Easter is a coming!!

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With Easter around the corner it’s important to remember that there is more to this Holiday than Bunnies and Eggs (Is it me or are they getting cheaper and cheaper?). Easter in Ireland means the real start of spring daffodils are appearing around the place and the weather is becoming milder and there is the long awaited stretch in the evenings.

And as I said above aside from the bunnies, Easter is a time for another cute animal, Lamb. This time of year lamb starts making its way back to our dinner tables and lamb needs nice reds to accompany it the traditional wines chosen include Chianti, Rioja and Bordeaux, but this year why not try something new some Portuguese Reds, or some of Spain’s other wine producing regions like Toro or Ribera Del Duero, or even a nice new World Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet blend. Spring has arrived time for us to shake of those winter blues and try something new.

Rose Wine for the summer days…

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I think this is officially the 2nd sunny day we’ve had this year… and you know what that means! Yes its time to finally burn all those warm clothes we wrapped ourselves up in this winter- the coat, the hat, the gloves, and even the scarf… burn them all the summer is officially here! I’m off to boots to load up on the sun screen (lord knows i can’t handle the sunburns) and buy a nice new expensive pair of shades, because we all know its worth the investment….

Ahhhh if only that were the case… but to be fair we do get the odd freak day of sunshine, sometimes it even hangs around for a whole day, maybe even two! So this raises the question… what will quench the thirst on these freak sunny days we get? Well as the title of the Blog would suggest Rose Wine (or as the Americans say blush wine). Now there are 3 different ways to make Rose Wine. Number 1 Dilution- Generally pretty frowned upon, and with good cause. Its like ribena when you could have actual juice… Now a few places do practice this method, such as champagne, but generally the reputable producers don’t bother. Instead they opt for the second Option- Saignee. This is where Rose wine is produced as a by product of Red Wine Fermentation. This is because the Producer would like to increase the intensity of the tannin levels in his red wine. So he drains off some of the juice (which is pink) and then and this provides the other juice with more intense contact with the remaining grape skins. But this juice that was drained can still be allowed to ferment- and BOOM! ROSE WINE! Now for number 3. Pretty similar to number 2 except its not produced as a by product of the fermentation of red wine. Instead they will leave the grape skins in contact with the grapes for a day or two, then remove them. This gives them some of the colour but virtually no tannins are left.
So there you have the three methods… but to be honest the most important part is the grape variety they have chosen to make into a Rose Wine! For example Pinot Noir Rose will generally have strawberry and cream flavours cabernet franc or cabernet sauvignon will lean more to the rose petals and cherry flavours. Either way I’m sure you’ll agree that on a warm sunny day, sitting in your back garden, after you’ve pulled out all that garden furniture from the shed that you thought you’d get so much use out of, nothing can beat a nice chilled glass of Rose Wine! So the next time its sunny make sure your well stocked up on the stuff- you don’t want to waste any of the sunny day doing your shopping- the same goes for having a healthy supply of BBQ coal, and plenty of meat to grill!

Spring Food and Wine Showcase

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Hosted by The Malt House Restaurant

In Association with Thomas Woodberrys

6 Course Dinner presented with

6 Complimentary Wines chosen by us

Date: Thursday 25th March

Time: 8pm

Venue: Malt House Restaurant

Price: €40 per ticket

Ticket numbers limited to 40, Available from Woodberrys or Malt House

red wine’s benefits to the heart!

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So i was pottering around the house this morning when something about the croi charity ball came on the radio- basically they were announcing starting recruiting for the New York City marathon. And it got me thinking…. could i do the marathon? Well its only been a couple of hours but I’m giving it serious consideration. Now I consider myself relatively fit- even if i do smoke, eat a lot, and enjoy beer as much as the next person… but even i realize how much of a challenge this would be! So this started me thinking about healthy little habits to get in to… namely quit smoking, eat healthier, and cut down big time on the beer. But red wine is not without its benefits… Now I’m not saying guzzling a bottle of wine a night is the best way to prepare for the New York City Marathon, but there are certain benefits. One major one is a glass of wine will let you unwind every now and then- I think this is probably one of the more important factors when undertaking something like this, cause i can imagine it being pretty easy to start going insane after a couple of months intensive training. So the Glass of wine every now and then will keep you sane, but what are the technical health benefits to Red Wine.

Well people became to take note of red wine as being good for health around the 1980’s when two guys- Law and Wald- started to focus on the French Paradox. Basically they noticed that the french had such a fatty diet with all those cheeses and meats- but they had relatively low rate of heart problems in comparison to the rest of the world! So one thing that jumped out at them was the french consumption of Red Wine. The main idea behind this was research carried out in to one of the components of red wine- resveratrol. Essentially all it is is a way for grapes and other plants use to protect themselves against rot. But it has been discovered to increase HDL Cholesterol (which essentially scour the walls of Blood Vessels taking bad Cholesterol with them) and therefore prevent Blood Clotting. So there you have it… planning on running a marathon like I think i might… then maybe a glass or two of red wine, might give me that extra little bit I need!

Sulphites- solving the mystery…

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A while ago we did a blog on red wine headache- basically where people get headaches from red wine after a sip or two. From what I’ve read it seems the most common cause of this is the tannins in the wine. But one thing that has never really been explained properly by us was the sulphites in wine. Essentially every wine- even organic wines- have sulphites in them. I know I know, people have been scape-goating sulphites for years and trying to avoid them- but I’m afraid they are naturally occurring in the grapes. Its also not all that uncommon for wine producers to introduce a touch more in order to arrest fermentation, but at the heart of it all sulphur-dioxide helps reduce the threat of oxidization, but also kills bacteria… so you see without sulphites- the wine would turn to vinegar! Now there’s one more bombshell to be dropped… but i don’t know if you’ll like it… White wines (wait for it) generally speaking… contain more sulphites than red wines! I was amazed to discover this too but its a fact! Now here’s a link to our blog on red wine headache so hopefully if you suffer from it than you might find the answer there.
Just one quick last point on Organic Wine- yes you’ve guessed it it contains sulphites too- granted these may be on a much lower scale, but next time you pick up a bottle of organic wine check out the back! Having said that I can’t really see any disadvantage to organic wine, by removing chemicals and pesticides they let nature take over so the terroir is free to come through the wine- all I’ll say though is there are plenty of wines out there that just haven’t bothered labelling themselves as organic- so don’t be afraid to step outside of the organic range!

Breaking News! A quick note on our changes!

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So the problem with anything in life is when it becomes stale… And I don’t know about ye, but i thought the old format was getting a bit stale- so i decided to keep ye up to date with the changes We’ve made! Basically nothing major, a new template background (entitled scribe- I felt this would give our Blog a sense of grandeur! and therefore make the whole experience more rewarding for you guys… I know I know i overdid- but what can I say… I think ye’re worth it!) Second little nifty feature for ye to enjoy- Notice above the blogs themselves you’ll see changing news captions, well this is linked to google news, with a special view to giving ye the most up to date news on wine! You see how helpful that is? Imagine it- you’re at a fancy pancy dinner party and someone says something about this recent scandal with E&J Gallo and the french grape growers… Well how nice would it to not only be able to contribute to the conversation, but also be somewhat of an expert on it?? Well now you can because of our new Newsreel above! And finally- this one is only small, but we have added a little Survey to the left of the screen… purely out of interest, and to give us an idea of what you’d like us to blog about! We’re working on getting a website up and running soon- so you’ll have to bear with us until that day, but hopefully these nifty updates will keep ye all very happy!

Also a little side note- we’ll be closed tomorrow for St Paddys day, so enjoy ye’re day and we’ll see ye on thursday!

French Vintage Guide!

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So recently (once we started our French Promotion) we’ve been talking a lot with our customers about vintage. When it comes to French wines- given the general lack of information on their labels- Vintage is one of the key indicators. Climate is one of the most important factors in wine production- so a good vintage is as good a place to tell how a wine is going to drink as any! But for obvious reasons only people who work in wine are the only ones who have enough time to look up random points about different vintages…
So luckily for you I have decided to do a brief synopsis of recent Vintages throughout the major regions in France! Where else would we start but Bordeaux!

  • 2007: A cool, wet summer made for a difficult year- but was saved by sunny weather in September which gave the grapes time to ripen. Given the sheer size of Bordeaux and the different grape varieties the reds are generally variable, but will mostly be drinking young. However, whites are superb!
  • 2006: Cabernet Grapes struggled to ripen this year- but Merlot did just fine! Stick to the right bank- you won’t go wrong!
  • 2005: Across the board there was perfect growing conditions, which makes 2005 one of the best years in Bordeaux… until 2009! A little of topic, but early reports from 2009 vintage in Bordeaux suggest a great great year- for anyone looking to buy en primeur, now would be a good time!

So there you have Bordeaux, but what about Burgundy?

  • 2007: Tricky growing conditions during the summer were saved by a good September. Slightly better than Bordeaux this year- but its because of the Pinot Noir Grape. These wines will be good for medium term.
  • 2006: no complaints about this year- wines will tend to be fruity and forward! Monthelie reds are great value from this year!
  • 2005: Again another great year in France- look out for Cotes De Nuits reds!

The Rhone!

  • 2007: Brilliant brilliant- especially in ChateauneufduPape. Northeren Rhone had a slightly more difficult time with it, but there are still some great wines to be had from this region!
  • 2006: Produced rich balanced wines with generous fruit. Some age-Worthy reds from the Northern Rhone.
  • 2005: Perfect year with conditions enabling rich, balanced wines to be produced in the North!

I know that’s only 3 regions, but you get the general idea of how different wines can be form year to year. On a side note 2009 appears (in much the same way as 2005 did) to be a fantastic year across the board. We’ll find out if it lives up to the hype in a couple of months- but for anyone looking to Buy en Primeur should expect to pay a pretty price…

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