Get your Riesling on

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Riesling is always the next big thing, even though it never gets there. It is a poor unfortunate, maligned grape in Ireland. Always considered to sweet, people balk as soon as you pick up the tall Flask bottle. Riesling is the poster child for identity crisis. Normally considered sweet but in many cases bone dry.
I love Riesling! It is a delight to drink. It’s instantly inviting when open, with lovely ripe fruit aromas or ‘petrol’ notes if its more mature. In the mouth, usually an intense fruit explosion followed by zesty acidity or in the sweeter styles a lingering fruitiness.
Pure, fruity and unoaked, Riesling gives you only the pure flavours of the terroir and grape itself. Riesling’s fine structure and naturally high acidity give it a unique vibrancy, making it very crisp and refreshing.
In terms of food pairings it is really versatile. The nearly infinite diversity of sweetness levels, regional styles and individual vineyards means that there is a Riesling to fit any wine-drinking situation, with or without food. Two dry styles from opposite ends of the globe are below.
7wvr19139_600x600O’Leary Walker ‘Watervale’ Riesling, Clare Valley, AustraliaPale straw in colour with a green tinge. Aromas of lime with hints of lemon and chalk.  A wine of great fruit purity. Intense varietal citrus, refreshing acidity and beautifully balanced.

Muller ‘Neubergen’ Riesling, Krems, Austria

Strong green yellow in the glass, juicy stone fruit aromas on the nose, compact and minerally on the palate, with crunchy granny smith flavours and a touch of spritz.

Quinta dos Pocos Branco

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Pocos BrancoQuinta dos Poços (of the Wells) is named after the many water springs that sprout up after heavy rainfall. Another reason given is because it is located in front of the point 130 or Point of Puddles described by Baron of Forrester on his map “O Douro Portuguez e Paiz Adjacente” in 1848.

Located in the World Heritage area of the Douro, Valley. It is one of the oldest estates in the region, the main house being a typical rural manor house from the 18th century. It was there that french troops of the General of Brigade Loison – the “Maneta” (one-handed) – stationed, by the time of the first Napoleonic invasion, in 1808.The Quinta belongs to the family of Prof. Doctor José Manuel da Costa Mesquita Guimarães, who can be seen on the label of the white wine with his wife.

The Pocos Branco (White) wine is a blend of Rabigato, Viosinho and Gouveio and is completely unoaked. this give it a very light yellow citrus colour. Aromas are very fresh and mineral with  citrus, tropical fruits and floral notes quite typical of the white wines of altitude of Douro. Fresh flavour fruity flavour in the mouth with a love lively zesty refreshing dry finish. This wine is excellent as an aperitif, with grilled fish, seafood, pasta and pizzas.

One from the diaspora: O’Leary Walker Cabernet Malbec.

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OLW CabMalWe’re getting really topical today, with the talk of giving the vast Irish diaspora a vote in the general election we decided to raid the shelves for an interesting Irish conection wine. Now many of you are familiar with our good friends David O’Leary (not the footballer) and Nick Walker, the two driving forces behind the eponymous O’Leary Walker Wines, but todays wine is a new one to their stable. It has more conections to Ireland beyond David’s surname as the wine is produced in the Clare valley named after the Banner county. Anyway on to the wine.

The two varieties are sourced from two sub regions within the Clare Valley. The Cabernet Sauvignon is organically certified from the ‘Doctor’s block’, located in the Polish Hill River Region, a superior cool climate vineyard which is dry grown and low yielding. The Malbec is from the O’Leary Walker Wines winery block situated in Watervale. The two varieties are fermented seperately then racked to oak barrels (25% new French oak; 75% two-three year old oak) for a total of two years.

Incredibly perfumed with red forest fruits, sweet cassis and intense florals. This powerful blend is textural and concentrated with generous flavours. The gorgeous florals follow on to the palate with juicy tannins and acid length. This elegant style of Cabernet Sauvignon is complemented by the dusty tannin structure of Malbec. Classic forest fruits and intensity of oak. Pair with fresh Easter lamb or some nice fillet steaks.

Castelão – Friday Night Delight

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The Tavares da Silva acquired the farm in the 1980’s but it’s origins goes back to the 16th century. When they arrived there was around 110 acres of nearly abandoned vineyards on the farm, the family immediately embarked on an investment program to replant and re-graft the vines with the thriving varietals of the area, both indigenous and international. By 2000 the new plantings had reached maturity, Sandra Tavares, the youngest daughter, assumed duties as winemaker. Sandra is a passionate and skilled winemaker who produces great wines from the family’s vines. Sandra uses both traditional and modern techniques to produce her wines. Some of the wines are vinified in traditional Lagares. Her philosophy choc_castelaoshines through in her wines which combine traditional minerality and elegance, but are also modern fresh and fruit forward.

One of Sandra’s wines that show this combination is the Quinta de Chocapalaha Castelão. Castelão, one of Portugal’s most famed and widely planted varieties, is known for its beautiful, fruit character. Sandra’s interpretation of this varietal is a stunning example. Fermented in stainless steel and aged in French oak for 12 months, this Castelão retains its fresh fruit essence long after its 6 month of refinement in bottle. The 2014 wine pours a bright purple colour with an inviting nose of fresh raspberries, ripe cherries and subtle nuances of cocoa. The silky tannins and supple body attribute great balance and elegance to the palate. Perfect for casual Friday night with pizza or charcuterie.€17.95

A wine for Tuesday

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Barrels resting at Il Poggione (image http://www.tenutailpoggione.it)

il_poggione_rosso_leopoldo_franceschiSo next Tuesday I am instructed that I must cook a delightful meal (no pressure) and pair with a quote “memorable wine”. Now the meal has yet to be finalised, if I’m lazy Steak, if I’m feeling adventurous maybe something more complex. Who knows but I have the wine picked, Il Poggione’s ‘Leopoldo Franceschi’ Rosso di Montalcino 2012.

The wine is made in limited amounts, from barrels selceted in the cellar by Leopoldo Franceschi, 5th generation owner of Tenuta Il Poggione. It then ages in large barrels and barriques for 12 months, before bottling and more aging.

When poured it is a deep ruby-red colour.  Lots of red and dark berries aromas with some  understated wood and sweet spices. It is rich and complex on the palate. Very elegant at the same time, with velvety tannins and a very persistent finish. Dark cherry, plum, spice and licorice add nuance to the textured palate. The perfect wine for next Tuesday!

Spanish Wine Week Tasting

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As part of #SpanishWineWeek we will be running a drop in tasting of Spanish wines Friday 15th March. We will have everything from Albarino to Tempranillo and loads more in-between. We will have a selection of wines from all over Spain including Bierzo, Rioja, Rueda, Ribera, Jumilla and Terra Alta open for sampling on the night. Admission is free and the tasting takes place in our shop from 17.00 -20.00 Friday 15th April.

Wind beneath my wings

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wingspanOne of the holy grails of the wine trade – Pinot Noir at the right price that actually tastes like Pinot Noir…amazing! Add the fact that it’s from New Zealand and it becomes all the more amazing!! An old friend of ours, Wingspan are based in Nelson, west of Marlborough, farming their vineyards sustainably in this, the warmest region of NZ.

The nose is full of soft red fruits with spicy tones, the palate is a real surprise for a wine at this level: dark berry fruits with real grip, structure and acidity. Hedgerow fruits lie alongside spicy raspberry and classic Pinot tang with a clean, proper finish. Pair with some tasty spicy Chinese duck dishes, or spiced crusted beef brisket.

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