Monday, May 21, 2012

Ballymaloe Riesling Revolution Tasting

My father was always happy to go to hurling matches - whether it was an All-Ireland final or a Junior B League relegation decider, he would be there chewing the fat with his mates, one of whom summed up the action of every single match as "the worst I think I ever seen".

I am rarely seen at hurling matches these days, but I am happy to turn up at any wine tasting, if I can. The Riesling tasting held in Ballymaloe last Thursday night was very much at the All-Ireland end of the spectrum of wine tastings and was a successful meeting of minds between Colm, the sommelier in Ballymaloe and John McDonnell, the bundle of energy that runs Wine Australia in Ireland. That they got 130 people to turn up at a tasting of one grape variety was amazing. That this grape variety was Riesling made the night even more amazing.

We had three winemakers, all successful exponents of this noble variety - Tim Adams from Clare Vally, Australia, Severine Schlumberger from Alsace and Carl Ehrhard from the Rheingau. In the spirit of the evening, the winemakers showed some of their own wines , but also some wines from other producers. The evening was moderated by John Wilson from the Irish Times.

There were 4 flights of 3 wines each designed to show the different expressions of Riesling. The flights were as follows (* marks my favourite from each flight)

Young Riesling
Tim Adams Riesling 2011
Kunstler Stielweg 2010*
Trimbach Riesling 2009

Aged Riesling
Tim Adams Riesling 2007
Kunstler Kirchenstuck 2007 *
Schlumberger Kitterle Grand Cru 2005

Off-dry Riesling
Peter Lehmann Riesling 2011
Carl Ehrhard Rudesheimer Berg Rosneck 2010
Weinbach Schlossberg Grand Cru Cuvee St Catherine 2004 *

Sweet Riesling
Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut 2010 *
Carl Ehrhard Berg Rottland Beerenauslese 2007
Schlumberger Vendange Tardive 2009

It was a fantastic range of wines of different styles, price points and producers - something for everyone....well done to the organisers!

Afterwards, Ballymaloe got together some local food producers and set up a mini farmers market so there was some amazing food on offer as well, with the proceeds going to the East Cork Slow Food movement. It was high quality food with a very easy-going atmosphere.

The best I think I ever seen.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Stability Wine Tasting

I heard someone on the radio the other day talking about some vote or other on May 31st. I didn't get the details because I was busy putting together the plans for our SUMMER WINE FAIR, taking place on the same date. It fits in really well because you might well need a stiff drink by the time you have finished voting, so how better to celebrate than with a Wine Tasting?

The details are :

  • Summer Wine Fair, Thursday May 31st 6PM to 8.30PM
  • Location : The Magpie Inn (upstairs)
  • We will be showcasing a lot of new wines, including some great options for "summer"
  • Great discounts for orders on the night
  • It's only €10 to get in to taste over 50 wines - and you get your tenner back if you put in an order!

So, this is a really important decision and you should really educate yourself about the details, weigh up the options and then decide to come to our Wine Fair. 

We will have lots of wines from France, which have just got a lot more interesting (and less annoying). Italy will be well represented by plenty of nicely presented wines trying not to look like they are enjoying themselves too much. The Spanish wines are as good as ever, despite the slightly worried look on their faces. Wines from Germany and Austria will, of course, be central to the proceedings. The UK and Sweden have decided not to take part in the tasting this time. 

There won't be any Greek wine, unfortunately.

Some people have said we should defer the tasting till after the summer, but we are determined to go ahead with it, so should you come along for a great night out? YES!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Vina Aliaga Tempranillo 2010

The above wine was one we used to bring in a number of years ago but kinda fell off the list along the way. We bumped into Carlos Aliaga at Prowein earlier this year and retasted his now extensive range of 14 wines, along with some delicious jamon, and were reminded just how good this Tempranillo is - pure Tempranillo, no oak from one of Navarra's most exciting producers.

This is juicy, fruity Spanish wine at its best - smooth with dark berry fruit and a smooth finish. A brilliant wine on its own or with food - a great all-rounder.

On tasting this weekend - €11.99 or 2 for €20. Well worth a try.