Wine

Wine: Languedoc

Watching the Euros has got me thinking about French wines so once again this week I’m back in the Languedoc.

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Spirit of the week: Blackwater Wexford Strawberry Gin

Blackwater Wexford Strawberry Gin, 40% abv, 50cl — €32.00 Stockists: Bradleys Cork, O’Briens Off-Licences nationwide, Celtic Whiskey Shop

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Wine: Tasting your way through old cellars

The obituary writers have been busy this year and the case is equally true in the wine world.

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Wine: Time to stock up on Chablis

At the time of writing we are enjoying a bit of a heatwave but spare a thought for French winemakers who have once again been hit by late frosts and hail.

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Wines recommended this week all work well with classic Irish Summer weather

The June Bank Holiday weekend always feels like the beginning of summer even if the weather is often rather mixed.

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Beer of the week: Long Meadow Blossom Burst Cider, 4.5% abv, 500ml — €2.99

Long Meadow Cider is made by the McKeever family from Portadown in Co Armagh with apples grown on their 30-acre farm. 

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Santa Rita is Ireland’s best-selling wine brand

This week I want to re-visit an old favourite — a wine producer that I suspect is familiar to every wine drinker in the country.

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Some Monastrell and good value wines are listed for this week

This weekend I will be at Ballymaloe House near Midleton for the Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine.

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The wines featured this week are all South African

South African wine doesn’t feature on this page all that often for the simple reason that there is not that much imported here compared to other countries, and a lot of what I have tasted is either not worth writing about, or is too expensive for the quality.

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My contribution to the Litfest Local Hero theme is the monastrell grape

Just a few weeks to go to the Kerrygold Ballymaloe Litfest of Food and Wine (to give it the full title) on May 20–22.

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Beer of the week: Guinness 1798 Double Extra Stout, 9% abv, 750ml — €20

There is nothing like a bit of competition to shake up a market and Guinness and Heineken have both produced a range of “crafty” draught beers and ciders to counter the wave of microbreweries. 

 

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Some fruity wines to enjoy with a barbecue, if we get good weather this summer

For some reason 2016 seems to have had a higher proportion of celebrity deaths than usual, and this month two well-known wine names could be added to the list — Louis Latour (aged 83) and Etienne Hugel (aged just 57).

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Beer of the week: St. Mels Spring Bock, 5.6% ABV, 500ml — €3.99

St Mel’s Brewing was established in Longford in 2014 by Eoin Tynan and Liam Hanlon (formerly brewer with Carlow Brewing Co — O’Haras etc). 

 

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Some unusual wines to try out for this week

Ireland was always very brand-conscious up until recently and it took the arrival of the German discounters and the recession to shake us up a little.

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Beer of the week: Cotton Ball Indian Summer Beer, 4.7% ABV; 500ml — €3.99

The Cotton Ball pub in Mayfield, Cork, was founded in 1874 and in 2013 they joined the Irish craft beer revolution and began successfully brewing their own beers for selling as draught and more recently in bottle — other pubs should take note!

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Recommended this week are clean and fresh 'natural' wines

April has been declared ‘Natural Wine Month’ by Le Caveau wine merchants in Kilkenny which specialises in organic, bio-dynamic and ‘natural’ wines.

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Beer of the week: The Rising Single Malt Irish Whiskey, 47% ABV, 70cl — €75

A limited edition whiskey (1,916 bottles) from Tipperary Boutique Distillery founded by Clonmel farmer Liam Ahearn and his fiancée Jennifer — with blending and selection refined by her whiskey expert father Stuart Nickerson. 

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Alcohol levels of this week’s wines are all 13% or above

Despite all the words this page has expended on a myriad of wines, the reason we are interested is because they all have one thing in common — “the power to banish care”.

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This week’s wines have minimal sulphur, but be warned that these may taste a little different

We need to talk about sulphur. You might have noticed that most bottles say ‘contains sulphites’ somewhere on the label.

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Beer of the week: Metalman Orange is the New Black, 4.3% ABV, 330ml — €2.95

Stockists: Bradleys, No. 21 Group, Stacks, Ardkeen, World Wide Wines, Mchughs, Drink Store

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This week's wines all work well with Chinese food, particularly spicy dishes

Easter Saturday is not necessarily the time you would expect me to be writing about spicy foods but my favourite Easter dinner is a rich yoghurt and spice marinated slow-cooked lamb dish called lamb raan, and it was thinking about this that led me to tackle once again the issue of wine and spice.

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Beer of the week: Galway Bay Irish Red Ale, 4.4% ABV; 500ml, €2.99 - €3.25

Galway Bay Brewery now has 11 pubs in Galway and Dublin and will be opening in Limerick in June. 

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Centra’s new “Wines We Love” range are all under €15

Is that wine worth its price? This is a question I am frequently asked, mainly regarding expensive Bordeaux.

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Beer of the week: Bo Bristle

This week’s beer of the week is Bo Bristle IPA, 5.0%; ABV, 50cl — €2.99-3.39.

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This week's wine selections include four tasty wines from California and two bargain wines from O’Briens

It is now 40 years since the Judgement of Paris when a blind tasting of Napa Valley cabernets and chardonnays scored higher than many famous names from Bordeaux and Burgundy.

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Spirit of the week: Thin Gin

Made by Blackwater Irish Spirits in Waterford who produce Muldoon Whiskey Liqueur, this won the Gin Trophy at 2015’s Irish Whiskey Awards.

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Leslie Williams has plenty of praise for Spanish wines

Here I go again, praising the wines of Spain.

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Austrian wines you've been missing out on

Austrian wine has come a long way in the last 30 years and if you haven’t been exploring their wines you are missing out.

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Wine: A focus on New Zealand's red wines

New Zealand is a tiny wine producing region in world terms but has managed to carve out a hugely influential niche for itself with their unique take on Sauvignon Blanc.

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Wine: Beautiful Beaujolais

Springtime is here and at this time of year I crave fruit in my wine and there are few fruitier or more pleasurable wines than a good Beaujolais.

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Wine: Off-Licence of the Year Awards

The results are in and the 2016 National Off-Licence of the year is a shop that features regularly in my stockist list — Baggot Street Wines.

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