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Fathers Day Wines and Bloomsday rambling

June 16th, 2017

Its a long time since i wrote a blog. ( btw – you can skip half way down to get to the offers if you don’t want to indulge in the ramble ) I usually do the MailChimp shots with a photo or an offer or whatever else comes to mind on a Thursday evening or sometimes Friday morning. My radio ‘career’ on Tipp FM has taken me from the articles i used to like writing for The Nationalist. The odd piece for the Sunday Business Post aside, my inner James Joyce ( it is Bloomsday ) has been stifled. In the words of Freddy Mercury, “I want to break free”

Red or White?

One of the most popular gifts for Fathers Day is wine. It is a quick and easy fix and a lot of Dads really like wine. I know its a terrible and often untrue cliche that Men like Red and Women like White wine. I am a Dad and like wine. However, i do like Red, White and Rose, but its my job to, so maybe I’m not the best example. However, one thing is true. When people are buying wine as a gift for a man, 99 times out of 100 they will buy Red wine.

Buy me some Burgundy

While it is very nice to own a wine business, one draw back is that everyone is afraid to buy me wine. If they bought some cheap supermarket rubbish they would have good reason to fear my wrath, but nobody should ever be afraid to buy me a good bottle of Burgundy ( another subtle Bloomsday reference for all of you Joycean scholars ).


I’m partial to a good vintage of La Tache, but who isn’t. Alas, it never happens and I fear Fathers Day may pass me by once more, but it should not mean that the Fathers in your life should go without. With that in mind, i have 4 Red Wines to tempt you with. And I picked these wines with me in mind. 2 from France, 1 from New Zealand and 1 from Italy.

The Wine Offers are here


Domaine des Anges has long been a favourite of mine. I harbour dreams of cycling up Mount Ventoux some day and falling into the lovely pool in the vineyard afterwards. The Red is normally €17.99 but down to €14.99 to treat the Daddy in your life. Buy it here


I met the lovely Vicky at a wine show a few years ago and she makes equally lovely Fleurie – a perfect summer wine. You could even chill it a little if it gets too hot this weekend ( but don’t tell Vicky ). Normally €22 but down to €17.99 – Buy it here

New Zealand

If any of you bothered to google la Tache you will see it is a silly price, but we do have a lovely New Zealand Pinot called the Better Half and it is also a great little summer wine. Not too heavy and full of sweet strawberry and macerated cherry flavour. Yum. Normally €19.99 but down to €16.99 which is a great price for New Zealand Pinot ( especially in the current currency environment ). Buy it here


Last but by no mean least, we have something special. A magnum ( which means a double size bottle ) of Barolo. This is a wine for putting away and opening in 5,10 or 20 years. Maybe when the kids go to college. We are down to our last 6 in the shop, and when they go, they are gone. Normally €65 but all Daddys should own some Barolo so we are giving this away for €50 – Buy it here

Me looking smug in the vineyards of Barolo

Me looking smug in the vineyards of Barolo

Happy Bloomsday and Happy Fathers Day this Sunday to all the heroes out there ( I know the mothers are the heroes but just give us this one day ( and buy us some wine ).

By the way, i deliberately didn’t put on wines that are €12.99 down to €9.99 because we fathers deserve a treat. Don’t be insulting us with cheap wines :)

Life is much too short to drink bad wine

French Embassy Dublin Tasting Feb2010

February 25th, 2010

The wonderful Ely CHQ for French Embassy Tasting

On Thursday February 18th 2010, Ely CHQ in Dublin hosted the French Embassy wine tasting where a number of French winemakers presented their wares to the trade, in the hope of securing a little business. The very atmospheric caverns in the basement of Ely CHQ held court and the confiscated pirate loot of years gone by was nowhere to be seen. I was delighted to see a number of the wines that I sell on the shelves of the very wine orientated restaurant on show. But I was here to look for wines that were not yet on show in the Emerald Isle.

The place was not as crowded as one might expect but that made for a very comfortable tasting environment. You could have a good conversation with the winemakers. Some vineyards sent reps but the most interesting tables had as you would imagine, the people who get their hands dirty in among the vines.
There was one particualr table where I had the most wonderful conversation with a winemaker who’s family have had the estate for centuries. As is the traditional custom, the winemaker tastes everything with you, but I got to this man a little late in the day, and he had been tasting all day. We had a great conversation in French ( he has no English ), about all manner of things French. Some of his wine were probably the star of the show for me as well. Passion and wine are great bedfellows.

A punter enjoying the wines on show

There were some fantastic old Burgundies on show from Chateau de Villars Fontaine, with 1993, 1996 and 2001 Pinot Noir and some very fresh 1997 and 2003 Chardonnay. There was some cracking Rhone Valley wines including a wonderful ( but expensive ) Condrieu. The VDP Viognier from the same estate offered better value and a really interesting nose.

Beaujolais was on show and in great order as were the sparklers from the Loire Valley – elegance at a great price. A couple of photos and a shaky video from the day.

Article – “It’s all over now, Baby Blue”.

January 7th, 2010

In the words of Bob Dylan, who I have quoted a number of times in the past, “It’s all over now, Baby Blue”. Well, at least for another year. The diets have started, and the perfectly good tracksuits and runners purchased 12 months ago, are replaced by the latest version on sale. Positivity abounds and we start the new decade as we mean to go on. We simply can’t look at another drink or any more chocolate. It’s lettuce and prune juice all the way to St. Patrick’s Day.

With this in mind, I’m going to suggest some ‘healthier’ wines and what makes them such. While in general, the lower alcohol wines would be technically better for you, I will concentrate on the wines classed as organic. These are better for you, or less bad, depending on your point of view, for much the same reason the organic foods are championed. There are of course differing views on how much better for you organic food is, but then again the loudest voices in any media driven debate, tends to come from those with the deepest pockets. Just as in wine, the proof is in the pudding – or the tasting of the same.
I happen to stock a lot of organic and biodynamic wines, but I didn’t go looking for wines that were specifically certified. I just went looking for wines that were not mass produced commodity wines that all tasted the same. I centered on small, independent family run vineyards, and a lot of the good ones happened to be organic. As the ad for the shampoo says, “here’s the science bit”. Organic wine involves the production of healthy grapes and wine without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and insecticides. There is only natural fertilizer used to enrich the soil. Substances extracted from plants or minerals are used to fight diseases. It is a lot more complex that this and the principles stretch from the vineyard into the cellar and onto the bottle. Getting certified organic involves a lot of record keeping and is quite a lot of work. I work with a lot of growers who prefer to keep to the principles of organic but call themselves sustainable vineyards instead. Biodynamic principles take the organic step further and really embrace the sustainability of the land. It can be seen as a little strange as Biodynamic farming works according to accepted organic standards but also incorporates metaphysical aspects and concepts into the process.
These include vitality, life force and astral forces. Was Van Morrison drinking biodynamic wine when he recorded his masterpiece, Astral Weeks? One can only guess. They assume energies and natural rhythms influence humanity as well as animals and plants and that these forces can be integrated and harnessed to achieve harmony on the farm or in the vineyard. They follow lunar calendars and the biodynamic principle is based on the writings of the Austrian social scientist and philosopher Rudolf Steiner. I was skeptical until I found out that Domaine de La Romanee Conti is biodynamic and as you may know from previous articles, this is my Desert Island wine. Whatever about the mysticism, the biodynamic wines I hold are among the most loved in the shop? It is a small selection of people who will try them, but they do tend to love them.

However, one should not be put off by non-organic wines as many of the really great iconic wines of the world are not organic. Look at Bordeaux. What they share with the movement is a total respect for nature and the land and the grapes. There is an old saying that you can make poor wine out of good grapes, but it is impossible to make good wine from poor grapes. What you need to avoid are the ‘winemakers’ who use certain little aides in their wines. The commodity driven wines need to look, taste and smell the same year after year. This winter should have thought us that Mother Nature is not always so accommodating. Modern technology often lends a hand.
This can be good if it respects the basic and ancient principles, and I think organic wine is a lot better now than it used to be, and a lot of this has to down to the modern cellars. One foreign body that causes a lot of debate is Sulfur Dioxide (SO2). It is necessary in minute amounts to clean and sanitize the equipment. It can also help to protect the wines themselves from spoiling, although the levels allowed vary drastically between the new and the old world. When it starts to exceed certain levels, it becomes evident on the nose and the palate, but it is probably more evident the morning after. That nasty hangover is rarely from the alcohol. It is more prevalent in white wines than in reds, as the levels allowed are different. My advice is to ask your wine merchant. Nearly all wines have some SO2 but it should be used to clean not to stabilize. Incidentally, there are traditional wines that don’t use it, even for cleaning. They use natural methods and often have large deposits of sediment. I have a few in stock if you want to try them, in particular a very nice Fleurie and Brouilly. It might not even count as breaking the resolution.

Happy New Year to everyone and good luck with the resolutions.

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“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”.