• 22 Sep


    “The Seifried Family, pioneering winegrowers from Nelson, New Zealand have been receiving accolades for their stunning wines for many years. In November 2019, they achieved a hat-trick by winning Champion White Wine, Champion Sauvignon Blanc and Best Wine of Nelson at the New Zealand Wine of the Year event for their Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019. This is the first time a Nelson winery has won the “Best Wine of the Year”, and it is worth bearing in mind that Marlborough has 74 times more Sauvignon Blanc planted than Nelson – tough competition indeed.”
    Anna Seifried


    A new vintage of “Le Rive di Ogliano” Extra Dry Rive di Ogliano Prosecco Superiore Docg is about to be released. The Millesime 2019 of the single-vineyard Prosecco made by 100% Glera grapes from the 40 years old vines located in a hilly plot of about two hectares in Ogliano Village, among the Conegliano Valdobbiadene hill, will have a little change of name in the label. It will be named “R.D.O.” Extra Dry, standing for “Rive di Ogliano”, the appellation’s name. First released as soon as the “Rive” appellation was created in 2009, it is the first Prosecco awarded with the five stars by Decanter and being called “The champ” by Michael Edwards. As Richard Baudains from Decanter stated in 2014, it is a “Top terroir driven” Prosecco. Le Rive di Ogliano in fact reveals in the glass the uniqueness of Ogliano Terroir.


    The strong bond that connects the Dal Bianco family to the hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene begins in 1946 with grandfather Epifanio, followed by his eldest son Adriano, his wife and two brothers. Today at the helm of the company we find the family’s third generation, represented by the three sons of Adriano. The Dal Bianco family had developed time after time productive excellences: the great proseccos and the still wines of the Conegliano hills, an authentic heritage that the Dal Bianco family has distilled in its two major brands: Masottina, dedicated to the making of sparkling wines; Ai Palazzi, meanwhile, specializes in the production of still wines. Caring for approximately 300 hectares of vineyards (half of which are located within the historic area of Conegliano Valdobbiadene), represents the proud culmination of a long family history. The meticulous pursuit of quality begins in the vineyards where a precision viticulture is carried on and continues in the cellar where an oenology of respect is practiced. The guiding principle is the gravity system, designed to gain the best possible quality from excellent grapes.


    Torreón de Paredes, has always shown its concern for the environment and the protection of all renewable natural resources. As a one of the few certified Sustainable Vineyard & Winery in Chile, this year 2020, Torreón has gone a step further in its commitment to eco friendly practices and surprised everyone by installing a solar panel electric plant that has made the winery self sufficient in terms of electricity consumption. The 100Kv photovoltaic power plant supplies clean power to operate the drip irrigation system for the vineyards, and all the working operations at the winery, in fact the plant is producing more electricity than what Torreón de Paredes needs. The Paredes brothers, Alvaro & Javier summarise this new winery achievement by saying: “We’ll be using the cleanest possible energy to keep making the best ecological wines the Cachapoal Valley could offer, and with almost no carbon foot-print”.


    Why the wine business:
    Right now, the wine industry is one of the most interesting industries to consider as a career path! Learning about wine is fun, its exciting because its hands on – especially when tasting is involved, and its instantly gratifying! I love people and forming relationships. I find the people in the wine industry to be passionate, interesting and fun.

    If not selling wine what do you think you would be doing:
    Possibly something to do with social care, or working with teenagers /young adults.. but selling wine is the dream job in my opinion!

    What are you reading:
    Catcher In The Rye by JD Salinger What was the last wine you had: Vina Muriel Blanco Reserva Rioja, delicious and I love the fact it has been aged for so long before releasing.

    Who is your biggest inspiration?
    No one person, but rather kindness, empathy, loyalty and positivity in a person.

    Favourite Film:
    Steven Spielberg’s -ET, since childhood and still today.

    What music are you listening to:
    We are going through a phase of Queen and Elton John in our house as we have watched Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman lately.

    Favourite place:
    My favourite place is at my kitchen table at home, with my husband , kids and anyone else who can join us for a Sunday roast! I love to cook and feed people, it gives me great pleasure.

    What are your hobbies:
    Cooking, the odd jog, I adore yoga and reading.. and drinking good wine of course!

    Favourite saying:
    Turn that frown upside down!


    More than 1000 years ago, it was a monastery, but for over 3 centuries now San Leonardo has served as the residence of the Marquis Guerrieri Gonzaga family, its proud custodians. Today, the San Leonardo estate is a garden of vineyards and roses, protected by the massive barrier of the Alps, which blunt the force of the cold northern winds, while the valley floor benefits from, and in turn releases, warmth from nearby Lake Garda. The tenuta remains an antique world, in which winemaking practices, still uncompromisingly artisanal, yield wines that are true gems of Italy’s wine tradition, marked by freshness, harmony, and an innate elegance. San Leonardo has approximately 50 acres of vineyards planted with international varietals that thrive in the varied microclimates of the estate. The majority of the vineyards are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, but Carménère, Cabernet Franc and Merlot are also abundant. Cultivation is focused on low yields and highly concentrated grapes. The resulting wines have a great depth, concentration and an aristocratic finesse that can go toe-to-toe against the world’s finest Bordeaux blends. One of the most awarded wines from Iltay and served at the finest tables round the world.
    “San Leonardo is one of the great wines of Italy” .. Monica Larner Wine Advocate.


    Verdicchio grape dates by to the 14th century. It has a long history with the Italian region of Marche in the central part of the country on the east coast. The grape is sensitive to climate conditions and sometimes can be a challenge to grow to maximise the grapes true potential. Its name stems from its colour greeish-yellow (‘Verde’ in Italian). The wines are citrus with notes of almonds. Deliciously lively and fresh, with mouth-watering acidity. It is also a great wine that can successfully be oak aged. Sometimes it has been known to happen that the grape is confused with another Italian white grape Trebbiano. Works well as an aperitif or fresh light poultry dishes and fish and seafood.

    Podium Verdicchio Jesi DOC Classco;
    Marche Italy | 100% Verdicchio

    Produced by Garofoli Family. Est 1901

    Maturation 15 months in stainless steel vats at 10° C (50° F) and bottle refinement for four months in a temperature-controlled cellar. Colour is golden yellow with greenish reflections. intense aroma of ripe yellow fruit accompanied by elegant scents of citrus fruit combined with a note of honey, an ensemble of great complexity and persistence. Drinking now and we age for up 10 years.



    Pinotage is and always will be a South African grape. Its history only dates back to 1925 when it was created by crossing Pinot Noir and Cinsaut (cinsaut used to be known as Hermitage). The wines are usually very dark and deep in colour and quite tannic. The wines tend to be quite brambly and have earth flavours. Some tend to be quite smoky. Depending on the producer and location of the vineyards the wines can sometimes have slight tropical notes and even bananas. In the last year or so its popularity has grown a lot and rightly so. It is a great food wine matching with anything from BBQ meats to Thai foods and even Mediterranean dishes like pasta.

    Mooiplass Pinotage
    Stellenbosch South Africa | 100% Pinotage

    Produced by Mooiplass Wine Estate & Private Nature Reserve. Est 1963 50% of the grape was matured in stainless steel tanks, giving it fruit and elegance, and 50% in small French oak barrels for 9 months, giving it balance, length and structure.

    A medium bodied wine with a deep purple colour, with a great deep plum nose. Overall the wine is soft, juicy and approachable. Superb with roast chicken, Cape Malay spiced dishes, roast pork, roast lamb, pizza & pasta dishes..

    Will age very well for the next 8 -10 years.



    Being an Export Manager first and foremost means to interact every day with partners from North America to Asia with every country in between, Discussing current business, orders, potential opportunities, visits, etc. It’s basically a lot of emails and phone calls in that perspective and the necessity to be able to switch from one mindset / culture to another.

    The pillar of the job is then of course to travel the world trying to spread the good word around our lovely wines by educating our importers’ staff, professional and private customers of theirs, making lots of presentations, tastings, dinners and wine fairs. This requires a lot of organisationnal skills to fit a maximum of travel in a year’s time, be punctual, but it also implies to remain quite healthy and “relatively” serious whilst traveling taking into account long hauls, jetlags, loads of nights in different hotels, etc. It is basically a very tiring job, and one needs to really enjoy traveling and having the capacity to know yourself and set yourself limits is quite important.

    Next is to organise tours and visits in the vineyards and properties for our partners worldwide whom are eager to discover the surroundings and origins of our lovely wines. This is a great part of the job representing an incredible moment to show all the beauty of the land, the people and the local culture to our business partners. And once there’ve experienced all of it, things change drastically in their capacity to represent our wines and winery when they’re back in their respective countries. This is a fantastic opportunity to create deep and long term connections with each and everyone of our visitors, it’s generally a lot of laughing, eating, visiting, ending up in great memories. Sometimes, when you’re lucky, you can even make some new friends.

    Then there’s the part of the job trying to build the company further with all the team at the winery consisting in exchanging upon the current business worldwide, product development, quality improvement, future opportunities, a lot of tasting of course to always keep sharp tasting skills which is essential for an export manager. This implies of course a lot of internal meetings like in most businesses, essential to be able to embrace the regular changes of the market and consumers’ shifting habits.

    In essence, what you really need to be an Export Manager in the wine industry is : To love wine, to love people and to love the travel. If you have these 3 assets, then you might just have what it takes to succeed in this position.


    A ruby red wine with subtle violet hues, and intense, concentrated aromas evoking cassis, blackcurrants and sweet spices such as black pepper and clove. In the mouth, this perfectly structured wine displays ripe red fruit flavours with notes of eucalyptus and black pepper. An elegant, perfectly balanced wine, with a well-structured, lingering finish. An ideal wine to be paired with red meats, lamb and mature cheeses.

    A colour of straw yellow with greenish reflections. Aroma: white flowers of acacia, jasmine, bouquet of citrus such as pineapple, grapefruit and orange, apple, pear and mango and a light note of bananas. Flavour: fresh and pleasant thanks to its sustained acidity. Well balanced softness and tanginess, making it inviting and intriguing. Ideal with Aperitifs, hors d’oeuvres featuring fish or seasonal vegetables and cold dishes, first courses with herbs, vegetable risottos, dry pasta dishes and soups, fish in light sauces.

    Traditional method, which means it is made the same way as Champagne. Aged 15 months on its lees. Its appearance is very pale cherry in colour with lively tones. Small and elegant bubbles with a good froth. Fruit and ageing aromas reminiscent of rose and raspberry with touches of almond ageing. Rounded and very fine, very feminine. Calls to be savoured on the tongue. Very long and fruity finish. Ideally recommended to be drunk as an aperitif and served with light dishes.


    This cocktail originated in the Detroit Athletic Club in the early 1920’s. Created in America by an Irish man from Tipperary, Frank Fogarty. It’s a prohibition era cocktail, hence using the Bathtub Gin. First documented in Ted Saucier’s book ‘Bottoms up’ from 1951 it came back into popularity in the naughties and has worked it’s way onto cocktail menus across the world. Establishing itself as an essential classic cocktail to have in your armoury of cocktails.

    Try it with Irish whiskey instead of gin and you’ve got a ‘Dublin Minstrel’. Or Put a Twist on it: Most interesting twist I have seen on this cocktail is Mahiki London using Spitroast Pineapple Gin, Maraschino Originale Liqueur, Green Chartreuse & fresh Lime Juice


    In 2010 Daniel hung up his pinstripe suit and returned to his childhood home in County Cork with his French wife Géraldine and started making cider. They haven’t looked back since, the first in the modern era of craft cider makers, they have garnered a slew of international awards and are the only cider Supreme Champion Winner of the National Irish Food Awards. In addition to their Classic Medium Dry Cider they produce exciting Summer Seasonals the latest of which to hit the market in late May is Apple & Passion Fruit. Here’s to another 10 years!


    Wine starts changing straight away after its open. If you are serving wine by the glass, you should at the end of the day vacuum the wine. If you don’t have the Vac du Van system, the hand pumps work very well and keep the wines fresh for up to a week. If it’s a screw cap wine, it makes no difference screwing the lid back on because all the oxygen is still in the bottle. Every business should vacuum their wines. You only want to be serving healthy wines to your customers.

    It is an aging term used in Spain. The wine must be aged a minimum of 1 year in an oak barrel and 1 year in bottle before release.

    They are the same grape, in France like in the Rhône it is known as Syrah while in Australia it is called Shiraz. Sometimes winemakers in the new world might have Syrah on the label because the wine has a more Rhône taste to it.

    Corks are a natural product and come from the bark of an oak tree. Because it is natural it is prone to be sometimes in an unhealthy condition which mean the wines can be damaged. On average 2 -5 % of all cork closured wines are unhealthy. Screwcaps can be as expensive if not more so than a cork but as a closure it gives about 99% result in wines being fresh. May not look and feel as glamourous, but what’s important in the freshness of the juice.


    Hello to one and all and welcome to our very first Ezine.

    Its only taken us 16 years to get around to it, but its here at last.

    It is amazing what one can finally get done when there is time, and time is something we all have a lot of at the moment.

    I am not going to talk about the struggles and worries and stress we all are going through. There is enough media coverage on that. So no mention of the ‘C’ word. We will be only looking to the future with a very positive outlook.

    The purpose of The CD Times is to be informative and educational. To give some news of what’s happening around the wine world and to be light hearted. We also want to introduce to the people we work with, both internationally and within our own company. We work in a people business and sometimes that gets pushed aside and the focus gets put on figures and turn over etc

    People make business happen and sometimes we forget to focus on this strength. I am currently working on a book behind the scenes which is based on Real Customer Care and the Human Touch aspect of developing your business. It will cover the 5 P’ Purpose, Performance, Passion, Proficiency and Presentation.

    Starting with our next edition I will take each section and give a couple of pointers that may be of help.

    But we also want to hear from you. There may be some wine questions that we can help with. Or some wine training notes for your staff that you would like, questions on margin, ideas for when you are reopening etc. We know we will improve each edition as we too learn from you along the way.

    Since this lockdown we have had plenty of time to think and reflect on the skills and experiences that we have and to look how best we can share them with you.

    “The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.”

    Oscar Wilde

    Read more
  • 22 Sep

    Known as “El Niño” (The boy) back in 1964, from one day to the next Santiago Ijalba (AKA Santalba) found himself immersed in the management of a winery when he was barely 20 years old. He knew how to make this unforeseen his way of life and his passion until he founded, in 1998, his own winery. Santalba is now the reflection of all that experience that, together with his family, vindicates the value of the traditional without losing a bit of innovation. Santalba is the result of “letting go”, of “trusting young minds to continue growing.” The combination of tradition and modernity is the essence of this winery that claims the family character from its foundations. “A way to differentiate itself within Rioja”, assures Santiago.

    The different crises that Santalba has endured during its 56 years among wines show the evolution of a sector that, today, has managed to become a benchmark for the region. The awakening of Spain after the Franco regime followed, first, that of 1992 and, six years later, “the year of grapes at 425 pesetas”

    A constant transformation that has also affected the skeleton of Rioja. «At the end of the 60’s it was the time of export of the wines in bulk. It was also La Rioja of the 40,000 hectares and just 40 wineries. Already in the eighties we grew twice and now, in 2020, we exceed 600 wineries and 70,000 hectares of vegetable mass,” recalls Santalba and adds that the technical characteristics of the wines have also changed affected by climate change too.

    “It is a different Rioja, but I don’t dare say if it is better or worse,” he says. “What we have to think about now is where we want to go. Rioja is struggling to grow in plant mass, which can make us a very large appellation, but I think it has to fight to become a great appellation where quality prevails over quantity and prevents its wines from appearing on the shelves in very low prices “he adds.

    Santalba wines are varied and differentiating. They make traditional and classic wines. Wines that do not surprise but never disappoint. Elegant, fine and timeless under the Santalba Viña Hermosa brand in different categories such as Selection, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva and of course an excellent white and rose wines. These collect the experience accumulated by Santiago. OGGA, 25 years ago it was a “high expression” wine with a modern cut and today it is a renewed classic and perhaps the greatest exponent of Rioja. Rioja in a bottle.

    On the other hand, more modern, eclectic and daring wines are made by Roberto. Santalba Cotas Altas, Santalba Natural, even a Rioja in the Amarone style by appassamiento (drying grapes). It is clear that Rioja’s fame of being a reactionary wine region does not go with the wines of Santalba.

    Bodegas Santalba is a totally family-run winery, located in a unique spot of Rioja Alta where they pamper their vineyards and wines and the doors are always open for the friends of CLASSICdrinks. Salud!

    Côtes de Gascogne

    Lou Gat means the cat in the local dialect occitan. A legend dating back to the 13th century tells that after a decade of disastrous climate, crops were scarce and famine settled. In the village, we decided to eat cats by cooking them, leading to cat’s extinction and a proliferation of rats who ate the vines. Thanks to Angeline, who kept a couple of cats hidden in her attic preserving their lives, 20 kittens were born. She then decided to drop them in the village and they decimated the rats, thus saving the viticulture.

    Lou Gat is a mosaic representation of this long stretching area of Gascony, which includes different typicities of soils and climates. While in the north area the calcareous bedrock suits perfectly black grapes (Lou Gat Purple) and some of white like Sauvignon (Lou Gat Blue), the clayish tawny sand soils from the west and the south of the region favours aromatic white grapes as the colombard and Gros Manseng (Lou Gat Yellow).

    The wines are intended to be straight, fresh and fruity, to which, in my opinion, suit perfectly non-specialist consumers. The purpose of the design is to simplify the wine in order to catch a large audience with a friendly animal easy to recognize. The rainbow of colors expresses the dominant fruit / profile of each wines.



    What would be your dream job?
    I work in my dream job, I love the wine business but if not in this business I would love to be working at SpaceX, I have always had a huge interest in space exploration from the time I visited NASA when I was a child.

    What was the last wine you had?
    Vallformosa Cava Brut Reserva was the last wine I had. I had a bottle for my birthday and it was excellent – refreshing, crisp and delightful!

    Who is your biggest inspiration?
    My father passed away but he taught me that I should always work hard and never give up. This is something that has stood to me working through recessions and pandemics!

    What’s your favourite film?
    This is too hard of a question to just give one answer but I can give my top five:

    • Schindler’s list
    • Forest Gump
    • The Shawshank redemption
    • Whiplash
    • Trading Places

    What music are you listening to?
    I listen to all types of music from metal to techno. Today I was listening to Mötley Crüe and Metallica followed by a live set from Armin Van Buuren at Tomorrowland.

    What are your hobbies?
    When I get time I like to hit a small white ball around, I also play drums! I’m addicted to the BBQ and any chance I get, that smoker is on and I’m trying out new recipes.I love matching CLASSICdrinks wines with whatever I’m cooking.


    “In the blink of an eye! Time goes so quickly but I couldn’t let this anniversary slip by without a celebration. I’ve gone back to my roots to mark Stonewell’s 10th birthday. My grandmother was born in Cappoquin, Co. Waterford. All the ciders in this blend are from a single orchard grown by David Keane of Cappoquin Estates. With an apple pie and toffee nose, this is a medium dry tannic cider, with a rich, full mouthfeel and some yummy butterscotch notes on the palate. There are only 1250 bottles of this blend. So, if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did making it!”
    Daniel Emerson, Founder

    Grüner Veltiner

    This grape dates back to the 1800’s, it is still primarily grown in Austria, Hungary and Czech Republic and Slovakia. But you will also find countries like New Zealand experimenting with it. I love the quote from Janis Robinson when she wrote about this grape. “Today, no self-respecting restaurant wine list, whether in New York or Hong Kong, can afford to be without at least one example of this, Austria’s signature white wine grape”

    This grape is very pure and full of minerality and acidity, but it ripens very late in the season. Wines can be perfumed and have substance, these are usually off dry, with a every so slight hint of spice. It’s a delightful grape and for those who enjoy aromatic wines it is a perfect choice. The biggest challenges this grape has is with the pronunciation. I strongly believe that the Gewürztraminer would be a hugely more popular wine style if the name was easier to remember and pronounce. The same I feel for this grape. It is a perfect match for foods that are a little fatty or acidic like, schnitzel, fried chicken, pork, veal and even sushi. Vegetables with acidic sauces can also be a great match such as asparagus etc. It is also a pure delight when served on its own and for those who like Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Viognier and even Albarino, it is a must try grape.


    A light fruity grape with lots of soft red berry fruits. Best drunk young but if from a Beaujolais Cru they can age beautifully from 3- 12 years. This grape is most famous as it is the main grape of the Beaujolais region in France, the lowest part of Burgundy.

    This grape is also grown in the Loire and Savoie region in France, in Switzerland and in the Napa region of California.

    At the entry level this grape can be a fruity, easy drinking wine on its own.
    But you will find when it is from one of the 10 Beaujolais Crus, the wine becomes more complexed and intriguing. With a thin skin and low in tannins, this grape also has high acidity. It is intense, spicy, flavoursome, rich, deep and very memorable. The older wines from some of the Crus of Beaujolais are said to have taken on some of the characteristics of Burgundy.

    Entry level Gamays are good with cheeses like, brie, camembert, pâtés and cold meats, like ham and turkey. More mature wines like those from Crus such as Morgan, Moulin A Vent, are best matched with game such as duck breast and veal but also works superbly with lamb, roast chicken or pork.

    Beaujolais is currently very much so in vogue, some of the top Crus to watch out for are Saint Amour, Moulin A Vent, Morgan, Fleurie, Brouilly.

    WHAT’S MY JOB? |

    Antón Fonseca – Project Manager

    “What´s my job?” That is quite a difficult question. I think if you asked every different member of the winery, you would get a totally different answer from each one, which makes me really proud! I have been involved in the day by day of the winery for 7 years now. On a regular day, if I am in the premises, it is not uncommon to start the day tasting wines in the morning, luncheons with a customer in the afternoons, and move some wine cases in the evening. It is the incredible thing about my job, each day is different of the other”

    If we discuss my “international role”, it lets me get to know people from different cultures and countries, and even get to visit the best restaurants around the globe. Representing the values of the family, our partners and human team that make up Terras Gauda.

    I have a future responsibility to lead a beautiful project, but it was already working before
    my arrival. This is why, since I have never been a theoretical type, I have tried to soak up
    everyones jobs trying to make them forget I was being in the way

    My father started this small project in the O Rosal Valley, 40 minutes away from Vigo city and a few meters from the Miño river, a natural border with neighboring Portugal. He planted not only Albariño variety but, a coupage with the indigenous varieties of O Rosal Valley. To the extent that he was able to recover one of them , Caiño blanco, which quickly set us apart of the rest of the wineries.

    In 30 years, the group has grown a lot, and we are now four wineries and a small vegetable cannery, that it was on the verge of disappearance and that we saved it with more heart than head is another story but that´s for another CD issue. Now my role is to lead the new projects like the new Rioja project Heraclio Alfaro, the modernisation of some processes, or the internationalisation, like taking good care of our friends from Classic Drinks!.

    Everything without losing the essence that took us were we are: We will continue being faithful to the environment, respecting the uniqueness of the wines of each “terroir” and putting our efforts into team values”.


    Located within the Central Valley are the upper reaches of the Cachapoal Valley, one of Chile’s historic winegrowing valleys. In this valley lies the town of Rengo that is protected by the mountain range that creates an area cooler and more arid than the rest of the valley. The Torreón de Paredes vineyard built on alluvial soil, is situated in the heart of this and is flanked by the mighty Andes, which not only provides a stunning backdrop to our winery, but also creates the dramatic contrasts between day and night temperatures which result in richer, juicier grapes.

    TASTING NOTES: Bright yellow colour with gold hints. The nose shows complex notes of vanilla, fresh pineapple and lychee. The palate is intense, fresh, and juicy with soft notes of herbs with spicy and toasted finish. The wine is harmonious with a well-balanced acidity and structure. Ideal to Serve at 10-12°C with salmon, sole, oysters, abalone, veal, quail or pasta in white sauce.

    Masseria del Feudo is not just a company. Its history is a family history, whose values and ideals are powered from Francesco and Carolina, fourth generation of agriculture entrepreneurs, who work in a land where innovation is supported by tradition. Their philosophy is reflected in social responsibility towards the environment and production quality.

    TASTING NOTES: Intense ruby red colour. Menthol aroma, together with sweeter ripe red fruit and pepper hints. Intriguing and complex. The taste is velvet, sapid, vibrating finish, with a typical acidity of the variety, which leds to appreciate the fruity aftertaste.


    Considered one of the most sensational winemakers in Spain and one of the best in the world, Álvaro Palacios has truly revolutionised the viticultural landscape of Priorat, Catalonia. He was instrumental in bringing about the modern renaissance of this forgotten wine region by producing “L’Ermita”, a wine which has since then become a true symbol of Priorat around the world. After studying Oenology in Bordeaux and working at the legendary Château Pétrus, Álvaro Palacios was bound to take the reins of the family vineyard. But in 1989, led by his intuition, he decided to embark on a new adventure and settled in Gratallops, a small village located in the steep hills of the remote Priorat region, around 60km from Barcelona. In this mystical land, the vineyards are planted on steep, terraced hillsides whose dramatic slopes make it impossible for any type of mechanical work. Here, mules and horses are used instead.

    Is Chablis a grape?
    This is a very common question and one where people get mixed up. Chablis is a wine region in northern France, its part of the Burgundy region. Famed for its subsoil of Kimmeridgean which you will find sea fossils. In Chablis they only produce one grape and that is Chardonnay. So when you hear someone saying they love Chablis but hate Chardonnay you can now politely educate them.

    Do all wines need to breathe before drinking?
    All wines will benefit a little from being poured into the glass and left alone for a couple of minutes. Sometimes it can be that the white is too chilled and needs to warm up a little before all those fantastic aromas can start jumping out of the glass. The same can be said of reds. The higher the alcohol the warmer the wine. Wines have been trapped in a bottle for a long time and also may have been aged in a barrel so when you open a bottle the wine is screaming ‘let me be for a moment to get my through together’ So if you have the patience try and be kinder to your wine, if drinking a nice bottle of red and you have a decanter or a nice jug, pour it into it and let it stand for 30 minutes. I like to decant my whites – yes try it out, it does make a difference. Remember all the amount of work and people that are involved in getting that lovely bottle of wine into your hands. In a lot of cases it’s a work of art. So maybe treat it with more gentile and it will give you more.


    Hi All,
    Yes indeed strange times we are working through but also its where opportunities lie. Following on from my article in the last edition, this time I want to touch on a topic that is near to my heart.

    This is one the most important ingredients in any business, without it, it can be a long, challenging road to create a successful business, if at all possible.

    Definition – Having or showing intense and eager engagement, interest or approval. Words also used to express enthusiasm – passion – zeal – keeness – eagerness – ardour – warmth. People can display their enthusiasm differently, but it has been proven time after time again that people buy into people who are enthusiastic.

    Enthusiastic staff can create really positive energy in the work envirnment, such as restaurants, hotels etc. Customers, when entering without saying anything, can pick up on this positive energy. It can make customers feel comfortable, relaxed and open. It can make them want to linger longer, be open to suggestions, spend more and tell people what a great experience they had. It’s not always about how the envirnment looks but more about how it feels. Down through the years I have seen so many businesses spend all their time on how a place looks and miss the whole area of having positive energy. This is only created by the enthusiatic, energetic staff being there.

    Never underestimate its importance, it has been known for customers to buy into can-do enthusiasm and overlook a potential staff member’s lack of knowledge in a particular area of work.

    An enthusiastic waiter in a restaurant can be the most memorable part of a diner’s experience. An enthusiastic wine waiter can be enough to make sure you buy the wine that you know is just beyond your comfort price point, but you know the experience will be worth it. An enthusiastic manager can drive a team beyond what they believed they were capable of. Enthusiasm is infectious and can be an incredible sales tool.

    Enthusiasm in business today is quite lacking. We are living in a world of business where mobile phones get more attention than the art of face to face communication. Generations have grown up and are growing up where the amount of ‘likes’ you have on your Instagram/Facebook/TikTok account are much more important than becoming better at communicating with people.

    Enthusiasm can be displayed by your smile, body language etc. But being enthusiastic all the time is not easy. Some people are naturally enthusiastic and love connecting with people, while others can find it a challenge when dealing with strangers. It takes time to build a team of consistent enthusiastic staff but when you do the results prove that it’s worth working on. When your business has its Vision Statement (previous CD Times) the next step is to it create an enthusiastic and passionate attitude within the workforce. It is important to monitor this. Small achievable goals can be put in place. People need to be rewarded for their care by the business, for the passion and enthusiasm they bring to it.

    Sometimes people can feel intimidated by others who might be overzealous with their enthusiasm. The workplace should have a very open policy, open to new ideas, open to listening to what staff think.

    Sometimes the members of staff know more about what the customer wants. Remember we can all learn from each other regardless of experience.


    Red Spot was originally produced exclusively by the Mitchell family who commenced trading in 1805 on Grafton Street in Dublin as purveyors of confectionery, wines and fortified wines. The family’s entrepreneurial spirit expanded into the whiskey bonding business back in 1887, whereby they matured their whiskey for many years beneath the cobbled streets of Dublin.The Red Spot name originated from the family’s practice of marking casks of different ages with a spot of coloured paint. There was a Blue Spot, Green Spot, Yellow Spot, and of course Red Spot. As a colourful history would have it, this revered Red Spot has remained underground until now.This Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey has matured for over 15 years in a combination of American Bourbon casks, Spanish sherry butts and Sicilian Marsala wine casks, all contributing rich and complex flavours, making it the top spot in the range.

    NOSE: Pot Still spices with rich cooked fruit, baked apple, mango and black cherry. Hazelnut and a touch of new leather fuse with toasted American oak.

    TASTE: A mix of ripe fruit sweetness from the Marsala seasoned wine casks. While the fruit remains, sweet red pepper and cracked black pepper and some spiciness, finished by notes of American oak and barley. FINISH: An extra long infusion of fruit and spices.

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  • Visitoes Septmebr

    Visitoes Septmebr

    CLASSICdrinks are very excited to welcome Roberto to Ireland this September

    Roberto Silva Garmendia is an agricultural engineer from the University of Chile, and has specialized in winemaking and agriculture since 2003. With more than 15 years of experience in the wine industry, he has worked in leading national wineries such as William Fevre, Caliterra and Santa Carolina. At Santa Carolina, he was Chief Winemaker of the barrel cellar in Santiago and of the varietal wines from the Molina winery, located in the VII region of Chile.


    In 2004, he worked the harvest in Champagne, France, at the Nicolas Maillart house. There he completely immersed himself in the experience and processes, learning how to make top-quality French champagne.


    Roberto has recently joined Vía Wines, excited by the opportunity to work in Maule Valley, a renowned region for viticulture for its great potential, as well as unique climate and soil conditions.


    “I am proud to be part of Via Wines, as it has always been a leading winery in the development of innovative assemblages and diverse wine ranges with character and sense of origin,” says Roberto.


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  • Opi Sadler -Winemaker of the Worlds Best Cabernet Sauvignon

    In 2013, Opi began working in Mascota Vineyards. Skip forward a few years and in 2018, La Mascota Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 was awarded Best Red Wine in the World

    Rodolfo Sadler – more commonly known as Opi is one of Argentina’s most internationally renowned  winemakers. Opi is the third of three generations of wine makers.

    More than 3500 bottles were blind tasted at the Vinalies Internationales 2018, where La Mascota took the prize.


    Wine Tasting Dinner at Red Torch Ginger

    We were very luck at CLASSICdrinks to have the opportunity to meet Opi earlier in the month. We had the chance to taste some of his fantastic wines at a recent dinner held in Red Torch Ginger.

    For more information on this beautiful range of wines, please ask any of our BDMs located across the country or email our office info@classicdrinks.ie

    Opi Sadler Wine Tasting Dinner at Red Torch Ginger


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  • Now in its 12th year, the National Hospitality Awards (NHA) have grown to hold a pre-eminent place within the hospitality industry in Ireland. With new categories added regularly, in order to keep pace with a changing industry, the NHA are a distinctive and handsome recognition of the efforts of the very best in the business.

    The awards are judged by industry professionals, to a rigorous standard, and evidence that an establishment has really got it right, both front and back of house.

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  • 22 Jun

    Bodegas Palacios Remondo is based in Alfaro in the Rioja Baja. This old family firm has been revitalised by the arrival of Alvaro Palacios who has already made his name, starting from scratch, with his extraordinary Priorat wines.

    He has since returned to the family property in Rioja Baja, and in a very short space of time, has decreased production by 60% and increased quality by a far higher factor! The most Southerly of the Rioja vineyards, Baja centres on the rich silty soils of the River Ebro, its best vineyards, such as this, at quite considerable altitude (550 metres).

    Placet is a beautifully refined, balanced, lightly perfumed white Rioja – made in oak but without the influence of new wood. The reds offer a range of options across different price ranges. The Vendimia is exuberantly juicy, for immediate consumption.

    The Crianza La Montesa has a glossy feel to an otherwise traditional style. A 90 hectare plot with vines up to 550 metres of altitude, Montesa is fermented in large oak vats then aged for 10 months in French barriques, 50% of which are new. The make-up of the blend varies according to the vintage; despite the majority shareholding, as one might expect, of Tempranillo and Garnacha, each year there is correspondingly more Mazuelo and Graciano, both adding interest. The wine has complex flavours with spice and tapenade, tar and licorice in addition to the blackberry, cassis and loganberry which are the classic hallmarks of Tempranillo.

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  • Since its founding in 1979 in Rengo, 130 km. south of Santiago, Torreón de Paredes winery has had one clear, guiding principle:
    “A good wine can only be produced using top quality proprietary grapes”.

    This fundamental purpose gives the wines of Torreón de Paredes, which sits in the middle of the well-known Cachapoal Valley and carries the Rapel appellation, the unique characteristics of a celebrated winery.

    Torreón de Paredes has achieved its notable status thanks to its strong Family tradition, present in all aspects of the operation.
    Don Amado Paredes is the mentor and founder of this successful winery, while his sons, Alvaro and Javier, pass on the family stamp directing the effort along with a top-quality staff.

    All these factors give continuity as well as the impetus for day-to-day improvement in the winery’s successful effort, which can be summarised this way:

    To produce top quality wine that manifests all natures gifts to the land, the vineyards and the people who work them.

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  • This is the story of Seifried Estate, South Island New Zealand’s oldest family winery established over 40 years ago by industry pioneers – Hermann and Agnes Seifried.

    The Seifried story began in 1973 when Austrian born Hermann Seifried and his New Zealand wife Agnes had a dream of making wines in New Zealand’s sunshine capital – Nelson. From very small and modest beginnings when Hermann and Agnes grafted the vines late into the night, to today when all three Seifried ‘children’ have returned home to play their part in growing the family business. Seifried Estate is a company devoted to sustainable wine.

    Hermann Seifried came to New Zealand to take work with the New Zealand Apple and Pear Board in 1970. Growing up with five brothers on an apple orchard in Styria, Hermann always had an interest in viticulture and oenology and went on to study winemaking at Weinsberg in Germany. He gained experience working for the KWV in South Africa before heading to New Zealand. After meeting Agnes Wilkins, a Kiwi girl from a Southland farm who was teaching at the local high school in Nelson, Hermann decided New Zealand was where he wanted to stay. They married in 1971 and with little more than a dream, the young couple purchased land in the Moutere Valley between Nelson and Motueka and began the long process of hand grafting phylloxera resistant rootstock onto cuttings. In 1973 on the gently northward sloping clay loam the first vines were planted. With 14 Vinifera varieties, on two hectare of land, the South Island’s modern commercial wine industry began. In addition to planting their own vines, the Seifrieds sold cuttings to other new wine producers in neighbouring Marlborough.

    Nelson is located at the top of New Zealand’s South Island and is surrounded by mountains to the east, west and south, while the Tasman Sea is to the north.  The climate is mild with winter days being pleasant and warm but cool at night, bringing crisp ground frosts.  In summer the daytime temperature reaches 30c degrees on a very warm day, with afternoon sea breezes giving a moderated and temperate climate to the region.  Nelson is proudly New Zealand’s sunniest region, boasting an average of 2,700 sunshine hours a year.  In the 1960’s and 70’s, Nelson was well-known for its horticulture, with hops, tobacco and apples being some of the main crops of the region.   It was also a very creative region and is today still regarded as the art capital of New Zealand, with potters, jewellers, glass blowers and winemakers making the region their home.

    The first Seifried vintage in 1976 made from Riesling, Sylvaner, Chardonnay, Refosco and Müller Thurgau was well received on the domestic market, and the wines received many accolades in local wine competitions.

    By the late 1970’s with a new and rapidly growing business, the family had grown too – now there were three small children in tow – Heidi, Christopher and Anna slept on rugs or in carry cots beneath the vines, or in a cot in the quiet corner of the winery tucked behind some tanks while Hermann and Agnes worked.

    In 1979 a further 16 hectares of assorted varieties were planted at the Redwood Valley vineyard.   Ten kilometres from the original vineyard in Upper Moutere, the Redwood Valley site offered a different climate and aspect, but the soil type was still primarily Moutere clay.  The grapes here ripened slightly earlier than in the Moutere Valley, hence spreading the vintage and adding new flavours, characters and structure to the wines.

    A third vineyard was established in 1988 on the stony soils of Appleby,on the Waimea Plains.   Just a few kilometres from the coast, this vineyard is less sheltered than the others but offers minerality to the fruit, as the vine roots burrow thought the sand and silt to find water.

    In 1993, the magnificient vineyard restaurant and function centre located at the Rabbit Island Vineyard was opened.  Since opening, it has hosted many weddings, seminars and other functions in a serene, rural atmosphere – the perfect ambience for wine and food to be enjoyed together!   Now known as Petite Fleur at Seifried Estate, the restaurant is owned and managed by Horst Wellmeyer and Justine Robertson.

    In 1996 the Seifrieds relocated from the original winery site in Upper Moutere to a brand new, purpose-built winery complex adjacent to the restaurant on the Rabbit Island Vineyard – a move essential to the continued growth of the family company.

    In 1999, tucked beneath the Richmond Ranges, the Seifried Brightwater Vineyard was developed followed by the planting of Edens Road vineyard in 2006.   Both of these vineyards are around 15K inland from the coast and offer shelter and greater climatic variation.   Further vineyards were established at Clover Road and the magnificent Queen Victoria vineyard at Motueka which has allowed Seifried to offer single vineyard wines, such as Aotea Sauvignon Blanc.

    The family today controls almost 300 hectares of vines in Nelson, spread across 8 different vineyard sites made up of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Grüner Veltliner, Pinot Noir and Syrah.   In addition, Seifried farms a few hectares of Malbec, Zweigelt and Würzer.

    50% of production is sold on the domestic market and the remainder sent overseas to 22 export markets across the globe.     Seifried wines always perform well on the international wine competition circuit and icon wine, Winemaker’s Collection Sweet Agnes Riesling, a late harvested dessert wine, named in honour of Agnes, is the most awarded wine in New Zealand and the most awarded dessert wine in the world.

    This is a family wine business and the Seifrieds are passionate about their work.   After their university studies, Heidi, Chris and Anna Seifried returned home to Nelson to take up active roles in the business.  Heidi combines a career as a dentist with wine-making, Chris is chief winemaker and Anna is responsible for sales and marketing aspects.     The third generation of Seifrieds has now arrived, and Hermann and Agnes have six grandchildren…. Only time will tell if they too will eventually join the family business!

    In 2014, Hermann and Agnes were welcomed in the New Zealand Winegrowers “Hall of Fame” and made Fellows of New Zealand Winegrowers – acknowledgement by their peers for the tremendous contribution to the New Zealand wine industry.

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  • 24 Apr

    A must have on your wine list

    By:admin Unit 5, OC Commercial Park Little Island Co. Cork 1

    According to Matthew Nugent for the past couple of weeks he has been trawling though his notes for the year and from these notes he has complied his Best of 2014 List. Here at CLASSICdrinks we are so very proud and honoured to have two wines listed in Matthew’s Top Wines. From Bodegas Terras Gauda Matthew has selected the O Rosal Terras Gauda. He says “ The king of Spanish Albariños – but for one small detail, Bodegas Terras Gauda have added a little Loureira and Caiño Biancoa, tow other native Galacian grapes, to bring you the perfect blend of 2014″.

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