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Latest Article – Ice Ice Baby

January 15th, 2010

Frosty the snowman is still here as I write this article. I am down in the warehouse on a Saturday braving the elements and trying to stay warm. It’s not easy. The heating is on but useless, however the coffee is brewing. It was suggested on Twitter this week that I am making lots of mulled wine to keep warm, but alas, it is not true. The water pipes are frozen and I have no where to cook it up. As Judy once sang, “We’ll have to muddle through some how”. Being that we are in the coldest weather I have seen since I spent a winter of discontent in Canada back in my engineering days, I think it apt to talk about something called “Ice Wine”. It is quite rare and be default, tends to be expensive. But since we probably won’t have a chance to buy any, who cares what it costs. Some might say, if we can’t get it, why write about it in the first place. But my cynical hat is frozen so I will offer this useless knowledge regardless. In Germany it is known as Eiswein and it is a desert wine, as it is in Canada. The grapes have been frozen whilst on the vines. The water in the grape freezes but the sugar does not. This has the effect of much smaller quantities, of a more concentrated, sweet wine.

The grapes do not need to be affected by Botrytis Cinerea or noble rot as it is more commonly known, unlike other sweet wines like France’s Sauternes and Hungary’s great Tokaji wines. Good IceWine should be high in acidity, as you would expect, but also have a refreshing sweetness. I have some Canadian friends in Paris who always have a supply of IceWine and Super Tuscan Italian Reds whenever we visit ( He is of Italian stock ). They just had their 2nd child, so I assume they will do what all parents do for those first few months – panic and hide away. Maybe he’ll send me some if I ask nicely. A reverse baby present as such. The cold is affecting my brain and I am babbling again, so I will go for a little walk to get the circulation moving and then attack the article from the flank. Many people might assume it a rather strange thing to do, make wine from ice grapes. However, there is some evidence to suggest it has been going on since the Romans, and we all know what they did for us. Well, what they did for everyone else. They had a look at Ireland and then thought “a frozen barren land with no natural resources to plunder” – not tonight Josephine Caesar. They called is Hibernia which means Wintery. That’s what you call foresight, assuming they knew 2000 years later we would be in a deep recession, the country would be covered in snow and I would be writing this article and making references to the fact that the Romans possibly made IceWine. The cold is really starting to take hold now.

With that in mind, and the fact that there have been a few customers stocking up for the cold week ahead, I will mention a few subtle facts about IceWine, before looking towards the door and the fireplace. Some Riesling versions in Germany have alcohol content as low as 6%, but the norm is between 8 and 13%. It tends to have a long lingering finish, as you would expect from a desert wine and experts quibble and fight over its ageing potential. The high sugar and high acidity levels would suggest it does age well but I have never tasted an old one, so really can’t offer anything new on this point. But I would suggest you try it if you get a chance, at least just to say that you have had it and did not like it. If I get to meet Filippo in Paris I’ll try bring back a bottle and will open it up in the shop. Stay warm and be sure to enjoy the rich spicy full bodied reds by the fire on these cold cold nights.

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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 Jan 14 2010

Italian tasting

December 14th, 2009

The Italian Tasting last Thursday went very well and a great crowd came out again. Thanks to everyone for turning up. I know things are busy at this time of year. A range of wines were open for tasting and there was a hugely different opinions on the wines. Thanks to Gerry Gunnigan for coming down and presenting the wines. Once again Nuala, Paddy and Helen put on a great spread and Nuala’s Cafe is a perfect location for a tasting. Very cosy and the mulled wine on arrival helped to warm them all up. The wines on show were :

Borgo Selene White
Gavi Lugarara, La Giustiniana
Gran Sasso Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Borgo Selene Red
Poggio del Sasso Sangiovese di Toscana
Barco Reale di Carmignano, Capezzana
Chianti, da Vinci
Chianti Superiore, Poggiotondo
Allegrini La Grola
Alpha Zeta Amarone

We offered great prices on the night and dropped the excise duty back to the new post budget rate.

A picture from the night.
DEc09 Tasting

Tipperary Food Producers Take over the Main Guard Clonmel

December 8th, 2009

A wet and windy day was somewhat eased by the Tipperary Food Producers Network as they manned their stalls under the main guard in Clonmel and spread Christmas Cheer to the masses. Red Nose Wine were not allowed to sell alchol to the public ( BOO!!! ) but we could dispense lashings of Mulled Wine. I did manage to sell some of the fantastic Balsamic Vinegar and Grape/Olive Oil we import. Considering the day, it went down well. The event was even captured by Mr. Pat Quirke and a very poor likeness of myself is posted on his blog. I had the swine flu jab the day before and the wind and the rain did not help. PhotoShop Pat – give a guy a break! In saying that, my pictures are not much better.

Mulled Wine @ Tipperary Food Producers Chrismtas Market

Mulled Wine @ Tipperary Food Producers Chrismtas Market

A special word for Catriona Hayes and the ladies from TLC4CF who were selling their wonderful cook book that is raising a lot of money for Cystic Fibrosis. It was founded by friends and family of People with Cystic Fibrosis in Tipperary, Limerick and Clare.

A break in Festivities

A break in Festivities

Don’t forget the Italian tasting tomorrow night in Nuala’s Cafe @ 8pm.

Good Coverage off event in the Nationalist this week.

Even better was the piece on Red Nose Wine

Mulled Wine – courtesy of Jamie Oliver

December 4th, 2009

Link to Jamie Oliver
“This is dead easy to make and tastes like Christmas in a glass. It’s a lovely celebration of those traditional festive spices like cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. If you’ve got your own favourite spices, then feel free to add those to the pot too. Let everything cook away and warm up gently so the flavours have time to mingle with the wine. I like to leave my mulled wine ticking over on a really low heat and just ladle some into glasses as and when guests pop in.

Peel large sections of peel from your clementines, lemon and lime using a speed peeler. Put the sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the pieces of peel and squeeze in the clementine juice. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and about 10 to 12 gratings of nutmeg. Throw in your halved vanilla pod and stir in just enough red wine to cover the sugar. Let this simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved into the red wine and then bring to the boil. Keep on a rolling boil for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until you’ve got a beautiful thick syrup. The reason I’m doing this first is to create a wonderful flavour base by really getting the sugar and spices to infuse and blend well with the wine. It’s important to do make a syrup base first because it needs to be quite hot, and if you do this with both bottles of wine in there you’ll burn off the alcohol.

When your syrup is ready turn the heat down to low and add your star anise and both bottles of wine. Gently heat the wine and after around 5 minutes, when it’s warm and delicious, ladle it into glasses and serve.”