Wine with Leslie Williams: Cork-based importer Karwigs wind down after 40 years

Sad news to announce this week as the much loved Cork-based importer Karwigs in Carrigaline have decided to wind down after 40 years.

Wine with Leslie Williams: Cork-based importer Karwigs wind down after 40 years

Sad news to announce this week as the much loved Cork-based importer Karwigs in Carrigaline have decided to wind down after 40 years.

The company was founded by Joe Karwig in 1979 after he moved to Ireland to marry his Cork-born wife Betty and he was innovative and creative and a pioneering force in the Irish wine scene.

When most of the population was drinking Blue Nun and Pedrotti, Joe was bringing in wonderful Mosel and Pfalz Rieslings and high quality Piedmontese, Venetian and Tuscan reds.

Joe died far too young in 2015 and his wife Gillian and son Jürgen continued the business and I have to admit I am very sad they have decided to stop.

The small bit of good news is that almost all of their wines are on sale for the next few weeks but you will need to visit their shop on the outskirts of Carrigaline as the best bargains are mostly not available online.

I advise using Google maps or ringing for directions.

The sale has many stand-out wines reduced by 40% and others by 25% with the exception of some icon wines such as Domaine Tempier and Dom Trevallon from Provence.

In the case of Dom Tempier Bandol Jürgen should still have a small quantity of their single vineyard wines Cuvée ‘La Migoua’ and ‘La Tourtine’, both of which are outstanding and capable of long ageing.

I think the standard Produttori Barbaresco is sold out but there is some Riserva Cru wine left. Good news also is that Produttori Barbaresco has been taken on by another importer — I would hope the likes of Velenosi and Winzer Krems will be also, and I’d hate to see Loredan Gasparini Capo di Stato leave the market.

Other wines to watch for include some Tawny and Vintage Ports from Caves Messias, Champagnes from De Castellane (for just €21), a smattering of Bordeaux and a few bottles of Machard Gramont Nuit St George. Georg Müller Rheingau Riesling Kabinett is down from €20 to €12 and his Nussbrunnen Riesling down from €36 to €21.

At the value end Morambro Creek Shiraz 2010 is down from €23 to €14, Killian Hunn Spätburgunder from €18 to €11.

I know I join with my predecessors in this column and all the readers of this page in wishing everyone in Karwigs our very best for the future. They will be missed.


André Brunel Côte Est Côtes du Rhóne, France — €14.95

Stockists: Karwigs Carrigaline,

Brunel are a solid Southern Rhône producer and the range is also good at the upper level — their Châteauneuf-du-Pape has textured opulence and finesse (c €40).

This entry level Rhône is a good example of what the Rhône can do — ripe and fruity with soft, spice-tinged, dark fruits and lingering red fruit flavours.

Around €11 in the sale.

Winzer Krems Blauer Zweigelt St Severin, Austria — €14.99

Stockists: JJ O’Driscolls, 1601 Kinsale, Malthouse Trim, Cinnamon Cottage Rochestown, Karwigs

Blauer-Zweigelt (a Blaufränkisch - St Laurent crossing) is the most widely grown red grape in Austria.

This Winzer Krems version is excellent value with black cherries and red currant aromas mixed with spice and a solid fruity palate. Serve at 12-14C. Around €11 in the sale.

Marco Real Colección Privada Crianza, Navarra, Spain — €12

Stockist: Karwigs Carrigaline

A good example of modern Navarra, aged in new French oak barrels and a blend of Tempranillo, Merlot, Cabernet and Graciano.

Ripe and concentrated with vanilla and spice aromas mixed with dark fruits. Ripe and fruity on the palate with black and red fruits and good power but also some elegance.

This is normally €18 but is around €12 in the sale.


Gitton Pouilly Fumé Clos Joanne D’Orion, Loire — €25.95

Stockist: Karwigs Carrigaline

I like Gitton’s wines and I’ve previously mentioned their Côteaux du Giennois, as well as their Sancerre (already sold-out).

This is a good example of what Sauvignon Blanc can do in the right region, with crisp, fresh lime, lemon and grapefruit aromas, a stony background, crisp acidity, freshness, and admirable mineral purity — 25-40% reduced in the sale.

Produttori del Barbaresco Rabaja, Piedmont, Italy — €44

Stockists: Karwigs Carrigaline

While the co-op’s flagship wine is pictured here and a little cheaper, consider some of the Riserva wines from the different Barbaresco Crus — they will age happily for 30 years.

The Rabaja is arguably the best cru and has noticeably more depth and a finer texture, with the same cherry, violets, tar, herbs and chocolate flavours as can be found across the range.

Willi Haag Riesling Halbtrocken, Mosel, Germany — €18.95

Stockist: Karwigs Carrigaline

From an estate over 500-years-old, there are four Haag wines stocked by Karwigs and all are recommended, especially the Spatlese and Auslese.

The key to the Mosel is the pristine balance between sweetness and acidity.

Rich apple drop, honey and lemon-pie aromas, textured and rich on the attack, but with piercing fresh acidity and balance — 25-40% reduced.

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