Will 2019 be the year Ireland’s wine drinkers finally start to catch up with our rosé-loving UK and EU counterparts? Largely thanks to the warm summer of 2018 sales of rosé last year showed a significant increase according to retailers I’ve spoken with and most are optimistic for 2019.
One importer that has always championed rosé is O’Briens and their annual rosé promotion began a week or two ago. All rosé in O’Brien shops are part of a deal whereby the second bottle can be bought for half-price. Wine director, Lynne Coyle MW, tells me that she sees a clear trajectory upwards in recent years and expects 2019 to be even better. Lynne actually created her own Rosé called Rós this year which I recommend below along with some other highlights. Also watch for the L’Ostal Cazes, Henri Bourgignon and the Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses.
Bloom is on next weekend and again there will be a large area dedicated to Irish produced drinks. This year there will be 27 producers (up three) including of course Blackwater Distillery, a regular and always a highlight. Rumour has it Blackwater have a new rather exotic gin to preview and even more exciting, have also created a Gin Garden in the Show area.
Also returning is Stonewell Cider fresh from their double win at the International Cider Awards in the Guildhall in London against very stiff international competition. Stonewell won the Innovation Trophy for their excellent Rhubarb and Apple Cider and the Speciality Cider award for Tawny (a hopped dessert wine style cider). Also launching at Bloom is Stonewell’s new Apple Wine made from Elstar apples.
Clonakilty Distillers make their debut appearance at Bloom this year; their Minke Gin is (I believe) the only Irish gin using Rock Samphire as one of its botanicals — the base spirit is made with whey from local dairy farms.
Ballykilcavan Brewery from Stradbally will debut their new lager made from their own barley and Wicklow Brewery will launch an alcoholic (3.4%) Ginger Beer called GingerKnut — alcoholic ginger beer is the perfect summer drink so I have high hopes.
Bloom isn’t the only festival on next weekend. Listowel Writer’s Week in full flow. Lizzy Lyons has teamed up with Wines of Spain for a pop-up supper club in Lizzy’s Little Kitchen in Listowel on Friday, May 31, tickets are €35 per person – www.facebook.com/lizzyslittlekitchen