A Bold Red Wine to Complement Barbecued Steak

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The Garnacha grape produces reds with lower tannins and a fruit forward palate making it an amazingly easy to drink wine. Its typical flavour profile include stewed strawberries, plums, and leather.

Originally native to Spain and often blended to add roundness to the more tannic and fuller bodied Tempranillo. It is also immensely popular in the Southern Rhone Valley of France where it is known as Grenache. Here it is also used as part of a blend due to its ability to add more fruitiness without tannin structure.

On the eastern coast of Spain lies the region of Valencia and just a little further inland lies Bodegas Vegamar producing their exceptionally fine and affordable Garnacha. They are grown using organic fertiliser and without the use of chemicals in their vineyards. The climate here is warm and sunny and also benefits from the soft and cool winds that the Mediterranean Sea brings.

Vegamar Huella de Garnacha 2018

TheVegamar “Huella de Garnacha” 2018 is made from 100% Garnacha and has lots of redcurrant with slight oak and black pepper aromas. Full bodied with low tannins and a touch of acidity on the palate leads to a nice dry finish. Be sure to let it breathe for at least thirty minutes and it will become a super smooth red! Recommendations for pairing with food include grilled or roasted red meats such as beef or lamb and grilled pork sausages. So if you are firing up the barbecue this summer and fancy an easy going red, give this a try.

Learning Wine One Glass At a Time

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unnamedAs a novice to wine culture it can be very daunting to learn all the technicalities such as the geography, terminology and even the varieties of grapes is so huge. Nevertheless if you really open yourself up to the experience of tasting wine, the knowledge will follow, one glass at a time. I, myself have been a bartender for most of my career and know many things spirits and cocktails, however wine is so vast and complex I never gave it a chance to learn more until now.

This week I will be learning about Peique Tinto Mencia (2018) from the region of El Bierzo, Spain. Located about three hours northwest of Madrid, the terrain is mostly hilly and so the grapes are hand-harvested. The Mencia grapes are grown on vines between forty five and fifty five years of age on clay and sandy soil which surprisingly comes through in the tasting of the wine. Currently, it is run by Bodegas Peique with Jorge, Mar and Luis Peique looking after the whole operation.

The wine itself gives off a beautiful deep ruby colour. The aromas include hints of red fruit on the nose. Tasting notes include slight acidity at first which then evolves into a nice dry earthiness with subtle notes of blackberry in the background, before finishing with nice and easy tannins.  Medium bodied, overall a genuinely nice bottle of wine for those who enjoy dry and earthy notes in a red. A new drinker of wine, there is no need to over-complicate flavours. See what you can taste by comparing it to flavours you had before. If you have a bad memory like myself, jot down your tasting notes so you can compare it to futures wines.

First of the Summer Wine (Tasting)

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Join us for our first tasting of the summer, when we will be showcasing 10 of our favourite, fabulous wines summer wines! Think sizzling BBQs,grassy gardens, balmy evenings and sunny weekends.

Taste your way through different styles of bubbly, shades of rosé, zippy Sauvignon, crisp Riesling, summer berry reds, and big bbq reds!

Let us tell you the story of small, boutique, craft & family run winemakers.

 

RESERVE YOUR GLASS HERE

Banish those January Blues…..

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De Haan/Altes El Covertido Rioja 2015

“We love Garnacha,no matter where is comes from and Rioja is a great exponent of this variety.What is less common however, is to find Garnacha in the cooler, western parts of the D.O.The grapes for this wine were sourced from a vineyard near the village of Canilla de Riotuerto.Planted in 1980, these bush vines produce lower yields than the tempranillo vines, around 2 kg per vine”, Rafael De Haan.

Manually harvested using small boxes of 12-15 kg. The grapes passed along a selection table to remove all berries that were not healthy or properly ripe.
Stems were removed and the grapes lightly crushed, after which they were placed in small stainless steel tanks of 40 Hl. Pre-fermentation maceration was carried out in the cold for 72 hours. Alcoholic fermentation occurred spontaneously between 24-28° C for 9-12 days. Malolactic fermentation in barrel. Then aged 17 months in new French oak barrels, during which 4 rackings were carried out.

The 2015 El Covertido pours a bright crimson colour, this wine is very expressive with notes of red fruits and minerals that leap from the glass. Plenty of fruit on the palate, a touch of complexity and sweet tannins mingle with the spicy oak nuances. This is a Rioja like no other as it has zero Tempranillo.

Normally €24.95 but currently on Promotion at €19.96

 

Rioja Reserva Shoot-Out

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9-1494360416This month we have two stunning Rioja Reservas on offer. We’re calling it a Rioja Shoot out as both wines represent not only different sub zones of Rioja, Alta and Alavesa but also modern vs more classical styles of wine making.

Rioja has 3 sub-zones, Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental ( Previously Rioja Baja),each one enjoys a diversity of soils, terroirs and micro-climates, each making wines of unique personality and character.

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Rioja Alta: Located on the western side of Rioja, this sub-zone has an Atlantic climate and its soils are mostly clay mixed with limestone. Due to the sub-zone’s varying elevations, the wines produced here can have great structure and high acidity.

Rioja Alavesa: The smallest of the sub-zones, it also experiences an Atlantic climate. In fact, it is coolest of the three. The soils are predominantly clay and are situated in terraces. The wines from this region tend to be lighter-bodied.

Rioja Oriental: This eastern sub-zone is  much warmer, drier climate due to the Mediterranean influence and its lower elevation. This area, composed mainly of alluvial soils, produces wines with high extract and alcohol, lower in acidity.

Both Rioja Alta and Alavesa are considered the higher quality areas. Most wines are produced mainly from the local Tempranillo grape although blends and even wines with no Tempranillo are allowed by the DO. For our purposes here comparing the ostatu_reservaReservas here’s a brief refresher on what makes a Reserva.

Reserva: Wines from the best vintages, have to be aged for a minimum of 3 years and at least one year in oak barrels.

And now the wines:

Ostatu Rioja Reserva 2011, Rioja Alavesa

Intense and clear aroma, red fruits with outstanding expressive notes on a creamy wooden background, spicy nuances and mineral touch. Tasty, fleshy, with excellent weight of fruit, firm and sweet tannins, fine toasty notes with a great structure.  From 50 year Tempranillo Vines and aged for 16 months in New French oak barrels.

1765109bGomez Cruzado Rioja Reserva 2010, Rioja Alta

30-year-old bush vine Tempranillo was hand harvested into small baskets, where the grapes undergo a three-day cold soak. The grapes were fermented in cone-shaped stainless steel vats. The juice is the racked to half French and half American barriques, of which 50% is new wood, where is ages for 18 months. The wine is blended to tank prior to bottling and laid to rest in the cold cellars for 2 years prior to release. Clean and shiny, dark red cherry colored. Very expressive nose, with the tertiary aromas of the aging displaying vanilla, cocoa and orange peel, and those of the variety, showing dark and candied fruit. In the mouth it’s rounded, fresh, with a fine acidity, silky tannins and fruit driven aftertaste. It clearly shows the character of a classical Reserva from “Barrio de la Estación.”

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.

 

 

 

Foodie Forum 2015

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Last Tuesday we were delighted to be invited to give a presentation at The Foodie Forum 2015 in GMIT. The Foodie Forum is an interactive one day experience that showcases the abundance and variety of food on offer in Ireland and in particular along the West Coast. The day includes a series of Master classes with leading chefs and food & wine workshops, which we were privileged to be part of. We had lined up a tasting of Spanish wines and you can download our presentation here.

 

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