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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.

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.

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A Remarkable Garden – Chateau Val Joanis

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Château Val Joanis is a winery located in the Vaucluse Department of France, in the region of Provence-Alps-Cotes d’Azur. The wines it produces are classified Cotes du Luberon and the gardens of the winery are listed by the Committee of Parks and Gardens of the French Ministry of Culture as one of the Remarkable Gardens of France. Producing wines since Roman times, today the estate is owned by the Roozen family, who are continually striving to produce delicious wine, whilst protecting their environment. A beautiful estate of 400 hectares, the 186 hectares of vineyard spread over the hills at altitudes ranging from 280m to 499m, the site of the famous plot ‘Les Griottes’. If you are in Provence do visit this beautiful estate, admire the wonderful gardens, and try its splendid wines!

 

5_1Our personal favorites are the Chateau Val Joanis ‘Tradition’ Rouge 2016, a well structured and balanced wine, supple and round with a deep purple colour. A slightly spiced wine with notes of blackcurrant and red berries. Offers a juicy core of dark licorice, plum and blackberry coulis flavours, maintaining good focus and tension through the finish. Syrah and Grenache. €19.95

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And the Stunning Chateau Val Joanis ‘Joséphine Rosé 2017 made with a selection of best juices, the cuvée Joséphine is aged on lees for some months. The result is a charming, fruity and elegant rosé. Perfumed notes of raspberry and red currant are juxtaposed by bramble and crushed stone on the nose of this elegant rosé. It’s irresistibly juicy—full of red berry and cherry flavors yet revitalizing and fresh, with a cooling salt- and mineral-laced finish. €23.95

 

You can check out our full range of wines from Chateau Val Joanis here

2017 Wine Harvest, a difficult year.

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Healthy chardonnay grapes, left, and sunburned ones. Photographer: Elin McCoy/Bloomberg

January is as good a time as ever to deliver bad news, and many European countries are taking time adding up the tallies of the previous year’s grape harvest and reporting yield’s down as much as 25%. Adverse climatic conditions in 2017, including heavy hailstorms and hard frosts in the spring as well as drought in the summer, caused considerable damage to vineyards all over Europe. The result, most of the wine-growing regions in Europe are had a very low harvest for 2017.

Italian wine body Assoenologi estimated that Italy would see one of its smallest wine harvests for 60 years in 2017, down by 25% on last year, that’s a reduction of roughly 5.5 billion bottles. Things are not much better in France where they have had the worst harvest since 1945, according to France AgriMer, an agency that works with both the industry and government. Wine production to fall by 18% on 2016 after spring frosts ravage vines, but hot summer could deliver top vintages – meaning price increases across the board for low yields but higher quality fruit.

The outlook in Europe’s other large producer is not much better with Spain’s output dropping down 20% from 2016, and in Germany the estimated vintage is down 12%. All in all 2017 proved to be a difficult year in Europe.

Despite wild fires in both California and Oregon the north American harvest is likely to be similar to last year. South Africa saw very small increases in yields, about 1.4%.  In South America, both sides of the Andes were affected to varying degrees by the shift from the wetter El Niño  weather system to the drier conditions associated with La Niña weather system. In Mendoza, Argentina yields were down about 30 percent compared to normal. And in Chile yields were down about 22% due to drought and forest fires. New Zealand also experienced a drop in yeilds by about 9%. Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand winegrowers, attributed the smaller harvest of 2017 to wet weather over the summer season. Australia was the only country to undergo modest yield increases at roughly 5% despite a tricky vintage.

The conclusion is that unfortunately the price of your favourite wines will probably increase this year a wineries increase excellar prices to try to cover lower quantities produced.

 

 

 

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Pinot Noir is a seriously romanticized wine in the world. It gets a cultish following among those who like to drink it. Just look at Paul Giamatti’s character in the film Sideways. One of the reason’s given for the obsession with Pinot is that it is a finicky and difficult grape to grow, but if you achieve this it really expresses the terroir where it is grown.And it is grown or attempts are made in at least most wine-producing countries.

Hailing originally from Burgundy, France, Pinot Noir, and almost all red Burgundy wines are made from 100% Pinot Noir, like all great French wines the village and even vineyard can appear on the label of Pinot Noir wines. For example we have a wine in the shop picture here. IMG_6621This is a wine produced by Stephane Brocard of Closerie des Alisiers, in 2014 from the vineyard of Les Champs Rémy in Gevrey-Chambertin. Confusing isn’t it, you feel like you need a decoder ring to figure it out. The wines from other countries can be a bit easier and straight forward like Antonutti’s Pinot Nero (nero being the Italian for Noir). IMG_6622

Both of these are great examples of Pinot and well worth a try. The Gevrey is a bit young but would be great with a big meal in about a year’s time.

Closerie des Alisiers Gevrey-Chambertin ‘Les Champs Rémy’ 2014 €46.95

A concentrated wine from 40-year-old vines, this is rich and dense. It has a balance between the juicy black fruits and firm tannins, the whole shot through with acidity. Drink this fine single vineyard wine from  late 2018.

Antonutti Pinot Nero 2015, Friuli, Italy €16.95

Ruby red with gently blurred edges. The scent opens with fruity notes such as Blackberry and raspberry and closes in a gently spicy sensations final. The taste is harmonious with a variety of sensations both spicy and fruity, all in harmony with each other; very good gustative persistence.

Some new reds from Domaine Chamfort

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Vasco Perdigao, born in Paris of Portuguese parents, bought this winery in Sablet in 2007 with his wife, Sonia, after having left his parents’ hotel business in Paris and having worked in Condrieu and Gigondas. Working in Organic viticulture, he makes three major Cotes du Rhone Villages wines and an exceptional red Vin de Pays. His first fully completed vintage – 2010 – earned him high points from Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson MW for his excellent Vacqueryas, some of which we still have.  Old vines, maniacal vineyard hygiene, obsessive ground toiling. Cool, sandy soil for Grenache in Sablet, large rolled quartz pebbles and limestone for Rasteau, heavy quartz for Vacqueryas contribute to stunning reds.

Rasteau is an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée for wine in the southern Rhône wine region of France, covering both fortified and unfortified wines. The sweet fortified wines (Vin Doux Naturel, VDN) can be red, rosé or white, and have long been produced under the Rasteau AOC. In 2010 dry red wines (unfortified) were also added to the appellation, effective from the 2009 vintage. Domaine Chamfort’s holding in Rasteau is at an altitude of 300m and overlooks the village itself. At this altitude it benefits from bright sunny days and cool nights along with the mix of pebbles and brown clay to produce a full fruit driven and velvety wine.

The 2012 is a blend of 70% Grenache Noir and 30% Syrah. Deep rich red colour with a bright fruit driven nose of mature red fruits and ripe plummy spice. The palate is silky smooth with intensity and intertwined fruit and mineral notes. Serve with grilled meats. This beautiful wine is normally €19.95 but is currently on sale at 25% OFF until Friday 23rd of January.

Located at the northern borders of the renowned vintage and Gigondas with south southwest exposure, Chamfort’s vineyards located in Sablet, on gravelly and sandy plains village produce a classy fruit driven Cotes du Rhone Red. The 2012 is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah although in some vintages they add some Cinsault. The nose is delicate, beautiful red fruit, with floral and spicy notes. On the palate, the tannins are smooth and a little tight. This Côtes du Rhône has a very nice volume, a lot of sweetness in the final a beautiful extension reveals notes of candied fruit, finesse.

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.

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