More than just Spa & Hotel – Cantina Altarocca

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wine-tour-experienceOrvieto is one of the beautiful locales in all of Italia, and Cantina Altarocca just may be the crown jewel of this historic hilltop. With one of Italia’s most beloved and picturesque hotels, Altarocca is an aesthete’s delight; set in a rich color palate of dark, asperous earth, deep-green vines, gentle sage, and blue sky, the villas are sprinkled about, connected by sunwarmed cobblestones.

First and foremost, however, Altarocca, or “high rock,” is a vineyard. Specializing in lush, international varietal wines, this estate delivers surprising–if not shocking–character from familiar grapes, with both authenticity and polish. Owner and winemaker Emiliano Sirchio, a young man with a zest for life, races motorcycles, bicycles (basically, anything on two wheels), and along with his family, manages the gorgeous hotel and even more impressive vineyard. Not to be confused with a tired, rustic Umbrian estate, or (if you’ll pardon the expression) a “ratings chaser” from Bolgheri, Altarocca is a confident, modern estate with deep roots in one of Central Italy’s most historic places. A “bucket list” place to visit, with wines worthy of savoring.

The dedication and passion of the Altarocca Winery in respect to this territory drove us to become organic, for which we obtained certification in 2016. Theirs was an ethical choice combined with the genuine wish to adopt an approach, by which human intervention follows the biological rhythm of nature and no systemic products or phytopharmaceuticals are used. Altarocca has also always been involved in the initiatives for the protection of typical regional wines and quality improvement programs for grapes and winemaking techniques. They are proud to offer a quality brand made with passion, dedication and care.

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Cantina Altarocca ‘Librato’ Organic Rosso Orvietano 2017

A blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot. A ruby red color and violet hues. Intense and harmonious in the nose, rich with notes of red fruit and a vegetable scent. In the mouth is full and balanced, with elegant notes of fruit and smooth tannins.  Best coupling with first courses based on meat, roast and grilled meat, cold cuts and medium aged cheese. €19.95

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What is ‘Natural Wine’?

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Natural wine has a bit of a buzz going on at the minute. But what is it? And importantly how does it taste? Simply put natural wine is a very low intervention wine that is made by simply picking the grapes, crushing them and allowing the yeast present on the grapes and in the air ferment them. The result tastes more like a kombucha or  sour beer than what we traditionally expect wine to taste like.

Decanter Magazine sums up Natural wine as follows:

• Vineyards farmed organically or biodynamically – certification was strongly preferred, but uncertified wines were accepted
• Hand-harvested only
• Fermentation with indigenous (wild) yeasts
• No enzymes
• No additives added (such as acid, tannin, colouring) other than SO2
• SO2 levels no higher than 70mg/l total
• Unfined, and no (or light) filtration
• No other heavy manipulation (such as spinning cone, reverse osmosis, cryoextraction, rapid-finishing, Ultraviolet C irradiation)

http://www.decanter.com/learn/advice/what-is-natural-wine-ask-decanter-368773/

 

But here’s the thing there is no official or regulated definition of natural wine.  It is not defined and controlled like  So, if someone says you’re drinking a natural wine, it technically doesn’t mean anything!

Is Natural Wine Better For You?

Without the use of sulfites or any other manipulation, people believe that natural wines are better for you. The problem is as above with out regulation this can be true in some cases and not in others. Firstly there is no evidence that sulfites cause wine headaches, blame the alcohol! Secondly SO2 that is used in wine is used in small amounts and helps the wine last longer, sulfite free wines spoil quicker and are more unstable due to not

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having SO2 to sterilise the wine from impurities and may have funkier flavours as a result of these impurities.

We don’t currently stock any Natural wines but we do have Monte Zovo’s É Senza 2016, a wine made with out the addition of Sulfites. This wine is similar in style to a Valpolicella but has matured more rapidly, with more tertiary flavours developing in place of the bright cherry fruits. Very soft and enjoyable and worth trying if you wish to see what a low/no added sulfite wine tastes like.

New Year, New Wines

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The new year is here and I am sure you are all compiling list of resolutions, attend the gym more, get fit, drink less, eat healthier the usual. We would suggest another addition which may even fall in with the drink less weirdly. We often hear phases such as drink less drink better and while there is sound reasoning behind this suggestion we would also advocate drinking less but drinking different. The new year offers up opportunities to break old habits and why not break that habit of New Zealand Sauvignon or Rioja and try something different, who knows you may even like it better.

There are so many styles and varieties available in wine that it is a shame not to sample more than the one or two that you love. This January we would propose you drink differently. We have selected a red and a white below neither of which is two wildly different but are a good way to dip your toes into the exciting world of other wines.

Rivera Negroamaro 2016 €14.95

Medium bodied red from the very tip of the heel of Italy,  Puglia. It pours a ruby colour; complex bouquet of bitter cherries and raspberry; medium bodied on the palate with a long complex aftertaste exhibiting the pleasant, bitterish note typical of the negroamaro (the name means bitter black one). Pair this with pork chops in a spicy sauce or a sunday roast.

Quinta do Chocapalha Arinto 2016 €14.95

Hailing from the Lisboa region in Portugal this is a crisp & refreshing white that has
aromas of fresh citrus, tangy lime and minerality lead to a wonderfully brisk and crisp palate. Pair with some spicy sausages.

 

 

Galway Food Festival Program

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Easter is once again upon us, meaning we’re closed this Friday, but to make amends we’re running a bunch of tastings and events in the shop.

On Thursday 24th we will kick off with our Game of Rhônes blind tasting from 6pm-8pm.

Our tastings kick-off again at 11am on Saturday 26th with our To Rioja and Beyond Spanish tasting.

This tasting will be run 4 times on Saturday at 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 5pm.

We will also have an Italian Tip to Toe tasting running at 12pm, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm.

And if you have room left for a glass or two Saturday night why not call into our popup wine bar between 8pm and 10pm.

We look forward to seeing you over food festival and wish you all a happy Easter.

Azienda Rivera

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The de Corato family roots go deep into the agriculture of Puglia. Here, in the countryside of Andria, Sebastiano de Corato founded the Azienda Vinicola Rivera in the late 1940s, inspired by a vision of realising, and bringing to the world’s attention, the enormous viticultural potential of the Castel del Monte area.

Widespread recognition quickly followed and since then  Rivera, has become the benchmark of Puglia quality wine production and the force driving its rebirth, thanks also to innovations in both vineyards and winemaking introduced since the early 1980s by his son Carlo.
Today, with the involvement of the third generation of the family represented by Carlo’s sons Sebastiano and Marco, Rivera continues with pride and renewed commitment the production of wines that eloquently express the intense yet elegant character of this land and its native grape varieties.

The winery’s winemaking philosophy is rigorously applied to every step of the process: vineyard management, grape harvest, winemaking, maturation and bottling; the most up-to-date viticultural and oenological practices are married to the deepest respect for natural processes, with all activities focused on achieving environmental and economic sustainability and on continuous improvement in quality.

Check out their wines here. Rivera

Drink Lagrein Today!!

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Lagrein on the vine

According to a wine grape of the day calendar we picked up somewhere today, March 4th is Lagrein day. And not being ones that need an excuse to try this wonderful variety we’d though we share some of our favs here in the shop. But first some info on Lagrein.

Found mostly in the Trentino-Alto Adige (Sudtirol, the local name for Alto Adige) Alpine regions of Italy. it is an interesting variety that has flavours of plum, cherry, raspberry and some bitter dark chocolate notes. Its low tannin and chewy dark fruit give it wonderful easy drink-ability. It benefits from some oak ageing but also preforms quite well by itself, unoaked versions tend to be fairly light, similar to Pinot Noir, or other Northern Italian reds like Refosco del Peduncolo.

Tiefenbrunner ‘Turmhof’ Lagrein 2012 DOC Alto Adige/Sudtirol €24.95

Fermentation and maceration in stainless steel tanks; malolactic fermentation and  maturation in small and large oak casks for 8 months Deep garnet red in colour, with a delicate bouquet showing the cherry and violet note characteristic of the varietals; subtle wood tones complement its full and round fruit flavours. Compact tannins and an agreeable acidity carry this traditional South Tyrolean wine through to its long finish.Excellent with braised or grilled beef, lamb, or game, as well as cheeses.

Franz Haas Lagrein 2010 DOC Alto Adige/Sudtirol €26.95

After the fermentation the wine is racked into barriques where the malolactic fermentation takes place and the wine ages for 15 months. Finally it is aged in the bottle for a few months.A deep and intense red, which in certain years tends towards violet tones. Ripe red fruits to spicy notes of fresh grass and cocoa on the nose. Enjoyable full bodiedness, ending with a long and enveloping finale.

Tiefenbrunner ‘Linticlarus’ Lagrein Riserva 2011 DOC Alto Adige/Sudtirol €32.95

One of the top five wines I tried last year this wine has it all body, class, elegance you name it the Linticlarus has it! Again its a deep garnet-red color, this typical South Tyrolean wine exhibits gentle aromas of wild berries and cherries, over hints of cocoa and dark chocolate. Fine grained, ripe tannins accompany its good acidity level, and give the wine elegance and persistence. A fine round finish, try with red meat, lamb chops or game, it’s bloody great with venison as well as poultry and mature hard cheese.

A Stroll Through Italy

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Here are the wines we tasted from Thursday’s wine tasting ‘A Stroll Through Italy’. Apologies for the delay, we had a wonderfully hectic few days with the tastings at the food festival, queues out the door and down past Cava Bodega a couple of times. I will add the wines tried from both the Spanish and Chocolate pairings later.

Whites

  1. Collevento ‘921’ Prosecco Valdobiaddene                                            €19.95
  2. Marese Bombino Bianco, Castel Del Monte                                        €13.95
  3. Antonutti Friulano, Friuli                                                                              €14.95                                              
  4. Vermentino di Gallura, Sardinia                                                                €17.95
  5. Cossetti Gavi Di Gavi, Piemonte                                                                  €19.95
  6. Montezovo Lugana ‘Le Civaie’, Veneto                                                 €17.95                                        

Reds

  1. Barale Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont                                                               €17.95
  2. Talamonti ‘Moda’ Montepulciano D’Abruzzo                                     €16.95
  3. Cossetti ‘La Vigna Vecchia’ Barbera d’Asti 2010, Piedmont      €16.95
  4. Rivera Primitivo, Salento                                                                                   €14.95
  5. Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany                                            €19.95
  6. Monte Zovo Ripasso de Valpolicella, Veneto                                        €18.95

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