Rhone V Barossa: a wine tasting in Dublin

Last night  at ely we made some fantastic comparisons of Shiraz, Grenache and Viognier. The original idea was to compare only Shiraz, known as Syrah in France, from the 2 most iconic producing regions. However John McDonnell of Wine Australia came up with an inspired idea – let’s look at the iconic wines of Rhone, not just Shiraz, but Grenache – the master of Southern Rhone and Viognier – the lush white grape grown across the whole Rhone.

We chose contemporary Frenchies to compete against  traditional Aussies in a battle of the Rhone Rangers!

Viognier
Yalumba Y Series Vs Ogier Condrieu

Viognier is a lush white grape with a delicious oily texture , lots of alcohol and brimming with peaches, apricots and elderflower aromas. Viognier is a tricky grape to get right, it needs perfect ripening conditions, very talented viticulturalists and gentle winemaking. It is very difficult to pick a favourite between these two, largely because they fit into two completely different price brackets. The Y Series Yalumba is fresh, retaining all the delicious aromatics that can easily be lost for a Viognier at the entry price point. I, as well as most of the winetasters, were blown away by how much flavour and depth this wine had. The Condrieu on the other hand was stunning. Costing about €25 more in the shop than the Yalumba it wasn’t really a fair comparison. The Condrieu was golden in colour with savoury spices layered over the lush ripe fruit and oaky tones. Two delicious, too delicious…

 

Grenache
Domaine la Bouissiere, Gigondas Vs Henschke ‘Johann’s Garden’

Grenache – a real floosy of a grape! Grenache is a fairly easy grape to grow. It flourishes almost anywhere and produces wines that can be any thing from light,  juicy and alcoholic to dense, peppery and (yes) alcoholic. It’s just one of those grapes!! The key thing is to make a wine of elegance and restraint. Generally it is blended with Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignan and Cinsault. This comparison was probably the most interesting of the evening. Henschke’s Johann’s Garden Grenache was from the 2004 vintage whilst the Gigondas was a much younger wine from the 2008 vintage. It was a tough one to call and again the Aussie’s totally blew my expectations: Henschke’s wine had all the characteristics of the a French wine with delicate fruit flavours, earthy spice and lots of herb characters whilst the Gigondas was much more robust and pronounced with lots intense flavours of cherries and liquorice. If we were to taste these blind we would be hard pressed to tell which part of the world they were from!

 

Syrah/Shiraz
Yann Chave Crozes Hermitage Vs John Duval ‘Entity’

Crozes Hermitage, like all appellations in Northern Rhone, is Syrah. Cote Rotie is the one exception having a good dash of Viognier in it to add perfume, but the likes of Hermitage, St Joseph and Cornas are pure Syrah. The Syrah produced in Northern Rhone is unlike those produced anywhere else in the world. They are dense and yet perfectly fragrant with herbs, spice and damsony fruit. Northern Rhone wines are for grown ups and Yann Chave’s Crozes Hermitage is just that. From the exceptional 2009 vintage it has a velvety mouthfeel, ripe tannins and fresh acidity. We served up assorted meat platters during the tasting which really complimented the fruit and structure of the Crozes. We teamed this up with John Duval’s ‘Entity’ Shiraz. John Duval was chief winemaker at Penfold’s for a number of years and 6 years ago he went out on his own. The results are stunning and the wine is so good that you just want to sit down and really savour the coffee and caramel spices layered with cherries, raspberries and plums.

Rhone Vs Barossa
It’s very hard to pick one region over the other but there was one standout wine for everyone – John Duval’s ‘Entity’ stole the show! It was ‘practically perfect in every way’!

 

ely is currently showcasing the best in Aussie wines with our ‘seasonal heroes’ promo. Why not enjoy a glass Innocent Bystander Pinot Gris or Pewsey Vale Riesling on the terrace of ely bar & brasserie in the IFSC. Yummy!

For more information on tastings and events please click here.

Wine tastings and wine courses in Dublin 2011

Just a quick update on upcoming events

April Tastings

April 13th  – The Malbecs of Argentina and France
April 20th – New Zealand
April 27th – Barossa Valley v Rhone Valley – Shiraz on 2 continents.

Summer Wine Tasting Sessions

25th May: Summer Rose
1st June: Summer Whites
8th June: Summer Reds
15th June: Summer Sparklers
22nd June: Organic and Biodynamic Wine – tasting the difference

Visit our website for more details or contact Michelle Lawlor at 01 678 7867 / wineclub@elywinebar.com

Wine Tasting: Sauvignon Blanc’s of the World and many more!

The Old World v New World tasting took place last night in ely winebar.

24 enthusiasts arrived at 7pm delighted for the excuse to learn and, ahem, drink delicious wines on a Monday evening! Start as you mean to go on was the motto as Michele Jordan introduced the white wines of the evening.

WHITES
First up we looked at a grape native to Sardinia and Corsica but grown across Tuscany called Vermentino. Poggiotondo Bianco, made by the very talented winemaker Alberto Antonini is bright and zippy with delicate floral hints. The perfect summer wine! We compared this to it’s Aussie counterpart  a Vermentino grown in McLaren Vale. McLaren Vale is tempered by the sea breezes and produces wines with real finesse. Mitolo Vermentino is no exception. At 10% alcohol and light in body it is extremely refreshing, as a drink in its own right and as a wine style coming from the hot climes of Australia.

Round two was a comparison of Sauvignon Blanc from Australia, New Zealand and France. Everyone at the tasting had tried many a Sauvignon Blanc but couldn’t hide their delight at comparing the 3 key styles. Sancerre is an appellation in Loire, France that produces the archetypal Sauvignon Blanc: lean and focused with great minerality and green fruit whilst the Delta Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough jumped out of the glass with its tropical fruit aromas and brilliant intensity. Australia’s interpretation was easily the winner of the evening. Made in the Adelaide Hills by Shaw and Smith, it was definitely one of the stars of the evening. Restrained and elegant with a  full creamy texture and appley fruit aromatics. It sat perfectly in between France and New Zealand. Unusual for an Australia to retain all the subtle aromatics of Sauvignon Blanc and the tasters couldn’t help but be enamoured by the whole package.

REDS
The red flights included Pinot Noir from Australia, France and New Zealand and an extremely interesting comparison of Sangiovese made in its home town of Chianti, Italy and also in Heathcote, Australia. Interestingly there was no clear favourite in either comparison. Domaine Lafarge ‘s Volnay was the lightest in body with savoury aromas and dark cherries, New Zealand’s offering was Delta’s Hatters Hill Pinot. I have tasted this wine many a time and last night it was truly delicious. The 2008 vintage has really come out of its shell with yummy fresh summer fruit and undertones of spice. Yummy YUMMY. The last in the flight was Shaw and Smith’s Pinot Noir from the Adelaide Hills. Denser in colour and driven more by sweet fruit than savoury spice it is the most full-bodied of the three.

Most people love the taste of Chianti without ever knowing what the magic ingredient is that makes it so delicious – the grape Sangiovese! Widely grown across the Tuscan hills it produces wines with cherry and raspberry aromas, herbaceous tones, refreshing acidity and ripe tannins. Good Chianti is a wonderful thing and we experienced two delicious interpretations last night. Poggiotondo Chianti Superiore and Greenstone Sangiovese. My preference is for the richer, full bodied Aussie number which had aged well with soft fine tannins and lots of fruit whist other liked the softer and more delicate Italian one.

Just a quick update on the next session of wine tastings!

April Tastings

April 13th  – The Malbecs of Argentina and France
April 20th – New Zealand
April 27th – Barossa Valley v Rhone Valley – Shiraz on 2 continents.

Summer Wine Tasting Sessions

25th May: Summer Rose
1st June: Summer Whites
8th June: Summer Reds
15th June: Summer Sparklers
22nd June: Organic and Biodynamic Wine – tasting the difference

Visit our website for more details or contact Michelle Lawlor at 01 678 7867 / wineclub@elywinebar.com
Thanks for reading!

Stockists for the wines are as follows!

Stockists

Mitchells, Glasthule & IFSC

Fallon & Byrne, Dublin 2

Jus De Vine, Portmarnock

Red Island Wine Co, Skerries

Sweeneys, Glasnevin

64 Wine, Glasthule

On the Grapevine, Dalkey

Drinkstore, Manor St

Next Door, Enfield

Callans, Dundalk

Red Nose Wine, Clonmel

Redmonds of Ranelagh

Terroirs, Donnybrook

Donnybrook Fair

Corkscrew, Dublin 2

Celtic Whiskey Shop, Dublin 2

The Vineyard, Galway

World Wide Wines, Waterford

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