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When Hails Come to Town

September 18th, 2013

I feel like a teacher, but with longer holidays. It’s been a long time since the last article. In fact it has been nearly four months. I’d love to say I have been sitting in a hammock counting my money and drinking my wine, but I’ve been busy. I have lots of news.

RednoseWine v2

Much like The Nationalist, Red Nose Wine has gone through some changes. We moved in July to a customized Retail space in The Regal Centre on the David Road, beside Larry O Keeffe’s Furniture. We are delighted with the new digs and customer feedback has been hugely positive. We hope you’ll get a chance to come down and say hello.

Regal-Centre-Montage-Photo

The Regal Centre had a re-launch last weekend. We’ll plan an evening event closer to the season that is jolly but we won’t mention the C word yet. We’ve the B word to come first ( Budget ).

Now if I continue in this vein of blatant self promotion it will be another four months before I get another article, so I think I better start talking about wine, rather than the selling of wine. As the summer draws to an end, a line from an old poem came to me.

Last of the Summer Wine

The “last of the summer wine” has all been enjoyed but fear not for the Autumn wines are just bursting to be sampled. Though our summer is over, the last of its golden rays are still doing their best to hang on.

As summers go it was a wonderful vintage. Comparisons with the few that came before are also helping of course. 2010 was a great year in Bordeaux but is not as lauded as it might be as it came on the back of the wonderful 2009.

However 2013 wasn’t such a great summer for some winemakers. There is one scourge that comes along that frightens the life out of ever winemaker I know. A form of solid precipitation (hailstones) can destroy a year’s work in a matter of minutes. They can measure between 5 and 150mm in diameter and when they strike, the good life turns very sour indeed.

When Hail come to town

A great friend of Red Nose Wine in Bordeaux, Gavin Quinney of Chateau Bauduc recently went through a very traumatic visit from this most vicious of natural disasters. They were enjoying summer drinks with friends in the garden after completing all of the manual work on the vines. As he sipped Gavin looked west, and he didn’t like the look of the sky towards the Atlantic.

The warm and sunny evening had a chill to it and just before 8.30pm the wind picked up, and then as Bob Dylan might have once sang, ‘A Hard Rain’ started to fall. Now, Bob was talking about nuclear rain during the cold war, and Gavin was referring to real rain. However, as many of you know, I can never resist the chance to insert a Bob Dylan reference.

It’s an affliction that I suffer with. My eldest child was played Like A Rolling Stone whilst still in the delivery room. The child wasn’t 20 minutes old but I wanted the first song she heard to be a good one. Like I said, it’s an affliction.

Back in Bordeaux, the poor old Quinney family were watching in horror as the hail “came in low, from the side, propelled by fierce winds.” He wrote a 4 piece blog on it where he describes how “the hail had smashed into the grapes on all the west facing rows, splitting and bruising them. Leaves lay all about, with the little icy balls interspersed amongst them. Many leaves still on the vine looked bedraggled, some in tatters. Branches were pockmarked.”

003_Hail_battered_grapes.115454

The next day they had a handle on the full extent of the damage and 50% of the crop was lost. This is bad news for Chateau Bauduc but some of their neighbours lost 100% of the crop. The storm had come in a straight line across from the West and battered everything in its path. Gavin said that “vineyards just 2.5kms west of Bauduc were hardly touched, while those some 2.5kms south of the Château were stripped bare.”

One neighbour had been hit for the 2nd time in three years and like many people ( including the Quinneys ) does not have insurance. It’s a bit like a racehorse – you can insure it but the price is just too prohibitive. Only about 15-20% of vineyards are insured.

Bauduc Hail - 060

The reality of this hailstorm is that there will be much less ‘bulk’ wine to be sold to coops for supermarket wine but also, many of the smaller quality driven vineyards like Bauduc will have very little wine to sell, and it will be interesting to see how the price will be affected. In many cases the market dictates this and you need to make a certain amount of wine to get to a point where you cover costs.

Chateau Bauduc experienced hail in May 2009 and even though 80% of the crop was lost then compared to 50% this year, it is worse in 2013. The reason is that in 2009 it happened when the shoots were new and tender and very little work had been done. This year there had been a huge amount of work including lifting 100,000 vine branches, removing unwanted shoots and 5-6 rounds of mildew spraying. As any business knows, the cost of Sales is a very big part of the whole Gross Profit equation.

Photos courtesy of Gavin Quinney’s wonderful blog.

Don’t forget to log onto the blog at www.rednosewine.com/blog or follow the ranting on Twitter and then there is the Facebook Page.

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

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

The Mythical Bird of Promise

April 11th, 2013

We are delighted to introduce our newest vineyard to the Red Nose Wine stable of stars.

Kanu is the Mythical Bird of Promise and we have taken in 5 of their wines ( to start ).

All-the-wines

The Classic Dry White and the Rifle Range Red offer great value and punch well above their weight at €11.99

The Sauvignon Blanc gives fresh, zesty, green fruit flavours; whilst the Chenin complements with tangy tropical fruit, green melon and honeysuckle.

The Sauvignon Blanc gives fresh, zesty, green fruit flavours; whilst the Chenin complements with tangy tropical fruit, green melon and honeysuckle. The Rifle Range Red is  an easy drinking Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend offers tantalising aromas of biltong, dark chocolate and Christmas spices on the nose. Soft supple tannins and lingering mocha notes make this an amazingly accessible wine that combines the elegance of old world style wines, with new world fruit.

The Chenin Blanc comes in at €12.49 and it has a rich, welcoming nose with tropical nuances, freshly quartered guavas and undertones of green nettle. On the palate it is tropical, underpinned by a lively acidity. The wine creates a broad mid-palate, highlighted by hints of winter melon and even a trace of streaky minerality, leaving a lingering finish.

The Shiraz (€13.99) is concentrated, brooding with cherry black rim. It has a multi-layered nose: bitter chocolate, Marcello cherries, stewed rhubarb, milled pepper and rich mocha tones; all accentuated by a subtle vanilla. A perceptive sweetness follows onto the palate, highlighted by black fruit and touches of allspice. A sleek, muscled wine, well balanced acidity, layered richness and a long finish.

If you really want to treat yourself the GSM ( Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre ) will blow your socks off. If you like Chateauneuf du Papes style wines, this might be for you ( for less money ). The deep ruby colour hints at the flavours to come… aromas of dark chocolate, juicy red berries and herbaceous notes tempt the nose whilst on the pallet mulberry and blackcurrant compote flavours balance out the well-structured tannins. It has spent 18 months in French barriques which gives a depth of flavour and elegance to this multidimensional wine. If this was a European wine it would be €30-€40 but its a snip at €19.99.

All the wines are available online or in the shop – a lot of them are open at the moment including the GSM so be quick…

We also came across some great videos on their website including a great one of the sound of wine fermenting

There was also another one from the harvest.

Back in the Saddle again – the return of the Articles

April 5th, 2013

“It’s been a long time since Rock’n’Roll” – Sing that in a high pitched voice and insert a Jimmy Page guitar riff and you have a classic Led Zeppelin song. While I have in fact recently listened to some Rock’n’Roll on my new turntable ( Christmas present ), I am referring to the fact that it has been a long time since I presented an article for your delectable critique.

The post budget blues

You may have thought I have been curled up in a ball in a dark room rocking to and fro in shock from the 41% excise duty increase in December. Tempting as that solution might be, I decided to focus on improving on the great gains we made in 2012. Onwards and upwards and the search for newer wines is in full flight. As I write this three new wines arrived into the shop today, and there are loads more on the horizon.

I have been very busy looking at every wine we currently stock and seeing if it has a future or not. There are many criteria needed for a wine to stay in the Red Nose family and many will not survive but the good news is that makes room for more wines. These are strange times we live in and when you are asking people to part with money, you really have to consistently over deliver on the quality and value offering.

With that in mind, this last month saw us throw out the old to make way for the new. Our Pick-A-Dot Sale cleared out a lot of wines at up to 50% off and this allows room for the newer wines that have been exciting us to shine. There is still a little bit left, but not a lot. To make up for it, we have introduced a new mix case for €50 that is proving very popular.

WIne courses and dinners

Last October we held our first wine course and it was a huge success. After 5 weeks of tasting, swirling, spitting, swallowing and listening to me waffle on about wines, we held our last night in the StoneHouse restaurant’s private dining room and matched their fantastic tasting menu to some great wines.

The good news is that we are currently finalizing plans for another wine course. This time we are looking at a few different options. We plan to repeat the classic 5 week course on a Thursday night but we are also looking at a slimmed down ½ day version, more than likely at the weekend. Depending on interest, we have also investigated the possibility of some Magical Mystery Tours. This basically means a mini bus, a foodie destination with lots of wine to match. You do the drinking, we organize the driving.

If any of you are interested in Top End Bordeaux wines, you might want to get in contact with me. I have been offered some seriously good value on some of the very best wines in the world. I am talking about the top end wines for putting down, but at a fraction of the normal price. We are still talking about €30 a bottle and a minimum case purchase. Contact me directly at info@rednosewine.com if you want more details.

Smelling Swooshing and Spitting

A wine merchants calendar after the busy period that was Christmas is busier than you would think. Its not all accounts and stocktaking though. Traditionally this time of year we get invited to all manner of tastings. Last week I took the train to Dublin and was let loose on 256 wines from an importer I work with. Smell, Look, swish, inhale and spit. And so it went – whites first and then another lap of the hall to get the reds in. Experience has taught me to leave those big Barolos until the end. One is almost tempted to forget to spit those wines.

At this stage we import over 90% of our wines directly from small, large and in-between vineyards from all over the world, so the Irish trade tastings are not going to get you those real value driven wines or those little magical small vineyards that make this job so special. The do however serve a purpose and some of our favourite Italian wines ( such as Allegrini ) come via this route.

Later this month I am flying to Germany for the best Wine Trade show in Europe – ProWein. This will have vineyards from all over the world showing off their wares in 8 massive halls in the vast and very impressive Dusseldorf Messe convention centre.

Ireland really missed a trick not building one of these during the boom years. The Germans may not know much about debt relief but they sure know how to organize a trade fair. I’ve been to shows in France, Italy and London and this is by far the best. Hopefully, I’ll be writing about the wines I found soon

Are there Horses in Spain?

I think that Spain will become more and more important in the Irish wine world. It still has loads of great value regions that are unknown and very well priced. The punters in Cheltenham always look for value and sometimes a great Bordeaux at €30 can be great value and a €9 special offer wine is a waste of money. It is all about perspective. But I think regions like Navarra and Valencia offer true value when compared to Rioja and Ribero and we hope to find more at ProWein.

By the time this article goes to press, Cheltenham will be over and I’ll know how much value I managed to squeeze from the Tipsters draw in Careys and Dalys. In my experience value and Cheltenham do not go hand in hand. However I still smile when I remember shouting War of Attrition home in the Gold Cup. I met Mouse Morris about 6 months before and he said he thought the horse was a superstar. My little ante post wager came in at very nice odds. Let’s hope my trip to ProWein brings home a few winners as well.

As always, there is more information on the blog at www.rednosewine.com/blog or follow the ranting on Twitter – www.twitter.com/rednosewine

For anyone who would like more information and can’t make it into the shop, please feel free to contact me at href=”mailto:info@rednosewine.com”>info@rednosewine.com

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

The new 50 EURO Mix Case now Online

March 12th, 2013

A great little mix case of 6 wines is now on Sale in house and online. We listened to our customers and these are among the wines they wanted to see on offer. We picked 3 Reds & 3 Whites from some of our favourite vineyards. Normally €63, this is your for only €50.

The Reds

One of our best selling red wines comes from the Languedoc and the Gassac family of wines. The Gassac Classic Red is just that. A Classic at a great price.

Cuvee Jean Paul Rouge – Staying the south of France but moving over to the Vaucluse this is a little cracker that has proved a party favourite since it arrived.

58 Guineas Claret is a great introduction to Bordeaux. A Merlot dominant blend ( Cab Sab is the other variety).

The Whites

The sister to the Classic Red, the Gassac Classic White is for the white wine drinker who likes a little minerality and complexity in their wines. Another firm favourite, especially among the Sauvignon Blanc lovers.

The Spanish wine revolution goes on and this little cracker from the Penedes region has made many a happy party happier. Mont Marcal make a great Cava but their white wine is a little star.

For all of you who enjoy the holidays in Portugal, the Montaria Blanco offers a more complex and food friendly wine. If you want to test your dinner guests with “Guess the Grape”, this is the one that will win you the money.

Get this mix case while its hot. We will change the wines in the future but for now… enjoy.

Sam Neill – The Big Interview

November 19th, 2012

Firstly, thank you very much Sam for taking the time to come over to Ireland and in particular Red Nose Wine to help us launch your wonderful wines on the Irish market.

Sam Neill visits Red Nose Wine

Sam Neill visits Red Nose Wine

Q1 – I will try and get the obvious questions out of the way quickly. What was the first wine that you had that changed your perception of wine from a commodity to something more profound
A Gevrey Chambertin drank in Lausanne Switzerland – it was like Gods hand came out of a cloud and changed the course of my life.

Q2 – What is the greatest moment you enjoyed with a bottle/glass of wine, and where was it? I always find surroundings & company can have a big influence on this.
The first time we served our own wine at a dinner party to a bunch of my thoroughly disgraceful and undeserving friends – a great wine like that is wasted on them frankly.

Q3 – If you were a singer instead of an actor, who would you be and why?
Brian Wilson without the psychedelic drugs thank you very much, although Carl was the better singer.

The Beach Boys

Q4 – If you were to have written any song, what would it be and why?
This week I would say ‘Don’t talk, put our head on my shoulder’ a wonderful version I recommend is by Anne Sofie von Otter and produced by Elvis Costello.

Q5 – When I lived in France, I was told that after people’s flirtations with other regions, all roads eventually lead to Burgundy, and Pinot Noir. Where does Central Otago fit into this odyssey?
When you have got to Burgundy, stay on the same road and it will eventually bring you to Central Otago, and everything we do originates from Burgundy – vines, methods we use to grow those vines and to make the wines subsequently – it all comes from Burgundy, but that wine take a very subtle change of expression at the other end of the world.

Sam meets the great Galilieo at Coolmore

Sam meets the great Galilieo at Coolmore

Q6 – Can you tell us about your latest film project, and did you know that your co-star already has a connection with Red Nose Wine. Have you tasted Domaine des Anges - Cillian Murphy’s father in law make this wine?
Yes, I am doing a 6hr project for BBC 2 called Peaky Blinders alongside your man from Cork Cillian Murphy. A fellow wine enthusiast

Q7 – Why weren’t you in Lord of The Rings?
Actually I was unavailable – no loss for them.

Q7 – What are your plans for Two Paddocks long term? Are you looking to spread the good news all over the world or just the lucky countries, like Ireland?
There is not enough to go around the world but I am always happy to see it in places where people truly love wine, so more of that please.

Q8 – Lastly, you were born in Ireland, and lived for a few years up North before leaving for New Zealand. With this strong connection to Ireland, and your great standing back in New Zealand, could you possibly ask that the All Blacks take it easy on us the next time we play them. The last one really hurt.
I’m always happy to please but now you have gone too far.

Thank you very much, and it is a pleasure to represent such a truly wonderful collection of wines. The feedback so far has really been superb. Sam’s Two Paddocks wines are available online or directly in the shop. You can follow Sam on Twitter at his @twopaddocks handle.

Wine Dinner – Anges in Tipp

November 13th, 2012

We are delighted to welcome over Florent Chave, chief winemaker at Domaine des Anges to Tipperary for a night of wine, fun and food in the famous McCarthys of Fethard. You can buy tickets here.

Florent Chave of Domaine des Anges

Florent Chave of Domaine des Anges

This Irish owned vineyard has long been a favorite of our customers and what better way to start the Christmas run in than with a tapas style wine night.

interior_night_mccarthys

McCarthys of Fethard has long since been a famous pub, so much so that they have been afraid to change the interior since 1847. As well as a great pub, it also hosts a great restaurant and a great wine list. They take the vine very seriously here, so book your tickets now for this event sold out very quickly last year and we expect this one to follow suit so get your tickets now.

domaine-anges-logo1

Tickets are only €40 and can be booked online or via Red Nose Wine at 052-6182939 or email info@rednosewine.com – Book now. A night not to be missed.

Sam Neill and his trip to Tipp

November 4th, 2012

Irish born Kiwi Sam Neill is on his way to Tipperary for a whistle stop tour to promote his wonderful Central Otago wines. He will be out in McCarthys of Fethard at 2pm for a quick meet & greet followed by a reception in Red Nose Wine in Clonmel at 4pm. As well as Sam’s wines, there will also be some local Tipperary Food on offer, courtesy of James Whelan Butchers, as well as some delicious Cooleeney Farm cheese.

Meet-Sam-Neill

Sam is more well known for his acting and has appeared in such films and TV shows as Jurassic Park, Kane & Abel, The Omen, Dead Calm, The Hunt for Red October, The Piano, The Simpsons, The Tudors among many more. He is becoming very well known for his wines however and we are delighted to be importing them into Ireland.

snowy

Ireland is a place the Hollywood star holds close to his heart. Only in October past he visited his old home place in the North, where he lived until he was 7. His Irish roots still firmly intact, he recently claimed, “I got an Irish passport the other day. I love it. It’s the best thing in my pocket.”

Why not take a nice tour of the chateau with the proprietor himself …

If you would like to call on Wednesday at 4pm to Red Nose Wine to meet Sam, send us an email or drop us a line at 052-6182939 so we can have enough food. All lovers of great wine are welcome.

Sam Neill’s Two Paddocks has arrived

October 26th, 2012

I used to love horror films as a kid and it was hard enough to scare me. The only ones that really got to me were the ones that messed with your mind. The Omen films really got to me as did Psycho, but who would have thought that Damien Thorn himself would end up making wines which are simply phenomenal, and very well priced when compared to other wines of that quality – Central Otago is regarded the best place in the world for Pinot Noir outside of Burgundy, so we are delighted to be bringing them into Ireland.

Sam Neill and the fruits of the vine

Sam Neill and the fruits of the vine

They have 2 Pinots Noirs and some Riesling ( which we hope to have over in the next shipment ). The first Pinot is The Picnic Pinot and this is rich ruby in colour, with hints of brambles, plums up front, with a distinct herbs and spice in mid palate with the savoury undertones that are distinctive of the vintage. This wine shows good length and depth in its youth and will develop more complexity with bottle age.

The Two Paddocks Premium blend is made from three vineyards – Gibbston, Alexandra, and Redbank at Earnscleugh, this wine is a quintessential cool climate Pinot Noir. As in the vineyard, this wine is hand crafted using traditional methods and aged in small French oak barrels for 11 months, using a mix of older and new (25%) barrels.

The vineyard has a great blog with lots of things like videos and the staff’s Top 10 songs of all time as well as guests Top 10 ( Vinnie Jones is one as well as lots of actors and musicians ) – I would LOVE to get on that list – I’d have Dylan, Cohen, Wilson, Waits, Mitchell, Morrison Van, Morrison Jim and many more … I like the video where he opens a case of wine ( Joni Mitchell style ).

sam-truck

We are hopeful that Sam will get a break in his filming schedule to come over to Ireland and officially launch the wines himself, so keep tuned for details… hopefully, maybe, please Sam… I’ll play a Beach Boys song on my guitar if you come …

When Darina met Veronique

July 19th, 2012

We are delighted and proud to be associated with a very special event on August 2nd in Ballymaloe Cookery School. Madame Véronique Guibert de La Vaissière of the iconic Mas de Daumas Gassac vineyard in the Languedoc will present her new cookery book, ‘Savours and Flavours of Mas Daumas Gassac’. To celebrate its launch Darina Allen is having a Long Table Dinner under the unique setting of the Ballymaloe Glasshouse.

A Long table to be filled with food, wine and people

A Long table to be filled with food, wine and people

The food will no doubt be wonderful as it always is in Ballymaloe, but from a wine perspective, the only wines being served at this event are the Mas de Daumas Gassac Grand Cru wines, and they are included in the price.

One of the many rows in the Glasshouse

One of the many rows in the Glasshouse

Two iconic families – one shared vision

Samuel Guibert, Darina Allen and Gary Gubbins

Samuel Guibert, Darina Allen and Gary Gubbins

Aimé & Véronique Guibert, and their family, of iconic French wine estate, Mas de Daumas Gassac, are responsible for what has been described as ‘ The only Grand Cru of the Midi’ , writes Hugh Johnson, and the legendary wine writer, Michael Broadbent described Gassac as ‘ one of the 10 best wines in the world’. Red Nose Wine are proud to represent Mas de Daumas Gassac in Ireland. We have had many a good night with them in the past, both in Ballymaloe and in Clonmel.

Gary Gubbins with Aime and Samuel Guibert

Gary Gubbins with Aime and Samuel Guibert

The Guiberts

The Guiberts

In the introduction to her cookbook, ‘Savours and Flavours of Mas Daumas Gassac, Mme Guibert – ‘… this extraordinary place which had been caringly cultivated for thousands of years and now our home…mealtime around the table are the most special moments, the most beautiful time , deeply imbedded in the memory of all. It is this happiness that I evoke and wish to share with you’

The keeper of the glasshouse

A few weeks ago I called down to see Colm McCan in Ballymaloe, the Tipperary sommelier and a great champion of Gassac wines. He gave me a tour of the Cookery School, the farm and the Glasshouse, which is a very impressive acre under glass. They even have a vine.

A vine in Co. Cork

A vine in Co. Cork

Eileen O Donavan holds court in the glasshouse and we got her to explain exactly what they grow and what might we expect to be eating at the Long Table Dinner..

What exactly is happening

4.00pm Welcome drink and canapés – Mas de Daumas Gassac Rosé Frizant.

4.30pm Darina Allen and Mme.Véronique Guibert de La Vaissière will welcome all with a presentation,

5.30pm/6.00pm Guests move to the glasshouse, through the farm and gardens, to the ‘Long Table Dinner’. Menu by Rory O’Connell, inspired by the cookbook, ‘Savours and Flavours of Mas de Daumas Gassac’ matched with the Grand Cru wines of Mas de Daumas Gassac.

There might even be some music

There might even be some music

Dinner €120 (including wines) – Advance booking essential
Proceeds will go to East Cork Slow Food Educational Project
Please Email the Ballymaloe Cookery School at info@cookingisfun.ie to reserve a place

See the 99 point vines at La Peira

May 31st, 2012

One of our very favorite vineyards, La Péira was part of the visit to the Languedoc with our friends at Curious Wines last May, and Mike has posted a little video of Jérémie Depierre, winemaker at the great estate.

This is the vineyard described by Gary Vaynerchuk as “the next great global cult wine”. He also said this – “Dense, rich and explosive, with layer after layer of flavor and complexity. Ripe, but never over the top, this stunning effort should easily last 25 to 30 years. Expect ENORMOUS ratings for this wine. Syrah with a small amount of Grenache Noir. This wine just took my breathe away.” 99 points.

Jeremie Depierre shows me the cellars in La Peira

Jeremie Depierre shows me the cellars in La Peira

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate award the 2009 vintage 96 points and called the wines “sensational”.

One of my favourite critics, Jeb Dunnuck of The Rhone Report said this before lavishing it with scores….

“One of the top estates in the Languedoc, and certainly in the crème de la crème of estates in the south of France, La Pèira en Damaisèla is owned by the well-known UK composer Robert Dougan, with the winemaking team consisting of Jérémie Depierre, with Claude Gros consulting. Producing full-bodied, powerful, and exceedingly rich wines, this estate is set apart by their ability to produce wines that not only show thrilling levels of fruit and texture, but also manage to hold onto a sense of purity, elegance, and balance.” – The Rhone Report, March 2012.

2010 La Pèira Terrasses du Larzac: “A more classic, structured, and mineral-driven profile with utterly captivating aromatics of crème de cassis and pit styled fruits that are intermixed with notions of roasted herbs, chocolate, crushed stone, and candied flowers that literally soar from the glass. Deep, layered, and yet still incredibly light and elegant on the palate, with spectacular purity of fruit, loads of richness, and fantastic freshness, this full-bodied beauty might just eclipse both the ‘07 and ‘09 (97-100 pts.)” – The Rhone Report, March 2012.

Enjoy a rare peak into a very special vineyard at the start of its journey into superstardom.