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La Purisima – Yecla Baby!

June 11th, 2014

Hands up if you have heard of the wine region Yecla in southern Spain.

Liar, Liar pants on fire ( for some of you ).

Well I recently came across the region and have been blown away by the quality, and the price point. Fantastic value wines that over deliver across the range.

Blanco
For the wine nerds aficionados, here is some of the technical jargon.

A Brave New World

The Yecla Denomination of Origin is located on the Murcia Plateau, at an altitude of between 500 and 900 metres. It has numerous jagged NE-SE mountain ranges. The most important mountain ranges are the Sierra del Cuchillo, the Sierra Salina and the Serral. In this unsettled orography a large number of different soils coexist.

These soils originated mainly from sediments of the Pliocene period (2000 million years ago). They all have the same pH: they are all basic soils with an average pH of 8, poor in organic material with low total nitrogen content. These parameters limit the vigour of the vine and make the soils unproductive, thus guaranteeing concentrated wines.

The dominant texture is sandy-silty, although stony and purely sandy soils can also be found.

Tell us about the wines …

Now, that has surely whetted your appetite but I’ll give you the lay-mans version now. These are fantastic wines that have a great freshness about them that make them super for summer drinking ( the Estio range (only €11.99) in particular ), as well as a fantastic organic wine made from Monastrell. The star of the show in terms of tasting was their Syrah. Its only €14.99 but I would happily put it up against a Rhone Valley Syrah or a Barossa Shiraz – different styles of course, but a wonderful expression of Syrah.

They have a 2nd white at the Purisima level that is an aromatic white wine which easily stood up the challenge of maturation in French barriques. A great wine for food and at only €14.99 stands up well to its Chablis & Pouilly Fume competition.

We are really excited about these wines and Gary found them at the very end of the last day of a wine show when he was running to catch a train and decided to have one more taste. A great decision and when you try the wines, we think you’ll agree.

La Purisima Syrah3

The new 50 EURO Mix Case now Online

March 12th, 2013

A great little mix case of 6 wines is now on Sale in house and online. We listened to our customers and these are among the wines they wanted to see on offer. We picked 3 Reds & 3 Whites from some of our favourite vineyards. Normally €63, this is your for only €50.

The Reds

One of our best selling red wines comes from the Languedoc and the Gassac family of wines. The Gassac Classic Red is just that. A Classic at a great price.

Cuvee Jean Paul Rouge – Staying the south of France but moving over to the Vaucluse this is a little cracker that has proved a party favourite since it arrived.

58 Guineas Claret is a great introduction to Bordeaux. A Merlot dominant blend ( Cab Sab is the other variety).

The Whites

The sister to the Classic Red, the Gassac Classic White is for the white wine drinker who likes a little minerality and complexity in their wines. Another firm favourite, especially among the Sauvignon Blanc lovers.

The Spanish wine revolution goes on and this little cracker from the Penedes region has made many a happy party happier. Mont Marcal make a great Cava but their white wine is a little star.

For all of you who enjoy the holidays in Portugal, the Montaria Blanco offers a more complex and food friendly wine. If you want to test your dinner guests with “Guess the Grape”, this is the one that will win you the money.

Get this mix case while its hot. We will change the wines in the future but for now… enjoy.

Wines of the Week – Spanish Red and Irish Organic White

August 12th, 2011

Wines of the week

Wines of the week

We have 2 new wines of the week and they include a real star wine from the Irish Vineyard in France. I am of course talking about the much loved Domaine des Anges in Provence. The new vintages have arrived into Red Nose Wine and we are giving the 2010 White a push by slashing the price back to €10.49. This organic wine has a nose of pears and lemons with a touch of tropical fruits. A full, rich, creamy, well-balanced palate with notes of pears and pineapples leading to a long finish, both lively and elegant.

To match it we have the very popular La Granja Tempranillo Garnacha, aka The Zebra. This is an everyday drinking soft rounded juicy red wine, with rich ripe raspberry flavours. It is a great match for barbeque roasted pork chops, spare ribs, sausages, grilled vegetables and cheeses and only costs €6.99.

Wines of the week – BBQ Specials €6.99

July 27th, 2011

wine-of-the-week-BBQ_Barbera-Lagarde

We have 2 new wines of the week and they are both targeting that elusive Irish barbeque. The sun is shining as I write this so with a hatful of optimism, I will assume it will continue. We have a new Barbera from Italy that we are very excited about and it is literally made for the BBQ. We are going to discount it back to help ease it into the marketplace and it is available for only €6.99 / bottle.

To match it we have a perennial favourite, the Ugni Blanc – Colombard blend from the south of France. You all know it as Lagarde Blanc but you might not recognize the price of only €6.99. As an added bonus if you buy the 2 wines, we will do it for only €12.99.

bubbly-bbq-m-x

Happy barbeque.

BBQ Mix Wine Case

July 9th, 2011

BBQ-Case-offer

If we wish hard enough, the summer will come. We must be positive. Buy it here

So here is my contribution to the optimism. I am putting up a little mix case for €44.99 and it has some cracking little wines that are superb for the BBQ… There are spicey Reds, Crisp whites and even a little bubbly. These are among the most popular wines in the shop and are offered here with a big discount.

Buy the wine, and the sun will come !!!

Wines in the mix include :

La Granja “Pig” Tempranillo
Grandiose Sauvignon Blanc
Santa Gloria Merlot
Mirabello Pinot Grigio
Borgo Prosecco Frizante
Gassac Classic Red

Article – Carcassonne to Bordeaux, the journey ends

August 6th, 2010

BBQ in the Rain

The Irish are a tough bunch. I am just in from a very nice BBQ on the neighbourhood green. It is the 3rd attempt ( in 3 years ) at it, but we would not let the rain dictate us this time. We stood out on the green in defiance until the drizzle stopped and the sun ( almost ) came out. It was a coming together of neighbours and the local butcher, baker and wine merchant supplied the goods. I spent last Saturday at another barbeque with Pat Whelan at his Oakville emporium of all things nice and tasty. I was giving out free samples of artisan wine to match Pat’s artisan food. One lady came out laden down with meat and before I could offer her a taste, she pronounced that she was a pioneer. I looked at her bag of meat and said, “It could be worse, you could be a vegetarian”. She laughed, but still didn’t break her pledge. However, I have no doubt that she was stocking up for a wonderful party with friends and family, and it is interesting to see the change in people’s attitude to eating and drinking at home. What was great at our local event tonight was that everyone pitched in and brought a plate and did their bit. I grew up in Cherrymount in the 70s and 80s and we would regularly be in our neighbours houses. They were dark days but people knew no better is what they tell us. I think that the current recession ( or maybe it’s a cultural shift ) is making people re-evaluate their social venues. I still like a night out, but it’s nice to meet the neighbours as well.

An Irish BBQ

 

An Irish BBQ

Leaving the Rat Race

The last leg of my French odyssey took place from Carcassonne to Bordeaux with a stop in the Dordogne valley along the way. I visited Sean and Caroline Feely of Chateau Haut Garrigue. Some of you will know them from one of our first tastings with Caroline in 2008. Others will know them from their cover story on the Irish Times or maybe it was the big TV feature on Nationwide last November. They get a lot of press and for a variety of reasons. Tomas Clancy of the Sunday Business Post calls their wines “a dazzling winery which is a model of organic and biodynamic excellence”. Their Bordeaux style blends have often been compared to a top end Bordeaux that sell for much more. If you ever want to try a 30 euro Bordeaux for half the price, try their red wines. Taste them blind and you will find it hard to pick it out. Regardless of all of this, their story is fascinating and they basically left the “rat race” of Dublin to start a new life in the country with their two young children. They somehow made it work and in a relatively short space of time, they have made superb wines that reflect both the land they come from and the people who make them. The really made me feel welcome and I wish I sold more of their wonderful wines than I do.

Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine and Sean Feely of Chateau Haut Garrigue

 

Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine and Sean Feely of Chateau Haut Garrigue

An evening with Brando & Pacino

I booked into a cheap hotel in the suburbs of Libourne, near St Emilion for my final night in France. I was expecting the worst, but was pleasantly surprised. My room was modern with a flat screen TV and the hotel was immaculate. I watched the Godfather in French in complete comfort. Both Marlon Brando and Al Pacino are still cool in French. There was a little restaurant downstairs and I had a fantastic meal for 12 euros. The jug of wine cost 4 euros. One thing I have learned on this trip through the cheap hotels of France is that the house wine is worth trying. In Ireland, the general rule is the house wine is not for drinking, unless supplied by Red Nose Wine of course. You are usually better to try the 2nd or 3rd wine on the list. However in France, if you visit places that the locals frequent, then they cannot afford to have bad house wine as the people will not come back. If you go to a tourist spot, you are fair game and you will often do well to get a bottle worth the price. Some of the best wines I drank ( as opposed to tasted for work ) on my trip were carafes of house wines. It’s great to find a cheap wine that you can enjoy.

A morning in St Emilion

Saint Emilion Terrace view

Saint Emilion Terrace view

After my good meal, Italian mafia movie in French and power shower the next morning, I headed to the beautiful village of St. Emilion for lunch. I don’t know if the paper has room to print the photo I will send them, but there was a great view from the terrace of the bistro. If you are planning a wine holiday, and don’t want to go too far, St. Emilion is not a bad spot. There are flights to Bordeaux from Waterford and Cork and the village itself is stunningly picture postcard. I would advise strongly against buying any wine in the village itself. Very overpriced, and it is much more fun to go to the local winemakers. I can suggest some good ones to visit if you are planning such a trip. After my picturesque lunch, I headed to the Medoc region of Bordeaux and found myself outside some of the most beautiful and impressive chateau in the world. The villages of Pauillac, Margaux, St Julien and St Estephe are the money villages of French wine. This is where you will find Mouton Rothschild, Lafite, Latour, Chateau Margaux, Leoville Las Cases, and Lynch Bages. You need an appointment made months in advance to visit some of these places. I was visiting a family vineyard in the middle of all this that I import from and their pricing reflects the reality of market, unlike Lafite who’s opening en Primeur price of 1,150 euros a bottle is aimed at the Chinese market. So, amongst this wealthy land, my trip came to an end and I was happy to be back in Clonmel to meet my customers last week. I met some great people and tasted some great wines on this trip but the big thing that I am taking away is that my instinct of moving away from Bordeaux towards more southern based wines was right. The wines of the south really outshone those of Bordeaux in terms of style, price and originality. I will stock both, but the biggest choice and most exciting wine will come from the south.  I look forward to you tasting them soon.

Decisions Decisions

Decisions Decisions

Don’t forget to log onto the blog at www.rednosewine.com/blog or follow the ranting on Twitter – www.twitter.com/rednosewine

For anyone who would like more information and can’t make it into the shop, please feel free to contact me at info@rednosewine.com

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

Red Nose Wine Article - Nationalist Aug 06 2010

The SALE goes on

July 2nd, 2010

The weather remains, and the poor old barbecue is wrecked. It never knew work like this before.

SALE SALE SALE

SALE SALE SALE

The sale has been very popular and the 20% and 15% wine have really been well taken up. If I am to pick my own stars among that batch, I would say

The Pont de Brion Graves - down from €15 to €12 and from the mythical 2005 Bordeaux vintage.

The Chateau Margui Blanc – down from €18.50 to €14.80 and in many a Michelin Star restaurant the world over.

The Michel Bailley Pouilly Fume – down from €19 to €15.30 – we had this last weekend and it drinking perfectly. High end Sauvignon from the Loire.

In Red, the some of the standouts include :

Twiggy - the famous Montepuliciano d’Abruzzo wine withe a piece of vine on the bottle – down from €17 to €14.45

The Cantina di Montalcino Sangiovese – Chianti without the price – down from €14.50 to €12.33

The famous New Zealand Muddy Water Pinot Noir- down from €28 to €23.80

This is all about while stocks last, so now is as good a time as any to stock up. Beat the recession pricing.

Have a great weekend and don’t forget Twitter Blind Tasting ( #twebt) on Sunday night at 9.
You can still buy your mystery bottle for €14.

Gary

Article – The Streets of London

June 3rd, 2010

There is an old Joni Mitchell song that goes, “Sittin’ in a park in Paris France, reading the news and it sure looks bad”. I always thought that it was a cafe she sat in, and not a park. I was sure about it until i finally bought the album. Its funny how you can be 100% sure of something and still be wrong. Maybe it’s a male thing. The news sure looks bad today as I sit in a cafe in Clonmel, Ireland. Our beloved hurling team had a very bad day in the office and I had to drive to Cork this morning ( the day after the match ) to collect wine in the warehouse. The lads in the bond are avid hurling fans and let me have it between the eyes. I would imagine Liam Sheedy will have something more to say this year. At least the weather has picked up and is trying to help us get over it.

London – in search of gold

I put back on my travelling hat these last few weeks. I decided at the very last minute to go to London for the annual wine fair. I got the flight cheap and the hotel even cheaper and said why not. There was so much to see and do over the 2 days I was there that I could probably write 4 articles. We’ll see how this one goes down. I was also at the Wine Australia event held in Croke Park. Will I be back there again this year? Enough hurling references, my French friends are lost. I was told that my articles have a little following in the south of France among a bunch of winemakers. It’s one of those things where they might be laughing with you or at you – I’m not sure. What to talk about in regard to the London Fair is difficult to decide. There really was a huge amount of things to see and taste, and the organisation of the event was top notch. It was very different from the French shows and there was a lot more grouping of regions. For example, Italy came together and sectioned off different regions, so if you were looking for a Pinot Grigio, you could sit down and chat with Veneto winemakers and specify exactly what you were looking for.

Must I drink Bordeaux in the morning

There were also a lot of high end chateau who came together from Bordeaux and I bumped into one of them I knew early on the 2nd day. This was great except for the fact that I now had to taste varying vintages of Bordeaux at 10 o clock in the morning, including barrel samples of the already famous 2009 vintage. It is seen as rude not to taste everyone’s wine so by 11 o clock, I had tasted approximately 40 rich, dry red wines. Normally you would save these wines until the end of the day as they tire out your palate. I had to take a 30 minute break and regain my composure. And people think this is an easy job. It beats engineering anyway.

Meeting the famous folk

A real treat in London was going to a tutored tasting on regional French wines with Tim Atkin of BBC’s Saturday Kitchen. He is one the rare “Master of Wine” recipients and an expert on cheap but good quality regional wines. Basically, he told us about the new rule changes that are coming for the traditional Vins de Pays wines and how they will be more regionally based – more on that to follow. What was particularly satisfying is that at the start of the tasting, he name checked Mas de Daumas Gassac as the pioneers of quality wine from the unheralded areas of France. Those of you who attended our tasting with Samuel Guibert a few months back will have heard him discuss the upcoming changes. The tasting with Tim was a real stamp of approval for what I have been trying to do in terms of finding these kinds of wines. I had a great chat with him afterwards and he is as friendly as you see on the telly. It is always nice when that happens.

Gary Gubbins and Tim Atkin

Gary Gubbins and Tim Atkin

I will return to specific parts of the London show in the future, but now for a Monty Python moment, i.e. something completely different. I am not sure if any of you take the time to read my blog but lately it has really taken off. It is basically an unsanitized version of the article. I recently posted a blog about the whole concept of Bring your own wine to a dinner party or to a BBQ. I raised the point that maybe it is OK to bring a bottle for the house but to have your own bottle to enjoy as well. Why should you have to endure the rubbish wine that happens to be open on the table? Would you force a Guinness drinker to drink Heineken, or give them some cheap and nasty discount beer? The blog caused quite a stir in the blogosphere and please feel free to view or add comments at (www.rednosewine.com/blog)

A quick word of good luck to Kieran Quigley, who has recently taken over the Wine Buff in Clonmel, who have long been another champion of quality independent wines. I look forward to heated debate about both wine and his generous golf handicap.

Don’t forget to log onto the blog at www.rednosewine.com/blog or follow the ranting on Twitter – www.twitter.com/rednosewine

For anyone who would like more information and can’t make it into the shop, please feel free to contact me at info@rednosewine.com

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine with Tim Atkin MW

Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine with Tim Atkin MW

BYOB – Etiquette Debate

May 22nd, 2010

A BlogPost that asks the hard questions about BYOB wine etiquette.
When you go to a house party, it is customary to bring a bottle of wine; in fact it may even be requested on the invitation. As a wine merchant, I think that is a great idea. However, this can lead to a delicate issue rearing its unsocial head. What I refer to is the social acceptance ( or not ), of bringing a bottle for the house and a bottle for yourself. I like wine, and have developed a taste for a certain quality of wine over the years. I know there are certain wines that I can drink without food that will have no ill effects the next morning. So, when I go to a party I bring one of each, a bottle to be placed on the table for the masses to attack, but also, a bottle for myself.

BYOB

This is the bottle which I and I alone get to drink. In the same way someone else might bring a six pack of Corona, because that is their tipple of choice, I like to bring a nice Provence or Rhone Valley Red. However, this seems to mortify my wife who says I should drink whatever is open instead of opening my own one and getting stuck in.

Why should I pretend to drink a wine that will, for the most part, be undrinkable? To the eternal despair of the independent wine merchant, the modern household tends to buy all its weekly needs in foreign owned supermarkets and proceed to drop the wine into the trolley along with the ham, cheese and tomatoes. There is usually an offer to get you shopping and as the independent wine merchants source the world for true value, it is the discounted rubbish that finds its way into many a household. I wouldn’t mind if they bought something bloody decent from the supermarket. At least people are too embarrassed to ask me my opinion on their great wine find. As Doc Holliday said to Wyatt Earp in Tombstone, “My hypocrisy goes only so far”. Indeed Sir.

A number of very near misses with the old fashioned wing style corkscrews ( which are useless ) has led me to recently start bringing my own corkscrew. I haven’t yet reverted to bringing my own glass, but have not ruled it out either. So, I ask you, am I being unreasonable and do I need to take yet another long hard look at myself? All comments and opinions welcome.

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

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