Pinot Noir tasting at ely bar & brasserie

A big thanks to everyone who came along to our Pinot Noir tasting- the whole evening was a tremendous success!
Difficult to pick out one wine over another, so I’ll mention the less obvious choices which showed really well!
Franz_haazFirst up, just to get us started, we had one of THE great Pinot based wines – and one of my all time favourite wines- Bollinger Special Cuvee. I’m happy to drink this anytime- as many can attest to- but it fully deserves to be included in a line up of great Pinot Noir.

The Franz Hass Pinot Nero 2010 from Alto Adige in northern Italy was probably the pick of the night for many- and a revelation for most! Silky, delicate and utterly drinkable, it shows off all of Pinots finest qualities at once. Absolutely delicious!
PlantagenetAt the other end of the Pinot Spectrum was the Plantagenet Mount Barker Pinot Noir 2009 from Western Australia. Deep ruby colour, wonderfully aromatic and concentrated cherry and spice on the nose. The aromas were reflected on the palate, and the flavours lasted an age!

Join us for an ely wine tasting evening at ely bar & brasserie, IFSC.

ely Big Tasting 21st March 2014


ely’s Big Tasting will be held on March 21st in ely bar & brasserie IFSC, and, as ever promises to be a fantastic evening of tasting.

There will be more than 100 wines from 15 countries, including classics from the old world, modern classics from the new, not to mention Champagnes, Ports, sherries and dessert wines. We will feature artisan beers, Irish Ciders, organic beef from our family farm and much more…..

When: March 21st 2014

Time: 6pm or 8pm sessions

Where: ely bar & brasserie, IFSC


Dinner & ticket bundle

*** Exclusive offer to ely loyalty card holders. ***

ely loyalty card holders are entitled to a special rate for up to 8 tickets. Quote your card number or full name.

*** This event always sells out so be sure to book your tickets early ***

For more info contact Ian Brosnan on @ibrosnan – email or call (01) 6787867

Restaurant wine lists by John Wilson

The economics of wine 

by John Wilson wine correspondent for The Irish Times

Eating in a trendy, casual city-centre restaurant recently I came across a modest French wine for €30. I happen to know the producer in France receives €1.85 for the same wine. The importer probably takes around €1.50-€1.70, the Government a generous €8.80, leaving €18 for the restaurant.

Seems a lot for opening a bottle of wine? High margins may be justified in the case of Michelin-starred restaurants that have huge overheads, a cellar of maturing wine and a team of qualified sommeliers. But a well-run bistro can turn over its stock of wine several times before paying for it, and the staff often don’t have any wine knowledge at all.

Arguably the real culprit is the Minister for Finance. Restaurant mark-ups here are roughly the same as in France and the UK (around 70 per cent), but our base costs are much higher. In France, a very decent €4 bottle of wine would cost €16 in a restaurant. The same bottle in Ireland would cost the restaurant around €9 from a wholesaler and €37 on their list. Recent increases in duty mean a wine that once sold for €25 in a restaurant is now over €30.

I am familiar with the arguments put forward by restaurateurs; they have very high overheads. Some have cut their food margins (traditionally the same as wine) to appear good value and then increased wine prices. A teetotaller may get great value, but as a wine lover I find it difficult to pay €45 or more for a bottle of wine that is available for €15 in my local wine shop. Many hotels and restaurants deliberately try to source “restaurant exclusive” wines that customers will not be able to compare. But punters are not stupid and tend to opt for the least expensive wine on the list. Establishments then find that they can only sell the less profitable house wines and are forced to increase their prices still further.

Erik Robson of Ely wine bar in Dublin has re-launched his wine list with substantially lower prices than before. The result is a mouth-watering list of great wines at fantastic prices. The excellent Willunga 100 Grenache is €28 in Ely but €39.50 in a restaurant nearby and €17 in a shop. He also lists the superb Sang du Cailloux Vacqueyras for €46, as against €69 nearby and €30 in a shop. “We had a really busy January,” says Robson. “Our house wines sales are down, wines selling at €30-€50 and even from €50-€70 have increased. Our staff morale is brilliant, they have a renewed confidence and are excited about selling wine again. It means we need to get more customers in, but so far it is working.”

Dublin wine bar Fallon & Byrne also offers wine at great prices; you can drink any of the 500 wines in the shop for a €10 corkage. “From the day we opened, we have been operating the €10 idea,” says manager Dave Gallagher. “It is great value if you trade up.” Certainly few restaurants can offer the delicious Dom Perignon on their list for €185 a bottle. Corkage drops to a mere €1 on Happy Mondays. The upstairs restaurant has a more expensive list, but customers can still avail of the €10 corkage from any bottle in the shop two floors below.

Is it a coincidence that both Robson and Gallagher have a background in the wine trade? Certainly both have an unerring nose for great wine. Other good examples include Kelly’s Resort Hotel in Rosslare, Co Wexford with one of the best wine lists in the country at amazingly cheap prices and The Hole in the Wall on Blackhorse Avenue on Dublin’s northside where you can drink wines (and craft beers) from their shop at no extra cost. The Vintage Kitchen on Poolbeg Street in Dublin city centre does not charge any corkage at all. Just remember to drop into a decent wine shop on the way to dinner.

I have no problem with restaurateurs making a profit. But I do think a decent bottle of wine is an important part of a good meal. I have mentioned just a few examples of restaurants taking a refreshing attitude to wine. I know here are many more.

Click here to read more about ely wine value promise

It’s broken, so let’s fix it.

For our 15th year ely’s promise to you is a more affordable 2014. Enjoy the same excellent quality wines from winemakers, who share our passion, for less.

We have restructured our margins and absorbed the last two duty increases, which has resulted in considerable reductions on the price of all wine across our entire wine list. Here are just a few examples from our list.

It’s broken so let’s fix it.

Since 1999 ely restaurants have paved the way for great wines by the glass as well as by the bottle. Expressive, engaging and rewarding wines, catering to all budgets.

Today, in our 15th year, we are paving the way forward by completely rethinking how we price our wines.

There have been considerable cost increases in Ireland pushing wine beyond acceptable price points in terms of the quality-value ratio: a global shortage in wine production, emerging markets in Asia, vineyards increasing prices, transport costs and the two duty hikes in the past twelve months.

It’s worth noting that a particular Côtes du Rhône costing €4.25 wholesale in France costs €10.50 here, before the respective VAT rates of 19.6% and 23%.

A more affordable 2014

We don’t believe that margins should automatically follow increases in cost. With that in mind ely has absorbed the 2013 duty increase, has changed how it buys its wines and restructured its margins.

These savings and an undying passion for seeing great wine enjoyed by our guests has resulted in considerable reductions in the price of wine in ely for 2014.

Quality is value

We hope you’ll agree that our 2014 wine prices – for the same great wines from winemakers who share our passion and commitment to quality and our decade and a half commitment to food provenance – make ely wine bar, ely bar & brasserie and ely gastro bar great value when dining out in Ireland.

For more information please email or go to

Erik and Michelle Robson

ely restaurant group

“Erik has an unerring nose for excellent wine and he has a head for business too. The little empire has been growing steadily in terms of bums on seats. No better man, then, than to address the thorny issue of value for money when it comes to having wine when you eat out.” Tom Doorley – Irish Daily Mail -Read more about ely’s Wine Value promise

“A great decision, and courageous too given tight margins in the industry. Some lateral thinking long overdue in the industry to take it in a new direction. Your existing customers will certainly thank you for it, and you’re sure to generate new interest and popularity. Overall, it must be a win-win. I hope even more follow your lead, but hats off to the trend-setter!” Des O’Mahony – Bookassist

Sensational Sangiovese

We’re delighted to see Paolo di Marchi and his two wineries- Isole e Olena in Tuscany, and Proprieta Sperino in Piemonte – featured in last Saturdays The Irish Times magazine by John Wilson.

Paolo and his wines have long been favorites here in ely, from his supremely elegant style of Chianti Classico to his stunning (100% Sangiovese) Cepparello.

His son Luca –a winemaking genius in his own right- is now running Sperino, and producing wines of incredible finesse from Nebbiolo and other local grapes.

The Uvaggio from Proprieta Sperino is available in all three elys, the Chianti Classico in @ely ely bar & brasserie, IFSC and the Cepparello in ely wine bar in Ely Place.

Full article at

Paolo di Marchi

Paolo di Marchi

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