Aged White Wine

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watervale202008During the recent stock take we discovered a few bottles of the excellent 2008 O’Leary Walker Watervale Riesling a white wine showing excellent freshness at nearly 9 years of age. We have a limited amount for sale drop me an email tadhg@woodberrys.ie if you would like to order one.

Grown at Neil and Heather Grace’s vineyard at Watervale The Grace vineyard has rich soils of red loam over limestone on a westerly aspect. Grace’s “dry-grown” vineyard is hand-pruned and hand-picked and relies only on the natural rainfall. The limestone is able to retain moisture and assist the vine throughout periods of warm weather, almost drought-proofing in the summer months. Viticultural practices include vertical shoot positioning which not only encourages even ripening but provides important shade to prevent the impact of sunburn on the resultant wine. Fruit was harvested in the cool of the night. The fruit was de-stemmed and crushed then gently pressed, resulting in a fine free-run cut and a pressings component. These were handled separately. The free-run juice was chilled to preserve the vineyard expression and purity of fruit. Once the juice has settled, it was racked off solids and seeded with yeast. A cool, temperature controlled fermentation was carried out over 10-14 days. The wine was chilled to 5°C and filtered prior to bottling.

 

Lifted nose, with floral tropical fruit and lime top notes over a semi kerosene backdrop. Displays flavours of lime over lemon followed by orange and mandarin on the back palate. Crisp acid backbone. Orange and mandarin aftertaste with lime persisting on the finish. This wine is still superbly fresh with a kiss of aged notes on the nose. It pairs with fresh shellfish and a a spicy Thai green curry.

Notes From Wine School Week 2 Australia

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Australia spent millions of dollars to build a brand around Shiraz –Australia’s word for Syrah. However, despite the success, Australian wines have suffered in the people’s minds, often disregarded as “Critter Wines” –referring to the cute animal designs that adorn wine labels. It’s time to dig deeper than the bottom shelf at the supermarket and find out what Australia wine regions are all about. There’s more to Australian wine than Yellow Tail and Little Penguin.

What is Australia Known For?

As you might guess, Australia’s main vineyard produce is Shiraz followed by Chardonnay. The two varieties make up 44% of the total wine production. What the production totals don’t say is that Australia is trying to diversify with plantings of Tempranillo, Sangiovese and others on the rise.

Top Australia Wine Regions

South Australia

Adelaide is the hub of the largest wine growing region in Australia. A few miles from Adelaide is Barossa Valley, South Australia’s most prestigious growing area. The region is unique because of its isolation from the rest of the world. Phylloxera hasn’t yet infected vineyard soils in Barossa, which means its home to some of the oldest living vineyards in the world.

What to seek out from South Australia

Old Vine Shiraz is definitely top notch, it’s both smoky and rich with spice. Keep your eyes peeled for red blends called GSM: Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre –The major blending grapes used in French Southern Rhone wines. Barossa Valley is flanked by 2 famous regions for white wine. Clare Valley produces some of the richest Riesling in Australia and some excellent Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. The Eden Valley is known for its very minerally and dry Rieslings. Not forgetting Adelaide Hills home to some of Australia’s best Sauvignon Blanc, and also very impressive Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

New South Wales

The major production in New South Wales comes from the inland Big Rivers Zone. This area has historically produced much of the commercial Chardonnay and Shiraz from Australia. However, New South Wales is also home to the up and coming cool climate areas such as Orange and Mudgee producing great crisp whites and elegant smooth reds, as well as the Famous Hunter Valley with its stunning Semillon & Shiraz.

Victoria

Commercial winemaking in North West Victoria makes up the majority of wine production in the entire region. However, the growing areas of interest are cooler and closer to Melbourne such as Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley, both producing great Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Western Australia

Some of Australia’s top producers can be found south of Perth in Western Australia in a region called Margaret River. Where they produce elegant reds based on Cabernet and voluptuous white based on Chardonnay and Semillon.

Notes From Wine School Week 1 France

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For Many centuries the big name wines of the world were from the classic wine regions of France, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone Valley. While many have discovered the treats of Spain, Italy and Australia among others, the French have rallied and are now producing better wines particularly in the south of the Country. France is habitually among the world’s leading producers of wine in terms of volume produced! Meaning not all French wine is good in fact quite a lot of it is mediocre or just plain bad!

France’s main wine regions are Bordeaux in the South West, Burgundy in the centre near Lyon, the Rhone Valley to the South of there and the Loire Valley which follows the course of the river from Nantes in the west inland.

Bordeaux is perhaps the most famous region and it has given us the Grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec in reds and Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc in white. Many wines produced here tend to be called Chateau XXXX. This region, it may surprise you produces more wine than all of the continent of Australia. While dry tannic reds dominate here, there are many crisp dry whites along with some of the most famous Dessert wines, Sauternes. Many of the wines of Bordeaux are name after the small village where they come from e.g. Margaux, Pauillac and St. Émilion.

Next to Bordeaux in fame is Burgundy which boast the queen of white grapes Chardonnay as its primary grape and the fickle Pinot Noir as its red counterpart. As in Bordeaux the wines are named for the villages from which they hail. The super lean and minerally Chablis being a fine example of the French idea of Terroir – a sense of place- grown on chalky limestone soil this chardonnay tastes like no other. Almost all the wine produced in Burgundy is made from either the light and ethereal Pinot Noir or the terroir reflective Chardonnay. The most famous villages are located in the Cote d’Or while further south the Maconnais and Cote Chalonnaise produce more fruit driven styles.

Most producers here tend to label their wines after their family name with prefixes such as Domaine being commonly used. In the Southern part of Burgundy the area of Beaujolais is located, the wines made here are from the Gamay Grape variety and can be found labelled as Beaujolais, or again after their individual villages such as Fleurie, Brouilly and Morgan among others.

To the south again of Burgundy is the Rhone Valley an area that stretches along the river Rhone south from Lyon to Avignon. The northern half of the Valley is famous for its Syrah based wines, in fact most of the famous appellations here allow only Syrah and maybe in rare case some Viognier. Famous appellations here include Cote Rotie, Hermitage, Cornas, and St. Joseph in the reds and Condrieu in the white.

While most Cotes Du Rhone wines come from the Southern Rhone, the area also has some notable appellations such as Vacqueryas, Lirac, Rasteau and the ever popular Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Most of the southern Rhone reds are based on a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, the wines of Chateauneuf can include up to 13 grape varieties including 5 white grapes such as Rousanne.

The Loire Valley is the final of the big four wine producing areas and itself is divided into 4 distinct districts, the river mouth around Nantes where the Muscadet rules, the neighbouring areas of Anjou famous for its rosés, and Touraine which produces reds from the Cabernet Franc variety under the village names Chinon and Bourgueil as well as others along with delightful whites based on Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. One of the more famous Chenin Blanc appellations is Vouvray which can be off dry. Finally the upper Loire is home to the most famous appellations of Sancerre, Pouilly Fumé, (not to be confused with Pouilly Fuisse from the Macon), and Menetou Salon. While all these areas can produce rosé and even reds it’s their Sauvignon Blanc wines that people really enjoy.

 Other wine producing regions in France include Champagne which uses 2 red grapes Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier along with Chardonnay to produce the world’s most famous sparkling wines. Alsace on the German border and very influenced by its location as it mainly produces the German variety Riesling in various styles and Gewürztraminer along with some excellent Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio). Provence which is most famous for its rosé wines and the huge Languedoc and Roussillon which is most famous for vast litres of plonk but thanks to New World flying wine makers has been turning out some superb wines based on Syrah, Grenache and even Cabernet.

A note on Classification

There are 4 main classifications, the largest is AOC/AC which says where the wine come from and that it is made from the approved grapes e.g. Sancerre, Lirac, and Pomerol. The next is VIN délimité de qualité Supériuere VDQS which has similar restriction but is not as classified as AOC. Next is Vins de Pays VdP, which usually states where it is from e.g. Vins de Pays d’Oc and sometimes also the grape variety. Finally then you have Vins de Table which can be made of just about anything!

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Touring Touraine

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Touraine has long been on of our personal favourite areas for crisp minerally whites.  An AOC since Christmas eve 1939, this area is known for Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc in whites and Cabernet Franc, Cot (Malbec), Pinot Noir and Gamay in the reds. We personally find the reds a bit green with off vegetal notes, not really pleasant to be honest ( Exceptions being Chinon and Bourgueil which produce some lovely elegant medium bodied reds based on Cabernet Franc).

Great Chenin blanc comes from Vouvray and delightful Rosés from Anjou but it’s a good Touraine Sauvignon Blanc that does it for us! As good if not better than a cheaper end Sancerre, in our opinion. Touraine is one of the Larger AOCs in the Loire with many of the aforementioned sub-regions falling with in its boundary, so searching out those gems can be though but we think the Sinson Touraine Sauvignon is one of those wines. It may not have the fruit flavours of Marlborough Sauvignon but it has a delightful edgy mineral streak that is crisp and refreshing with nice notes of citrus and white flowers on the nose. The palate is wonderfully thirst quenching with a delightful dry finish.

September and that means School Time

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We’re hoping to kick off our first proper wine school this September, what we’ve come up with is a six week course running from mid to late September and finishing up the last week of October. We’ve got limited space in our cellar tasting room so places are limited to 10 people and the course will run every Thursday evening from 8pm-9.30pm.  This Wine Appreciation Course will give a comprehensive overview of the wines of the world. The various styles, grapes and regions of the major wine producing nations will be covered ( A few have been left aside this time due to timing sorry Argentina, Austria, Chile, Germany and South Africa).

Each evening we will sample a selection of wines, notes will be provide. (Should you wish detail information that can be provide also).

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, Mudgee Shiraz among others.

  • Introduction To New Zealand Wines

Much like Australia a country that boomed for one style of wine and is now looking to attract people with its regional distinct styles of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Riesling.

  • 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 Portuguese Wines

A Fairly new entrant to the Irish market Portugal is fast become a customer favourite with its fruit driven stylish reds and crisp refreshing whites.

  • 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 an d only cover one region. Areas covered will be Barolo, 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. Dates and cost TBC for any further info please email tadhg@woodberrys.ie

Reasons to Riesling Tasting

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Find out your reason for Riesling @ our tasting this Wednesday between 5-7!!

Curiosity is its own Riesling for being.
– Albert Einstein

The heart has its Rieslings of which Riesling knows nothing.
– Pascal

A person usually has two Rieslings for doing something: a good Riesling and the real Riesling.
– Thomas Carlyle

The more Riesling, the less government.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Strong Riesling makes strong action.
– William Shakespeare

Simple pop in this Wednesday and discover your Riesling, Wednesday @5pm.

School is in this June

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Get Schooled this June

The idea is very simple we are organising a series of tutored tastings this June starting rather favourably on Friday June 13th and every week Friday for the the following 3 weeks we will introduce a new wine producing country.

Places are limited to 10 persons each night, with light some cheese, nibbles and very importantly Water provided. The classes will take place in our newly refurbished cellar, from 7.30– 9.00 pm. Each week we will make a whistle-stop trip through that evenings chosen country.

The cost of Entry is €40 per night with discounts applicable if you are booking for more than one evening. Please email Tadhg for details (tadhg@woodberrys.ie).

Our June School tour includes the following destinations.

 Italy Tip to Toe

Friday June 13th @ 7.30pm

Discover the wonderful wines of Italy from Amarone to Primitivo. We will traverse Italy tasting some of the country’s finest wines including Barolo, Montalcino, Lugana and Gavi di Gavi. Italy is one of the great wine producing countries in the world and almost unrivalled in terms of sheer variety of wines and styles.

The New Old World 1: Portugal

Friday June 20th @ 7.30pm

There is a quiet revolution happening in Portuguese wine. Traditional viewed as the premier produce of fortified wines in the world the Portuguese have launched the wonderful reds and whites on an un-suspecting world. We will have a selection of wines for tasting from the Douro Valley the world’s oldest defined wine producing region to exciting wines from Lisbon and the south.

The New Old World 2: Austria

Friday June 27th @ 7.30pm

If Portugal is launching itself on an unsuspecting world then Austria is truly one of Europe and wines best kept secrets. With wonderful crisp whites and juicy fruit driven reds this is the place to try. If you are questing for those delightful wines around 12.5% then Austria should be where you look. Come along and sample their excellent Gruner Veltliners, crisp dry Rieslings and juicy Zweigelts.

Australia: more a wine Continent than wine Country!

Friday July 4th @ 7.30pm

We make no apologies for it we love Australia this large country can produce any style of wine found in Europe, because it is a big as Europe! However most people tend to ignore the varying styles produce all over this wonderful country because of a few limited experiences with the mass produced plonk that Australia also produces. We would like to introduce you to some regional diverse and truly interesting Artisan producers. Compare Barossa Shiraz to Clare Shiraz, Orange Pinot Noir to Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir.

Tickets for each evenings tasting school are €40 places limited to 10 person an evening.

Give Dad what he wants this Sunday

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We have a selection of Fine Wines on Offer this Friday & Saturday for Dad. So forget the novelty mug with ‘World’s best Dad’ that says you forgot it was Father’s Day, or the socks and ties which he most definitely has an abundance of and get him a great bottles of wine. We have put together the below selection and are offering 20% off this Weekend.

Logan ‘Ridge Of Tears’ Shiraz 2010, Mudgee, NSW, Australia          €32.95         €26.36

The darker of the two single vineyard Ridge of Tears wines. The alcohols may be identical yet the nose is sweeter too, sweeter fruited and almost more conventional in its dark berry form. It tastes less ready too, more hulking, a wine that seems to have been squeezed into the bottle, and will need some cellaring before it is at its peak. The tannins are broader, the alcohol more prominent, the flavours bigger and easier to get your head around, more berried and sweeter through the middle.

Logan ‘Ridge Of Tears’ Shiraz 2010, Orange, NSW, Australia          €32.95         €26.36

Sourced from a vineyard sitting at 870m (which is very high for Shiraz), both this and the Mudgee wine had similar handling in the winery, the fruit basket pressed and hand plunged. It has a spice and fragrance to it that marks this as a wine of prettiness whilst the Mudgee wine is one of brawn. This could well be a Syrah to the other wines Shiraz. Still, it is a close-run thing. Bright ruby-red in the glass, the nose here is built upon black pepper and redcurrant fruit, set lightly but not without concentration behind it. The oak is well integrated – that is, it’s not obvious in any way – and spice dominates everything. That spice runs through the palate too, a line of dark leafiness to the slightly less serious fruit flavours. Light and shade once again. Tannins are firm, proper firm and slightly bitter (yet not unripe) and the acid noticeably high. A very good modern Australian red in terms of style, yet also just a very good Orange Syrah. For some raised on a diet of sweet inky Shiraz this will seem almost wimpy in its leafy daintiness, yet I can’t help but be attracted by the Pinot-esque delicacy. Should be even better as it puts on more weight in the bottle too.

Yalumba ‘Habermann Vineyard’ Grenache 2005, Barossa, Australia  €39.95         €31.96

From the Habermann vineyard, located on the corner of Basedow Road and Thiele Road, Tanunda, this block of Grenache was planted in 1972, and is grown on heavy textured grey to brown clays. These soils are generally cracking clays and therefore tend to have visible ‘cracks’ in summer. They are characterised by high vigour as they have a high water holding capacity and high nutrient content. This wine has a medium depth of red in colour with an aroma of red berry fruits and floral aromatics, combined with chocolate, cherry ripe, pepper and spices. The palate is fuller and denser with sweet fruit-confection middle – a complex, textured wine with chalky tannins to finish.

Bafarela Grande Reserve 2009, Douro, Portugal                             €24.95         €19.96

The Bafarela Grande Reserva is produced by Casa Brites Aguiar only in exceptional vintages. The 2009 was aged for 12 months in 500 litre French oak casks after fermentation. Intense, deep dark ruby colour. The nose offers distinct and complex floral aromas. In the mouth, it is precise and well-rounded with seductive obvious fruit flavours compliment by floral and mocha notes. Extremely well structured with dense yet fine tannins. The wine stands out more for its freshness rather than its concentration, and its long seductive finish.  The wine is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo).Bafarela Grande Reserva is a wine that encapsulates the elegance of one of the specialities of Casa Brites Aguiar at its best, only 15,100 bottles were produced.

Muller ‘Lagenreserve’ Gruner Veltliner 2011, Krems, Austria                   €26.95         €21.56

The 2011 Lagenreserve is a blend of the best Gruner Veltliner grapes from the Eichbuhel and Gottschelle vineyards. Aged in oak barriques for nearly a year giving this Gruner Veltliner a very white Burgundy quality. Light green-yellow in the glass, yellow apples in the nose, the palate reveals elegance and flavour of fresh spices; quite substantial, a convincingly long finish with superb fruit flavours.

Monte Zovo Amarone della Valpolicella 2010, Veneto, Italy             €32.95         €26.36

The 2010 Amarone della Valpolicella boasts incredible richness and depth. Blackberry jam, graphite, smoke, licorice, tar and plums are beautifully integrated in this dark, seamless Amarone. Despite its considerable weight and density, the 2010 is accessible. Hints of truffle, tobacco and new leather wrap around the finish. A wine to enjoy rather than cellar.

Barale Barolo 2008, Piedmont, Italy                                              €32.95         €26.36

Sergio Barale delivers delicate and elegant wines with refined and complex aromas. Garnet-red in colour with ruby reflections. Intense perfume with clean scent of roses, vanilla, licorice, spices and toasted oak. Gentle notes of absinth and tobacco. The flavour is full and elegant, good-bodied and austere with recurring olfactory sensations. The spicy note and the hints of wood blend perfectly.

Domaine Giuliani Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2009, Rhone, France         €29.95         €23.96

The delicious 2009 Châteauneuf du Pape is made from 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre – from vines averaging over fifty years of age and situated on their finest property. It is a deep ruby red and aromas of ripe raspberries, cherries, cassis, smoke, garrigue and spice positively leap from the glass. In the mouth it is certainly not a timid wine. The red and black fruit persist joined by raisins, liquorice and just a hint of pepper. It is full, round, supple, and elegant and long – everything a fine, young Châteauneuf du Pape should be.

Closerie Des Alisiers Vaucoupin 1er Cru Chablis 2010, Burgundy, France    €28.95         €23.16

Premier Cru Chablis from the famed Vaucoupin vineyard. This wine is from the outstanding 2010 vintage and displays floral notes on the nose, with fruit driven hints enhanced by intense mineral notes and lightly smoky touches. A note of honeyed citrus fruit has developed with bottle age. Very rounded on the palate, but also full-bodied yet elegant. This is a delightfully classic premier cru Chablis.

Gaudium Reserva Rioja Gran Vino 2004, Rioja, Spain                      €54.95         €43.96

Dark ruby red colour. Intense, fruity bouquet brings to mind aromas of red currants, raspberries and wild strawberries. On the nose it is lively, complex and aromatic, where subtle notes of pleasant fruit mingle with a delicate touch of oak. Fleshy and delicious in the mouth, its powerful structure and soft tannins reveal a pleasant fullness. A well-balanced wine showing splendid class, which is already drinking very well, while promising to age superbly.

Around The World Trip Week 1 New South Wales

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ImageWho hasn’t had a bottle of Australian wine? Any decent wine section I a super market or spar has Aussie wines in Stock! But thankfully we’ve noticed a movement away from the dull boring mainstream brands that have been mass producing boring yet drinkable wines (not just in Australia mind you!!). Armed with our new grown up palates we have been searching for different not necessarily exotic wines. This has led to a regionalisation movement in Australia; this is nothing new in wine and certainly not new in Australia. However before this the focus was on brand Australia now it’s on regions like Barossa, Clare and Margaret River.

If you though Australia was all Shiraz and Chardonnay then your better think again there are about 75 grapes varieties grown there and roughly split 50% 50%. Over the next month I will introduce the some of our favourite regions and wines from Oz.

First up the state of New South Wales, where many Irish land. Hunter Valley (near Sydney) is NSW’s most famous wine region, the first commercial chardonnay was produced here in the 70s, but now it plays second fiddle to the outstanding Hunter Semillon. Just to the south from Hunter up in the Central ranges is Mudgee (meaning Nest in the Hills in Aboriginal) which produces great Shiraz and Bordeaux reds. Other regions include Cowra, Hilltops, and bubbly-savvy Tumbarumba, but it is High Altitude Orange that is on everybody’s lips.

Orange was once a well-kept secret in the wine industry, with only a handful of people aware of the regions potential. Even though there are still only a dozen or so wineries, it is NSW and arguably Australia’s most exciting region. Sloping hillsides at high altitude, 800m above sea level, and a cool continental climate make this a great spot to ripen perfect Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and even Pinot Noir. Find out more about Orange here and Logan our favourite winery there here. And check out some of Peter’s wines on offer this month here.

Wilde Irish Chocolate and Wine

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photo (7)Easter Sunday as part of the Galway Food Festival we held our now annual wine and Chocolate tasting. We paired a selection of chocolate bars and fudges from Wilde Irish Chocolates from down the road in Co. Clare.

1) Wilde Strawberry Sprinkle white chocolate with Mionetto Prosecco (€19.95)

2) Wilde 28% White Chocolate with Il Poggione Moscadello di Montalcino (€14.95)

3) Wilde Chilli Kiss 70% with Greenhough Pinot Noir (€19.95)

4) Wilde Triple Chocolate with O’Leary Walker Shiraz (€19.95)

5) Wilde Irish Porter Fudge with Bodegas Ego ‘Gorú’ (€14.95)

6) Wilde Rum & Raisin Fudge with Sevenhill ‘Fine Old Tawny (€24.95)

7 Wilde Dark Chocolate 70% with Monte Zovo Recioto Della Valpolicella (€28.95)

 

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