ely wines for summer 2014 #006

ely wines for summer continues, and this week we’ve chosen an outstanding Italian to drag you out of that Pinot Grigio slump, and a classic all-round red that drinks well in the sunshine but also quenches those red wine cravings that weeks of sunshine and white wine leave you with!

Broglia la Meirana Gavi di Gavi, Italy 2013

Broglia Pinot Grigio is so ubiquitous these days that it has become a brand in itself.
Many people simply order a glass without even asking what it is; because they know what they get will be light, fruity and inoffensive.  And that is fine if you see wine simply as little more than an alcoholic beverage of choice. But for those who drink wine because they  enjoy it for what it really is- a drink like no other, with massive spectrum of aromas, flavours and textures, inoffensive equals boring.
But fear not, because while Pinot Grigio may be the most visible on our shelves, the rest of Italy is producing some outstanding white. In fact, it is probably the most interesting white wine producing country in Europe today.
There are many wines we could have chosen here but we’ve decided to go with one which seems to slip under the radar a little too often. Produced from the Cortese grape, Gavi di Gavi is one of Italy’s most highly rated white wines. Bone-dry, with lovely crisp apple, citrus and fresh almond flavours, this is flavoursome, refreshing and full of flavour.  Why not remind yourself what wine can really taste like.

 

Les Deux Cols ‘Cuvee Alize’ Cotes du Rhone, France 2012                                           

les_deux_colsThis is made by our good friend Simon Tyrrell, and reinforces our belief that Cotes du Rhone continues to overachieve when it comes to quality and value.
Produced primarily from Grenache, this is a classic style, bursting with bramble fruit, spice and black pepper; it is full of flavour yet wonderfully soft. Good Cotes du Rhone – and there is an abundance of it – is probably the perfect all-round red wine, light enough to drink on a warm summers evening, yet flavoursome enough to satisfy those red wine cravings!

 

Check out ely wines for Summer 2014:

ely wines for Summer #001

ely wines for Summer #002

ely wines for Summer #003

ely wines for Summer #004

ely wines for Summer #005

ely wines for Summer #006

ely wines for Summer #007

ely wines for Summer #008

Join us for an ely wine tasting evening and learn more about wines.
Each week a guest speaker will present a selection of wines from the given region and we’ll serve up a supper dish to match. All wine tastings take place at ely bar & brasserie and start at 7pm. See more at http://www.elywinebar.ie/about/wine-apreciation/ely-wine-tastings

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ely wine tastings May – July 2014

Each week a guest speaker will present a selection of wines from the given region and we’ll serve up a supper dish to match. All wine tastings take place at ely bar & brasserie and start at 7pm sharp.

Thursday May 22nd –  Alsace. ely bar & brasserie, IFSC
This is quite possibly the most interesting and varied white wine producing region in the world. Home to a wide range of grape varieties, many with the potential to produce wines of Grand Cru status. Add to that some of the world’s greatest sweet wines. However, Alsace still suffers from being misunderstood, much the same as Germany. While there are many Germanic influences, the wines of Alsace are utterly unique and deserve your utmost attention!
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Thursday June 5th – Italy’s traditional Grape Varieties. ely bar & brasserie, IFSC
The most exciting thing about Italian wines- and Italy is THE most exciting wine country in the world- is the vast array of grapes that they grow. There are hundreds of varieties grown across the country, and probably many more that we haven’t even heard of – you could drink Italian wines every day for a year and never have the same grape variety twice!! However, you walk into a supermarket here and you’ll most likely see 10 types of Pinot Grigio and a Chianti. We are going to taste the real Italy, wines with genuine character and a real sense of tradition.
 SOLD OUT (But join us for the next one!)

Thursday June 19th – Red Burgundy. ely bar & brasserie, IFSC 
Buying Burgundy is like navigating an minefield- and red Burgundy especially so. Despite the fact that all the wines are produced from a single grape variety, it is essential to know your producers, vineyards and  vintages to ensure you get value for money. But when you find the right one, it rewards in ways that no other wine can. From Bourgogne AC to the finest Premier and Grand Cru, there are incredible Burgundies to be found if you know where to look. And you need look no further that ely. Join us for a richly rewarding tasting of some of the big names and some of the lesser known treats from this most fascinating of wine regions.

Thursday July 10th – Wines of Germany 
Adored by those in the wine business, but sadly often overlooked by the wine drinking public. However, there is no debating the quality – Germany produces some of the finest white wines in the world! – Rieslings of varying styles from bone dry and minerally, to rich and sweet – but always impeccably balanced and complex. Even less appreciated and the stunning reds- 100% Pinot Noir – and quite possibly the finest outside of Burgundy

Thursday July 24th – The Loire Valley. ely bar & brasserie, IFSC 
As wine regions go the Loire Valley has to be one of the most varied and exciting in the world. Red and white, still and sparkling, bone dry to wonderfully sweet, it has something to offer everyone! Everyone knows of Sancerre, Pouilly Fume and Muscadet but the real gems are probably lesser known- Chenin from Savennieres, Montlouis and Vouvray; reds such as Chinon, St. Nicolas de Bourgueil and red Sancerre. The sweet wines, from the lighter to the richest, are absolutely world class. Join us for what promises for a genuinely fascinating and surprising tasting.

For more info do contact Ian Brosnan at  678-7867 or on wineclub@elywinebar.com 

So the first ely Big Tasting of 2014 is finally upon us!

Thanks to all of our brilliant suppliers, along with many of the ely favourites, we have some wonderful new wines, craft beers and ciders for you to taste.

ely_Big_TastingDon’t miss the new Romanian Pinot, or the sparkling wine from Hungary. Try the Ballyhook flyer or Stonewell ciders alongside some of the finest of Irish cheeses, or the organic smoked beef from our family farm matched with some great craft beers. There will also be a fantastic selection of wines from France, Spain, Italy, Australia, Argentina, USA and beyond.

Bar manager at ely gastro bar, Barry Rowan will be plucking out some of his favourite Irish and International craft beers from ely gastro bar’s range of over 50 craft beers.

Don’t forget to make sure you get the chance to taste the Nyetimber- an English sparkling wine that rivals many a Champagne for quality.

However, the purists among you can rest easy- we’ll have some Champagne superstars there too! It’s looking like it’s going to be a beautiful day- come join us on the terrace for a glass of bubbles before, or a cleansing craft beer after!

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Follow us on twitter @elywinebars #elybigtasting

Grapecircus @ Sheridans
Gruner Veltliner Arndorfer, Austria 2011
Edalo Blanco Contreras Ruiz 2012
Rosso Piceno Vigna di Gino San Lorenzo
Rosso di Monteraponi, Tuscany
Chianti When we Dance, Il Palagio 2012
Barbera Conterno Fantino, Piemonte 2011
Tenuta di Aglaea ‘N’anticchia’ Etna Rosso, Sicily 2009

Febvre
Benziger Merlot, Sonoma Valley 2010
Benziger Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma Valley 2012
De Martino Legado Chardonnay, Chile 2011
De Martino Organic Sauvignon Blanc, Chile 2012
De Martino Legado Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
Paparuda Pinot Noir, Romania 2012
Paparuda Pinot Grigio, Romania 2013
Taittinger Nocturne Champagne
Warres Otima 10yr Tawny port

Nomad Wines
Lombeline ‘Sauvignon Blanc’ Loire Valley 2012
Lucien Crochet ‘Le Chene’ Sancerre 2012
Domaine Chavy-Chouet Meursault ‘Vireuil ‘2010
Chateau de Leyguette Bordeaux 2011
Domaine Hauts Blanville ‘Peyras’ Coteaux du Languedoc 2010
Simon Bize ‘Les Perrieres’ Bourgogne 2009

Vinostito
La Goya’ Manzanilla, San Lucar de Barrameda
Rafael Palacios ‘Bolo’ Godello, Valdeorras, Spain 2012
Ch. La Grolet, AoC Bordeaux, France 2010
Domaine Moureau, Madiran, France 2010
Acon Roble, Ribera del Duero 2011
Bodegas Ponce ‘P.F’ Manchuela, Spain 2010
Bodegas y Vinedos Gancedo ‘Xestal’ Bierzo, Spain 2007

On the Grapevine
Verus Pinot Gris, Slovenia 2012
Waltner Gruner Veltliner, Austria 2013
Kiryianni Petra, Greece 2013
Kiryianni Ramnista, Greece 2010
Les Hauts de Montforts, Minervois, France 2011
Degani Amarone, Italy

Wicklow Wine Company
Gruner Veltliner HASEL, Birgit Eichinger, Kamptal, Austria 2012
Riesling trocken, Wagner-Stempel, Rheinhessen, Germany 2012
Vinhas do Lasso Branco , Lisboa, Portugal 2011
Spatburgunder, Wagner-Stempel, Rheinhessen, Germany 2011
Sa de Baixo, Douro, Portugal 2012
Paco dos Cunhas, Dao, Portugal 2010

Le Caveau
Domaine de Ménard “Cuvée Marine”, Cotes de Gascogne, France 2012
Bodegas Menade, Verdejo, Rueda, Spain 2013
Valli Unite “Ciapé”, Cortese, Piedmont, Italy 2012
Henri Marionnet, Touraine Gamay, Loire, France 2012
Poggio Argentiera, Morellino di Scansano, Tuscany, Italy 2011
Domaine Chaume Arnaud ‘Vinsobres’, Rhone, France 2011

Liberty Wines
Nyetimber Classic Cuvee, England 2009
Vesevo Falanghina, Campagnia, Italy 2012
Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2013
Innocent Bystander Pinot Gris, Yarra Valley, Australia 2012
Azamor, Alentejo, Portugal 2009
Alpha Zeta ‘R’ Ripasso, Veneto 2012
Domaine Boisset Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2012
Isole e Olena Chianti Classico, Tuscany Italy 2011
Willunga 100 Grenache, Mclaren Vale, Austraila 2010
Gran Sasso Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Italy 2013
Innocent Bystander Syrah, Yarra Valley, Australia 2010

Nicholsons
Finca Montepedrosa, Rueda, Spain 2012
Soalheiro Alvarinho, Portugal 2013
La Source de Vignelaure Rose, Provence 2012
Domaine Joncier “Le Gourmand” Lirac 2012
Cline Pinot Noir, California 2012
Carmelo Rodero ‘9 months’ Tempranillo, Pedrosa del Duero 2012

Wines Direct
Domaine Feline Jourdaine Picpoul de Pinet 2012
Paddy Borthwick Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ 2013
Craiglee Chardonnay, Sunbury, Victoria 2009
Bret Brothers St. Veran, Burgundy 2011
Haut Rian Cuvee Prestige
Paper Road Pinot Noir, Marlborough, NZ 2012
Mas Julian, Les Terasses du Larzac 2010
L’Hortus Grande Cuvee, Coteaux du Languedoc 2010
Feytit-Clinet “Les Colombieres”, Pomerol 2011
Chateau Haut Segottes St. Emilion Grand Cru 2006
Chateau Lalande, St. Julien, Bordeaux 2008

Cellar Door Wines
Mohua Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ 2012
Mohua Pinot Noir, Marlborough, NZ 2009
Perigrine Pinot Noir, Marlborough NZ 2009
Findlater Wines
Bollinger ‘Special Cuvee’ Champagne NV
Pionero Mundi Albarino, Spain 2012
St Clair Gruner Veltliner, NZ 2012
Cono Sur ’20 Barrells’ Pinot Noir, Chile 2011
Penfolds Koonunga Hill ’76’ Shiraz Cabernet, South 2012
Beringer Zinfandel, California 2011

Mitchells Wine Merchants
Chateau Dereszla Tokaji Frizzante
Chateau Dereszla Tokaji Dry 2012
Alta Vista Premium Malbec 2012 150cl
Alta Vista Terroir Selection Malbec 2010
Sipp Mack Riesling Tradition 2011
Sipp Mack Pinot Blanc 2012
Lustau Los Arcos Amontillado
Lustau Solera Reserva Brandy de Jerez

Irish Craft Cider
Craigies
Longueville
Stonewell

Irish & International Craft Beers
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elys’ favourite wines for summertime enjoyment.

With summer in full swing and the sun shining (?) we have selected a few of our favourite wines for summertime enjoyment!

ifsc picpoul

Two fantastic whites from Italy and Languedoc for those who like their wines crisp and refreshing, a Burgundian chardonnay with a little bottle age for those who like a more serious white, and a wonderful Rosé from a little known grape called Egoidola that will make you wonder why you don’t drink rosé more often.
We’ve also chosen two reds that work wonderfully in the sun – A beautiful Beaujolais villages that is especially good served cool, and a Montepulciano that will see you through the evening. Enjoy!!

Domaine Felines Jourdan Picpoul de Pinet 2012 Languedoc, France €31 / €7.75
Picpoul is almost certainly going to be this summer’s ‘must drink’ white wine, and with good reason. Described by some as this generations Muscadet, but in the best possible sense – Crisp, bone-dry, and lemon scented, there are also grapefruit and green apple touches on the palate. Perfect with almost all seafood and shellfish dishes, but goes down a treat as an aperitif too.

 

ifsc belestri

Balestri Valda Soave Classico 2011 Veneto, Italy €33 / €8.25
Soave is leading the new wave of Italian white, and this a perfect example of why. Whereas some wines try to overpower the senses with an attack of flavours, quality Soave is beautifully understated. Subtle aromas of apple and pear followed by a delicate nuttiness – think fresh almonds – and lovely dry finish.

Jean Phillipe Fichet Bourgogne Blanc 2007 Burgundy, France €39 / €9.75
ifsc bourgogneMonsieur Fichet is a winemaker based in Meursault, and probably best known for the outstanding wines he produces there. But he also owns vineyards in the surrounding areas, and uses those grapes to make his Bourgogne Blanc. The same skill and experience goes into the crafting of this wine. Ripe Chardonnay flavours of tropical melon and toasty oak have combined over a few years bottle age to produce something special – rich and creamy textured with a lovely nutty finish.

Domaine de Millet Rosé VdP des Côtes de Gascogne 2011 France €28/ €7.00
This is what we call proper rosé. Why? Try it and see….. It is produced from the little known Egiodola grape in the Côtes de Gascogne region of south west of France. Wonderful ripe red fruit- fresh strawberry, raspberry and cranberry – lovely freshness on the palate and a dry finish with just a touch of grip. Perfect for sipping, even better with food.

ifsc domaine des nugues

Domaine des Nugues Beaujolais Villages 2010 €33 / €8.25
We have seen the fortunes of the Gamay grape rise and fall over the years- it was once more highly prized than Pinot -but on the strength of recent Beaujolais tastings it’s definitely on the up again. This Domaine shows how modern winemaking techniques can combine with traditional wine styles to great effect. 100% Gamay, from vines averaging almost 50 years- the wine is bright ruby in colour, with redcurrant and red cherry flavours, and a long clean finish.

Gran Sasso Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2012 €28 / €7.00
ifsc MontepulcianoThe Montepulciano grape is often confused with the town of the same name, and as a result, the wines from that town. So let’s clear it up – Montepulciano (Vino Nobile de) is the town, and the grape is Sangiovese. Montepulciano (d’) is the grape, and a wonderful grape it is too! Ripe and bursting with fruit, especially dark cherry and plum, and just a touch of chocolate. Yes, chocolate! This wine is medium bodied but very full flavoured , and definitely a score for Montepulciano the grape!

Visit ely bar & brasserie in the IFSC.

Enjoy the best in organic Irish food. Amazing dry-aged Irish beef, fantastic fish, local seasonal vegetables and great Irish cooking at ely bar & brasserie. Knowing that the team in ely bar & brasserie will look after you and guest extremely well.

ely bar & brasserie has sourced the 28 day dry-aged rib-eye from Danny Coogan, a fifth generation farmer in Trim Co.Meath and their vegetables are grown for them “less than an hours drive up the road”, north Dublin to be precise. The organic beef carpaccio and organic lamb hails from the Burren, Co.Clare and their fresh Irish chicken is from Mayo.
The oysters, scallops, crab and fresh Irish Sea Bass are all landed by Irish boats and their executive chef Ryan Stringer is from Tyrone. The Bridgestone 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland 2012 said “Executive chef Ryan Stringer devises and cooks wonderfully smart, clean food, with ingredients that are sourced as carefully as they source their benchmark wines”.

ely bar&brasserie logo

G.D. Vajra Italian wines by Ian Brosnan

G.D. Vajra

This estate was established in 1972, by Aldo Vajra’s father, Giuseppe Domenico. The vineyards had been in the family since the 1920s, but it was only with the advent
of the D.O.C. and the increase in interest for Barolo in the early 1970s, that viticulture became economically viable. Aldo has gradually increased the area under vine to the current 40 hectares, ten of which are planted with Nebbiolo for his Barolo, located in such prized vineyards as Bricco delle Viole, Fossati, La Volta and Coste di Vergne.
The vineyards are situated about 400 metres above sea level in the village of Vergne, in the commune of Barolo, on the western border of the zone. Vajra’s vineyards ripen later than many others in the zone, with the result that his Barolos have always been quite distinctive: wines with fresh and lifted aromas, showing a judicious acidity that balances the generous fruit to give a lively and crisp style.

Aldo’s son Giuseppe was in ely winebar to host a tasting dinner, pairing their exceptional wines to our wonderful food!
We kicked things off with their unique Langhe Bianco ‘Petracine’ , an old Latin name for Riesling. A pale lemon colour, it had a wonderfully zesty perfume, crisp apple and lemon fruit and a long clean finish. A perfect way to begin any evening!

First of the reds was the Dolcetto, a grape Giuseppe suggested is often considered an ugly duckling in Piedmonte but he likes to think of it as a moody teenager- it needs constant attention and showering with love in order to fulfil its potential. This one certainly did – it possessed a wonderful depth of colour, a fragrance of blue and black berries and a herbal hint on the finish.

The Barbera grapes are sourced from 6 vineyards; in 3 areas on 2 different soil types, and it is the blend of these that gives this wine it exceptional balance. Fresh berry and black cherry on the nose, the palate is ripe with crisp acidity and elegant tannins. Both wines were tasted alongside a first course of rose Veal meatballs, tomato broth and gremolata. The room was split over which worked better, but at a push, I’d have to choose the Dolcetto (it might be the moody teenager in me!).

Then the main event – the ‘Le Albe’ and ‘Bricco delle Viole’ Barolos. The 2007 ‘Le Albe’ was unquestionably the ely staff pick of the night – yes, we all have to try them after work- and quite honestly one of the best value Barolos I have tasted in a long time. While 2007 may seem young for Barolo, the ‘Le Albe’ had a ruby-garnet colour and a wonderfully exotic nose of dried plums, cherries and floral notes. The palate showed typical Nebbiolo characteristics- excellent acidity and fine but persistent tannins- coupled with a rich, fleshy texture. More than simply accessible, this wine is extremely enjoyable now but no doubt has a long and bright future ahead.
The ‘Bricco delle Viole’ vineyard is the jewel in the crown of the Vajra properties, situated 400 metres above sea level in the commune of Barolo and with many of the vines over 50 years old. The altitude and long ripening period gives the wine an aromatic complexity and ripeness not often found in Barolo. We were fortunate enough to have the 2003; showing a beautiful garnet colour and a complex nose of violets, rose, orange peel and dark cherry. The finely grained tannins, wonderful purity and depth of flavour, and impeccable balance are all hallmarks of this superb wine. Both wines were paired with roast breast of Barbary Duck, potato and truffle terrine, samphire and Madeira jus.
And then came the surprise of the evening- Vajra Moscato d’asti. Light, effervescent and wonderfully fruity, this is one of the most refreshing things I’ve ever tasted. Passion fruit on the nose, clean sweetness on the palate, and, at only 5.5% alcohol, no limit to how many glasses you can have. While we tasted it with orange blossom pannacotta, it could just as easily be enjoyed on its own, the perfect end to a remarkable meal.

Our thanks to Giuseppe Vajra and Ben Reynolds (Liberty Wines) from  for all their help.

Visit us at elywinebar.com

The world’s biggest wine fair – Vinitaly 2012

The world’s biggest wine fair took place again in March 2012 in Verona, and just to get a feel of the sheer size of the event, I’ve included a few facts and figures.

Almost 160,000 visitors from 110 countries attended over 4 days. 4,200 exhibitors presented 20,000 wines in a convention space that covers 95,000 sq metres (that’s 24 acres!).

Visiting a wine fair like this requires preparation as 4 days won’t even get you half way around. And one must be clinical in planning, first deciding which regions to look at, followed by which wineries to visit, and, finally how much time to allocate to each. As a plan, it works in theory.

The reality however is very different. First of all, this is Italy, and things work at an Italian pace, so having plans and schedules can often just result in frustration. When you get a sense of the actual size of the place, you realize that your schedule can’t possibly work, and then you arrive at a stand to find it teeming with tasters. Finally, when you are surrounded by so many beautiful wines it’s very easy to have your head turned!

I was fortunate to have two experienced guides in Ben and Mauro. Both from Liberty wines, importers of some of the finest Italian wines on the Irish market, and both on a first name basis with every winemaker we met. Mauro, being a specialist in Italian wines, speaks the language fluently and I cannot overemphasise how much this helps!

It’s always difficult to taste wines first thing in the morning, so choosing the first visit is probably the most important decision of the day. We started with Livio Felluga. A family run winery in Colli Orientali in north eastern Italy, they produce white, red and sweet wines. Of an 8 wine tasting that included the flagship white, and multi award-winning Terre Alte, my personal favourite was the Friulano- a local variety full of delicate golden apple and floral flavours, with a fresh, crisp finish. It proved a great way to start the day! We focused on whites for the morning, and came across some really interesting and surprising wines. The 2011 Lugana from Cà dei Frati had just been bottled but was already showing like a little stunner, precise apple and pear flavours with an intense minerality. The 2010 is on the market already, and gives a good idea of how the 2011 will develop with some time in bottle.

Vinitaly Verona - Italy 2012Next up was Vie di Romans. Using both native and international varieties, they produce of some of the finest white wines I’ve tasted in Italy. Both the ‘Dessimis’ Pinot Grigio, and the ‘Piere’ Sauvignon Blanc are wonderful examples of the elegant complexity that can be achieved with these grapes in the right hands.

The big surprise for me, and certainly one of my finds of the trip was Villa Bucci. From an unassuming stand, the modest and humble Mr Bucci was showing just 2 whites and one red. Both whites were Verdicchio Classico, one Superiore, one Riserva. The Superiore was superb, lovely purity and balance. The Riserva was a revelation- from 40 year old vines, aged in large oak barrels; it was nutty, smoky intense, with a wonderfully silky texture and incredible ability to age. As if to prove the point, he opened the 2000, and the 1988. The 2000 was comparable to the finest aged Burgundies, and the 1988- at 24years old- was surely at its peak but retained a freshness to balance the richness of its years.

We ended the evening with a visit and tasting at Bellavista. To just call it a sparkling wine from Franciacorta would be to do these wines a great injustice. Meticulously crafted from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir of the highest quality, fermented in both old oak and steel, and with the 2nd fermentation in bottle, these wines compare to champagne of the highest quality, yet retain a unique and distinct personality. The Cuvee Brut, vintage Gran Cuvee Brut and Gran Cuvee Saten Blanc de Blanc are amongst the most elegant and balanced sparkling wines produced anywhere. That, coming from a committed Champagne lover, is saying something.

Christmas Day Suggestions: a selection from our favourite wine-makers

Looking for inspiration for Christmas day dinner? Some of our favourite wine-makers have sent us the tradional dishes from their region with, of course, the best wines to drink with them! Our featured producers come from Rioja, Tuscany and Australia. Out of all the wine-makers who sent us in the Christmas traditions, the Hernaiz brothers who own Bodegas La Emperatriz in Rioja, is a Christmas we’d love to join in!

If you love cooking and want to learn some more why not do our cookery course which includes a wine and food matching lesson with award winning sommelier Ian Brosnan.

Rioja, Spain: Bodegas La Emperatriz
Eduardo Hernáiz, the owner of Bodegas La Emperatriz and his brother Victor recount their typical Christmas eve for us.

Christmas time in Spain is about family. In Spain, most people still live within close proximity of each other so it isn’t unusual to celebrate Christmas eve or Noche Buena as we like to call it, with over 20 family members.  Before settling down for dinner, I like to meet up with my closest friends at a local bar in Cenicero for a Christmas Champagne toast. After this, around 10:30 pm everyone in the family  comes together around the dinner table to eat a traditional home cooked meal.  Our Christmas eve dinner begins with a warm and tasty Consume soup followed by Cardo, which is a type of thistle that resembles a green Rubarb.  After this, we eat chicken that has been raised our own Finca La Emperatriz estate. It is normally stuffed with a meat, truffle and bread stuffing and baked in the oven until golden brown.

After this we eat Besugo, which is Sea Bream that has been cooked in the oven and then a light olive oil cooked with garlic and spicy dried chilies is drizzled on top.   We finish it with Polvorones de Navidad, which are a type of butter cake made with flour, butter and sugar that can be a bit of a powdery mess. We also eat Turron, which is a type of nougat with nuts as well as Marizpan both can be  quite sweet and delicious.  

Christmas eve dinner is all about family and we tend to stay at the dinner table eating until we can´t eat a morsel more.  At this point, usually well into the early hours of the morning, we head to bed, only to eat left overs the next day for Christmas Day.  Merry Christmas!

The 2 brothers and their families toast Christmas with the best wines from their estate Bodegas La Emperatriz, Rioja Alta ‘Pacela No1’ , along with other wines from their range.

Tuscany, Italy: Cantina di Montalcino
One of our favourite Brunello di Montalcinos comes from Cantina di Montalcino. Made exclusively from Sangiovese it is rich, elegant and spicy with cinnamon, figs, cherries and pepper aromas. Although Tuscany is famous for Chianti, Brunello is the certainly the king of the region: made from the best grapes available and aged in Slovenian oak for 3 years followed by 2 years in bottle before release. 2006 vintage is a open and expressive and has a sumptuous silky texture.  The traditional Christmas lunch in Tuscany is a 5 course affair with everything from veal ragu made with home-grown tomatoes, chicken liver pate and roast boar! Giacomo Alari of Cantina di Montalcino is a born and bred Tuscan and below is his typical Christmas dinner menu.

Crostini con Fegato di Pollo – Crostini with Chicken Liver Pate
served with a young Chianti

Maltagliata con Vitello – Ragu of Veal with Maltagliati pasta
served with Chianti Riserva

Capon con Salsa Verde – Chicken with Salsa Verde
Arista con Patate Arrosto – Roast Loin of Pork with Potatoes
served with Brunello di Montalcino

Cantucci con Vin Santo – Almond Biscotti soaked in dessert wine
served with Vin Santo

Giacomo Alari will also be presenting our Italy wine tasting night on the 22nd February. Tickets are limited, please contact wineclub@elywinebar.com for more details.

Bolgheri, Italy: Poggio al Tesoro
Poggio al Tesoro is located in Bolgheri – home of the Super Tuscan. Originally made famous back in the late 1970s with wines such Tignaello and Sassicaia, the area has the ideal soil and climatic conditions to grow international varieties such as Cabernet, Merlot and Shiraz as well as the Italian Sangiovese. ‘Sondraia’ is one of our favourites from Poggio al Tesoro and it easily rivals a top French classic: made from the typical Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc it’s plush, warm and full, with velvety, ripe tannins giving structure to the ripe, plummy fruit on the palate.  Lovely touch of rosemary and eucalyptus on the finish! The head winemaker, Nicola Biasi (pictured below) recommends Wild Boar Stew with Sondraia and has kimdly given us his family recipe!

2007 Poggio al Tesoro ‘Sondraia’ with Spezzatino di Cinghiale – Wild Boar Stew

Ingredients:
800g wild boar (or pork)
500g tomato passata
2 garlic cloves
1 celery stick
1 onion
2 carrots
2 bay leaves
500ml of red wine, preferably young Chianti
Chilli
Salt
New season Tuscan olive oil

Marinate the meat in the red wine, chopped garlic and vegetables, bay leaf and chilli. After 8 hours, remove the meat and vegetables and conserve the marinating juices.  Heat up some olive oil in a pan and sauté the vegetables.  Add the meat, season and brown for a few minutes on a high heat.  Add a ladle of the marinating liquid and let it reduce down. Turn down the heat, add the tomatoes and cook for about two hours, stirring occasionally so the meat doesn’t stick to the pan. If necessary add some water or more of the remaining liquid. Season and serve hot with a glass of Sondraia.

Adelaide Hills, Australia: Shaw and Smith
Shaw and Smith was founded in 1989 by cousins Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith. Martin Shaw is one of the original flying winemakers and Michael Smith is not just Australia’s first Master of Wine, he is also a Cordon Bleu trained chef!

This Christmas Martin Shaw will be having: Snapper Ceviche with mint, watermelon and fetta salad to accompany 2009 M3 Chardonnay. What a delicious dish to have with 2009 M3: it’s one of the most iconic Chardonnays made in Australia and with it’s cool fruit, restrained use of oak and a depth and elegance that is only comparable to a Puligny Montrachet. This skill in wine making perfectly captures the new approach Australia has taken in the last 10 years. If you are looking for a white wine to have this Christmas, we recommend this! 

Thanks to all of our producers for sharing their Christmas traditions with us.

Want some inspiration in the kitchen? Why not do our cookery course? We kick start each lesson with a glass of bubbly and afterwards serve up the dishes alongside a selection of wines whilst award-winning sommelier Ian Brosnan gives a food and wine matching lesson. It’s the perfect Christmas gift for your mom, sister or girlfriend! Please contact wineclub@elywinebar.com for more details or call Michelle Lawlor on 01 676 8986 for more details.

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