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.