The 15 Series, Week 3: 15 Seasonal Sips For Winter

ely restaurants celebrates its 15th birthday this year and each week, The 15 Series brings you 15 tips on topics such as food, wine, culture, lifestyle, craft beer and more!

#ely15years

 

15 Seasonal Sips For Winter

As winter approaches, tropical fruits, rosés and lighter beers move over for robust reds, fuller whites, apples, cinnamon and warming drinks. Here are 15 craft beers, cocktails and wines to enjoy this season.

1. Pietra 

An intriguing Corsican amber beer with sweet chestnut flavours, this tipple is a nice one for winter as it also has a touch of spice and citrus. These spices, combined with nuttiness and surprising caramel hints, makes Pietra a unique and light choice for that first drink on a cold evening.


2. Spiced Apple Grog
oktoberfest4

Photo credit: ely restaurants

Cocktails featuring spices will be everywhere next season and drinking them hot is one of the best ways to enjoy them. Spiced Apple Grog contains Jameson, Highbank Drivers Cider (N/A, GF and organic), cinnamon shavings and “Ireland’s answer to maple syrup”, Highbank organic orchard syrup. Serve hot and enjoy at home at the end of a long day, or let us make it for you at ely bar & brasserie, (the Chq Building), Dublin 1.


3. John Duval “Plexus” Shiraz Grenache Mourvedre

Winter calls for something warming and decadent and this wine, from the Barossa Valley in Australia, delivers on both counts. Velvety smooth, spicy and lush, think of a glass of this as a hot-water bottle for the soul.


4. Cloughmore Dark Water Stout

Cloughmore Dark Water Stout is brewed in the foothills of the Mourne mountains and draws its main ingredient from  the local water supplied from the reservoir, making this an unfiltered craft Irish Stout. With a body of roasted barley and oats with accompanying light chocolate flavours, this makes a nice change from the usual stout we tend to return to drinking this time of the year.


5. Michael Collins

Photo credit: ely restaurants

Using a whiskey substitute instead of gin in the classic Tom Collins adds a little more winter depth and results in the refreshing and fruity Michael Collins. If making it at home, shake a good Irish whiskey, fresh lemon juice, sugar and strain into a glass. Add ice cubes, carbonated water and stir. Or sit back and enjoy as we rustle one up for you at ely bar & brasserie, (the Chq Building), Dublin 1.


6. Champagne Dravigny Godbillon ‘Cuvee Ambre’ Brut     
Dravigny Godbillon ‘Cuvee Ambre’ Brut

Photo credit: http://www.vivino.com

The festive season rolls around and many of us fill with cheer. If the time does come to break out the bubbles this year, why not try one from a small, virtually unknown Champagne house who make some outstanding wines. Their style is akin to some of the more famous ( and expensive) Grand Marque Houses. A blend of 60% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier, this is a wonderfully rich and biscuity Champagne.


7. Craigies Dalliance Cider

Lover of wine but not a fan of cider? The folks at Craigies have hit the nail on the head with Dalliance. Not too sweet, Dalliance is dry and made with not one but three Irish apple varieties. This light bodied cider is sure to please many this season.


 8. Cognac Cure
From Rio to paris

Photo credit: instagram.com/aytoxyz

 A warming and comforting drink, Cognac is a perfect tipple for this time of the year. In this cocktail, the sourness of fresh lime juice mixed with the sweet taste of the honey compliments the rich taste of the Cognac. Combine with a splash of  carbonated water and top with ice. DIY or enjoy it at ely bar & brasserie, (the Chq Building), Dublin 1.


9. Kir-Yianni Xinomavro “Ramnista”

A revelation and certainly one to enjoy during these darker days with dimmed lights. Produced from the Xinomavro grape, this Greek wine, with its hints of dark fruits, is a vinous superstar waiting to be discovered. Best described as combining the seductive qualities of Pinot with the structure of Nebbiolo.


10. Pauwel Kwak

With one of the coolest glasses out there, you might be led to thinking that this Belgian strong ale is all hat and no cattle. However, Kwak is all substance! Rich and velvety with subtle hints of caramel and spice, this is probably our top choice of winter craft brew.


11. Hot Wine Lemonade
hot wine lemonade

Photo credit: ely restaurants

Hot wine? Wine lemonade? Surprisingly, all of the ingredients to this winter warming cocktail do work really well together. We use a splash of Bordeaux, fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup and hot water. Don’t knock it ’til you try it, available at ely bar & brasserie, (the Chq Building), Dublin 1.


12. Domaine Alary “La Brunotte” Cairanne Côte du Rhône

A perennial favourite at ely over the years, this is a classic of its kind. Perfect for these months with its dark berry fruit, white pepper and Christmas spice, along with fantastic length. This is the type of wine that makes us happy, every time.


13. Williams Brothers Joker IPA

This nice and fruity IPA is probably one of Williams Brothers’ best. Joker IPA offers a lovely  hop taste along with fresh and light citrus notes. Not to be mistaken for a summer beer, this easy-going, drinkable IPA can be enjoyed right into the winter months.


14. Winter Berry Cosmo
winter berry cosmo

Photo credit: ely restaurants

Autumn brought the best of the seasonal berries and we don’t know about you but there’s only so much jam we can enjoy! We’re taking those frozen berries and putting them to use for the winter months. For a Winter Berry Cosmo, include the berries in with the usual mix of vodka, fresh cranberry & lime juice and orange liqueur or fine blend the berries as a delicious replacement for the cranberry juice.


15. Les Hauts de Montforts Minervois
Les Hautes

Photo credit: http://www.vivino.com

Predominantly made from old vine Grenache, this is full-bodied perfect red for the winter months. With woody herbs, dark fruit and soft tannins this is the wine of choice for sitting by the fire.


All of the wines mentioned above are available to enjoy at ely wine bar, 22 Ely Place, Dublin 2 and ely bar & brasserie, IFSC, Dublin 1

All of the cocktails & craft beers mentioned above are available to enjoy at ely bar & brasserie, IFSC, Dublin 1.

tips, tipples & table talk – Week 17

This week’s tips, tipples & table talk  is all about the beautiful Burren. We fill you in on our 15th year anniversary trip to our family farm and let you almost imagine it, as if you were there, and could feel the country air. We also infuse Moroccan and Burren cuisine with a gorgeous lamb tagine recipe, perfect for these Autumn months and we discuss some wine phrases in an ely urban dictionary’d language you can understand.

Enjoy!

Tipple Tip(s) of the Week: Wine Phrases Without the Pretension

Have you ever had somebody describe wine and find yourself nodding along without a clue? More often than not, these terms means something very simple and we’ve picked a few of the ones that some people struggle with, in a language you can understand. There are wine bores, there are wine snobs and there are those – like you and I – that just like wine.Big tasting

  • Austere

They say: Wines that are austere are generally not terribly pleasant wines to drink. An austere wine is a hard, rather dry wine that lacks richness.

We say: An austere wine is not necessarily a negative one. This would be that seemingly stern and formal gent you get seated next to at a dinner party. The quiet type, but as the evening goes on, you start to realise that there’s a lot more to them and certainly, they’re more fun the more you get to know them. 

  • Barnyard

They say: An unclean, farmyard, fecal aroma that is imparted to a wine because of unclean barrels or unsanitary wine-making facilities.

We say: Well that sounds horrible! Old Burgundys and sometimes, old Rhones, can take on aromas that you might find in, say, a “recently” cleaned stable or perhaps by the carriages around Stephen’s Green. Thankfully this is a great example of how wines don’t always taste like they smell.

  • Bouquet:

They say: As a wine’s aroma becomes more developed from bottle aging, the aroma is transformed into a bouquet that is more than just the smell of the grape.

We say: Really… just a poncey word to describe the scent of a wine.

  • Tannic:

They say: The tannins of a wine, which are extracted from the grape skins and stems, are, along with a wine’s acidity and alcohol, its lifeline. Tannins give a wine firmness and some roughness when young, but gradually fall away and dissipate.

We say: Tannins are what give red wine its colour and dries out your mouth.. A tannic wine is also what’ll what give you away the morning after, with your black teeth and stained lips! 

  • Hot:

They say: Wines with alcohol levels in excess of 14.5% often taste hot if the requisite depth of fruit is not present.

We say: Feeling a little merrier than you expected you might at 6pm? A hot wine describes nothing to do with the temperature of the wine, but suggests that the alcohol levels in the wine are too high (yes, there is such a thing!).

  • Lush:

They say: Lush wines are soft, richly fruity wines that are both concentrated and fat. A lush wine can never be an astringent or hard wine.

We say: Not just a brand of natural cosmetics or  what a young British bloke might holler at a particularly good looking lady, a lush wine is rich, smooth, full, fruity, velvety. Highly desirable, a lush wine is basically the Jessica Rabbit of wines.

Learn more about wine at our BIGGEST wine tasting event of the year, ely’s Big Tasting on Friday 10th October, 2014 at ely bar & brasserie, IFSC.

the BIG tasting September 2011


Taste Tip of the Week: “Craggy Island” Lamb Tagine

There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, but once you put a little bit of love into it, it’s really worth the effort. A Burren-Moroccan fusion dish and a nice alternative to the traditional Irish Stew.

What you need:

  • 800g–1kg lean lamb shoulder, diced (at ely, we use organic “Craggy Island” lamb)
  • plain flour, to coat lamb
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion
  • 1 each red and yellow peppers, diced
  • 2 large or 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig thyme, 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 small, red chilli, dried or fresh
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 10g fresh ginger, peeled and grated, or ½ tsp ground
  • 20g dried ground cumin
  • 100ml honey
  • 800g tinned chopped tomatoes or passata, or enough to submerge all ingredients
  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 courgette

Serves 6

Lamb Tagine Collage

How we do it:

  • Lightly coat the lamb in flour and brown in a little oil on a hot pan. You will need to do this in batches. Set aside and remove any excess fat.
  • In one large frying pan (or two, if necessary), fry the onion, peppers, carrots and garlic in some olive oil until they are soft.
  • Add the lamb, bay leaves and fresh herbs.
  • Now add the chilli, cinnamon sticks, ginger and cumin. Stir well to coat the lamb and vegetables.
  • Drizzle the honey over the lamb, then pour in the tomatoes or passata. Stir well.
  • Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
  • Slowly reheat the tagine when you are ready to serve.
  • Chop the aubergine and courgette into large chunks, fry in some olive oil and add to the tagine. Doing this last prevents the aubergine
    and courgette from being discoloured by the sauce.
  • Serve with couscous (see note for the cook).

A note for the cook:

  • This delicious lamb tagine tastes even better the day after cooking, when the flavours have had a chance to blend and settle.
  • It’s best served with couscous. Rub oil into the couscous (before cooking) to prevent it sticking together.
  • Mix equal quantities of hot stock and couscous, cover with cling film and leave for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the cling film and run a fork through the couscous to separate.
  • Season, add some fresh mint, and serve.

Enjoy grass fed, organic “Craggy Island” lamb, sourced through our family farm in the Burren, Co. Clare at ely wine bar, 22 Ely Place.

craggy island lamb


Table Talk of the Week: ely’s Farm Trip to the Burren, Co. Clare 

On Tuesday 23rd September, to kick off ely’s 15th year celebrations, a gang of us slipped on our wellies, tucked our ponchos into our bags and headed out for a fun filled and insightful trip to the ely organic family farm in the Burren, Co. Clare.

The day started bright and early at 8am with the warming scent of homemade sausage rolls and brownies laid out for breakfast at ely bar & brasserie, IFSC. Fed, watered and one chorus of Irish mammy style “make sure you go to the restroom before we leave” later and we were off on the 3 hour luxury coach to Clare.

Our first stop found us outside of the coach and inside our TV boxes, at “Craggy Island Parochial House”. Father Ted’s house, the McCormacks’ organic farm, is where all of ely’s delicious organic lamb is reared. Cheryl McCormack, the lovely lady of the house, treated the gang to scrumptious home baking using only organic ingredients; scones, brown bread, home made jams made from their own fruit, organic tea and coffee, served in a welcoming home atmosphere. Patrick McCormack, the first speaker of the day, so eloquently recited the poem Lost” and discussed the simplicity and passion of a simple Burren farm life along with a much needed reminder, to always try to take a little “Burren time” for ourselves, in our fast paced and busy lives.

“Stand still. Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you. Are not lost.” – David Wagoner

Outside Father Ted's

The beauty of farming in the Burren, Co. Clare lies in the fact that it has been farmed in the same fashion for 6,000 – 7,000 years. We then visited a site, which to the naked eye might have just seemed like grass, rock and shrubbery, but which was in fact the home to rare and unique Burren flora and fauna. Paula and Sharon from the Burren Life Project spoke to the group about the importance of Burren landscape preservation, the difficulties that organic Burren farming faces and the strict grazing methods being used to counteract these difficulties.

Group at Burren Life Project

Following this, in true Irish fashion, the clouds began to darken and the drizzle appeared. With a few rumbling tummies and rain jackets zipped up to the neck, we hopped back in to the coach and headed off to the home of Hugh and Isobel Robson, the organic ely family farm, for a much anticipated farm lunch.

Having worked up an appetite, we were in for a treat. What awaited us was a feast of Burren produce featuring organic Burren beef tongue with black truffles, organic porchetta rolled in local Burren herbs and succulent organic Burren rib, all from the ely family farm. We also enjoyed nori, dillisk and kombu smoked organic salmon from the Burren Smokehouse and homemade MOPE (Most Oppressed People Ever) potato cakes from the Burren Spud Project, all accompanied with salads, quiche, artisan Burren cheeses, ely’s homemade Guinness bread and 7-day pickled eggs. Deirdre from the Burren Spud project spoke about the importance of the humble potato in the global food crisis while Birgitta from the Burren Smokehouse spoke about combining her love of the west of Ireland with her passion for organic smoked salmon.

All of this wonderful food for thought was washed down with Irish craft beers such as Orpens Irish Cider, O’ Haras Curim Gold and Trouble Brewing’s Sabotage IPA and enjoyed with wine favourites such as Yann Chave Crozes-Hermitage Blanc and Thalran Syrah Castell d’Encus.

Farm Dinner

A tour and insight into the organic ely family farm from Hugh Robson finished off nicely, what was an extremely special day out for us in the Burren, Co. Clare. We, at ely, were extremely privileged to share with our guests, the passion that our Burren community, friends and family feel about all of the different work that they are engaged in.

To experience ely’s organic family farm in The Burren, Co. Clare, without having to leave Dublin, visit any of our 3 ely venues. 

horses and cattle on the ely family farm

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

three of the top 5 spots in the best wine bar section on Sbpost

sunday-business-post

We at ely restaurants are delighted to have taken three of the top 5 spots in the best wine bar section, with ely winebar topping the list once again, ely bar & brasserie in the IFSC second and ely gastro pub in fifth place.
We are also delighted to see so many of our suppliers and friends also getting the recognition they deserve, such as Simon TyrellFebvre and Liberty Wines among the best importers, Le Caveau wine merchantsWicklow wine company, The Corkscrew and Mitchell and son as best merchants, and Wines Direct and the The  Winestore for their fantastic websites.

Tomas Clancy writes:

Thomas Clancy 001ely maintains its top place again this year. It shines in its wine masterclasses, delicious food
and world-class selection of wines. Added to this are thoughtful, attentive and knowledgeable
owners, and staff who seem to love what they are doing.

Cheers to that!

http://www.businesspost.ie/

Two new additions to the ely family for 2013

Our New Year’s resolution ? To drink differently…..Ian Brosnan - ely winebar

Here at ely restaurants we’ve started the new year as we mean to continue, namely by sourcing new, exciting wines that represent both quality and value.
We also believe that 2013 will be the year of the ‘little grape’, wines from unconventional grapes and lesser known regions will come to the fore because they will be able to offer genuine drinking pleasure at affordable prices. With that in mind, we will be on a mission, searching the forgotten corners of the wine world for interesting varieties and styles, while also seeking out the very best value from the more recognisable regions.

Here are two for you to start with – both are available in all three ely venues.

It costs €26 by the bottle or €6.50  by the glass, and don’t forget we pour 4 glasses to the bottle !

1. Simon Joseph Cote du Rhone ‘Les Vignes Paralleles’ 2011

Simone Joseph001Equal parts Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault, this is a classic southern Rhone blend. The grapes are sourced just southwest of Avignon, in the region of the Gard – an area renowned for quality fruit and elegant wines. Bursting with fresh dark cherry on the nose, followed by plum and bramble fruit on the palate. The Grenache provides a lingering, white pepper spiciness, while the gentle tannins and fresh acidity carry the flavours through a long satisfying finish. Hugely versatile, it can be enjoyed by itself, but pairs wonderfully with lamb and game.

Loinel Osmin Pyrène ‘Cuvee marine’ 2011

2. Loinel Osmin Pyrène ‘Cuvee marine’ 2011

Another blend of three, this time Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc and Gros Manseng. The vineyards are spread between the Cote de Gascgogne and Gaillac in the south west of France. While Sauvignon Blanc enjoys widespread fame on its own, this blend is traditional in these parts of France. On the nose there is gooseberry and lime, with aromatic lemon on the palate and a strong minerally finish. This wine somehow manages to be full flavoured and fruity, yet still wonderfully crisp and fresh. Refreshingly different !

 

SBP No border and text

 

SBP Logos 2015 lrg

 


Sunday Business Post ely wine bar ely bar brasserie

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

Mathew Jukes 100 best Australian wines for 2012

Influential UK wine writer Mathew Jukes released his 100 best Australian wines for 2012 and, as usual, it features a host of ely restaurants favourites.  The list covers a broad spectrum of prices and styles, from affordable, quality orientated producers such Willunga 100, Innocent Bystander and Pewsey Vale, to world class, highly sought after names such as Cullen, Henschke and Clonakilla.  A new name to that list, and to ours, is Ten Minutes by Tractor. Taking its name from the distances between the three vineyards, TMBT is – as

Matthew Jukes 100 Best Australian Wines List for 2012

Matthew Jukes 100 Best Australian Wines List for 2012

Mathew puts it – “a major force to be reckoned with in the world of global Pinot Noir worship”.

Based in Mornington Peninsula, southeast of Melbourne, they have developed a reputation for sublime, elegant and complex wines from the two grapes that excel in the region, the great Burgundian duo of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  They produce stunning single vineyard wines from the McCutchen, Wallis and Judd vineyards, and the 10X wines, which are blended from the three.  These wines challenge the very best from burgundy and at the same time remain distinctly Australian.

Four of their wines are currently listed in ely winebar 22 Ely Place,  the 10x Chardonnay 2010- fresh pear and white peach on the nose, with a smoky, minerally palate and lovely weight  on the finish. The 2008 Wallis Vineyard Chardonnay is an even more complex affair with stones and stone fruit- peaches and nectarines with a minerality that surges forward on the palate, and the deft use of oak results in an incredible harmony of texture and flavour. It is a stunning wine.

10X PINOT NOIR 2010

TEN MINUTES BY TRACTOR 10X PINOT NOIR 2010

Of the Pinots, the 2010 10X Pinot Noir is soft, ripe and fragrant, with strawberry, cherry and a touch of damson and a remarkable freshness. It would put many a big name Burgundy to shame.

The 2009 McCutchen is among the finest Pinots I’ve ever tasted from Australia- It impresses at first with its vibrant red fruits-  fresh cherry and raspberry,  and a texture so silky it’s almost sinful . But given some time in the glass it develops in to something altogether different, conjuring up savoury, meaty aromas, and a smoky spiciness. Everything comes together seamlessly in a finish that lingers on the palate like a fond memory.

The Ten Minutes by Tractor wines are exclusively available in ely restaurants. Come in and try them for yourself.

ely wines for summer #2

Montlouis ‘Minérale+’, Frantz Saumon, Montlouis-sur-Loire
by ely sommelier Ian Brosnan

Chenin Blanc never seems to get the love it deserves here in Ireland, forever being passed over for that other “Blanc”. Maybe it’s because the wines aren’t as well known- Savennières and Vouvray don’t always jump to the mind as quickly as Sancerre and Pouilly Fume. It could be that it’s new world equivalent is often very underwhelming- let’s face it, South African Chenin Blanc cannot hold a candle to New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

But more likely it is because of the wines themselves. These are not easy wines. They can be difficult to appreciate, often austere in their youth. They age wonderfully, but frequently enter a ‘teenage’ period – inexpressive and dumb- giving little indication of the wonders that will develop in future years, and wines encountered during these periods can often be misunderstood.

Chenin Blanc takes time- not necessarily time in bottle, as young Chenin Blanc can be superb- but time to get to know. And, like all things that require time to appreciate, when you finally fall under its charms, the rewards are ten-fold.

One such wine is Montlouis ‘Minérale +’- 100% Chenin Blanc, mostly from old vines. This is a ‘natural’ wine- organically grown grapes, no sulphites or additives and wild yeasts. It combines the classic Loire flavours of apples and pears, lemon, honey and  a touch of wet-wool with a precise yet balanced acidity, and an almost piercing minerality ( hence the name).  It is a wonderful partner to seafood- Scallops, oysters or simply cooked white fish. Or just sit at the bar with some calamari…

Montlouis ‘Mineral+’ is served by the glass in ely wine bar, ely place.

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