Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Winemaker Dinner October 15th

We are delighted to announce that 2 of our favourite producersfrom Burgundy - Philippe Chavy and Jean Marc Millot are going to join us for our Burgundy Dinner in Beaufield Mews on October 15th.

If you are interested or know anyone who is, give me a call for info or book directly with Beaufield Mews.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Decisions, decisions

Bit of a break there, mustn't have been drinking anything interesting. We have a Burgundy Dinner coming up in Beaufield Mews on October 15th and I pretty much had the list of wines for tasting put together, except for the most expensive red. I wanted to try to get a range of styles, prices and producers, but I was torn between th Vosne Romanee 2006 from Mugneret Gibourg and the Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Poissenots 2004 from Domaine Humbert.

Nothing for it but to open them up and try them. If I have to then drink them over the weekend, well that's a sacrifice I am willing to make. First the Gevrey - Poissenots is typically quite a powerful, full-bodied style of Gevrey and 2004 is no exception. Very open, loads going on here, very expressive nose, plenty of fruit, but earthy as well, very complex. A touch of "gout de millesime" here, but it just adds to the complexity.

The Vosne, when opened on Friday was very tight and coiled. There was an element of the signature Mugneret aromas and lush raspberyy velvet typical of this wine, but it is still restrained. We left it till Sundat, decanted it, dusted of our Riedel Burgundy glasses and had it with a great casserole that Pam made yesterday and it was magic.

On balance though, I think the Gevrey will show better on the 15th. Keep the Vosne for the long haul.

If anyone is interested in the dinner, you can call me for details - 01 2353054- or contact Beaufield Mews directly.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Here we go again

It's starting again. The anti-drink brigade are getting limbered up. The report last week by a pschologist who said that "middle-class" parents who tried to get their children to have a responsible approach to drink by allowing them a glass of wine with dinner when they are sixteen or seventten are naive and basically leading their children down a path to alcoholism, liver disease and eternal damnation. I read the article and it was startlingly devoid of any scientific evidence, it just seemed to be this one guy's opinion. Yet it was front page news in the Irish Times and it was followed up by a full page article on the front of Saturday's weekend section. This article had a headline "Go on, darling, have a drink" and a large cartoon of 5 or 6 teenagers with glasses of wine in their hands.

This psychologist's idea is that complete a complete ban on drink in the house is the best way to teach your children how to behave. This is how Ireland has traditionally done things and it has obviously worked brilliantly and we don't have any binge-drinking at all.


Why not try to be a bit more European in this regard. In Italy and Spain, it is profoundly uncool to be drunk; it is seen as a weakness and a lack of control. Yet they drink wine with pretty much every meal, wine is as cheap as chips and life seems to be perfectly civilised. Why can't we do this? Just like sex, teenagers are going to do it whether we want them to or not. What is wrong with a little education from the parents with regard to alcohol? Take the mystery out of it, lead by example with regard to moderation, it seems to make sense to me.

You would imagine there was a huge teenage wine-drinking problem in the country. I have been standing behind the counter of a wine shop for 10 years now and I have never, not even once, had someone underage looking for wine. However, we close at 8pm and I wander past O'Brien's where they have plenty of young people (not necessarily underage) buying beer, cider, vodka etc.

But not wine.

The leaking of anti-drink propaganda happened this time last year as well and we were hit with a 50c increase in duty on wine. Prices have fallen since so this rise has been swallowed by the wine trade and then some. Sales have also fallen, so the take on excise is down since the increase was introduced. What would a normal person do - leave duty alone maybe or even decrease it to try and boost sales and therefore the tax take? We are not dealing with normal people here..

So is this "research" being promoted by the geniuses in the Dept of Finance to soften us up for another rise is excise duty?

You betcha.

A great weekend

We were visiting friends at the weekend and, as well as some amazing weather, we also enjoyed (thanks to the generosity of the aforementioned friends) some amazing wines. Lineup on Friday was :

Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle - refreshing, crisp, quite broad

Donnhoff Riesling Spatlese - delice, off-dry but amazing balance and concentration, delicious

Mugneret Gibourg Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru "Feusselottes 2002" - our fave Burgundy producer, great terroir, great vintage, this was stunning

Faiveley Mazis Chambertin 2000 - tight by comparison, still coiled, but will be excellent in 5-10 years time and certainly no hardship now.

Food and wine were so good, we completely forgot to talk about politics, economy etc!!

We had a sensible earlyish night and had a great lunch on the beach the next day with the leftover roast lamb and risotto from the night before. We washed this down with a bottle of Bruno Paillard Vintage Champagne from the 1999 vintage. I have been somewhat underwhelmed by other champagnes from this celebrated producer, but this was excellent. Sun blazing, we still haven't spoken about the R word.

We spent the afternoon on the beach with the kids, even got into the sea and got home to get ready for the night ahead.

That night, the big guns came out, there were people coming and going, great night had by all...
lineup as follows:

Cristal 1996 - just coming into its own, this was amazing stuff, great balance of elegance and power - excellent.

St. Michael Eppan Centenary Wine 2007 (magnum) - this was a special bottle given to us to celebrate the centenary of this excellent winery. It was a mystery blend, full and rich, possibly more suited to food, rather than necking it back before dinner as we were.

Carillon Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Perrieres 1996 - like most white burgundies from the late 90s, this wine has had its issues with early oxidisation, but this bottle was magic, fresh as a daisy with a stony, mineral finish.

Remoissenet Charmes Chambertin 1996 - amazing nose on this, palate still a bit tight. Not sure if it is going anywhere, but still delicious.

Ducru Beaucaillou 1995 - wine of the night for Pam, pure, drinking perfectly, Bordeaux at its wonderful best.

Pegau 1998 - seemed a bit rustic after the polished sheen on the Ducru, fully mature and very good.

COS Scyri 2000 (magnum) - smooth and funky, easy drinking and very good

Pieropan Recioto Le Colombare 2000 - we skipped dessert but had a glass of this to finish - sweet with nice marmaldey fruit and good length.

All in all a fantastic weekend, good for the soul. Great food, great wine, great weather, great company. And no mention of NAMA!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Spanish Wine Tasting in the Shelbourne

I don't go to many of these generic country tastings but I had three objectives going in to this one:
1. Find some new wines for the shop as the range needs some refreshing.
2. Maybe find a gem from the unrepresented wineries and bring some in for ourselves.
3. Get into town for a few pints afterwards.

I will start with objective No.2. I started tasting in this section and didn't find anything. In this situation, I would like to have the bottles left on a table, a list of prices and then, if I find something brilliant I could go and talk to the winery people. As always, however, the winery people understandably want to tell you about themselves and the wines and you get the whole spiel about fermentation techniques, pruning methods etc etc. I just want to taste 'n' go. anyway, I found it a bit underwhelming.

When I went out to taste with the many importers showing wine, I thought maybe the best wines have already been snapped up. Many good wines, too many to mention. Interesting wines from up and coming regions as well as the old favourites like Rioja and Ribera del Duero.
So, I found some real crackers of new wines at the value end, these will be in this week. That was Objective No. 1 sorted.

We will draw a discreet veil over Objective No.3, all I will say is that my colleague on this occasion is a VERY bad influence. We had dinner in Coppinger Row which we enjoyed. The wine list very disappointing so we stuck to beer.