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.

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.

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.

Pick up some Pinot

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Pinot Noir is sometimes regarded as the most highly prized wine in the world, but why? It’s not as rich or big as Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz; in fact it’s the opposite. Pinot Noir wines are pale in colour and their flavours are very subtle. The grape itself is difficult to grow and suffers from many  problems in the vineyard. Despite the difficulty in growing the grape, prices for a bottle of Pinot Noir are generally more than a similar quality red wine.  In terms of food combinations it is the ultimate on wine fits all; Pinot Noir is light enough for salmon but complex enough to hold up to some richer meat including duck.

Pinot Noir doesn’t grow very well in Australia due to the heat, it is a grape variety that loves cooler climates think of its home in Burgundy in France. It is however thriving in areas where its sister Chardonnay thrives, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra in Victoria, Orange in New South Wales, Adelaide Hills in South Australia and Tasmania . Expect sweeter fruit notes leaning towards blueberry and even blackberry but in a spicy-gamey tinge similar to New Zealand in the aroma.

1)      Weemala Pinot Noir 2011 Orange, New South Wales 17.95

This Pinot is made using fruit from Orange, providing a supple, fruit driven wine that is mouth-watering and addictive. Cool climate fruit imbues this Pinot with alluring perfumed aromas of cherry, cinnamon and dried herb. Classic varietal Pinot flavour and structure with cherries, red berries and a savoury complexity. Head straight to Chinatown and order a duck to pair with this delicious wine.

2)      O’Leary Walker Pinot Noir 2009 Adelaide Hills, South Australia 17.95

We love this funky and often forgotten wine, the boys at O’Leary Walker make so many damn good wines! Gamey, dark berry plum, with hints of sappy juicy pinot fruit explode out of the glass when [poured. Complex, supported with subtle oak influence. The palate oozes silky, long, balanced acid and fine-grained tannin. Once you try this you’ll be hooked.

3)      Dalrymple Pinot Noir 2011, Pipers River Tasmania 39.95

The wine has a vibrant ruby colour, with lifted sweet summer plums aroma, hints of cherry confiture, Chinese 5 spice and complexed with subtle savoury note. It has sweet summer fruits on the palate with nicely structured fresh acidity and silky tannins which in time delivers a savoury complexity typical of these sites. A style that is approachable now, decant one hour before serving. Although will reward with careful cellaring for the next 5-8 years.

Ramblings on Riesling

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Along with Chardonnay, Riesling is considered to be one of the finest white grapes in the world, producing a whole range of styles from bone dry to lusciously sweet. The best wines are incredibly long-lived, elegant and racy. They become increasingly complex with age. Riesling originated in Germany where, along with neighbouring Alsace, some of its greatest wines are still made. It is also hugely popular in Australia and Washington.

Interestingly, there is more Riesling planted in Australia than in France. Much of it was cultivated by Silesian settlers to South Australia. Subsequently, Riesling has become the go-to wine of the Clare and Eden Valleys with many old ungrafted vineyards. Names such as Pewsey Vale, Petaluma, Grosset and our very own O’Leary Walker resonate among those seeking a mineral edge to their dry white wine. These Rieslings retain acidity due to cool night-time temperatures, while exhibiting aromas of lime and citrus marmalade, with age. Riesling also performs admirably in other cool climate regions of Australia. These include the delicately fine Rieslings of Freycinet in Tasmania, and crisp tight styles of Orange.

1)      Weemala Riesling 2012 Orange, New South Wales €17.95

Peter Logan’s Weemala range goes from strength to strength. This Riesling is an exciting indicator of what the Orange region is capable of and if you’ve not boarded the Riesling train, you should definitely get a ticket, as this variety is going places. It shows lifted aromas of orange blossom and citrus while the palate rewards with a burst of apple and lime, a touch of sweetness culminating with zesty acidity. It’s a perfect candidate for fresh seafood or spicy Asian Cuisine.

2)      O’Leary Walker Polish Hill Riesling 2009 Clare Valley, South Australia €19.95

Slate subsoil and local terroir combine to produce a wine with more finesse less fullness at the front palate tighter in youth with varied scents from mineral to citrus pith steely palate texture with natural restraint and dry crispness and building along the tongue to reach its peak at the back. Will grow in the bottle with a lemon citrus intensity.

3)      Seven Hill St. Francis Xavier Riesling 2012 Clare Valley, South Australia €29.95

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 winery is owned by the Jesuits and the wine is named for St Francis Xavier, one of the first companions of the Jesuits’ founder, St Ignatius.)

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