Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring has Sprung..

After a relatively mild winter, Spring has sprung! In fact more of a leap, jump or catapult than a mere spring. At this point, growth is already advanced by about three weeks. Our Sipon vines would normally look like this in early May....

The shoots are so early that there's still of course a danger of frost. To counter this, many producers with lower-lying vineyards are holding off on tying down the canes so that the shoots are kept as high away from the ground as possible.

Over in the new Blaufrankisch vineyard, the young vines have also - relatively speaking - raced ahead....

Only problem is all the other growth around the young vines.....!

Time to think about a bit of hoeing.....

Friday, March 21, 2014

It's Sale Time

It's Sale Time!

Why exactly it's Sale Time in the third week in March, or what type of Sale this actually is - we're not really quite sure. All we know is that there are some "known knowns" and "known unknowns".... so let's find out...

The Known Knowns:
Well, these are the discounts - and they're pretty plain to see. The smallest discount is exactly 24.12%, ranging up to a whopping 66.10%! That's well over Half Price. The other big Known Known is that these are all wines we'd happily drink ourselves.

The Known Unknowns:
Well, these are a bit more difficult to be specific about...

The Sale itself isn't really a Bin End Sale. Some of the wines are Bin Ends, some aren't. We have just picked wines that we think maybe need to find a good home in the near future, or wines that might be familiar to you but we know we'll get a bit of fun from by selling them at a silly price, or wines that you might not ordinarily choose, but could be tempted to do so at a silly price. What we do know is that the volumes indicated are what we are selling. We may have more of some of the wines, but this is all we're selling at these prices. If we don't sell them during the Sale, then they'll go back to their normal public price (and we'll probably sell them off secretly somewhere else!). Other that that, there are no rules - except for the other rules at the end....

What about the Known Unknowns of the Wines themselves...? Well, in there we have....

A good selection of drinking Bordeaux from excellent vintages at great prices - there's the second wine of Ch. Montrose that excelled in St. Estephe in 2003, the second wine of the super-cult Valandraud from the wonderful 1998 vintage, there's superstar Pontet Canet from 2001, the rare Lynch Bages Blanc 2009 and more..

There's John Wilson's "dream" wine that he wrote about for Christmas Day Dinner - the Furst Pinot Noir 2010 at a knockdown €18.00, along with two other stunning and must-try German wines.

There's a white wine that one other National wine journalist tasted last weekend at a big Gourmet dinner (along with many other more prestigious wines) and proclaimed it as their top wine of the night - the Miro Furmint 2009 (a lovely crisp, fresh Sauvignon-like white) at a crazy €11.00 a bottle! How low do we have to go to convince you to try this stuff? Miro's mate, Samo Kolaric has his own lovely Sauvignon Blanc 2011 in there - we bought a small parcel of it and it's nearing the end - at €12.00.

There's tons of stuff from the southern Rhone - lot's of big, hearty reds, many of them developing lovely farmyardy characteristics as they age gracefully - like an old age boxer, they have sensitivity, charm and a knockout punch.

There's a weird, but wonderful semi-dessert wine from Puglia in Southern Italy - the San Donaci Pieta Caya @ €15.00. This is a slightly sweet red that is rich and smooth - amazing with a dark chocolate-based dessert like strawberries dipped in chocolate - or delicious chilled on it's own.

There are some great Burgundian bargains as well... lovely, aged Nuits St. Georges Veilles Vignes from the almost impossible to find Mugneret sisters at just €25 a bottle (that really is mad), or the frustrating 2010 Macon Cruzille Red from Emmanuel Guillot Broux that we seem unable to sell despite it being great (and now at €12.00) - think crunchy Beaujolais meets elegant Burgundy.....

There are various Magnums of some pretty fine stuff, all ready to drink...!

And more.....

The Rules:
So, a few rules....but no sneaky ones....
i) First come, first served
ii) We have to hold you to our minimum spend of €200 to qualify for free nationwide delivery. Sorry, but at these prices, we just have to do it.
iii) If you take a violent dislike to anything you buy and threaten never to purchase from us again, we'll crumble and offer you some replacement wine to the same value to keep you quiet.
iv) The Sale ends March 31st.

Happy Hunting.
Download the March 2014 Sale here

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Binge Drinking, Alcohol Prices and Alcohol Taxes

The respected American Association of Wine Economists recently published a very interesting Working Paper on the links, or otherwise, between binge drinking, alcohol prices and alcohol taxes.

I am not for one second trying to take away from the issue of binge drinking itself. We have a huge problem with it here in Ireland and it continues to cause significant problems both socially and economically. It is, in my opinion, greatly exacerbated by the below cost selling of alcohol and the way that alcohol is often marketed and promoted.

The irony is that the Government that permits the sale of alcohol in this way is also the same Government that tells us they are doing our national Health a favour by increasing the taxes on alcohol (and wine in particular) to protect us from harming ourselves. It's a ridiculous smokescreen.

The full report is both very detailed and fascinating. For those who just want a brief overview, I quote the following Summary:
"A large body of evidence now indicates that binge drinkers are not highly-responsive to increased prices or taxes, and may not respond at all. Non-responsiveness holds generally for younger and older drinkers and for male and female binge drinkers alike. Increased alcohol prices or taxes are unlikely to be effective as a means to reduce binge drinking, regardless of gender or age group."

The full Working Paper is here.

American Association of Wine Economists:

Silly Wine Tasting Clips

The old ones are the best... we don't seem to be able to take the mickey out of ourselves as much as we used to.....

Richard E Grant - Posh Nosh:

Alan Partridge Wine Tasting

Fry and Laurie

Absolutely Fabulous

And of course, Sasha Baron Cohen's Borat...toe curlingly cringy....
(warning: some people may be offended by some of the content in this clip)

Near Miss....

I actually saw a still of this on RTE news a few weeks back, and didn't really notice that the boulder (although missing the house) continued on straight into a vineyard....

Lucky escape for the house - not so lucky for the vines...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Burgundy 2012 Prequel - the 10 Best Unsung Burgundy Producers

As we heard towards the release of our Burgundy 2012 Primeur Offer, a lot of the talk is of price increases by many of the producers to combat the third successive small crop. However, in this context, many of the increases are understandable as producers have effectively lost the equivalent of one whole vintage out of the last three.

Reputation costs extra as well - and is of course well earned. But there are many unsung producers offering great wines at very reasonable prices. Respected wine writer and critic, Bill Nanson, recently published his "10 Best Unsung Burgundy Producers" in an article for Wine Searcher.

At No. 1 is our friend from Gevrey Chambertin, Damien Livera. We have been working with him exclusively since the 2008 vintage and have been praising his wines. Bill writes:

Number 1. Domaine des Tilleuls is run by the Livera family of Gevrey-Chambertin. Damien Livera took over from his father, Philippe, and is making dark, concentrated, but brilliantly balanced Côte de Nuits Villages, village Gevrey-Chambertins and even a little Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru. It's such a shame that there is so little of that latter wine. Damien is quietly spoken, a little shy even, but his wines are packed full of personality. Factoring in cost, his 2010 Côte de Nuits Villages was one of the best wines of the vintage.

We have a small amount of his 2010 Cotes de Nuits Villages left, along with his stunning 2010 Gevrey Chambertin "Clos Village"

If you are looking for any other tips, the full article is here: Wine Searcher - The 10 Best Unsung Burgundy Producers

How to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew...

I came across this..... looks amazing.....not the way you might think...

Not sure what happens the sediment though...!