Autumn Wine

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I finished work there the last day and was strolling over to my friend’s house when it struck how Autumnal it was… I think its my favourite word- autumnal- and if not then certainly in the top 3… Why you may ask! Well it’s the only seasonal adjective to end in a al… all the others end in a Y summery, wintery, Springy…. But Autumnal you really feel like your intelligent saying it! And at the end of the day if you appear intelligent, then why would you actually put effort into actually being intelligent… Point in case- Superman! He didn’t need to wear the glasses when he was Clark Kent and then take them off when he was superman… surely simply putting on a mask like any other super hero worth his salt did would have been much more effective… But our self-proclaimed “SUPER” Man clearly felt like he needed to look intelligent some of the time! And it worked! He got a job working in a newspaper company with from what i could see were very limited credentials- so the only conclusion I can come to is that it was the glasses making him look intelligent that landed him the job… pretty sneaky Superman!

Well that’s the usual digression over (another word in my top 5!) so we can get back to the business at hand! Autumn wine! Wine that is Autumnal! You see once we entered summer it struck me that wines are perfect at different times of the year so each season has its own nuances that need to be played off against the right wine! So while I was strolling around I started to think about wines that would be perfect for this season! Now as I always say with these lists- these are just my own preferences, everyone is different so think of this as a guideline and find what works for yourself!

So… what do people do during Autumn??? Well if your anything like me you’ll prob be doing…. absolutely nothing! Don’t get me wrong I love the season and there’s always stuff going on… but I turn kinda lazy! Now the second thing to do is take into consideration the weather! Autumn starts to pick up a sort of damp coldness- makes the air fresh, but you’re still cold!

In reverse order at number 3/ Going to go with Chardonnay… I know controversial what with everyone hating it! but its got its charms! Especially for this type of weather Autumn seems to bring to the table. There’s something I really like about Chardonnay… I think its the contrast that it brings to the table! You see its got this weight and this smoothness that almost reminds me of a red wine, but it’s chilled and it almost has a creamy oaky side to it that’s just amazing when its done right!

Number 2!  We’ll go with red on this one I think! I’m thinking Italian… I’m thinking north Italy… I’m thinking either Barbara or Valpolicella… maybe even a Ripasso… in fact yes- Yes I think we will go with Valpolicella Ripasso! It’s that rasiny almondy edge that it gives that really has my mouth-watering right now!

And finally- our winner is the Gamay grape- surprisingly! More specific Burgundy Gamay! See aside from Beaujolais Noveu it’s not really well-known but it’s actually a funny enough grape. Basically in 1395 the Duke of Burgundy Phillipe the Bold (worst evil name ever! about as good as John the ill-mannered, or Carl the grumpy) outlawed the grape because it was “very bad and disloyal…” These dukes really had way too much time on their hands! But then a mere 60 years later, the Duke at the time- any guesses at the name??- Phillipe the Good brought it back in. However in the 60 years it wasn’t around all of the places it used to take up was gone, which naturally pushed it further down south! But it was in these granite based soils that the grape really thrived- so it’s all thanks to our Phillipes… I guess you have to take the good with the bad…. cough cough… But the grape itself is perfect for Autumn if it’s from the Moulin A Vent region! Why this region? Well some of the producers here oak age it slightly, which just adds that little bit of extra tannin to the wine which is absolutely perfect for enjoying wine on those Autumnal evenings!

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Who says sparkling wine has to be boring???

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Not me! And certainly not the guys at the wild hibiscus company! Now I can’t take credit for introducing this idea…. no no the honour actually goes to our Neighbours Tigh Neachtains Bar on Cross Street in Galway… Its actually quite nice we help each other out from time to time and becasue we’re such good pals I stopped in their for a drink the last day after work! So I’m there at the bar waiting for my beer… and next thing I know I see them pouring a glass of Sergio Prosseco, only they threw something into it. So later on when I was sitting down and I asked one of the staff  – What’s that? Oh thats hibiscuss flower!

Yes hibiscuss flowers in your sparkling wine… what will they think of next??? Netles in your soup… The story behind it goes a little like this- One day a man was enjoying a glass of Champagne in the garden with some friends (as you do…) and hibiscuss flower floated into his glass… being the ecentric millionaire that he is he decided to still drink it- flower and all! Good thing he did becasue now we are selling wild hibiscuss flowers in syrup to spruce up your sparkling wines!

In fairness, as much as I’m not really one for the gimmicks, it is actually pretty cool. You see you drop in the flower when its closed, but then the bubbles run off it and open up the petals in the glass- this is 100% sure to impress anyone! But then you can actually eat the Hibiscuss flower! But the thing I really like about these Hibiscuss flowers is they’re website gives you plenty of recipes and cocktail ideas!

Botrytis- the fun-guy!

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Spent ages writing out an awesome blog and then deleted it all… so annoying! Anyways take 2 will be even better! So couple of things- first off its been a while since i last blogged or did much with the Facebook… but i have a perfectly good excuse! I was on my holidays- so there was no time for blogging! Second off the title! Mushroom walks into a bar and orders a drink… the bartenders like what? I’m not serving no filthy mushroom! And the mushroom is like “why not I’m a fun-guy!”  (pause for laughter) thank you thank you!

So there is basically two types of botrytis- the first is grey rot, which is brought about by constant damp conditions, and actually ruins the fruit. The second is known as noble rot, and this stuff is brought about by damp conditions as well, but when followed by dry conditions they dry up. So then they are left with grapes that are left with loads of sugar and very little water to dilute them with. So we get deliciously sweet dessert wine.

The origins of this technique are a little sketchy… so i decided to pick the one i thought sounded the most interesting! Apparently… there was this vineyard in germany where they had to wait for word to come from the owner of the land before they started picking the grapes… but as the messenger was on his way to give them the news, he was robed! And in the following 3 weeks Botrytis took over the grapes and shrivelled them up(dom dom dommmmm!) So thinking that the grapes were useless they sold them on to someone else who then produced the most delicious sweet wine ever! This apparently where the german style of  Spatlese (late harvest) comes from… couple of problems with this theory… first off why would the owner who’s so far away that he needs to send a messenger, be the one who decides when to pick the grapes??? And secondly (pretty much the same point) these grape pickers can’t show just a little initiative???? The grapes are rotting before their eyes and they still insist on waiting for word from someone who’s 3 weeks away????

So anyways the most famous place for this style of wine is Sauternes in Bordeaux, France. They use Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle… but because this style is sooo… whats the word…. unstable…. you can bet you will have to pay a fair amount for wines from this area! Really?? the French charging a lot for their wine??? But lucky for ye they’re not the only ones who have discovered this technique- in fact there are several New World Botrytis wines that are fantastic and not nearly as expensive! So there you have it!  quick little blog to slowly bring ye back to the wonderful world of wine after my absence! Talk to ye soon!