautiful village of St. Emilion for lunch. I don’t know if the paper has room to print the photo I will send them, but there was a great view from the terrace of the bistro. If you are planning a wine holiday, and don’t want to go too far, St. Emilion is not a bad spot. There are flights to Bordeaux from Waterford and Cork and the village itself is stunningly picture postcard. I would advise strongly against buying any wine in the village itself. Very overpriced, and it is much more fun to go to the local winemakers. I can suggest some good ones to visit if you are planning such a trip. After my picturesque lunch, I headed to the Medoc region of Bordeaux and found myself outside some of the most beautiful and impressive chateau in the world. The villages of Pauillac, Margaux, St Julien and St Estephe are the money villages of French wine. This is where you will find Mouton Rothschild, Lafite, Latour, Chateau Margaux, Leoville Las Cases, and Lynch Bages. You need an appointment made months in advance to visit some of these places. I was visiting a family vineyard in the middle of all this that I import from and their pricing reflects the reality of market, unlike Lafite who’s opening en Primeur price of 1,150 euros a bottle is aimed at the Chinese market. So, amongst this wealthy land, my trip came to an end and I was happy to be back in Clonmel to meet my customers last week. I met some great people and tasted some great wines on this trip but the big thing that I am taking away is that my instinct of moving away from Bordeaux towards more southern based wines was right. The wines of the south really outshone those of Bordeaux in terms of style, price and originality. I will stock both, but the biggest choice and most exciting wine will come from the south.  I look forward to you tasting them soon.

Decisions Decisions

Decisions Decisions

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For anyone who would like more information and can’t make it into the shop, please feel free to contact me at

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

Red Nose Wine Article - Nationalist Aug 06 2010

Special Offer – Loire Valley Wines : FREE WINE

May 14th, 2010

Red Nose Wine are launching a very special and innovative new style of weekly promotion.
We strive to have the wines at the best prices we can, so there really isn’t a whole lot left to discount.
What we can do however, is offer you free stock. So, we will offer a different type of offer every week.
We will bring specific countries, areas, grape varieties, and styles together and give you the chance to get free wine.

Each week, there will be 3 Wines on Offer – of a shared theme.
Buy 6 get 1 free
You can mix and match the wines
You can choose all the one wine OR any mix of the 3 on offer each week.
You must choose a total of 6 in order to get the free one
It won’t suit you every week, but we’ll keep it fresh.

To start with – the 3 wines this week are :

The Loire Valley – Undervalued and underpriced

Loire Valley Vineyard and Chateau

Loire Valley Vineyard and Chateau

Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2009 – the new vintage is proving very popular for this favourite. A bone dry wine : Only €13

Chateau de Coulaine Soleil Chinon – 100% organically grown Cabernet Franc – sweet cherries, cranberries with a slightly earthy/spicy finish : only €15

Domaine Merieau “La Rosée” – refuse the clichés and pick a Rose from the Loire – strawberries to the fore. : only €13

Buy 6 bottles : all of one, or any mix and get a 7th bottle free.

Just order as normal online – pick a mix of the six online and tell us which one you want free
( if you get 12, you will get 2 free ).
Or you can pick your mix of 6 offer wines and any 6 other wines to make up a case.
The choice is yours.

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

Red Nose News

February 5th, 2010

Hello Wine Lovers

A bright start to the day so lets hope it carries through to the weekend and holds for the rugby.
A really different wine is new to the shop – I only got a couple of cases, but so far the wine is proving popular. For does of you who like Barolo or Barbera d’Alba but don’t want to wait for it to mature ( or pay the prices ), may I suggest Dolcetto d’Alba. It literally means “the little sweet one” and has black cherry and licorice undertones as a general rule. We have a biodynamic version called Le Ghiaie and we are selling it for €19.50, which is great value when compared to the Nebbiolo varieties.

The German Pinot Gris is also back in the shop after a little break. I know a lot of you were looking for it.

For a limited time only, we are giving away a choice of the following when you spend €75 or more in the shop ( or online ).

- A pack of handcrafted coffee from Ponaire Coffee – artisan coffee and part of the Tipperary Food Producers Network

- Handmade chocolate truffles from the wonderful Lorge Chocolatier ( a French cooking genius who lives in Kerry )

- Handmade chocolate bars from the wonderful Lorge Chocolatier ( a French cooking genius who lives in Kerry )

A very talented artist ( Barry Keegan ) put together a profile picture for the twitter,facebook, website profile. It can be seen here
It is a very typical scene on my trips … if only !!!!

We are opening up wines again as the weather is a little better, so please call in for a taste.

Lots of wines on offer still.



Trains, Planes and Burping Bacon

February 4th, 2010

Gary Gubbins blogging 'live' from Milliseme Bio 2010

It’s always easier to write about something that has happened to you, as you can hang your little throwaway comments against something tangible. As I mentioned last week, I was going to the Milliseme Bio organic wine fair in Montpellier. I am back and have lots to say, so this article will be stretched over two parts as I feel compelled to talk about the supermodels, paparazzi and the smallest toilet in Paris. Before all of that I need to talk about wine of course. Last week’s article title should have prepared me, but instead it jinxed me. I had all of my planning in place for a very well organised trip. However, the fog on Monday morning delayed the flight from Cork to Paris for three hours and the train to Montpellier I had pre-booked had long since left Charles de Gaulle’s TGV train station. It was getting late when we eventually got to the notice board in the station and I spotted a train leaving for Marseille. I knew it would have to go through Lyon, where there was a chance we could catch a connection to Montpellier. If it didn’t work out, we would end up in Marseille or Lyon, both fine places to find oneself stranded. In the end, after a chat with a very nice conductor, I found out that there was an 11 minute gap between the Paris train arriving in Lyon and the Montpellier train leaving. European trains are great – they actually use the timetables as more than rough guidelines. By all accounts, the conductors will actually enforce your claim for a reserved seat. What a concept. Excuse the slight sarcasm, but I am reminiscing about a trip to Dublin for a Tipperary match where a person would not vacate the seat I had booked online. The fact that I was a little sick on that particular morning did not help the situation. Needless to say, the ‘officials’ did not want to get involved and I am a peaceful man at heart and decided not to physically eject the 6ft 4inch monster from my seat. I digress from my journey into deepest France. We arrived in the hotel for about 9.30 that night, after an 8 a.m. start. Some food and then an early night for there was tasting to be done the next day.

I rose early and had a light breakfast, which was difficult considering the wide array of fried delicacies available at the buffet. When I am doing a marathon tasting I don’t like to be full or even eat anything more than bread or toast, as the flavours can come back at you later. Burping up the scent of an earlier bacon roll while, trying to figure out the subtleties of a good Burgundy is not ideal. Fizzy drinks and mints are also banned. Women should avoid perfume and men should avoid aftershave ( and perfume for that matter ). A shuttle bus was arranged to collect would be tasters near the hotel and I boarded full of enthusiasm. After registration and a cloak room visit, the sleeves were rolled up and I was ready to go. The hall has rows of tables with about 500 exhibitors ( which is actually quite a small show – relatively ), each showing anywhere from 4 to 50 wines. I had a list that I had researched and that needed to be cut again. You need to be brutal in your discrimination, and a simple thing like a bad label will end the visit before it begins. What has a label to do with the quality of the wine you ask? Absolutely nothing but public perception demands a certain aesthetic and I have a list of great wines I could not sell because of the labels. I sell a great Provence wine called Domaine de Tara, but I find it hard to shift, and I constantly get negative feedback about the label. People who taste it in generally love it, and it is very well priced for wines of that quality ( €13.50 and €16.50 ). With this in mind, I attack my list.

Philippe Guillanton of Ch Margui at Milliseme Bio 2010<

I can’t go into too much detail of the actual winemakers I met as I need to go into negotiation stage with some of them and that can be a delicate process and one can’t appear too keen. They might be reading the blog. I can tell you that I met with some really good Italian winemakers and would hope to start bringing in some Chianti, Pinot Grigio, Piedmont, Sicilian wines and others at a really great price. Bringing in the wines direct makes a huge difference in terms of quality but also in terms of price. I am really excited by some of the Rhone Valley wines I found. I have slowly been increasing my range in Rhone Valley and this trip has given me a number of great contacts to follow up on. I tasted some exceptional wines and can’t wait to fly down this spring and negotiate. The easy thing to do at these shows is to decide based on what you taste there. However, you are tasting a lot of wine, you are under pressure for time, and it has been suggested that some people take their ‘special’ wines to these shows. Therefore, if you are serious about importing wines I think it is essential that you go and meet these people in their own house, and see the work they put in on a daily basis. Their passion deserves respect but they also need to know that you will pay them as well. Sitting across the kitchen table from a winemaker (or farmer) and telling them that you will pay them in the agreed time is an important part of the process and travelling to their home to tell them this means a lot to these traditional people. You also need to taste again and be sure of what you are buying.

I also managed to meet some existing suppliers when there. I met with Caroline Feely of Chateau Haut Garrigue and congratulated her on the recent Nationwide feature which has resulted in lots of bookings for the holiday home in the vines as well as big interest in the wines. The video of the show is available on for those interested. The wines are very popular for us, and it’s easy to see why. Great quality at a great price. I also got to meet Philippe Guillanton of Chateau Margui and he introduced me to a very important winemaker. The vineyard in question is famous as its recording studio has seen Pink Floyd, Sting and even the Cranberries record there. More recently it is the home of a very famous Hollywood acting couple, and I have been invited to visit this summer, as it is next door to Margui. I only hope that Angelina is home when I call. I posted a lot of videos and photographs from the trip on - log on to have a peak. Next week I will talk about what happened after the show – a great restaurant and wine list, colliding with the paparazzi and a supermodel in Paris and a dodgy sandwich on the TGV. It’s not pretty and won’t be for those of a delicate nature.

Don’t forget to log onto the blog at or follow the ranting on Twitter –

For anyone who would like more information and can’t make it into the shop, please feel free to contact me at

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

Blogs posted “live” from Trip

Red Nose Wine Article - Nationalist Feb 04 2010

A wonderful meal and a lady playing bad piano

January 29th, 2010

On my first night in Montpellier, i went to a restaraunt that was highly recomended. It is called Les Bains de Montpellier and is situated behind the opera in the famous Place de la Comedie.

A great bite to eat in Montpellier

A great bite to eat in Montpellier

The city baths were founded in the 12th/13th century and were popular up until the second world war. It was so good on our first visit that i broke my rule of eating in the same place 2 night running, and we went back. After having fish the first night, and after a days tasting at Milliseme Bio (on an empty stomach), the 2nd meal had to be a fillet steak, nice and bloody. And it was cooked to perfection. I can still taste it. The wines consumed on both nights were a delicious Terroir Pic Saint-Loup on night one and a Cotes de Rousillon called Petit Taureau on the 2nd night. Lots of spice in both, but 1st one had a lot more minerality. Very different. After dinner, a walk in the sqaure and a late night piano bar was in full flow.

She didn’t know how to play Slievenamon but she could hardly play whatever she was playing, so we left her for the comfort of a nice wine bar i know.

Live from Montpellier 3

January 26th, 2010

Back in the hotel and black teeth to the fore. Had a great days tasting and I made some great contacts and look to have found some really excellent wines. It was great to catch up to Philippe Guillanton of Chateau Margui as well as Caroline Feely of Chateau Haut Garrigue. Caroline was still enjoying her recent brush with fame when Nationwide featured them on the program.

Phillipe Guillanton and Gary Gubbins at Milliseme Bio 2010

Phillipe Guillanton and Gary Gubbins at Milliseme Bio 2010

I also met up with Vincent Careme of the wonderful Loire Valley Sparkling Chenin Blanc that we bring in.

Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine and Vincent Careme

It looks like I found some great wines from all over and there is still work to be done before they become official, but included was a really great wine with a huge history and the wines matched the stories. Super stuff indeed. More will be revealed when it can be revealed.

A dodgy video of me towards the end of the day with black teeth and a slightly glazed look in my eye, even though i spat all day long.

Live from Montpellier Part 2

January 26th, 2010

“Live” video direct from Millisme Bio in Montpellier

Pilippe Guillanton of Chateau Margui

Caroline Feely of Chateau Haut Garrigue

Live from Montpellier – Part1

January 26th, 2010

Welcome to the south of France and Montpellier in particular. I am blogging live from the Milliseme Bio Trade Fair which houses organic and biodynamic winemakers from all over the world.

Gary Gubbins blogging 'live' from Milliseme Bio 2010

I was a long time getting here as fog in Cork airport delayed the flight by 3 hours and our train was gone. We jumped on a later train that was going to Marseille and got off in Lyon – France being France, there was a train going to Montpellier in 10 minutes, 12 hours after leaving Clonmel, we finally arrived in the hotel in Montpellier. We dropped the bags, had a quick drink in the hotel and just about made our resevation in a fantastic resteraunt called Le Bains de Montpellier. The building is based around the 12th century bathhouse of the gentry of the time. The food was fantastic and we had a very nice local wine called Bergerie L’Hotus, Pic St Loup from the Coteaux du Languedoc. Very spicey with Syrah coming to the fore.

Anyway, an early start and i have already met Philippe Guillanton of Chateau Margui and here he is showing his wares to a group of would be buyers. Or maybe they are tyre-kickers. I have spotted a few of them as well. We will get back to Philippe in a later blog.

Philippe Guillanton of Ch Margui at Milliseme Bio 2010

Until then, a tasting i will go and I will be back soon with video, photos and wines….