This wine has a screw cap get me one thats Corked!

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While away for a couple of days I called into a wine store, to buy a bottle of wine for my hosts, who were kind enough to offer a weary friend a couch when his original accommodation plans fell through, will perusing the shelves as only a wine-dork can I overheard a very funny conversation: A man who wished to return an open bottle of wine that had a fault, in this case it had a serious dose of Brettanomyces, it smelled like my sisters pony after a heavy rain shower( I asked the staff for a whiff after the man had left). The staff were very obliging and replaced the bottle in question with another; the same grape and producer but a newer vintage, with a screw cap. The man instantly thought he’d been fobbed of with a cheaper wine and demand a corked bottle of wine! Que the chuckles from another couple in the shop and I admit from myself. Here we had a man demanding a corked bottle of wine after returning a bottle with Brettanomyces, brilliant, when the shop assistant explained that he only had that particular bottle in screwcap and the chances of faults such as corked wines were reduced the poor man went a rather bright shade of scarlet. This nearly made up for my accommodation issues.

Below I have listed a few wine faults and there common aromas.

1) Cork Taint, and this is not bits of cork in your wine! To recognise it you should expect to smell a damp mustiness rather like the mould on old bread or a wet dog. Sometimes the cork taint is more prevalent when the wine is tasted rather than smelt. A very tainted wine is completely undrinkable – although harmless. Opinions differ on how often cork taint appears but the consensus seems to be that it occurs in 3-10% of bottles.

2) Refermentation This can happen when the wine contains residual sugars. Usually leads to cloudy or fizzy wines with an odd smell of yeast.

3) Acetic Spoilage, the fancy way of saying your wine is now vinegar, how to tell well it smells like vinegar!

4) Oxidation. Letting a red wine breathe often helps it release its flavours, but leave it breathe to long and it loses its qualities. This is where air has got into the bottle via a faulty seal or where the bottle has been left open for too long. It sometimes occurs where the wine was not correctly protected from exposure to the air when it was made. Whatever the reason, the wine usually has a slightly metallic or sherry like nose and tastes flat, tired and insipid. Affected white wines also tend to have a rather golden colour.

5) Excess Sulphur Dioxide. Sulphur Dioxide is very useful in winemaking as an antioxidant and antiseptic. However, in excess it gives a very unpleasant smell and taste, similar to that of a struck match.

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1000 Years in the making

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Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria founded the monastery Kremsmünster in the Wachau in the 8th century. It was in this monastery that the famed Tassilo Chalice was created.

Since the vintage 2009 the Müller family has cultivated the 10 ha vineyard adjoining the monastery. These vineyards are part of the monastery Kremsmünster estate which was founded in 777 AD by Bavarian Duke Tassilo III. The same soil has nurtured vines since 893 AD, thus producing the grapes so unique to the area. The Tassilo Cup, being one of the most valuable pieces of the nearby monastery’s art collection, was chosen as the center piece on the label for the new wines from this region. From this site, over a thousand years old, come the characteristically fruitful vintages called the Tassilo Wines.

The grapes come from vineyards in the Alte Point area, this area is located in the eastern part of the Wachau Valley on the edge of Mautern. The warm climate in this basin-promotes the full ripening of the grapes. The Gruner Veltiner here gets its minerality from the weathered rocks that run through the entire basin floor and in the background is the hot gravels of the old Danube riverbed.

Tassilo Gruner Veltiner Alte Point 2011
The wine is bright green-yellow  in colour, the nose is very beautiful with delicate floral aromas. Finely textured on the palate, juicy and elegant, good refreshing flavours of  tender green apple on the finish with a touch of a spice.

Austrian Wines

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As a country Austria is not much older than our own fair green Isle, it was founded in the aftermath of the First World War, but it has been producing wines for centuries, in fact there is evidence that Austrian wine was consumed in England as early as the 11th century. So with such a long history of wine production why are we only getting to know Austrian wines?

We have to go back to after the War, After World War I, Austria was the third biggest wine producer in the world, much being exported in bulk for blending with wine from Germany and other countries. However that intensive level of viticulture sowed the seeds of its own destruction. During the twentieth century Austrian wine became a high-volume, industrialised business, with much of it being sold in bulk to Germany. A run of good years in the 1980s saw massive yields of wines that were light and acidic,nobody wanted these wines. So clever Wine broker types discovered that if they added a little diethylene glycol, normally found in antifreeze, this sweetened and gave body to the wines and made them sellable!

It was difficult to detect chemically  but  the ‘antifreeze scandal’ broke when one of them tried, being extra clever, to claim for the cost of the chemical on his tax return. Although the amounts of glycol were less dangerous than the alcohol in the wine, and only a few middlemen were involved, exports collapsed and some countries banned Austrian wine altogether.

The antifreeze jokes still persist, but the scandal was the saviour of the industry in Austria. Strict new regulations restricted yields among other things, producers moved towards more red wine and a dry style of white wine that was what the 1990s market would demand, and the middlemen went bust forcing producers to sell direct and encouraging the expression of local terroir.

5/6 of Austria’s vines are white and of that the local Gruner Veltiner Grape accounts for almost a third, other popular varieties included Pinot Blanc and Muller Thurgau. Most of the reds are produced from Zweigelt, Sankt Laurenz and Blauer Portugieser. The most important region for wine is Niederosterreich and the adjoining regions of Wachau, Kamptal and Kremstal. Each subregion produces a distinct expression of Gruner Veltiner.

Tuesdays Tasting Notes

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Sorry about the delay folks, Galway is a hive of activity these days with the Ocean Race and the 4th of July Celebrations. Here are the dishes and wines tried on Tuesday Evening. A big thank you to all in Kappa Ya and all who attended.

France

1) Boeuf Bourguignon with hatcho miso, & oriental spices                                 

Mas Karolina Cotes Catalanes 2009

Ripe raspberry, menthol &pepper aromas. Full fruit driven palate, with deep dark fruit flavours.

2) Quiche with white miso, banana, mushroom, Gingko nut & Bacon or Chicken                          

Closerie Des Alisiers St. Verán 2010 €17.95 on sale @€15

Honey and butterscotch aromas over crisp citrus fruit. Delightful crisp palate with a hint of minerality.

3) Ratatouille with Umeboshi, ginger & Japanese pepper                                          

Ferme St. Antonin Cotes Cour 2009 €14.95 on sale @€12.50

The nose explodes with aromas of sweet fruit compote. Very intense fruity palate with a hint of spice and pepper.

4) Cod and onion Gratin with mashed potatoes, Camembert and Sakura                        

Les Chaffines Touraine 2010 €14.95 on sale @ €12.95

Aromatic white with nuances of elderflower, grass and citrus fruits. Refreshing citrus fruits on a crisp finish.

5) White chocolate, Matcha, Delice de Bourgogne & walnut cake                                 

Dopff & Irion Gewurtztraminer 2009 €17.95 on sale @ €15.00

Alluring white with tropical fruits and spice on the nose. Off dry palate of Lychee, mango and pineapple.

Spain

1) Tamagoyaki with carrot, tofu, spinach & Japanese pepper                                                 

Finca Remendio Verdejo 2010 €12.95 on sale @ €10.00

Hints of apples and freshly cut grass on the nose. The palate is clean and fresh with notes of lime, granny smith and tropical fruit.

2) Mixed vegetable Tempura                                                    

Altes Garnacha Negra 2010 €12.95 on sale @ €10.00

Raspberries and cherries leap from the glass. Plenty of ripe red fruits on the palate with nice sweet tannins.

3) Squid and squid ink Paella                                                      

Altes ‘Benufet’ Garnacha Blanca 2010 €14.95 on sale @ €12.50

Delicate mineral note to the nose of this wine, with tropical white fruit notes. Crisp in the mouth with lots of fresh citrus and white fruits.

4) Patatas bravas with spicy whiting Roe                               

Palacio De Verano Crianza 2008 €14.95 on sale @ €12.50

Hints of spice and vanilla over red berry fruit on the nose. The palate is soft and silky with good structure.

5) Octopus salad with cucumber & Wakame

Vina Toén Godello Treidura 2010 €14.95 on sale @ €10.00

The nose has hints of white flowers and notes of citrus fruit. Full bodied but fresh this wine displays an excellent fruit driven palate.

Things are picking up

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The weekend rain seems to be a thing of the past today, the sun is shining the bands are on the the stage and the boats racing in the Volvo Ocean Race are due to arrive in the next 24 hours some say late tonight, others early tomorrow, whatever the case the festival season has well and truely kicked off here in Galway, and for the next 4 weeks we have one festival after another. The Ocean race is special to us here at The Grapefruit as it was our second ever post way back in May 2009. Some things have changed in the meantime many a wine has been drunk but we still stock the Winery of Good Hope wines and they’re as good as ever. Here are somethings you may need to know about Galway:

“Galway, Ireland’s third largest city, is celebrated in song and story throughout the world and takes centre stage on Ireland’s western seaboard. With spectacularly beautiful scenery, it offers a medley of contrasts – the wildest and remotest of countryside teamed with one of Europe’s most vibrant and popular cities.Dubbed ‘The Cultural Capital of Ireland’, the city is famed for its vibrant music, arts and events scene.

For an evening’s entertainment there are a myriad of options on offer. The oldest part of the city, known as the ‘Latin Quarter’, is hive of old, cobbled streets that house some of the best pubs and restaurants in Galway. As you walk through the tight and crowded streets you meet jugglers and performers of all kinds, threading their way through the pavement tables of the bars and cafes.

If you’re looking for something edgier, head over the bridge to the ‘West End’, which offers a grittier ambience, characterised by its contemporary bohemian and eclectic music scene. All manner of musical taste is catered for in Galway, with a strong tradition music presence kept alive by street performers and in bars across the city.

Once voted the 8th ‘Sexiest City in the World’, Galway is an unmissable destination.”

Source: volvooceanrace.com