Only the strongest survive, Tierra Fuerte

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We have stocked the wonderful Toro wines of winemaker Beatriz Paniagua, Eternum Viti and Los Colmillos, for nearly 5 and were intrigued when we discovered she had a new offering made from 100% Graciano. This is a grape we have not really seen by itself, normally it is blended with others. We had to try it and boy are we glad we did. Deep ruby-red with violet rim in colour. Mature red fruit and liquorice with an elegant mineral touch with spice and toastiness on the nose. The palate is fruity and balanced, with good structure, sweet but firm tannins and a spicy note on the finish. Making a spicy lamb Tagine then this would be the perfect partner. It is an immensely enjoyable wine, full of concentration and big, bold fruit. Tierra Fuerte (Strong Land) aptly describes this region south of
Madrid, Méntrida,  where the earth yields little and the climate is extreme. Only the brave survive!

Méntrida is a DO in the northeast corner of the province of Toledo (Castile-La Mancha, Spain).  Méntrida produces mainly red wines as the red grape variety Garnacha represents over 80% of the grapes planted. The is made up of Cencibel (local name for Tempranillo), Graciano and the usual international varieties Cab. Sauv. Shiraz etc. There is also a very small amount of white produced. Graciano is a native Spanish variety, planted in very small amounts all over Spain due to its low yields. It is used in small amounts in  Rioja to add deeper aromatics and compliment the ageing qualities of Tempranillo.  Wines of 100% Graciano tend to have spicy liquorice notes with good structure and body.

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The Jesuits, Francis and wine

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Historic Sevenhill Cellars is the oldest winery in South Australia’s Clare Valley. Sevenhill was established in 1851 when Jesuit priests who settled in the area planted vines to produce sacramental wine. The old stone winery and cellar door at Sevenhill is the only remaining Jesuit owned winery in Australia. The Jesuits and lay staff share a common ethos of building the Jesuit Mission to support works of charity and compassion throughout Australia.

While the spiritual tradition continues (as does the production of alter wine), today Sevenhill is recognized for premium wines and fortified wines. Signature Clare valley styles are made from Riesling and Shiraz. Sevenhill is committed to creating distinctive wines that reflect the local terroir. Integral to this philosophy are modern winemaking techniques and highly prized, estate grown fruit from some of the Valley’s oldest vines. The benefits of owning and managing the vineyards from which all wines are made cannot be underestimated.

st francisSevenhill wines are easily recognizable by a strong link to the Jesuit heritage. They offer a diversity of style and pricing that suits a broad spectrum of wine enthusiasts. We are currently stocking the Inigo Shiraz 2010, St. Ignatius and in honour of our new Pope, the St. Francis Xavier Riesling 2012. The 2012 St Francis Xavier Single-Vineyard Riesling is produced using fruit fromSevenhill’s Weikert Vineyard, one of Sevenhill’s seven Riesling vineyards. This small vineyard(0.82ha) was planted in 1978 and has been recognised for consistently producing fruit to meet the premium requirements of the St Aloysius Riesling, which is normally released after at least three years in the bottle. The 2012 St Francis Xavier is a wonderful expression of pristine Riesling, coming as it does from a vintage widely regarded as one of the best in the past decade in the Clare Valley. The St Francis Xavier Riesling exemplifies the variety’s great purity and elegance with its floral style and delicate citrus character. ( The wine is named for St Francis Xavier, one of the first companions of the Jesuits’ founder, St Ignatius. )

A Mason, a Baker’s Daughter and a beehive like hut

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Domaine Gris des Bauries was created in 2004 by a highly reputed mason named Patrick who was in love with both Gina – the daughter of a baker – and vines. The baker had given up his oven for a vineyard and when he retired, he passed it along to Patrick. Luckily, Patrick had learned from his father, a wine grower, how to truly respect vines. In fact, he always dreamed of growing vines himself and was convinced that winemaking was in his genes.

The vineyard is located in Taulignan, in the rolling hills east of the Rhône Valley, the northernmost area where Southern Rhônes are grown. The state spans 12 hectares. Vines are 20 years of age on average, and are always handled with meticulous and passionate care. The soil is carefully tilled, and grapes are selectively thinned in the spring to give the top of the crop all the attention and nutrients it deserves. Harvesting takes place as late in the season as is possible, considerably later than other producers in the area. By allowing excellent drainage, the mix of limestone and clay in the ground provides the wines with good concentration and a high minerality.

The two main varietals of Domaine des Gris des Bauries are typical of the area: grenache and syrah. Grenache grapes provide distinction and charm, with strawberry and cherry aromas; the nearby garrigues, planted with lavender and thyme, probably account for the light herbal scents also found in grenache casks. Syrah grapes bring color, structure and flavours reminiscent of violets and licorice as well as a peppery touch.

We have 3 delightful reds from this quaint producer:

Sous les Cyprès (Cotes du Rhone Villages)  a blend of grenache and syrah, is aged in oak barrels to develop a velvety intensity.

Serre de la Dame (Cotes du Rhone) is exclusively made of syrah grapes. A rather deep red wine, it combines fruitiness, mostly blackberries with leather scents and a touch of pepper.

Les Chaix (Cotes du Rhone) is made from old grenache grapes, which grow on a plateau that gently slopes southward. Our aim is to produce a delicate wine, one that reveals the subtleness of the noblest of southern varietals.

Lisbon and the wonderful Quinta Do Chocapalha

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Lisboa is a prolific wine region located at the center of Portugal’s Atlantic coast. Despite being one of the country’s most productive vinicultural areas, its name remains relatively obscure, as its wines have traditionally been labeled with the names of the local sub-regions rather than of  Lisboa itself.  To further complicate matters until recently Lisboa was known as Estremadura. Confused?

We were too! But here is our take on Lisboa wine.  Most wine here is now produced under the VR (Vinho Regional) Lisboa but the area also contains 9 DOC (Listed in the image above).  More than 30 grape varieties are used (Portugal rivals Italy in the diversity of its vine portfolio), the majority for white wine production. But in the past few decades the likes of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and its Bordeaux stablemate Merlot have increasingly been used, as have Portugal’s traditional (and some say superior in this climate) varieties Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz/Aragonez (Tempranillo).

We began importing some very interesting wines from this region last November, from a family run Estate call Quinta Do Chocapalha. Alice and her Husband Paulo bought their estate in the Lisboa Region in the 1980s and made significant investments in its 45ha of vineyard. The introduction of new cultivation methods has allowed the family to consolidate the quality and reputation of their wines. Their daughter Sandra is in charge of the winemaking and is famous in her own right for producing some of the Douro’s best wines (Wine&Soul Winery, which she runs with her winemaking husband Jorge Serôdio Borges and whose wines could be seen very soon on these shores). We started with five of their wines 3 reds and 2 wonderful whites.

  • Quinta De Chocapalha Arinto 2010
  • Quinta De Chocapalha Tinto 2008
  • Quinta De Chocapalha Sauvignon Blanc 2011
  • Quinta De Chocapalha Reserva 2008
  • CH BY Chocapalha Old Vine Touriga Nacional 2009

Easter Sunday’s Wine & Chocolate Tasting

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28% White Chocolate

  • BARALE MOSCATO D’ASTI 2011, ITALY €14.95

28% White Chocolate Strawberry Sprinkle

  • MIONETTO PROSECCO NV, ITALY €17.95

70% Dark Chocolate

  • YALUMBA ‘GALWAY VINTAGE’ SHIRAZ 2011, AUSTRALIA €16.95

80% Dark Chocolate with Cocoa Nibs

  • BAJANCAS DOURO RESERVA 2009, PORTUGAL €21.95

70% Dark Chocolate with Chilli

  • MULLER ZWEIGELT 2010, AUSTRIA €12.95

Triple Chocolate Fudge

  • MAS KAROLINA COTES DU ROUSSILLON VILLAGES 2008, FRANCE €21.95

Irish Porter Fudge

  • MONTE ZOVO RECIOTO DELLA VALPOLICELLA 2008, ITALY €24.95

ALL CHOCOLATES AVAILABLE IN WOODBERRYS AND PRODUCED BY

WILDE HANDMADE IRISH CHOCOLATES

IN Co. CLARE.

Italy Tip to Toe Tasting

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This was probably our biggest hit, out of all the tastings we did during the Galway Food Festival. For those who came to the second tasting the Chardonnay Tasted was the Rivera ‘Preludio n.1’ 2011 from Puglia which retails @ €14.95 instead of the Barale Chardonnay.

ITALY TIP TO TOE TASTING

PIEDMONT

  1. BARALE MOSCATO D’ASTI 2011 €17.95
  2. BARALE CHARDONNAY 2010 €14.95
  3. BARALE BARBERA D’ABLA 2010 €17.95

VERONA

  1. COLLEVENTO PROSECCO NV €17.95
  2. MONTE ZOVO LUGANA 2011 €17.95
  3. MONTE ZOVO RIPASSO 2009 €17.95

FRIULI

  1. ANTONUTTI FRIULANO 2011 €13.95
  2. ANTONUTTI SAUVIGNON BLANC 2011 €13.95

TUSCANY

  1. IL POGGIONE BIANCO DI TOSCANA 2011 €13.95
  2. IL POGGIONE ‘LO SBRANCATO 2011 €12.95
  3. IL POGGIONE ROSSO DI MONTALCINO 2010 €17.95

ABRUZZO

  1. FARNESE COLLINE TERMANE MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO 2007 €17.95

SICILY

  1. DONNAFUGATA SHERADZE 2011 €16.95

PUGLIA

  1. RIVERA ‘MARESE’ BOMBINO BIANCO 2012 €12.95
  2. RIVERA ‘SCARIAZZO’ FIANO 2010 €12.95
  3. RIVERA ‘RUPICOLA’ ROSSO CATEL DEL MONTE 2010 €12.95
  4. RIVERA ‘CAPPELLACCIO’ AGLIANICO 2005 €17.95

Australia The Next Chapter Blind Tasting

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Below is the the list of Wines tasted @ our Australia the Next Chapter as part of the Galway Food Festival.

WHITES ‘CONTEMPORARY TO CURIOUS’

  1. O’LEARY WALKER POLISH HILL RIESLING 2009, CLARE VALLEY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA  €19.95
  2. WEEMALA PINOT GRIS 2011, ORANGE, NEW SOUTH WALES €17.95
  3. LOGAN SAUVIGNON BLANC 2012, ORANGE, NEW SOUTH WALES €19.95
  4. Y SERIES VIOGNIER 2012, SOUTH AUSTRALIA €12.95

 

DIVERSITY OF CHARDONNAY – BLIND TASTING

  1. HILL SMITH ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2010, EDEN VALLEY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA €19.95
  2. O’LEARY WALKER CHARDONNAY 2010, ADELAIDE HILLS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA €19.95
  3. LOGAN CHARDONNAY 2010, ORANGE, NEW SOUTH WALES €19.95

 

DIVERSITY OF SHIRAZ – BLIND TASTING

  1. 1 YALUMBA ‘GALWAY VINTAGE’ SHIRAZ 2011, BAROSSA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA €16.95
  2. O’LEARY WALKER ‘WYEBO’ SHIRAZ 2008, ADELAIDE HILLS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA €23.95
  3. SEVENHILL ‘INIGO’ SHIRAZ 2010, CLARE VALLEY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA  €19.95
  4. LOGAN SHIRAZ 2009, ORANGE NEW SOUTH WALES €19.95

 

REDS ‘CONTEMPORARY TO CURIOUS’

  1. WEEMALA PINOT NOIR 2011 ORANGE, NEW SOUTH WALES €17.95
  2. WEEMALA MERLOT 2009 CENTRAL RANGES,  NEW SOUTH WALES €17.95
  3. YALUMBA THE STRAPPER 2010, BAROSSA VALLEY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, €29.95
  4. O’LEARY WALKER CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2006, CLARE VALLEY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA  €19.95
  5. RUNNING WITH BULLS TEMPRANILLO 2008 , BAROSSA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA €19.95
  6. O’LEARY WALKER ‘WYATT EARP’ FORTIFIED SHIRAZ 2010 CLARE VALLEY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA  €32.95