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.

Australia Day Suggestions

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While Australian wines are going from strength to strength i terms of quality and regional diversity, we have noticed that a great may people have given up on finding that new or exciting bottle from among the ranks of our Aussie selections. They all seem to believe its all about over oaked Chardonnay or big fruit bombs of Shiraz. Well hopefully this post will change your mind we’ve selected 3 of our favourite Aussie wines that move from the classic ingrained idea of what Aussie wine is.

Weemala Tempranillo1) Weemala Tempranillo 2012, Mudgee

Delightful aromas of sarsaparilla, tobacco, red berries and cherries. the palate is robust but not heavy with a gentle kiss of vanilla and red cherry fruit on the finish. An interesting take on the Spanish classic variety Tempranillo.

 

2) Logan Pinot Noir 2013, Orange Logan Pinot Noir

This red pours a beautifully brick red with deeper hues of crimson towards the centre. Soft, silky flavours of red berries and cinnamon spice over perfumed aromas of cherry, chinotto and dried herbs. Beats many a burgundy in terms of quality and drinkablity even at twice it’s price.

 

 3) O’Leary Walker ‘Polish Hill River’ Riesling 2013, Clare Valley

OLW Polish Hill Riesling

Produced using organically grown fruit from the picturesque Polish Hll River sub district of the Clare Valley. This is a delightfully seamless white wine with good backbone and aromas of honey blossom, lime and a mineral delicacy. the palate is very fine and long and drinks like a tight Sancerre.

David O’Leary Wine Tasting

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ThisDavid O'Leary Tasting 2015 Friday 22nd of May we are delighted to have David O’Leary

of O’Leary Walker Wines in the shop for a tasting.

David will be tasting some of the great wines that are in their range included some of their awesome Rieslings, Sauvignons and their classic Shiraz and the more gentle ‘Wyebo’ Shiraz which comes from a vineyard purchased by David’s grandfather in 1912. All are welcome to pop in between 5pm and 8pm for some tasters.

For any further information contact Tadhg on 091-533706 or at tadhg@woodberrys.ie.

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.

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.

Australian Chardonnay is getting Cooler

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Chardonnay is a really flexible variety,  growing almost everywhere it’s planted. And for years it was trendy, with its particular tendency to enjoy the kiss of oak, and become big buttery over ripe monsters. Then the tide turned and suddenly all Chardonnay was tarred as bad, (except Chablis and other white Burgundies, they always escapes by not mentioning grape variety on their labels). But as with all fashions Chardonnay is on the way back up, its getting Cool again, and in more ways than one.

In Australia, these days the oak is applied more evenly and more justly, more sensibly but the standout wines are coming from cooler climates such as Adelaide Hills, Eden Valley, Margaret River, Mornington, Orange and even Tasmania. It is making a comeback and making an argument for itself as the queen of Aussie whites.  ‘Burgundian-style’ Chardonnays full of verve and energy can be found from many producers.

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The Fab Five

1) Apple Tree Flat Chardonnay 2011 Central Ranges, New South Wales €13.99

This delightful Chardonnay is packed with aromas of pear and lemon with a nicely structured palate of white peach, cashew and fig before leading into a persistent finish. It’s perfect everyday drinking at an affordable price.

2) O’Leary Walker Chardonnay 2010 Adelaide Hills, South Australia €19.95

This wine displays delicate stone fruit characters of white peach and nectarine, with subtle grapefruit aromas. Fine yet powerful with great fruit weight, intensity of flavours, richness and oak texture. Clean with finely balanced acid. The most Burgundian of the wines listed here.

3)Logan Chardonnay 2011 Orange, New South Wales €19.95

With Peter Logan’s it’s all in the detail. It starts with the wine, premium fruit picked at high altitudes in Orange, meticulously handled by Pete. Putting the cool back into cool climate this Chardonnay is perfumed with orange, pear and a touch of spicy oak. The flavours of peach and grapefruit vie for attention complexed by minerals. Textured and long it would pair brilliantly with rich, seafood dishes.

4) Hill Smith Estate Chardonnay 2010 Eden Valley, South Australia €19.95

On the nose, smoky wild yeast complexity and subtle notes of struck flint intertwine with aromas of white nectarine, grilled cashews and citrus blossom. Full flavoured and textural on the palate, with creamy white nougat, citrus zest and ripe quince and melon flavours. The richness is held in check by a restrained grapefruit acidity and a savoury finish.

5) Dalrymple Chardonnay 2011 Pipers River, Tasmania €36.95

A delicate Chablis styled Chardonnay. Brilliant very pale straw colour with slight greenish tinge around the edges and watery hue. The nose displays aromas of melon and spiced lemon and lime peel richness. Light to medium weight the palate exhibits elegant lemon confit with a spicy freshness drives through a clean fresh palate complexed with chalked, crushed stone texture. Finishing with a clean crisp finish.

 

Return of the Shiraz

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If there is one red variety Australia does, it’s Shiraz, but to often all Aussie Shiraz is tar with the same brush – big alcoholic fruit bombs. Part  of the reason we love Shiraz comes down to its vibrant fruity notes dark and red berries and plummy notes, it is general voluptuous and smooth with the wines on the cheaper end offering much more sweet fruit notes.  But is simply note a one size fits all variety. The variety produces various different styles depending on the region it is grown in the most famous two being Barossa and McLaren Vale. But it also inspires in  wines from many other regions where the climates vary extraordinarily and hence the styles do as well – think cool climate like NSW’s Orange and SA’s Adelaide Hills.

Generally speaking here’s what to expect

  • Barossa is big and bold flavours and body.
  • McLaren Vale  tends to a bit lighter with earthy and mocha notes.
  • Clare Valley tends to berry flavours with hints of Mint and Eucalyptus and again a medium to full style.
  • Orange is a beacon for producing cool climate wines of finesse and elegance in an old world style. Rich plum, and dark berries with pepper notes.
  • Adelaide hills another cool climate district that produces refined Shiraz with red berry flavours and cracked pepper notes.

But these are so general to be easily ignored, as  the individual wine makers look to craft unique interpretation of their own.

Three to try

Shiraz

1) O’Leary Walker Shiraz 2010 €19.95

A blend of 70% Clare Valley Fruit with 30 % McLaren Vale. Showing blueberries and blackberries of Clare with a little under one-third McLaren Vale Shiraz to rev it up. Mocha, dark fruits and oak on a firm palate, fine tannin profile promises this wine will age gracefully.

2) Logan Shiraz 2009 €21.95

Hailing from the cool Orange region. The Logan 2009 Shiraz is a deep but bright red colour. The intensely perfumed aroma has mixed berries, white pepper, dried woody herbs and Chinese 5 spice characters. The medium bodied palate has flavours of red berries, plums and tarragon before a long spicy finish.

3) Yalumba ‘Galway Vintage’ Shiraz 2011 €17.95

This Shiraz shows all the hallmarks of a traditional Barossa Red. It has a bright colour with crimson hues. There are aromas of mulberries, ground spice and liquorice all sorts that speak of its varietal and regional origins. The palate is ripe and generous with flavours of mulberries, dark chocolate and hints of beetroot. It finishes with cocoa powder like tannins that give evenness and generosity to the wine.

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