Saturday, February 20, 2010

Austrian Wine Fair

I have made it a sort of policy to go to as many wine tastings as I can this year to try and keep in better touch with what is going on in the wine world. With this in mind, I made my way to the Austrian Wine Fair alst week, where there was a good range of Austrian wines, both red and white, imported and those looking for representation.

I tended to veer towards the wines that were available on the market as I was looking for new wines for the shop. I also wanted to educate myself on Austrian reds, a topic on which I am embarassingly ignorant.

Overall, the quality was very high, I don't think I tasted a single wine that was badly made or unpleasant in any way. The wines I liked best came from names like Gobelsburg, Sepp Moser and Eichinger. The best ones, in my opinion, however were from Brundlmayer. We used to bring in small amounts of this through the UK, but we might start working with them directly if we can make the economics and logistics work. I currently have a bottle of Riesling Zobinger Heiligenstein 2007 open in the fridge that is just magic. Clarity, complexity, concentration, this wine has it all. Fantastic stuff and all their wines are of an exceptionally high quality. I will come back to these, definitely.

I did a quick run through the reds, here is my still quite ignorant summary:

Zweigelt - the ones I tried had a slightly medicinal quality to them and some harsh tannins - all in all too much like Pinotage for my liking.

Blaufrankish - better but still not doing it for me

St. LAurent - this was more to my taste, elegant, silky texture and nice fruit - heading in to Pinot Noir or Syrah territory, where I like to be

Blauburgunder - Pinot Noir - some very tasty examples of this, particularly from Schloss Halbturn (not available, very expensive) which was the best red I tasted on the day.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

10 reasons not to give up wine for Lent

1. What is Lent all about anyway? Seriously, what is the point of giving things up for 40 days before Easter? It's just another way for the Church to make you feel bad about yourself. As far as I know, Jesus drank wine on Holy Thursday, and so should you.

2. It's springtime. The days are getting longer, the daffodils are starting to raise their heads again, we should be happy, we should be gambolling in the fields like the lambs....

3. Spring lamb - really needs a nice glass of Bordeaux.

4. Wine is good for you (in moderation). Plenty of evidence on this, no need to revisit it here.

5. Wine is good for your sex life. Katherine Donnelly in the Indo last Saturday was writing about a study on women in Italy (where else?) and they proved that wine drinking was better for your sex life. You still need someone to do it with though, not sure if wine helps you out there.

6. Wine makes food taste better. See point 3.

7. Wine cheers you up. The country needs it - do your civic duty!

8. It's cheaper than ever - thanks to intense competition, below-cost selling, reductions in duty, wine is cheaper now than it has ever been in this country.

9. Wine is a life-enhancing drink, far removed from the binge-drinking, fighting and vomiting that the anti-alcohol brigade fret about. So, ignore them and enjoy a glass with your dinner, to hell with the begrudgers!

10. The children need shoes...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Chateau Mangot Dinner

Chateau Mangot is an excellent St. Emilion Grand Cru producer with whom we have been working for close to 10 years now. They do 3 wines: their main wine, Chateau Mangot, a very fine example of St. Emilion Grand Cru; Chateau La Brande Cotes de Castillon which is the best bang for buck you will find from a Bordeaux wine in the market at the moment; finally, their top wine is called Cuvee Quintessence which is excellent and very concentrated and arguably a tad expensive for the current economic blahdy blah.

Yann (son of the owners) is coming over on Feb 17th to do a tasting for us of the full range as part of a dinner we are hosting in Ouzo's, Dalkey. If you would like to come along, the tickets for serious dinner and serious wines are €60. Call us on 01 2353054 to book place.

More on Chateau Mangot here ; more on Ouzo's here.