Common Myths About Wine

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Getting your facts right

Whether you are a complete novice or a well-educated wine enthusiast, you may have come across some common myths about wine. Some have a smidgen of truth to them and some are based on superstitious beliefs. Here are a few common beliefs about wine and whether they are fact or myth.

1)      Screw top wines denote lower quality, MYTH

Many traditionalists think that because a wine has a screw top cap instead of cork it might be inferior.  This probably came from the idea that, the very first winemakers to produce wine on a large scale came from old world countries like France, Italy, and Spain. In these countries where traditional methods are followed for hundreds of years and many family generations meant that the use of corks have been associated with ‘top quality’. However due to advancing technologies, using a screw cap provides more reliability as there is no chance for the wine to become ‘corked’. That is not to say that corked wines are lesser than screw cap. They both have their pros and cons. Screw cap – prevents oxidisation and keeps the flavours of the wine fresher and vibrant for longer; cork – allows wines to age and develop over a long period of time, but runs the risk of being spoiled by the cork itself.

2) A silver spoon will keep your bottle of fizz fresh, MYTH

credit http://www.winefolly.com

Placing a silver spoon in the top of a bottle of sparkling wine does not keep it fizzy. The idea behind this is that since the silver spoon is a good conductor, it will stay colder and as a result, would keep the fizz colder and help to retain carbonation. However, this is no more than superstitious belief as the spoon does not stop the process of depressurisation. The only way that can make your sparkling wine last longer is to use a champagne stopper which prevents the air escaping or a vacuum stopper which removes the air inside the bottle and keeps the bottle pressurised.

3)      “Organic wines” are healthier, MYTH

Much like organic foods, the nutritional values of organic wines are pretty much the same as ordinarily grown wines. The only difference is in the way the grapes are grown and cultivated. Organic wines are made from grapes without the use of synthetic chemicals or fertilisers and results in being more environmentally friendly. A similar belief is that organic wines do not give hangovers as they have less sulphites. All wines contain trace amounts of sulphites (a little more may be added) and they are what keep them from spoiling and allow wines to be aged for long periods of time. In fact there are even everyday product that contain sulphites such as dried fruits, potatoes, maraschino cherries, yet very few people suffer headaches from these products. If you keep getting hangovers and headaches from drinking wine, keep an eye on the alcohol level. A higher ABV level will have much more impact on how you feel than whether a wine has sulphites.

These are only a few misconceptions surrounding wine and there are no doubt many more. Make sure you have done your research to better understand wine and to help to pick a wine that you would not have otherwise chosen due to superstitious belief.

The Sustainably Grown Award Winning Vegan Friendly Wine from New Zealand

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One of the most recognised grape varieties anywhere in the world is the Sauvignon Blanc. The most famous ones are from France (Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume) and New Zealand (Marlborough). The ones from France are generally more mineral-driven in flavour than non-French ones. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has very aromatic “green” flavours such as gooseberry, nettles, cut grass, and lots of citrus.

The Sauvignon Blanc grape benefits most from regions where it is cool and not too warm. This is because the grapes best features are the pungent aromas and zesty characteristics which can be lost if they get too ripe. As a result, the most optimal growing conditions come from Marlborough in New Zealand where the warm days are offset by the cooling ocean breezes. The Black Cottage is located in the Wairau Valley of Marlborough, and is the home of winemaker David Clouston as well as the base of operations for their award winning wines.

Their 2019 vintage Sauvignon Blanc is one such example, winning many accolades in New Zealand. Their vineyards are sustainably grown, family-run, and even vegan friendly! Their focus on a sustainable approach has increased biodiversity and improved soil health. Even the bottles are made light weight to reduce carbon emissions! Its flavour profile is a very classic New Zealand style Sauvignon Blanc with very pungent aromas of cut grass, peach, and gooseberry. The palate is full of green apple acidity leading to a refreshingly dry finish. It is no surprise that this wine has earned the “Champion Sauvignon Blanc Trophy” in the NZ Aromatic Wine Competition 2019.

A Bold Red Wine to Complement Barbecued Steak

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The Garnacha grape produces reds with lower tannins and a fruit forward palate making it an amazingly easy to drink wine. Its typical flavour profile include stewed strawberries, plums, and leather.

Originally native to Spain and often blended to add roundness to the more tannic and fuller bodied Tempranillo. It is also immensely popular in the Southern Rhone Valley of France where it is known as Grenache. Here it is also used as part of a blend due to its ability to add more fruitiness without tannin structure.

On the eastern coast of Spain lies the region of Valencia and just a little further inland lies Bodegas Vegamar producing their exceptionally fine and affordable Garnacha. They are grown using organic fertiliser and without the use of chemicals in their vineyards. The climate here is warm and sunny and also benefits from the soft and cool winds that the Mediterranean Sea brings.

Vegamar Huella de Garnacha 2018

TheVegamar “Huella de Garnacha” 2018 is made from 100% Garnacha and has lots of redcurrant with slight oak and black pepper aromas. Full bodied with low tannins and a touch of acidity on the palate leads to a nice dry finish. Be sure to let it breathe for at least thirty minutes and it will become a super smooth red! Recommendations for pairing with food include grilled or roasted red meats such as beef or lamb and grilled pork sausages. So if you are firing up the barbecue this summer and fancy an easy going red, give this a try.

Fragrant? Yes. Sweet? Yes. Creamy? Yes.

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A Classic Moscato from Italy

What do you look for in a white wine at your local independent retailer? Does the wine need to have lots of fragrant aromas working together in harmony? Does it include a sweet creamy texture with a strong depth of tropical flavours? If you find yourself answering yes to all the questions above then look no further! The La Vita Moscato D’Asti 2017 by Cossetti has all the characteristics and more to satisfy your thirst for sweet white wine!

The small town of Asti is located in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy. It is widely known for making the classically light fizzy Moscato with typical notes of white peach, white flower, and bright citrus. La Vita Moscato D’Asti 2017 is no exception! Coming in at only 5% abv it is deliciously approachable with full of bold flavours. The aromas of peach and elderflower are big and fragrant. On the first sip, elderflower notes take over before a medium finish of lovely lychee with a small touch of that classic fizz in the background. This Moscato is full of light creaminess and sweetness and is perfect for sunny days or even for breakfast (it must five o’clock somewhere!). If you are looking to pair with food, any fruity desserts would be excellent. If you are planning to pack a picnic basket, make sure to take some apricot Wensleydale cheese with some crackers. I promise, you will not regret it!

Sunny Weather Calls for Tasty Rosé

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Rosé is that aesthetically attractive pink coloured wine which is the embodiment of Summer in a glass. Drunk mostly on days when it is warm and bright outside due its main flavours of red fruits, flowers, and citrus. For example, the Pungirosa 2018 by Rivera (Castel del Monte, Italy) has aromas of wild strawberry, grapefruit, and subtle floral notes. Medium-light bodied with a little acidity and a dry finish on the palate. A nice balanced wine to quench your thirst when it is sunny and 20°C.

Credit: http://www.winefolly.com

A common misconception about rosé wine is that it is made by blending red and white wine together. Whilst this is only true for very few sparkling wine regions like in Champagne, it is rarely made in this process for still rosé.

The most common way in producing rosé is through a maceration process. After the grapes are harvested and pressed, the grape skins are left to macerate in the juice usually between 2-24 hours. This allows the red pigment from the skins to leech out into the grape juice. A longer maceration time usually results in a darker colour in the final product. After macerating it is strain and then fermented without the skins. On the other hand, red wine is usually fermented with their skins, seeds and all then strained. This is one of the main differences in making rosé and red wine in addition to barrel and/or bottle ageing in reds amongst other things.

Wine is always more appreciated when the atmosphere is right, so let us hope it will be a sunny season this year so we can enjoy more barbecues, more picnics and most importantly, more Rosé!

An Exciting Wine from Germany!

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The Old World is often regarded as having the “best wines” due to their long standing history of traditional winemaking and perfect environmental conditions for grapes to grow. Whilst the most expensive and sought after wines can originate from Italy, Spain and more notably Bordeaux (France), there are also many other extremely good value wines from countries in the “New World” Due to climate change and advancing technologies, it is now more possible for vineyards to flourish in places once thought to having unfavourable growing conditions. And so, it would be foolish to adopt this mindset when there are lots of amazing wine being produced in countries like New Zealand, Austria, and the United States.

In Appenheim of Germany, Silvaner grapes are grown to produce The Gruner Silvaner 2018 vintage from Jurgen Hofmann’s portfolio. The vineyards are cultivated on soils of shell limestone which really highlight the minerality in the resulting wines. On each bottle of the Hofmann collection, there are individual pictures associated with it. The Gruner Silvaner features ‘four aces representing the playful exchange of aromas’.

The Gruner Silvaner 2018 has fragrant aromas of stone fruit and green apple. The green apple follows through bringing a refreshing acidity with lots of minerality on the palate with a dry medium finish. An exciting wine for those who are looking to be adventurous and want to experience that stoney minerality and refreshing acidity in a white! Especially more so if one has not tried a wine from Germany or from the Silvaner grape variety!

Learning Wine One Glass At a Time

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unnamedAs a novice to wine culture it can be very daunting to learn all the technicalities such as the geography, terminology and even the varieties of grapes is so huge. Nevertheless if you really open yourself up to the experience of tasting wine, the knowledge will follow, one glass at a time. I, myself have been a bartender for most of my career and know many things spirits and cocktails, however wine is so vast and complex I never gave it a chance to learn more until now.

This week I will be learning about Peique Tinto Mencia (2018) from the region of El Bierzo, Spain. Located about three hours northwest of Madrid, the terrain is mostly hilly and so the grapes are hand-harvested. The Mencia grapes are grown on vines between forty five and fifty five years of age on clay and sandy soil which surprisingly comes through in the tasting of the wine. Currently, it is run by Bodegas Peique with Jorge, Mar and Luis Peique looking after the whole operation.

The wine itself gives off a beautiful deep ruby colour. The aromas include hints of red fruit on the nose. Tasting notes include slight acidity at first which then evolves into a nice dry earthiness with subtle notes of blackberry in the background, before finishing with nice and easy tannins.  Medium bodied, overall a genuinely nice bottle of wine for those who enjoy dry and earthy notes in a red. A new drinker of wine, there is no need to over-complicate flavours. See what you can taste by comparing it to flavours you had before. If you have a bad memory like myself, jot down your tasting notes so you can compare it to futures wines.

Beat the January Blues with a little wine Education!

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Wine School 2

An informal and fun way to discover a whole world of wine!

€160 for 6 Weeks Limited to 8 Places

This course runs for 6 weeks, one evening per week, starting on Tuesday 2nd of October. The Wine Appreciation Course will give a comprehensive overview of the wines of the world. The various styles, vintages and the relationship of food and wine will all be covered. Each evening we will sample a selection of wines, notes will be provide. (Should you wish detail information that can be provide also) Each Class begins promptly at 7.30 pm and will run for one hour and half.

The next course, will begin at 7.30 on Tuesday January 28th, and will run every Tuesday until Tuesday 3rd of March.

Wine School Key Features:

  • Basic tasting techniques including putting words to wine
  • Tasting the major grape varieties
  • Discovering your favourite styles of wine

The Tasting Schedule

Introduction to French Wines

Introducing the various styles, grapes and wine philosophies of the leading wine producing country in the world. It starts from basics and it covers France’s principal wine regions and grapes.

Introduction To Australia & New Zealand

Australia is country that is emerging from a bit of an identity crisis, now looking to produce regionally distinct wines. We reckon Australia has never made better wines. New Zealand has nailed it’s flag to great Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. Come and sample Clare Riesling, Marlborough Sauvignon among others.

Introduction To Argentinean, Chilean and South African Wines

Much like Australia these countries that boomed for one style of wine and are now looking to attract people with their regionally distinct styles of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc,  Malbec, Carmenere, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Introduction to Spanish & Portuguese Wines

Spain the trendiest wine country at the minute. This course will acquaint you with Rioja, Rueda and Rias Baixas along with Tempranillo, Albarino and Garnacha. Portugal long in the Shadow of it’s bigger neighbour produces some stunning  Vinho Verde and Douro reds.

Introduction To Austria & Germany

Germany and Austria are fast become a customer favourites with their fruit driven stylish reds and crisp refreshing whites. This week is the one that surprises most!

Introduction to Italian Wines

This will introduce you to some of the major wine regions of Italy, a country that we could focus a whole six week course on and only cover one region. Areas covered will be Piedmont, Veneto and Tuscany.

Places can be booked by emailing tadhg@woodberrys.ie or alternatively by calling 091-533706

Back to school

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Wine School 2

An informal and fun way to discover a whole world of wine!

€160 for 6 Weeks Limited to 10 Places

This course runs for 6 weeks, one evening per week, starting on Tuesday 2nd of October. The Wine Appreciation Course will give a comprehensive overview of the wines of the world. The various styles, vintages and the relationship of food and wine will all be covered. Each evening we will sample a selection of wines, notes will be provide. (Should you wish detail information that can be provide also) Each Class begins promptly at 7.30 pm and will run for one hour and half.

The next course, will begin at 7.30 on Tuesday September 24th, and will run every Tuesday until Tuesday 29th of October.

Wine School Key Features:

  • Basic tasting techniques including putting words to wine
  • Choosing from a restaurant wine list
  • Tasting the major grape varieties
  • Discovering your favourite styles of wine

The Tasting Schedule

Introduction to French Wines

Introducing the various styles, grapes and wine philosophies of the leading wine producing country in the world. It starts from basics and it covers France’s principal wine regions and grapes.

Introduction To Australian Wines

A country that is emerging from a bit of an identity crisis, now looking to produce regionally distinct wines. We reckon Australia has never made better wines. Come and sample Clare Riesling, Orange Pinot and Mudgee Shiraz among others.

Introduction To Argentinean, Chilean & New Zealand Wines

Much like Australia these countries that boomed for one style of wine and are now looking to attract people with their regionally distinct styles of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc,  Malbec, Carmenere, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling.

Introduction To New Old World

Fairly new entrants to the Irish market Portugal and Austria are fast become a customer favourites with its fruit driven stylish reds and crisp refreshing whites. We will also take in a selection of German wines.

Introduction to Spanish Wines

Spain the trendiest wine country at the minute. This course will acquaint you with Rioja, Rueda and Rias Baixas along with Tempranillo, Albarino and Garnacha.

Introduction to Italian Wines

This will introduce you to some of the major wine regions of Italy, a country that we could focus a whole six week course on and only cover one region. Areas covered will be Piedmont, Valpolicella and Tuscany.

Places can be booked by emailing tadhg@woodberrys.ie or alternatively by calling 091-533706.

The course is sold as a complete 6 week course with full payment of €160 required to secure a place.

Sensational ‘Sanroc’

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sanroc_bolognani

Or biggest selling Gewürztraminer is the sensational Bolognani ‘Sanroc’.  The picture on the label is evocative of the “Bear of Vigolana”, which is a dark shape that appears on the snow-covered North Wall of the Vigolana mountain, which stands over the vineyard.

Sanròc: an exclusive vineyard on the South-Eastern hill of Trento, in San Rocco, on the edges of the Bindesi forest, bordering above, with the famous Aquiloni nature trail, which was specifically created to allow even partially-sighted persons to autonomously enjoy this natural oasis. The Sanròc is Bolognani’s premiere white, which is planted in rows (guyot) of only Gewürztraminer grapes, which they attentively grow caring for their environment. In mid-September the grapes are hand-picked and the best bunches selected to make into wine; the wine is then rested on its lees for eight to ten months, which highlights its character. It is bottled at the end of summer and after at least eight to ten months of ageing in bottle is released.

 

Intense and full of flavours such as rose water, lychee, orange blossom, melon and jasmine. While rich this wine is balanced by the fresh aromatic flavours. Ideal for fish-based platters, especially seafood, or simply on its own, to enjoy the flavour of a great white wine.

Normally €24.95 but currently on promotion with 20% at €19.96

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