One for the Mammys

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Spring time is well under way with a great run of weather so far and fingers crossed for April. Spring means many things Easter, Lovely Lamb, and of Course Mothers Day, the day we honour and thank the one women who loves us no matter what we do!! In the case of this blog our biggest fan, busy telling her friends to check us out on the interweb thing.

This year for mother’s day were suggesting that you go all out and cook your mammy a delicious dinner. And what better way to celebrate your mammy than with some bubbles. It doesn’t have to break the bank with great proseccos and cavas available from the €14 mark, Or even a lovely Sparkling Rosé. My Top tip for the weekend is if your mammy enjoys a good prosecco try spoiling her this year by locating a bottle of Cartizze.

The hill of Cartizze is a 1,000-foot-high vineyard of 260 acres of vines,  owned by a whopping 140 growers, that’s an average of 1.14 acres each. As a result vineyards in this area are high in demand. The Prosecco from its grapes, of which comparatively little is produced, is widely considered to be of the highest quality, the “Grand Cru” of Prosecco.

Local legend has it that Cartizze grapes were traditionally harvested last, as the vines were situated on steep slopes and hard to reach, which made wine makers discover that this extended ripening period improved the flavour. The wines tend to be pale straw yellow with wonderful persistent and fresh bubbles. Luxurious perfumes of apples, pears, and rose petals. They have clean, fresh palates and the best will have a touch of candied almonds on the finish. 

Excellent Mid Week Wine Cathar Joven

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 Catherism in Castilla Leon was introduced by those pilgrims from Occitania who left France to follow the way of St James to Santiago. It is said that these Cathars had their own symbol, a cross of three arms in which were driven three large stakes. The term “Cather”, originates in the Greek, Katharois, meaning“ Pure.” This origin is in turn reflected in the purity and authenticity of the wine, from the privileged area of Ribera del Duero, namely the sub-district of Gumiel de Mercado, an ancient winemaking area full of subterranean cellars cut out off rock, which I am told are well worth a look if you happen to be in the vicinity.

This wine is produced from 100% Tempranillo grapes, grown on 20 year old vines that are low yielding. The grapes are hand harvested and selected before being transfer to a state of the art winery, which use gravity as an essential aid during the production of the wine, this is done to maximise the fruit expression of the wine, as Jovens are unoaked, the fruit is all important.

Deep Cherry colour with flecks of deep crimson, the nose explodes with vibrant and mouth-watering berry fruits, raspberry, cherry , with hints of plum, violets and spice. The palate is smooth and fruit forward, with juicy red fruits and a touch of spice and minerality.  Just the ticket for this weeks Champions League matches.

What Makes a great or even a good Vintage?

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This is a question I posed myself while enjoying two very nice and interesting wines at the weekend. Both were Rioja Reservas from the same producer treated to the same oaking but distinctly different. How could either have been from a better Vintage? Yet according to vintage Charts one far outstripped the other!! But they didn’t taste that way, just two good wines, with some noticeable difference.  Why is Vintage so Important?
 
Well, to start with, it makes life exciting for both producers, sometimes dangerously so, as well as consumers.  On of the big lies of the any critics points system is that they rate the wine by the style the critic prefers, its only natural they’re human after all. Therefore certain vintages will outscore others because that wine in any given year will be more of what the critic likes. So for example if the critics you are reading prefer bigger, fruit driven wines, well the vintages that produce these wines will score better than those that don’t. My question is does that mean that it’s a better vintage??

Vintages can be easily described in various terms from opulent to lean, but to say that one vintage is simply better than another is, in my opinion a bit silly, its like saying one day is better than another or one finger is better than an other one, it’s all subjective (but then that’s wine in general).  Why is a vintage considered better simply because it produced wines that are fruit dominated, rich and full-bodied?

But that seems to be the case. For example what makes a ‘Great‘ vintage and are they that special seeing as we’ve had how many in the last decade? In general, a vintage is prematurely determined to be great because the growing season was ‘Great‘, allowing wines to concentrate sugars, polyphenols, tannins and acids, and all the other things winemakers turn into wine for us! Sometimes these various parts are in balance but very often they aren’t.

History has shown us that sometimes conditions that allow for ‘perfect’ fruit don’t always translate into the ‘Great’ wines. 1985, in Bordeaux and Piedmont, was hailed as a ‘great’ growing season. The wines that vintage produced are very good indeed, but have they really proven to be better than other wines, grown in more difficult vintages? Simple answer is No. So I ask again what makes a good vintage, is it the score the critic gave a wine? the growing conditions and the Fruit? The winemaker? Or is it a some of all these?

Beannachtaí na Féile Padraig daoibh go léir!

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St. Patrick and his Wine…

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Our National day is nearly upon us and this year we have decided to go with a wine that has an unshakable like to the Snake taming, pagan converting Welsh man who brought us all into the Fold of Christianity. Armagh has long been held as an important site in regard to St. Paddy. According to the Annals of the Four Masters, written in the 16th Century; in the year 457

Ard Mhacha [Armagh] was founded by Saint Patrick, it having been granted to him by Daire, son of Finnchadh, son of Eoghan, son of Niallan. Twelve men were appointed by him for building the town. He ordered them, in the first place, to erect an archbishop’s city there, and a church for monks, for nuns, and for the other orders in general, for he perceived that it would be the head and chief of the churches of Ireland in general.

The grapes tha that go into the Armagh wine come from an 8 acre Clare Valley vineyard is called “Armagh”, because the area in which it is situated was originally settled by the Irish in 1859 and named after Patrick’s chief Church. The Armagh is a single vineyard wine first made in 1985 from unirrigated, low-yielding vines planted in 1968 and yields less than 1.2 tonnes per acre.  The Armagh is regarded as one of the finest shirazes from all of Australia and has a reputation for excellence renowned throughout the world. Made from 100% Shiraz and aged in 50% American and 50% French oak. The palate displays intensely concentrated dark cherry fruit, with velvety tannins, liquorice, spice and floral notes underpinned by a big structure. A huge, concentrated style that packs a punch

International Women’s Day Pt.2

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As promised yesterday just a short few notes on some of the Ladies involved with some of the great wines we get from the ‘Old World’. Our wonderful Bordeaux is produced by Chateau La Gatte, and Hélène Fenouillet, is not only wine-maker, but she also has time to be General Manager, head of Domestic sales, and run the B&B at the Chateau. With a wealth of experience in wine having worked for some of the biggest names in wine like Chateau Latour, Chateau Rauzan-Ségla  in Bordeaux and Domaine Florentin in the Rhone Valley.

South of the French Border in the Beautiful region of Catalonia Nuria Altes and husband Reafael De Haan, have combined their experience in the wine trade to create an exciting Bodega Abanico.  Their ambition is to reflect the regional tipicity of wines, and by working with leading producers in each area and selecting predominantly indigenous grape varieties that offer an authentic taste of Spanish wine. One of best wines sourced by the couple is made by young winemaker, Beatriz Paniagua. The challenge was to create a wine true to the Toro region without sacrificing elegance and control. The secret: very old vines and a delicate woman’s touch.

 An other shorter hop this time across the Mediterranean Sea, brings us to Italy, and Antonutti in Friuli. This family run winery has Mother and Daughter team of  Adriano and Caterina working tirelessly with the rest of the family to produce some excellent wines from a true magnificent Pinot Grigio to the local favourite Friuliano and some great reds. So as this week end why not show your appreciation for women in wine and actively seek out a wine, with a woman’s touch.

, our wonderful Bordeaux is produced by Chateau La Gatte, and Hélène Fenouillet, is not only wine-maker, but she also has time to be General Manager, head of Domestic sales, and run the B&B at the Chateau. With a wealth of expierence in wine having worked for some of the biggest names in wine like Chateau Latour, Chateau Rauzan-Ségla and Domaine Florentin in the Rhone Valley.

 

South of the French Border in the Beautiful region of Catlunia Nuria Altes and husband Reafael De Haan, have combined their experience in the wine trade to create an exciting Bodega Abanico.  Their ambition is to reflect the regional tipicity of wines, and by working with leading producers in each area and selecting predominantly indigenous grape varieties that offer an authentic taste of Spanish wine. One of best wines sourced by the couple is made by young winemaker, Beatriz Paniagua. The challenge was to create a wine true to the Toro region without sacrificing elegance and control. The secret: very old vines and a delicate woman’s touch.

 

 

 An other shorter hop this time across the Mediterranean Sea, brings us to Italy, and Antonutti in Friuli, where this family run winery Mother and Daughter,  Adriano and Caterina work tirelessly with the rest of the family to produce some excellent wines from a true magnificent Pinot Grigio to the local favourite Friuli

International Women’s Day Pt.1

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International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day, is marked on the 8th of March every year. This is a major day of global celebration of women. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements. And here at The Grapefruit we would like to pay tribute to some women of Wine, who we have the pleasure of dealing with.

We are lucky to work with some wonderful ladies, our range of New Zealand wines, sourced for us by Irish woman Joyce Austin. Joyce is a Dublin native who moved to Auckland some 17 years ago and for the best part of the last decade, she has been sourcing excellent boutique wines from some of New Zealand’s most exciting wineries. Among these wineries is Muddy Water, which is based in Waipara, near Christchurch. With Chief wine-maker, Belinda Gould and viticulturist and vineyard manager, Miranda Brown  bringing considerable expertise to the winery, both have spent time in California and Belinda has spent time working in Germany.   

A small (2,000 km) hop across the Tasman Sea, to Australia and one finds The Yalumba winery, with Chief wine-maker Louisa Rose who has been working with Yalumba since 1992. She is also the first woman to become a judge on the Australian National Wine Show Circuit. And how could we forget the tireless travelling ambassador and wine-maker and all round super-star Jane Ferrari, Jane is more than a worker at Yalumba she is a crusader preaching the Gospel of the Barrossa region and it’s wine, all you have to do is spend awhile in her company and listen to her talk to become enriched in the history and traditions of the region where Yalumba is based. And if you think that the New World has the monopoly on female wine-makers you are sorely mistaken, but more on those ladies tommorow.

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