Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Is it really 40%?

Someone told me today that Tesco now have 40% market share in the Irish wine market. Does anyone know if this really is the case. When I was in the grocery trade many moons ago, Tesco and Dunnes were always fighting it out for leadershoip of the grocery trade, usually trading places around 23 - 24 % each, according to the Nielsen figures at the time. Tesco's share of the grocery trade may have increased slightly by now, but I'm pretty sure it's not 40%.

Therefore, if they have a higher share of the wine trade than they do of grocery in general, this means that below-cost selling in booze is working nicely for them and probably helping build share in grocery in general.

Before I go on a rant, I need to get the facts, gather my thoughts and try to do it coherently.

Anyone got the facts?

@superquinnwine maybe?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wine Fair Reminder

I can believe it's coming round so fast - the Wine Fair is on next week! Carol has been busy putting the lists of wines together, talking to suppliers, organising Sheridans to arrive with some nice cheeses, it's all coming together.

Huge range of wines to taste, discounts of upto 25% - not to be missed.

Make sure to book your place, tickets are only €10.

Date: Thursday November 4th, 2010 from 6pm to 9pm.

Place : Fitzpatricks Killiney Castle Hotel

Call us on 01 2353054 for more details.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

All you can drink for €10?

No this isn't an attempt to go one better than the supermarkets in trying to flog cheap booze, we wouldn't be so irresponsible!

We have our wine fair on Thursday November 4th from 6pm to 9pm in Fitzpatrick's Castle Hotel. Tickets cost €10, taste over 100 wines, Sheridans cheese; we will have discounts of upto 25% on certain wines. It will be a great night, spread the news!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Central Otago Tasting this morning

I was at a Central Otago Masterclass this morning, held in the Hilton in Charlemont Place. Struggling as I am with a pretty bad headcold and still recovering from a weekend in the lovely town of Bremen, I wasn't in the best of shape, but I thought Pinot Noir, especially from one of the most exciting Pinot regions in the world, was worth the effort.

We had three flights of 5 wines, each flight from different vintages. For the record, the wines were as follows:

2008 - light vintage, elegant, bright fruit
Domain Road
Maori Point
Desert Heart Mackenzies Run
Coal Pit Tiwha
Te Mara

2007 - big on concentration, small on quantity - very lush, ripe concentrated wines
Northburn Station
Akarua Cadence
Felton Road
Bannock Brae Barrel Selection

2006 - like 2008, but signicantly warmer, the wines are more tannic, higher in acidity, less fruit-driven
Pisa Range
Prophets Rock
Mount Difficulty
Olssens Jackson Barry

I wasn't familiar with most of these wines, the only ones I had tasted before were Mount Difficulty and Felton Road. There was a very clear difference between the three vintages and quality was high throughout, as were the prices (Felton Road was about average price, to give you an idea). The uniting theme, I suppose, throughout all the wines was the purity and brightness of the fruit.

A couple of interesting issues came up in the discussions throughout the morning:

1. There was only one bottle closed under cork. One of the bottles was corked and there seemed to be a bit of bottle variation, even with the good bottles.All the rest were in perfect condition.

2. Terroir. Or lack thereof. It was put to the speaker that, outside of Burgundy, terroir wasn't a relevant issue. That there are plenty of New World Pinot Noirs now with excellent fruit, well made wines at reasonable prices. What is so special about Otago?

3. Prices. All the wines we tasted would retail in Ireland for between €30-€50 (the prices on the sheet supplied were, as usual, completely wrong). Why are they so high?

My own thoughts? The wines, while expensive, were  all of a very high quality. It would be unsual to get that consistency in a tasting of Pinot Noirs from anywhere else. Central Otago does seem to have something about it that produces excellent Pinot Noir. Even in 3 wildly different vintages, the wines were very, very good, but obviously with a lot of vintage variation. To get vintage variation ,but still churn out high quality is admirable.
In many cases, the vines are still very young. If they can produce wines of this quality with vines that are only 10-15 years old, surely the future holds great promise. It is maybe expecting too much to expect great expressions of terroir with vines so young. They are getting complexity, concentration, great fruit expression and balance; maybe the minerality will come. Maybe it won't. Maybe it doesn't matter, as someone else pointed out.
These are hand-crafted wines made by small wineries in a very remote part of the world in a marginal climate with a notoriously fickle grape variety. Of course, they are expensive. The big question is, are they worth it?
We are finding it hard to sell Felton Road at the moment because few are spending that kind of money on any wine at the moment. However, I really do believe the quality is there to justify the price. It is unfair to compare Otago with Burgundy because they are completely different animals. It's like comparing top Australian Shiraz with Cote Rotie. Taken on their own merits, there is complexity, balance, purity of expression. That's good enough for me.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Making room...

We have a few things we need to clear to make room for stock for Christmas. These are limited stocks, so once they’re gone, they’re gone!

Isole del Sole Rosso – RRP €10.99 - now €7.99
This is a soft fruity red from Argiolas, the best producer from Sardinia. Brilliant value at this price.

Terres d’Azur Merlot– RRP €10.99 now €7.99
Soft fruity, easy drinking, exactly what you would expect from a Languedoc Merlot. However, we don’t work with this producer and have only a dozen or so cases left. If you would like a some great everyday red to have on hand for the evenings drawing in, this one is great value.
Vignes d’Oc Blanc RRP €9.99 now €7.99
Clean, fresh, fruity, very easy do drink, this is a blend of Grenache Blanc and unoaked chardonnay. Again, a good all-rounder and a great one to stock up on.

Argiolas Perdera 2007 RRP €14.99 now €12.00
A blend of 90% Monica, 5% Carignano and 5% Bovale Sardo, (all indigenous varieties), it spends a brief sojourn of 5-6 months in French oak. This delicious, hearty red has loads of dark cherry fruit , soft tannins and a spicy finish. Well worth a try.