Two Good, Two Bad and Two Unusual

This week we begin a new series of quick tastes. Two Good I met up with winemaker Francesco Cucurrulo from Sicily recently. His family estate , Masseria del Fuedo, is organically farmed and always has been. It’s not all about vines either! The Masseria del Fuedo wines are distributed by Classic Drinks out of Cork….

Take to the Slopes with the Wines of Austria

My latest column for Checkout Magazine was on the Wines of Austria. I opened with, ‘A few years back I was presented with a cd by Austrian wine producer Willi Opitz titled ‘The Sounds of Wine’. It was a recording of his wines as they fermented in his cellars in Illmitz near the Hungarian border. Clearly…

Orange from White

Colours don’t often wake up my taste buds. Mauve. Nothing. Black. Nope. Does White have a taste or a bouquet? Blue, Green ….. Orange?   Yes.    Citrus and tangy zestiness jump out – because its a fruit. I now accept ‘Orange Wine’ as a category as valid as I do Red, White, Sparkling and Rosé. It has taken me…

Happy New Year (Masterclasses)

Fabulous Christmas. Tremendous New Year. Rang it all through with the very excellent Jaume Serra Cava from Spar and decided that my favourite Prosecco (while the competition was weak it shouldn’t take away from this wine distributed by Gilbeys of Ireland!) is the Maschio dei Cavalieri Spumante! There. That’s a first for me – a favourite Prosecco …….

Am I Independent?

The moniker ‘Independent‘ is bandied about the wine trade with such regularity we tend to ignore it more often than use it as a useful tool. What does it mean to be ‘independent’? Independent Wine Merchant:   This should be an easy one! Does it mean ‘not part of a group’ or owned by a…

Lidl’s latest French Wine Sale – How Good?

First off I need to make it clear that I am a fan of many wines that Lidl carry. When they run a French Wine Sale, like the one due to begin this Monday (Sept 12th), they bring additional wines into their stores. So, buy ’em now ‘cos they won’t be there when they’re gone!…

It Smells of Boiled Potatoes with a Dollop of Butter

When I am asked to describe the bouquet of a wine I always preface my answer with something along the lines of, “this is what I smell and it may not be what your nose is picking up….”   ( ah, sorry about the picking bit…. ) When it comes to recognising bouquets we are all…

Lidl has Italy (and its wines) covered!

Way back in the 1980’s …. sounds like a bit of an old song … start again. When the ‘modern’ Irish wine trade was in its infancy (early 1980’s) my two brothers and I began to import wines from Italy. (The Verling brothers did likewise). We were, I suppose, trendsetters. Were we? Perhaps it was…

M&S Wines – a Go To Place

Marks and Spencer recently held a fabulous tasting of its Summer Wine Portfolio. Here are a few of the wines that stood out for me.     SPARKLING         M&S is always a good source of variety within its sparkling section. Beside very good Champagne (Oudinot, Abel Charlot) Cavas (Segura Viudas) and others they often include wines from…

New Zealand Wines Needs to Add Another Gear – for Ireland

Recently we were told that, ‘New Zealand’s wine industry is gearing up for its largest ever presence at the Prowein International Wine & Spirits Trade Show, following a record $1.54 billion in exports in 2015, up 14% on 2014’. As I’ve blogged before, don’t read headlines to be impressed. Read them to be informed! Up…

Free Wine Tour to Australia!

Wine Australia has organised an interesting and very welcome event in Dublin. They call it an Immersion Training Day. The invite email read as follows: I am writing to send you details of the Australian Immersion Training day which will   take place in Dublin on Tues 31st May 2016. This is an all-day course which…

Beaujolais Tasting in Dublin next Week – Are you going?

‘Beaujolais’ will be in town next week. We have been kindly invited to a Masterclass and a 150 wine tasting. Sounds great and I’ll be there. I hyphenated Beaujolais because, over the years, it has taken on a variety of definitions and very often this means we are not entirely sure what we will experience…