ely wines for Summer 2014 #001

Despite what you may think when you look out the window, summertime is upon us. So, as always, we at ely have chosen some wines for your summertime enjoyment. They won’t just be whites- reds, rosés, sparkling and sweet all deserve their day in the sun, so to speak. We have chosen wine which we think best reflect that summertime feeling- fresh, easy and fun.

Nothing too serious here! These are wines to be enjoyed al fresco, ideally on one of our sunny terraces! So as soon as you see that sun emerge from the clouds, get down to ely and try a glass of one of these wonderful wines!

Paparuda Pinot Noir, Timisoara, Romania 2012    

A new wine to our portfolio from a country where wine production is taking giant leaps forward in terms of quality. The winery is situated in the western part of the country, close to the town of Timisoara. It is produced by a Romanian/English couple who have enlisted the help of an Australian consultant.

The flavour profile lies somewhere between traditional Pinot Noir and very good Gamay. Lovely fresh red berry fruit, soft and juicy on the palate, this is a rare example of a Pinot Noir bargain.

If you are looking for a red to drink chilled, or just cool, look no further than this.

Raphael Palacios ‘Bolo’ Godello, Valdeorras, Spain 2013

For quite some time now we in Ireland have been exposed to the joys of Albarino, either on holidays in Spain where it is wonderfully priced, or here, where it can often be just too expensive for what it delivers.
But now there a new grape on the scene – Godello. That is just the Irish wine scene- the earliest recorded mention of it in Spain goes back to 1531!

The grape was on the verge of extinction in the 70’s but has since undergone a significant revival. It is most widely grown in Northwest Spain, the region which is also home to Albarino. But while once Godello was considered second best, it is now widely accepted to be a far superior variety.
Similar to Albarino in terms of flavours- ripe melon and peach, but with lovely citrus acidity- it has greater body, complexity and aging potential. Raphael Palacios is probably the current master of Godello, producing some of Spains best white wines such as ‘As Sortes’ a stunning, barrel-aged Godello reminiscent of great white Burgundy.  ‘Bolo’- one of our favourites- emphasises the freshness and minerality of this fantastic variety.

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

ely wines for Summer #009

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

The sun’s out: it’s white wine time

“Longer, brighter, sunnier days call out for white wine, and Italy has moved way beyond Pinot Grigio to produce some of the most interesting, varied choices” John Wilson 

A wonderful article by John Wilson from the Irish Times,  which echoes our sentiments exactly!

Italian whites

Pieropan Soave

Italian whites are now amongst the most exciting in Europe, and certainly the most varied. They are also great restaurant wines- irrespective of the different fruit flavours of the wines, they tend to be crisp, fresh and dry, making them a natural pairing for many dishes. In fact, two of the wines featured are available in ely – the Pieropan Soave, and the Vesevo Falanghina.

Falanghina

Beneventano Falanghina

The Falanghina in particular has been a massive success – a clear sign that customers are willing to try new and exciting wines. We also list Gavi, Verdicchio (superb!) Grillo, Pinot Bianco and the ‘big brother’ of the Pieropan family ‘La Rocca’. But that is just a tiny fraction of the varieties grown in Italy, so this section of our wine list is constantly changing- look out for Vermentino, Fiano, Arneis, Friulano, Greco, Pecorino, Zibibbo and many more soon!

Why not book in to our Italian Varietals tasting on June 5th to find out more!

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.
Register now for the wine tasting & supper at €45 

Castell d’Encus Tharlan 2010

From Costers del Segre in the far north east of Spain, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, at an altitude ranging from 800-1000m, Castell d’Encus is making extraordinarily elegant wines. From the intense Ekam Riesling, the refined Cabernet based Quest to the almost Pinot like Tharlan which is in fact 100% Syrah. Grown at 1000m in cool conditions and fermented in rock vats and stainless steel and then aged in French oak, this is a very subtle and restrained Syrah.

The site was first established by monks in 1100 and since identified for its outstanding potential given the high altitude, meaning less problems of high sugar levels and low acidity in the grapes, and also better development of flavour and aromas. The Tharlan is bright and ripe, without being over the top. This is an exciting new style of Spanish red.

Press Reviews: 95 points, Robert Parker’s ‘The Wine Advocate:

image“The brilliant 2010 Thalarn is a pure Syrah that is partially fermented in rock vessels and stainless steel and aged in barrel for 10 months in 70% new oak. It has an incredibly intense bouquet of small black cherries, cassis, blueberry and a touch of peppercorn that is very well-defined, but extremely primal.

The palate is medium-bodied with filigree tannins and a satin-like texture. It possesses outstanding focus and precision plus wonderful minerality and clarity towards the finish that exudes finesse, handling the new oak so that you barely notice it. This is an exceptional Syrah that should age magnificently.”

Exclusive to ely wine bar in Ely Place.

We’ve just received 3 cases of this superb wine and it’s highly unlikely that we will see it again in Ireland given its limited production and international acclaim. You won’t find it anywhere else in Ireland and if you like the subtleties of Burgundy and the flavours of the Northern Rhone then this is a wine for you.

For more information please visit www.elywinebar.com 

ely wine tasting evenings April / May 2014

alsace Italy rhone

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 April 17th – Wines of the Northern Rhone
The wines of the Southern Rhone may be more recognised- Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Cotes du Rhone etc. – but anyone in the know will tell you that all the excitement is up North. Sensational whites, many of which remain just below the radar for most of us, are matched by outstanding reds- this is the spiritual home of Syrah! This is undoubtedly a ‘fine wine’ region, producing some of the greatest wines in France, without ever reaching the astronomical price tags of some other French region. It is a wine lovers dream!
Register now for wine tasting & supper €45

Thursday May 22nd – Alsace
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!
Register now for wine tasting & supper €45

For more info visit http://www.elywinebar.ie/about/wine-apreciation/ely-wine-tastings

 

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!

Download ely_Big_tasting_wines_2014

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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Wines of the Languedoc by Ian Brosnan

Another wonderful wine tasting in ely bar & brasserie which showed the range and quality of the wines currently being produced in this part of France.

Previously thought of as a ‘poor man’s Rhone’, the Languedoc has become the most exciting wine region in France whilst remaining the best value- everyone wins!

ely_wine_bar_Languedoc_wine_tasting_04First up was Domaine Felines Jourdan Picpoul de Pinet 2012– unquestionably one of the producers of this grape. Crisp, lemon -fresh and a lovely dry, minerally finish- this is the perfect wine for our rapidly approaching summer. Think shellfish…..

We followed this with a beautiful Rosé from Domaine de L’Hortus– one of our favourites!-Bergerie de L’Hortus. A blend of mostly Grenache and Syrah, this is a fresh, dry rosé, with aromas of strawberry and hints of pepper. Fantastic!

Two ely stalwarts next, Chateau La Baronne Corbieres 2009 and Luc Lapeyre ‘ L’Amourier’ Minnervois 2010. Both have graced all three wine lists at various times and both represent fantastic value for money.
Domaine de L’Hortus again, but this time the Grand Cuvee 2010 – a stunning blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. Rich, spicy but incredibly smooth- this is one of the classic wines of the Languedoc.

ely_wine_bar_Languedoc_wine_tasting_02

Last up was the sensational Mas Julien, Terrasses du Larzac. Winemaker Olivier Julien has produced what is quite possibly the finest wine in the entire region- a blend of Syrah, Carignan and Mourvedre, it is intensely flavoured with all the classic Languedoc flavours- blackberry, spice and dried herbs- but so wonderfully elegant that it’s hard to believe what you are drinking! A world class wine that you should try at least once.
These wines are not available in wine shops or supermarkets, but can all be bought directly from the fantastic Wines Direct website www.winesdirect.ie
Happy shopping.

For upcoming wine tastings visit http://www.elywinebar.ie

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.
Visit http://www.elywinebar.ie/about/wine-apreciation/ely-wine-tastings

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

Four days of hard work…days 3 & 5

ely’s adventures in the Rhone…

by Ian Brosnan

Day 3

The next morning took us to the Northern Rhone, away from Grenache and into Syrah territory.
As Simon is happy to tell (anyone who will listen!), the Rhone should really be thought of as two separate regions, such are the differences in climate, soils, vines and viticulture. The wines of the southern Rhone have far more in common with those of the Languedoc, while the Northern Rhone wines increasingly share qualities with those of Burgundy. Our first, fateful visit was to Yann Chave, a wine maker based in Crozes Hermitage who is both massively talented and a bit of a rogue. This property could be described as ‘rustic’ – no fancy tasting rooms, just us in the cellar with a glass in hand and a bucket on the floor. Yann produces red and white Crozes Hermitage, and red Hermitage, and we tasted several vintages from bottle, and the most recent from barrel. Neither the red nor white Crozes see any oak, and as a result, both wines possess wonderfully precise, clean fruit. The white is a 70/30 Marsanne Roussane blend, elegantly perfumed with hints of peach and almond, and a rich yet minerally texture. Most white Rhone wines get lost among their red counterparts, and that is especially true of white Crozes, but it really is worth seeking out for something a little bit different and a little bit special. The Crozes Hermitage red 2011 is a stunner – intense dark berry fruit, that lip-smacking acidity that you only get from great Northern Rhone Syrah, and lovely smoky, savoury flavours starting to come through – this should be compulsory tasting for anyone interested in Rhone wines. We then moved on to the Hermitage (and stopped using the bucket!). Up first was the 2011. We were quickly realising that the quality of that vintage was not limited to the south. In ‘Hermitage years’ 2011 is a baby, and theory would have it far too young to drink or enjoy. In fact, it was nothing less than stunning, one of the finest wines I have tasted in this, or any year. Despite its relative youth it was immediately expressive, its greatness coming from concentration of flavour, not extraction, from its supple elegance rather than massive power. He then opened the now-legendary 2007, a wine which some of us have had the pleasure of tasting before. It was better than I remembered, aging slowly and gracefully, softening slightly and gaining in fragrance. Hermitage is expensive –no question- but relative to the astronomical prices commanded by some Bordeaux Chateaux it appears a bargain. I know which I’d rather drink.

Tasting at Yann Chave- Ronan, Anthony and the bucket

Tasting at Yann Chave- Ronan, Anthony and the bucket

Tasting at Yann Chave- Ronan, Anthony and the bucket
We reluctantly left the cellars and headed to a local restaurant for lunch. On the way, Simon gently reminded us of our next visit, and the need to be finished and gone by 1.30 AT THE LATEST! It was only 11.45, how long could lunch take? We arrived at the restaurant to be greeted again by Yann, with beers poured and a glint of mischief in his eye. Simon had one eye on the clock, and one in the kitchen, where there was a solitary lady at the stove. The menu was on the wall and was uniquely ‘local’ – lambs brains, tripe, or liver. Yann meanwhile was in the cellar, choosing suitable bottles for us to sample over lunch. A few beers later we sat (12.45 and counting) and awaited our food, while Yann talked us through some wines from fellow Crozes producers. Our starters arrived somewhat erratically – this was the sort of restaurant where everything happens on their terms, we ate quickly and awaited our mains. The unexplained delay with our food – chef was sitting at the next table having a glass of wine -was punctuated by Yann continuously opening more bottles, commenting that we didn’t have to finish them. 1.50pm. Chef finished her wine and returned to the kitchen, and slowly our food started to appear. We ate what we could and prepared to leave. Simon made his exit and went to get the car, but such an easy escape would elude us. Yann opened another red; Chef appeared at the table in all her formidable glory with some bread and a massive board of cheese. We were eating cheese and that was that. Simon appeared at the door, and signalled for us to leave. I tried to stand up and was abruptly told to sit and finish my cheese, Yann was at the bar ordering Chartreuse. It was all getting a little crazy, and there was only one way out – a mouthful of cheese, down a shot of Chartreuse and express our utmost gratitude as we ran for the door. 2.30pm.
Our next visit was in Condrieu, just under an hour away and just enough time for a nap…

Pierre-Jean Villa is relatively new producer, both for Simon and for us (hence the desire to be on time!) and is without doubt one of the most exciting. Pierre-Jean has his own property in Condrieu, and co-runs one in Burgundy, so we had the pleasure to taste wines from both. So, while I’m not really here to talk about Burgundies, I’ll just say that his Bourgogne Rouge (in all 3 elys) is perfect, and his soon-to-be-with-us white Saint Aubin, sublime. His Rhone wines are even more impressive, all with the subtlety and finesse that only a great winemaker can achieve. And that he is – over the years I’ve been fortunate to meet many winemakers from many different regions, and I would honestly say that Pierre-Jean is one of the most interesting. His love of wine and wine-making is infectious, his wealth of knowledge seemingly limitless, but it was the ease with which he could share this knowledge and inspire interest in others which was most remarkable. We were in awe. His St. Joseph ‘Preface’ is a beauty- pure Syrah fruit, exceptional balance and a long, elegant finish.
Our final visit for the day was to Stéphane Montez at Domaine de Monteillet, in his new winery and tasting rooms, perched atop a hill overlooking the river, and resembling a Bond- villain’s lair more than a traditional winery. We joined Stéphane in the cellars, along with some (over-eager) Sommelier-types from Lyon. Domaine de Monteillet is justly renowned for Condrieu, St. Joseph and Cote-Rotie, along with some fantastic IGP wines from nearby vineyards. We started by tasting the St. Joseph 2012, from barrel, plot by plot. His St. Joseph is composed of many different vineyard selections and this was a unique opportunity to taste the subtle differences that each brings to the final blend. Stéphane is also someone who likes to have fun, and dotted around the cellars are single barrels of ‘experiments’ that he keeps for his own amusement – St. Joseph still in barrel after four years !!
We then headed into the ultra modern tasting room (with the fanciest bathrooms I’ve ever seen in a winery!) for some bottle tastings. The range is pretty big, and we worked our way through them all. Some of the standouts were the white IGP – a Marsanne/Roussane/Viognier blend, and reminder that simple white Rhone can be a really wonderful drink. He produces a couple of different Condrieu, but my favourite is ‘Les Grand Chaillées’- fantastically rich, with apricot, honey and toast on the nose, but held together by pitch perfect acidity and very long minerally finish. His St. Joseph ‘Cuvée du Papy’ is the wine that first got me excited about the Northern Rhone many years ago, and it was wonderful to see the vineyards first-hand. I like to say that 2 hours in a winery is better than 200 hours of study- you can read all the books and taste all the wines you want, but to get a real understanding of a wine, or wine in general, nothing beats seeing it for yourself. Being able to see the grapes grow and ripen, or the difference between the vines growing on the slopes to those in the valley. Smelling the difference between old and new barrels, or the different levels of toasting on each provides a far greater understanding of the influence it has on a wine than you could ever learn from a book. If you are interested in wine you should do your best to visit a winery, it is an eye-opening and very rewarding experience. The 2010 ‘Cuvée du Papy’ as good as ever- deep, dark garnet in colour with intense, fragrant cassis on the nose. The wine is full but never heavy, with dark fruit and an abundance of spice –nutmeg, pepper, licorice and vanilla, and a fantastically long, savoury finish. It is a wine that I would happily drink any time of year, but with game season almost upon us, I expect to be opening quite a few more. I can’t think of a more perfect combination.
It also goes down very well with steak, frites and béarnaise as we learned that night!

Day 4

Believe it or not, but a four day wine trip can be a very tiring experience, what with all that eating and drinking, but we awoke bright and early, refreshed and ready for our last visit. There is a lot to be said for taking it easy for at least one of the nights. We were heading to the heart of Côte Rôtie to meet Stéphane Ogier. Was it just a matter of planning and schedules, or did Simon intend to leave the best for last?? Either way, we were all really looking forward to this one. As fate would have it, Stéphane was away, selling his wares in the States. But, a greater fate was at work, because in his place was the charming, knowledgeable and utterly radiant Julie. She is Stéphane’s assistant and was our host for the afternoon. Trying our best to focus on the wines, we tasted our way through Stéphane’s range of reds and whites, from IGP and Côtes du Rhône to Côte Rôtie and Condrieu. The wines –at every level- are exceptional, exuding elegance, finesse and definition. Stéphane fine-tuned his winemaking craft in Burgundy and it shows. I could argue a case for everything we tasted as being my favourites, but I’ll just mention three- Viognier de Rosine 2011 is a beautiful example of what this grape can do, but with lightness of touch and a freshness not often found in these parts. La Rosine Syrah comes from the same place, literally and metaphorically – an area just to the north of Côte Rôtie that was long ignored but in which Stéphane could see massive potential. Deeply flavoured and wonderfully textured, it has the silkiness of a fine Pinot with the flavours of a great Syrah. And despite international acclaim and a devoted following, it remains remarkable value for money. Lastly, Côte Rôtie ‘La Belle Helene’ 2009. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words, or maybe some things just can’t be described in words, they have to be experienced. La Belle Helene is a small plot of 90 year old Syrah vines on one of the steepest slopes in Côte Rôtie –all of the slopes are steep, it is back-breaking, agonising work harvesting grapes in this region and I would like to express my sincerest thanks to those who do it on all of our behalf !- and the only way I can describe the wine is to say that it is the purest, most perfect expression of Syrah that I have ever tasted. Of all the wines that I have tasted through the years, and there have been many, a very select few stand out clearly, like little “Ian’s spiritual moments”. It is not just the very expensive wines, but more like “perfect wine moments” – enjoying 1971 Billecart-Salmon Champagne (from magnum) over dinner with Mr. Billecart, a 2 hour tasting in the cellars of Domaine de la Romanee Conti (a place of pilgrimage for wine lovers) or magnums of Flaccianello della Pieve in the Tuscan sun with good friends and great beef! These are the wines and the moments that stick in the mind. Drinking ‘La Belle Helene’, looking out over the vineyard from which it came, is certainly up there.
A fine way to finish – good planning Simon! All that was left to do was have one more lunch, obviously, open a nice bottle and then head to the airport for a long sleep home. We arrived home, a little tired, a little fatter, but with a renewed enthusiasm for what we do and why we do it. I, Anthony and Ronan want to say a massive thanks to Simon and all of the winemakers we met for their incredible hospitality and generosity, and we are looking forward to repaying it when they come to Dublin!
Cheers.

Lambs brains

Lambs brains

Some of the finest from Domaine Ogier

Some of the finest from Domaine Ogier

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!

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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.

 

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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.

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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”.

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