• 22 Sep

    SEIFRIED PUTS NELSON ON THE MAP

    “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

    NEW SINGLE VINTAGE PROSECCO MASOTTINA

    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.

    DAL BIANCO: A HISTORY, A FAMILY, A WINEMAKING TRADITION

    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.

    A MOVE INTO SUSTAINABILITY TORREÓN DE PAREDES – CHILE

    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”.

    MEET THE TEAM!
    LAURA O’BRIEN

    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!

    THE STORY OF TENUTA SAN LEONARDO

    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.

    IT’S A LOAD OF GRAPES!!

    Verdicchio
    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

    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.

     

    WHAT’S MY JOB?
    OLIVER CAMPOS – EXPORT MANAGER | JEAN LORON

    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.

    WINES IN THE SPOTLIGHT

    LA MASCOTA – MENDOZA – ARGENTINA GRAPES: 100% CABERNET FRANC
    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.

    TENUTA SAN ANTONIO SCAIA – VENETO ITALY GRAPES: 55% GARGANEGA 45% CHARDONNAY
    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.

    VALLFORMOSA BRUT RESERVA ROSE CAVA -PENEDES SPAIN G R A P E S : 1 0 0 % P I N O T N O I R
    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.

    COLM’S COCKTAIL CORNER
    THE LAST WORD

    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

    THE BIG APPLE STONEWELL

    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!

    QUESTION CORNER

    HOW LONG CAN I LEAVE A BOTTLE OF WINE OPEN?
    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.

    WHAT IS CRIANZA?
    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.

    WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SHIRAZ AND SYRAH?
    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.

    WHICH IS BETTER SCREWCAP OR CORK?
    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.

    ED’S SPEAKS

    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.

    MEET THE TEAM!

    AIDAN MCNAMARA
    BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER | DUBLIN CITY CENTRE

    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.

    Gamay

    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”.

    WINES IN THE SPOTLIGHT FAMILY WINERIES

    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.

    GREAT REVIEW FOR CAMINS DEL PRIORAT IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES

    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.

    ED’S SPEAK

    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.

    ENTHUSIASM
    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.

    WHISKEY GALORE!
    RED SPOT 15 YEAR OLD

    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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  • 16 Sep

    English Wine is fizzing, with millions of vines planted in the last few years on the same soils as those that crop up on the other side of the Channel in the Cote d’Or, Sancerre, Chablis and….Champagne.

    Why the rush to plant, why now? Well… global warming has led to average growing season temperatures in South East England rising to the same level now as they were in Champagne up until the 1980s.

    Add to this the same classic Champagne grape varieties (Gusbourne only use Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier), and the same Traditional Method of bottle fermentation, and there is little wonder the best are rivalling some serious names “outre-Manche”.

    Gusbourne only uses its own grapes, planted on exceptional Terroir which consistently delivers ripe fruit, allowing us to make Vintage wines only, delivering a riper, rounder style than most – and one appreciated by the critics: Gusbourne is arguably the UK’s most awarded winery.

     

    NEW ARRIVAL!!! CHÂTEAU PUYNARD

    The Irish in Bordeaux

    In 2016, after exchanging keys for the 18th-century Château in the village of Berson, Andrew and Naomi began the journey to make quality Bordeaux wine. Through organic viticulture and improved farming techniques, Château Puynard is dedicated to crafting wine from the right bank of Bordeaux that reflect the vineyards in which they are grown. Our focus is on Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, two grapes that reveal the geography and geology of the Right Bank – clay and limestone. The Château has had a seven-generation history of winemaking before us, and we carry this legacy into the future with our commitment to the environment. This year we will achieve official organic certification after three years of conversion. Our goal is to grow the healthiest grapes the land will give us, in order to create the best wines that we can, that speak of the Blaye region.

    MEET THE TEAM!

    MARTIN FAGAN

    Why the wine business: It started as a hobby, visiting wineries on holidays with my wife (Pre Children Days). Then the opportunity to leave hotels and work with wine full time came along. That was 17 years ago, I’m still learning, still meeting amazing and passionate people and most of all still loving it.

    If not selling wine what do you think you would be doing: Possibly still in hotel industry. However I have a new hobby of managing a band, I love learning all the inside tracks of the music industry.

    What was the last wine you had: Seifried Sauvignon Blanc – It’s just how a New Zealand Sauvignon should be. I was lucky enough to visit the winery years ago and make life long friends with the family.

    Who is your biggest inspiration? My Dad – He is now 94 and still teaches and inspires me.

    Favourite Film: I have a few……….. Yesterday – a musical comedy about the only guy who remembers The Beatles. Rocket Man the story of Elton John, Bohemain Rhapsody about Freddy Mercury and the newest lockdown one is Aladdin with Will Smith, I have only seen it about 50 times with my youngest daughter since lockdown started.

    What music are you listening to: I love all music from Queen to Robbie Williams and The Beatles along with unsigned Irish Artists and of course First Day Lions (Have you checked them out yet?)

    What are your hobbies: I love both Clay and Game shooting. I like to dabble in the kitchen and cook a little. I love my wine and listening to music.

    ANOTHER GREAT ESTATE FROM FRESCOBALDI

    New exciting Estate for most famed Italian Wine Family

    Right in the heart of the prsetigious Chianti Classico, these world recigionesed wines sit on the finest tables around the world. The Perano Estate is located in the heart of Chianti Classico in Gaiole and enjoys exceptional climate and soil. The vineyards are located 500 meters above sea level, well above the altitude common for red variety grapes, especially Sangiovese with its late maturation phase.

    The combination of elevation, exposure, and the shape and slope of the vineyards offer and extraordinarily unique quality setting that results in intensely fruity aromas and a great tannic structure rife with elegance.

    IT’S A LOAD OF GRAPES!!

    Muscadet:

    A grape that is coming back in vouge in a big way here in Ireland. It was very popular in the 1980’ but with a lot of over production the quality went down as did the consumers.
    It is a bit confusing that Muscadet is both the name of a wine region in the Loire Valley in France. and also the name of a grape. (Muscadet and Muscadet De Servre -Et -Maire)
    It’s a grape that displays attractive green -apple or grassy aromas. Its classified as a dry wine and is perfectly matched with Fish and Sea Food. Muscadet wines are usually consumed young.
    Located in the left of the Loire near the seacoast so there is a lot of sea air influence. Wines can be refreshing, crisp and delightful and are also a fantastic palate cleanser due to its dryness.
    On some Muscadet labels it will have the added words Sur -Lie, it means that the wines were allowed to age for a period of time on the dead yeast cells and particles that came about during the fermentation. The process is believed give the wine more body.
    Domaine de L’ Archer Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie
    Loire Valley | France
    Grape: Muscadet
    Cost: €9.17 p/btl plus vat.

    Carménère:

    The mystery grape for years in Chile. It was thought for years what they were harvesting was Merlot until about the 1995 Professor Jean Michel Boursiguot of the School of Oenology in Montpellier was over in Chile and the discovered the DNA of the grape was indeed it was Carménère.
    It really should be what Chile is known for because the grape is really at home here. It is one of the 6 grapes allowed in Bordeaux. But was first planted in Chile back in 1850. Chile now produces 80% of the worlds Carménère. It was created by crossing Cabernet Franc and Gros Cabernet.
    Its taste profile would be one of cherry fruits, with hints of spice and dark chocolate and touches of tobacco and leather. A very underestimated grape and an almost unknown grape here in Ireland. It really offers bang if its buck and should be on every wine list. Not sure why Chile is not screaming about it, maybe they are and we just have not heard them yet. Great wine makers know how to show this grape at its best. Works so very well with red meats, roasts, BBQ’s.
    Torréon de Paredes Andes Collection
    Valle de Cachapoal | Chile
    Grape: Carménère
    Cost: €8.98 p/btl plus vat.

    WHAT’S MY JOB? – Nathan Hughes (Regional Export Manager)

    Well, things certainly have changed how I go about doing business exporting wine, but one thing has remained the same relationships matter.

    I’m located in McLaren Vale 40 minutes south of Adelaide in South Australia, McLaren Vale is a beautiful wine region we have pristine beaches amazing local produce and diverse vineyards. Coming to the office is a great feeling each day I get to see the subtle changes in the vineyard, “currently nearly all the leaves have dropped, and pruning is about to begin”.

    My job takes me all around the world; I’m fortunate to visit some beautiful places to talk about Angove wines and meet the people who enjoy our wines. The thing I enjoy the most, however, is welcoming people to McLaren Vale, I moved here from the east coast of Australia 5 years ago “nowhere near long enough to be called a local” and instantly fell in love. A day in McLaren Vale is never long enough, all year round a trip to Maslin beach is a must I then, like to drive from the beach up to some of the highest points of McLaren Vale to and take in the Vineyards and show the diverse terroir. A visit with me will always see a spot of lunch at the Salopian Inn one of the best feeds in town and if you know me well the day will always finish with a cold beer.

    For me, relationships are essential. When I’m not travelling or showing guests around McLaren Vale a lot of my day is keeping in contact with export partners around the world, for something as simple as some Cricket or Rugby banter to communicating what’s happening in the Angove winery there’s never a dull moment.

    WINES IN THE SPOTLIGHT

    PORRAIS – DOURO, PORTUGAL GRAPES: TOURIGA NACIONAL, TOURIGA FRANCA, SOUSÃO AND TINTA BARROCA.

    Aged for nine months in oak barrel. Aroma with lots of layered black fruit, some dark chocolate and spice. Good depth in mouth, tasty, linear. A beautiful red, that is round and lushes. This region is known for more powerful wine but this offers power and softness at the same time. FOOD MATCHES: ROASTS, CARMELIZED RED MEATS, GAME, ROAST PORK.

    VILLA HUESGEN SCHIEFER – MOSEL, GERMANY GRAPES: RIESLING

    The grapes are from 30 year old vines, grown on slate soils. The wine has an elegant nose with fine fruit aromas like, apricot and lemon zest. On the palate fresh acidity, elegant fruit, modest minerality and a beautiful citrus flavour in the background. Medium length with a long aftertaste. FOOD MATCHES: LIGHT MEAT AND FISH DISHES HEARTY SALADS OR A HERB RISOTTO.

    MONZIO COMPAGNONI FRANCIACORTA BRUT DOCG – LOMBARDY, ITALY GRAPES: CHARDONNAY, PINOT NOIR

    The Franciacorta is the sparkling wine centre of Italy, the “Italian Champagne”. Here, using thesame grape varieties Champagne, yet Franciacorta is generally more fruity and softer. The wine is kept on the lees for at least 60 months before being disgorged. 5-10% of the base wines are aged in oak barrels to give the wine a special elegance and structure. Aromas of peach and apple, plus some yeast and a toasted bread note. FOOD MATCHES: SHELLFISH, SALAD, STEAMED SEAFOOD.

    THE STORY OF….. MISTINGUETT

    Mistinguett is a very famous Cava brand produced by Vallformosa, a family company located in Vilobí del Penedès (Spain) and founded in 1865!

    As one may know, Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine made using the traditional method, which is the same used to make champagne. The most popular grape varieties used for producing Cava are Parellada, Xarello and Macabeo while Trepat, Grenache or Pinot Noir are mainly used for making rosé Cava. All Mistinguett Cava have 12 months second fermentation in the bottle on average, giving it a great balance between fruity notes and the toasted brioche notes from the second fermentation.

    But… who was Mistinguett? Her stage name was actually Jeanne Bourgeois (1875 -1956) and she was a trend-setting French vedette, singer and actress at the Casino de Paris in 1895. Later she also participated in shows at the Folies Bergère, the Moulin Rouge, and Eldorado. She became one of the most popular French artists of her time and the most important woman in show business. She was the first vedette to step off the stage in order to interact with the public and the first to wear feathers at her shows. In 1919, she even insured her legs for the enormous figure of 500,000 French francs!

    So together with Mistinguett, we want to raise our glasses and pay tribute to all women who work every day to make their dreams come true, just as Mistinguett did. A woman who, with audacity, effort and perseverance, managed to be the most important French star of all time.

    What is Wine Sediment?

    Sediment can form naturally in wine both during the fermentation process and while the wine is maturing in the bottle. Certain wines will always have sediment, and some will never have any. Wine sediment isn’t harmful and can be perceived as a sign of wine’s quality. Sediment is made up of dead yeast cells, colour pigmentation and other particles. This is where and why wines can be decantered to separate it from the sediment.

    Are Screw tops Bad for a Wine? Screw caps are here to stay, they have been around since the 80’s on full bottles. Some of the most respected wines of the world can be found under screw cap. They were not created to be cheaper closure but more for their effectiveness of keeping a wine fresh.

    How Long Does Wine Last After I’ve opened it? There are some different schools on this, but here is our thoughts. When open most of the everyday wines we buy are better consumers on the day. Popping a cork back on the bottle and leaving for a couple of days does not work. Yes of course it can be drunk, but its not going to be fresh and fruity like it was on the day. With whites they start losing their freshness after a day if not vacuumed. Vacuum than even with a hand pump and they will stary fresh for a couple of days in the fridge. Reds depending on the alcohol content can sometimes even improve the next day. If you want to keep a red for a couple of days after opening it, vacuum it and put in the fridge because it slow everything down.

    ED’S SPEAK

    Welcome our second edition of The CD Times. We really hope you enjoyed our first edition. Its been a very challenging time for everyone but at least there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel with the opening of the food service and hotels etc. We all have a big mountain to climb but we can and will do it. What is going to become more Important than ever is the art of ‘Great Customer Service’. How does one make their business stand out for: Great service? Being different and better than its competitors? Maximise the customer spend? Giving the customer a memorable experience? Turning the customer into a walking advert for the business? Creating employees that are true company ambassadors for the business?

    On the last edition I mentioned a customer service book that I am working on which is based on the 5 P’s Purpose – Performance -Passion – Proficiency -Presentation Here I want to touch very briefly on one of topics that comes under the heading of Purpose. Everyone in the restaurant, hotel and bar business are now entering a completely new playing field. What worked before may not work now, less customers for quite a while with more challenging areas from health and safety, staffing and all the way to competition. It is never too late to look at your business and ask the questions: Why the business was set up, What were its dreams, Its goals and What did the business stand for?

    ASSESSMENT

    Carry out a S.W.A.T analysis on your business, Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats. Carry it out with your team or key staff members. Never underestimate the front-line people in the business and what they hear, think and feel as they are the people at the core of what you are offering to your customers and potential customers.

    Be honest as you can be. Write down all the points and plan any tasks that need to be carried out. Put a quarterly date for the next time you intend to carry out the analysis again. This gives a deadline for tasks to be completed.

    An Assessment should identify problems so that they can be clearly focused on, but also different opportunities to market the business and how to give your customers an even better experience.

    One of the best questions to always ask in business is! ‘Why’.. why eat here? why drink here? why stay here? why come back? Write down all the answers and then see what makes your answers any different than your competitors. This is a great exercise to help you focus on what your real USPs (unique selling point/s) are.

    Never be afraid to ask your customers what they think, remember every complaint is an opportunity to improve. A real skill is when you show customers that you listened and made the changes, this creates huge loyalty with them and then they start telling others because everyone wants to be a part of success.

    It is so very important to include staff in this exercise because then they get a better understanding of the business, feel more part of it, proud of it and most likely will have a lot to contribute.

    You would be very surprised and how very few businesses even carry out a S.W.A.T on their business. Remember, sometimes by stopping you can move forward.

    In the next CD Times I will touch on another subject under Purpose and that is Intention. Wishing us all a very happy and successful July.

    Cheers
    Ed.

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  • “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

    NEW SINGLE VINTAGE PROSECCO MASOTTINA

    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. Cost: €20.42 p/btl plus vat

    DAL BIANCO: A HISTORY, A FAMILY, A WINEMAKING TRADITION

    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.

    A MOVE INTO SUSTAINABILITY TORREÓN DE PAREDES – CHIL

    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”.

    MEET THE TEAM! LAURA O’BRIEN

    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!

    THE STORY OF TENUTA SAN LEONARDO

    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

    WHAT’S MY JOB? OLIVER CAMPOS EXPORT MANAGER | JEAN LORON

    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.

    WINES IN THE SPOTLIGHT

    LA MASCOTA – MENDOZA – ARGENTINA GRAPES: 100% CABERNET FRANC 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.

    TENUTA SAN ANTONIO SCAIA – VENETO ITALY GRAPES: 55% GARGANEGA 45% CHARDONNAY 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.

    VALLFORMOSA BRUT RESERVA ROSE CAVA -PENEDES SPAIN GRAPES: 100% PINOT NOIR 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.

    COLM’S COCKTAIL CORNER THE LAST WORD

    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.

    THE BIG APPLE STONEWELL

    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!

    QUESTION CORNER

    HOW LONG CAN I LEAVE A BOTTLE OF WINE OPEN?

    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.

    WHAT IS CRIANZA?

    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.

    WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SHIRAZ AND SYRAH?

    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.

    WHICH IS BETTER SCREWCAP OR CORK?

    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 glamorous, but what’s important in the freshness of the juice.

    ED’S SPEAKS

    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

    WHISKEY GALORE! TEELING WHISKEY

    Building on the international success of the Teeling 21 and Teeling 24 Year Old single malts, Teeling now present their latest release; Teeling 28 Year Old Single Malt. This whiskey consists of the same liquid as the World’s Best Single Malt winning 24 Year Old single malt, aged for a further four years. This is a very limited release of vintage single malt whiskey, celebrating the very best that Teeling has to offer. Initially aged in Ex- Bourbon casks and finished in Sauternes.
    Cost: €245.75 p/btl plus vat.

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  • The island off Tuscany is helping rehabilitate prisoners with the help of pigs, cows, sheep and goats.

    A chorus of happy bleats greets Orazio as he approaches the herd of goats on Gorgona, a rugged island off Tuscany, Italy.
    The 24-year-old spends most of his days caring for the goats and the nearby sheep, cleaning their barns and feeding them.
    “I worked on farms before I came here, so I was always surrounded by animals,” he said. “They understand me, and it’s important that we understand them.”
    But this isn’t an ordinary farm job and Orazio’s tenderness towards the animals might seem at odds with his past. He is one of almost 100 criminals living on Gorgona – Italy’s only remaining penal colony.

    “I murdered someone,” he said. “We had an argument and then it happened. It was an accident. I was only 18 at the time and have changed a lot. Being on Gorgona has helped so much. You don’t feel as though you’re in jail – I have a responsibility, I have purpose.”
    Prisoners and animals have lived alongside each other ever since the colony, an hour’s boat ride from the port of Livorno, was established in 1869. Until recently, the island was essentially a working farm, with the inmates rearing pigs, cows, sheep and goats that were then killed for food. The slaughterhouse was finally dismantled in late June following an agreement between LAV, an animal rights’ organisation, the Italian justice ministry and the prison service, and 588 animals were moved from the island to a refuge.

    The 180 or so that remain are there to help the prisoners, most of whom are on the final stretch of their sentences, to rehabilitate and prepare for life after they are released as part of the so-called “human-animal” project.
    “It’s about building positive relationships,” said Giacomo Bottinelli, a representative of LAV. “In order to be able to re-enter society, a prisoner needs to be able to develop empathy, and if we’re killing animals, for sure they can’t develop positive connections with other humans. It’s very important that they learn the concept of care, with the objective of them being able to care for themselves.”
    The prisoners themselves did not work in the slaughterhouse, but they did have to rear the animals and often accompany them there, a troubling experience for many.
    “One moment I was caring for them, the next bringing them to the slaughter. I felt terrible,” Andrea, a heavyset man serving time for trafficking arms and explosives, said as he petted a big grey swine called Ciccio.
    “I am very attached to these animals: they have helped me a lot. In them I perceive loyalty – they never betray you.”

    During the day, the prisoners can freely walk around the wild, mountainous Gorgona, a 220-hectare (543 acres) islet packed with lush vegetation, dotted with coves and considered impossible to escape from. Other than taking care of the animals, some of the prisoners have been trained in winemaking, producing Gorgona, one of Tuscany’s most expensive white wines, on behalf of Frescobaldi, Italy’s oldest wine dynasty.
    They also help with the upkeep of the island – which is home to only one all-year-round resident, a woman in her early 90s – and maintain hiking trails for tourists who can now visit with a special permit. The inmates earn an income, a portion of which is set aside for after their release. They play football and cards, and their families can visit once a week.
    Needless to say, the waiting list for those seeking a move to Gorgona from overcrowded prisons on Italy’s mainland is long.
    “Yes, they are in prison, but here they don’t always feel like prisoners,” said Carlo Mazzerbo, the prison’s director. “They work and they do it with satisfaction because they know it helps everyone. It gives them certain values, including respecting the rules of others.”
    Mazzerbo has seen the impact the island and various projects have made on the inmates. Past data has shown that the reoffending rate among former Gorgona prisoners was around 20%, compared to 80% for those released from mainland prisons.

    “The most beautiful thing about Gorgona is this human aspect. It’s unique,” he said. “Working in nature pays off – it gives you strength.”
    Researchers are now working with prison psychologists to study the rehabilitation benefits of the human-animal project, devised by the University of Milan-Bicocca and the only one of its kind in Italy.
    “The first step was to close the slaughterhouse, as what is really beneficial is to live the humananimal relationship in a non-violent environment,” said Stefano Perinotto, a human-animal expert who runs the project. “People in jail are scared of being judged as bad people, but an animal doesn’t do this: they accept them, and this helps with rehabilitation.”

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  • This established Rioja winery has a diverse portfolio that perfectly meets the demands of an evolving modern wine market.

    In a world where there is currently no shortage of confusion, it’s important to understand what you are doing and why; to know exactly what your points of difference are and to articulate them clearly. Bodegas Muriel, in the heart of Rioja, are masters of both. The company began almost 100 years ago, when José Murúa set up his business vinifying and selling wine in bulk. In the 1980s, his son Julian moved the company to the next level by creating a label of their own. And the name he chose for it was significant. Rather than simply go with the family name, Murúa, he chose instead an elision of their surname, with the village where they were based, Elciego. Bodegas Muriel is, quite literally, a coming together of a family’s experience and a region’s expression. It is a winery that is very much rooted in – and proud of – the land where it sits. You can very definitely see this mentality in the winery’s Fincas de la Villa range of wines. There are clear differences in the ageing requirements for crianza, reserva and gran reserva red wines. But Muriel wanted to go beyond this. ‘They are obviously important categories for Rioja and very well recognised, but we think in terms of quality it’s not necessarily the key factor,’ says Javier Murúa.

    Unique style:

    Instead, each of the three red expressions has a different rationale. The Fincas de la Villa Crianza is mostly made up of fruit from the Rioja Alavesa sub-region that is home to Elciego. Since consistency of house style is important for crianza wines, Bodegas Muriel allows small amounts of fruit from other parts of the DO to ensure that fruit levels, tannin and acidity are where they want them. The Fincas de la Villa Reserva wine, however, is made entirely from fruit from the village of Elciego. In a DO that has founded its reputation largely on pan- regional blending, it’s a brave decision, but such a commitment to regional expression certainly sets the wine apart. The Gran Reserva, meanwhile, has a different USP again. Sourced solely from vineyards that are at least 50 years old, it’s a wine that is about complexity rather than size or fruit concentration.

    Site selection

    Move onto the winery’s prestige label, Viña Muriel, and the story changes once more. This range comprises a Reserva white, a Reserva red and a Gran Reserva. And the focus narrows down beyond sub-region and village to specific plots of land. All three wines come from single vineyards. The two Reservas are sourced from a viñedo in the winery’s Elciego heartland. From chalky/gravel soil with full sun exposure, the wines are ripe, gentle and easy to drink – classic expressions of quality Rioja Reserva. The Gran Reserva, meanwhile, hails from the village of Lanciego, higher up in the hills of Rioja Alavesa. From an altitude of 650m, it’s tighter and nervier, with brighter acids and more granular tannins. It benefits from the extra ageing to give a wine of lift and elegance. This combination of ‘tradition’ and ‘difference’ is carried on Bodegas Muriel’s famous Conde de los Andes winery. In Ollauri on the edge of Haro, one of Rioja’s most celebrated wine ‘barrios’, it’s a cellar that dates back to the 16th century, with 2km of beautiful winding stone tunnels. Yet the winery itself is also experimenting with concrete eggs and large format oak – about as 21st century as it gets. This might, indeed, be a time of uncertainty. But at least Bodegas Muriel – a company where past meets present, and modern meets traditional – is one thing that wine lovers everywhere can count on.

    Wines to try

    Muriel Fincas de la Villa Blanco 2019

    A 100% Viura from poor clay/loam soils in Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Alta, this pale apple-and-citrus flavoured wine is great with everything from seafood and shellfish to salads.

    Muriel Fincas de la Villa Rosado 2019

    This pink (a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo and Viura) shows why you shouldn’t overlook Riojan rosados. Cheerful strawberry and sour cherry flavours make this a match for pasta, salads and white meat.

    Muriel Fincas de la Villa Crianza 2016

    Limestone soils and 12 months ageing in American oak barrels make this a classic expression of crianza, with red-fruit flavours and a liquorice undertone. Try it with tapas, small game birds and mid-strength cheeses.

    Muriel Fincas de la Villa Reserva 2015

    With two years in French and American oak barricas, and two more years in bottle, this wine is perfectly ready to drink on release. Ripe, integrated fruit is backed up by herbs and spices, to give a polished wine that’s perfect for roast lamb.

    Muriel Fincas de la Villa Gran Reserva 2011

    Old vines, plus a third year of ageing in bottle creates a wine with real evolution. Dried fruits backed up by tobacco and leather with a long complex finish, it’s good with lamb, of course, but also game, meaty fish and – why not? – chocolate desserts.

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  • 24 May

    Rutherford Ranch

    By:admin 0

    CLASSICdrinks have had a longstanding relationship with Rutherford Ranch, a family owned winery based in Napa Valley.

    Rutherford Ranch & Sustainability

    Sustainable wine making practices ensuring the long term health of the entire ecological system by promoting and maintaining the biodiversity of plants and animals, conservation of natural resources and supporting the viability of the agricultural community for generations to come.

    CLASSICdrinks are not the first to acknowledge the high standard of wine produced by Rutherford Ranch. They have been awarded 92 points from Blue Lifestyle on Rutherford Ranch 2016 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

    CLASSICdrinks are delighted to continue our relationship with Rutherford Ranch and will be welcoming Dick Wallingford of Rutherford Ranch to visit with our sales team and their customers this summer.

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  • Igor, Head Chef from The Gibson with Federico

    Federico Dal Bianco recently spent some time in Dublin with CLASSICdrinks customers and shared his knowledge of the top quality brand that is Masottina.

    A glass of Masottina Prosecco represents the unique nature of the terrior and the embodiment of a traditional production method which sees man and mans wisdom as the key to superior quality.

    It is because of the great care afforded to the wine making process by the Dal Bianco family that CLASSICdrinks have added Ai Palazzi Dorsoduro Pinot Grigio / Chardonnay and Ai Palazzi Aether Merlot / Cabernet to our extensive portfolio.

    Ai Palazzi Dorsoduro is pale straw in colour with greenish highlights. The nose recalls citrus fruits and almond. Fresh and mineral its ideal for aperitives and fish.
    Ai Palazzi Aether from merlot and cabernet sauvignon grapes is ruby red in colour with hints of red and woodland fruits. With its silky texture wrapped in elegant acidity, its ideal with red and white meat dishes.

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  • 26 Nov

    A look back at the 2018 Villa Huesgen Harvest

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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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