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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.

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 …

A Question of Taste

August 31st, 2012

Taste is a very personal thing, and not just in wine. One man’s Marilyn is another man’s Mrs. Brown. There is a long list of ladies whom I would have thought were quite lovely during my formative years as a hopelessly romantic teenager. Alas, they didn’t feel the same and to relate it to the theme of this article, they had what I like to call bad taste.

Marilyn-Mrs-Brown

A Contradiction

I appreciate that I have contradicted myself in the first paragraph. How can someone have bad taste, if taste is a subjective and very personal thing? How can people buy the sugar and chemical laden mass market branded wines that are the architects of so many seismic hangovers and then proclaim to love wine? As the old song goes, ‘I know its crazy, but its true’. I should say that some mass market wines, while not exciting are technically well made and do not fall into this group.

I am rereading a brilliant book about wine called ‘The Accidental Connoisseur’ by Lawrence Osborne, a truly unique author who embraces his novice introduction to wine with great gusto. That is a polite way of saying he wanders around the world drunk as a skunk ‘researching’ his book. He also meets some of the worlds great winemakers ( and a few wine dictators ) along the way.

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Its all about taste

The book open with a chapter called ‘A Matter of Taste’, so hence the inspiration for the article. He talks about the insecurity associated with trusting your taste in wines. This is why people trust brands and advertising so much. The notes tell us what we are supposed to taste but it doesn’t tell us how we can appropriate that experience for ourselves. The book is a subtle balance of high brow and low brow.

I think that this insecurity is important to understand as a wine merchant. Most of the time people know what they want but find it difficult to articulate so talking it through with them can eliminate 80% of wines within seconds. This is a great advantage I have over the supermarkets – as the Spice Girls sang, ‘Tell me what you want, what you really really want”.

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The book also quotes one of my favourite winemakers, the enigmatic Aimé Guibert of Mas de Daumas Gassac. “For millennia wine was the centre of Western Civilization. It has always been a mystery. Today it has been transformed into a commodity”. This fear of taste has contributed to this, albeit with a helping hand from globalization and capitalism.

A Talent for Living

I like Mr. Osborne’s summation about acquiring taste – it is not a result of study, but a ‘talent for living’. You have to try new things and taste new wines to acquire your taste. Wine shows are great for that in the professional world but you should all go to consumer tastings and you will get a good feel for what suits you and doesn’t suit your palate. Our Christmas tasting is always a good one to get a flavour of what’s on offer.

The word taste apparently comes from the old French word ‘taster’, which means ‘to feel’. This descends from the Latin ‘taxare’ which means to evaluate or handle. If you go back further to the Latin ‘tangere’, it means to touch. Taste, as a notion only arrived in the middle of the 18th century. As the Bourgeois created fashion trends, so did they invent the notion of taste.

Some people are more adept at tasting than others, such as US critic Robert Parker and his amazing skills. However, when you break it down, past the twenty long cells, with a tiny hair projecting out of each of them to the surface of the tongue through a pore, the taste buds can only taste four elementary things – sweetness, sourness, saltiness and bitterness.

Mr. Osborne

Mr. Osborne decided that books and science could not aid him in his quest to discover his taste. He decided to ‘go into the world of wine and drink’. His idea was that taste could only be developed by action – ‘by pleasure itself’. The book then takes that theory around the world in a very funny and self indulgent journey. Like I said, I highly recommend the book.

The wonderful world of Banking

As I finished this article, I was listening to the radio, and a piece about Ireland being the second lowest in the EU in terms of granting loans to SMEs. Considering all of the very positive advertising from the banks and the government, I was very surprised by this!

It gave me an idea for a possible future article that would explain the cash cycles of modern vineyards. I’m not sure how I could find any humour in this article however. I am sure most Irish farmers would attest to this as they desperately try to get the corn in at the moment.

The article could be an exploration of how the cash is recycled and how vineyards need help during the lean times of the year until the harvest brings their bounty. The wine business tends to be a cyclical seasonal business at all ends of it.

Don’t forget to get your Loyalty card in the shop. The scheme has proven a huge success and many people have availed of the free wine on the back of their purchases. Every €25 spent gets a sticker on the Silver card, and after 10 you get free wine and an upgrade to the Gold card. The same process gets you even more wine and the much coveted Platinum card.

The new Loyalty card scheme is proving very popular. The Silver cards are free, and after 10 stickers ( earned every time you spend €25 ) you get FREE WINE. You also get a Gold card and at the end of that, there is even more FREE WINE, and you move on to the revered platinum card.

Don’t forget to log onto the blog at www.rednosewine.com/blog, visit our All New Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RedNoseWineFanPage 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 info@rednosewine.com

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

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.

Gary and Mike’s Bon Voyage

May 21st, 2012

Our good friends at Curious Wines have put a trailer together for a video of a trip myself and Michael Kane ( not the actor ) made last year to Mas de Daumas Gassac and La Peira in the Languedoc.

I have the footage as well, so if they hand me on the edit, I can always put out a behind the scenes version. I will post the ‘film’ and its sequel as they are published. Here’s the teaser …