Be Aware of Wine Prices in Dublin’s Supermarkets

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Be Aware of Wine Prices in Dublin’s Supermarkets

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I don’t buy my wines in supermarkets anymore, nor in off-licenses, nor in wine shops… It’s been some time already that I only buy my wines online, from off-shore shops around Europe, wherever I can get a good deal in the shipment. This does not prevent me from being a market observer, and I’m constantly out there checking wine prices, and you don’t have to be a sophisticated wine shopper to notice that wine prices tend to zigzag up and down like youngers making their way back home from a good craic. And then, we end up buying the nearest bottle that is on offer…
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Supermarkets understand this, and most of the wine sold in Ireland is sold on some sort of offer, just for the use of the words “sales”, “half price”, “offer”, etc. Some people are triggered by those words, but in reality they’re telling us that we don’t have a clue on how much they are actually worth!Recently I’ve checked prices mostly in SuperQuinn, because is my local store, and to take an example, El Circulo, a red crianza Spanish Rioja, was retailed at €20, normal price, but was on sales for €10 the most of the year, but now SQ its normal price is €21,99! Other example is Farnese Lava Greco Di Tufo, a white Italian now retailed at €16.49 (on sale for €13,00), but I well remember not long ago its full price was €13,99, on sales for €7!

This is clearly not a SuperQuinn’s phenomenon… Neither a Dublin’s one! I checked Tesco’s half-price offers online for the week (hurry up… it ends today!!) and they include a “Special Offer” were you save €11.29 (!) when buying Oceans Edge Pinot Grigio, which allegedly was €19.29 but now is only €8.00! Guess what? The actual price was €9.99 for the most of this year, with some offers on €8, but now they want you to believe it’s a super special sale! If you pay €19.29 for it and then find that out later, would you feel like you’ve been conned?


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The day after: Viña Arnáiz Roble, DO Ribera Del Duero

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2b0de98adb5c11e2b9fd22000a9f4dd4_7I love to host people at home, it’s such a pleasure! Last night we had a friends couple for bruschettas – or something like that! Basically tapas & wine. Who needs more? To match the bruschettas – chopped tomatoes, buffalo’s mozzarella, olive oil, black pepper, and bread – I opened one of the my recent discoveries, Viña Arnáiz Roble 2011, DO Ribera Del Duero. A young crianza red wine made from Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes.
A careful treatment is given to strains along the year, from setting the date of the harvest when the grapes have reached optimum maturity in each plot, till proceeds to hand picking the grapes, where plots are manually selected, which of those grapes will be part of the blend of the wine.Once the grapes get at the winery, they are are ground and pass the maceration tank till they achieve the desired balance in the composition of the wine. They then proceed to racking it by gravity without mechanical actuation and  the wine obtained after a first racking, is the malolactic fermentation.This Viña Arnáiz matures in French oak barrels for 4 months, during which is performed three racking to help oxygenate the wine.They recommend to open this Ribera Del Duero Roble at least one hour before drinking it, and to pour it in a decanter – if you can – to better appreciate all its virtues… And so I did. Opened it a good hour before serving, poured it into a decanter and… voilá! The wine was fantastic… BUT, I have to confess, ashamedly, that we didn’t finish the second bottle, and I had to pour it back to the bottle and left it on the refrigerator till the next day.Lunch time – gnocchi à bolognesa. What to drink? The left-over Viña Arnáiz Roble. And guess what? The wine was even better! All the subtle aromas were more accentuated, the velvet sensation from the malolatic, the freshness from the maceration, the red & black fruits, and even a mocha finish!

This is, among others, one of my The Day After Wine”.


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Tasting Paolo Rodaro Friulano 2011

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http://www.rodaropaolo.it

I opened a bottle of Paolo Rodaro Friulano 2011 last night for refreshment, but I have to confess I was not much impressed… we took it with some chilli cheddar cheese – maybe this was the problem – and apart from the freshness, nothing else came to my attention which would worth blogging…

The day after, putting some left-overs together for a quick brunch, we decided to try it again, with a lovely & improvised stir fry king prawns… and I have to tell you, the wine was almost like another one! Lovely fruity aromas came instantly as I poured it into the glass, mainly apricots and peaches. Then the palate the fruits again, with some spices (white peppers, sweet spices) and hints of minerality as well.

Undoubtedly, this Paolo Rodaro Friulano 2011 is my “the day after” wine!


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Brumont Merlot Tannat 2011

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Brumont Merlot-Tannat, 2011

This 50% Tannat, 50% Merlot from “Mr. Madiran”, Alain Brumont has a pale purple colour, with lovely notes of red fruits on the nose, notably strawberries, raspberries and red cherries. Some hints of minerality can appear on the nose, but couldn’t get any on the mouth. It’s a wine still developing despite of the low tannins but I’d not keep for much longer.

It has a good acidity, and the 14.5% of alcohol don’t attacks the throat. A medium finish length, medium bodied, it reaffirms the nose’s aromas in the palate.

I’d drink it now but would like to visit it again in 2 years time.


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XVIII Fira Del VI de Falset

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Just arrived from Spain where I travelled for the XVIII Fira Del VI de Falset – Priorat AND for the F1 Grand Prix de Catalunya, I bring good and bad news for the wine market in general – the “normal” people!

The good news is that Priorat and Montsant wines are good as always – lots of interesting wines, winemakers exploring different vinification methods as never, and wines which bring all the potential of Garnatxa and Samsò, the most powerful grapes of the region! Some wines I particularly liked was from bodegas Mas de l’Abundància, Joan Simó, Vendrell I Rived, Celler Mas de les Vinyes, Pascona, Vermunver, Cellers Capafons-Ossó, Cellers San Rafel, Ficària Vins, among others… and there are a lot!

Now the bad news: the price, that thing that puts a lot of people off stuff. I’m not saying Priorat wines are not expensive to produce, but there’s more than a mite of ballyhoo, too, part of it fuelled by wine journalists, but part generated by emerging consumers from emerging markets, as China and Russia, not forgetting the king of consumption USA! Basic demand and supply, and the winemakers, as everybody else, have to survive!

Bad for us, the normal, regular consumer.

But don’t give it up, my winelover reader… you always can find good prices, it’s just a matter of digging deeper… and when you find the wine which fits your pocket, buy it with no hesitation! It will surely be a good wine!


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American Way of Wine

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I was recently in Las Vegas for my brother’s wedding, and we took the opportunity to stay some days in Temecula, a city south of Los Angeles, in southwestern Riverside County, California.

To be honest, the wines in Temecula didn’t impress me at all. They were all easy-drinking wines, with an unbalanced sweetness from interrupted fermentation, almost appellative, to the american sweet-teeth taste.

I tried wines from small valleys in Napa and Sonoma as well, Dry Creek, Alexander Valley, Lodi, Mount Veeder, Oakville… and surprisingly it was a bit disappointing… maybe because as I was in a budget-aware trip, all the bottles we got were under US$30!

For sure there are nice wines in USA. The last one I remember tasting I believe was a 2010 Culler Wines Cabernet Casaeda: fantastique, but it cost me US$50!

Differently from Europe, would it be the case that to get serious wines in USA we have to go over US$30?


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Dominio de Tares Cepas Viejas 2008

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Dominio de Tares Cepas Viejas 2008

Dominio de Tares Cepas Viejas 2008

This old vines (Ciepas Viejas) of Mencía variety grapes are over 60 years old grown on terraces and slopes of gravel and slate soils. The best grapes are selected by hand, the stems are removed and they are further lightly pressed. The wine is aged in these barrels for 9 months.

Showing a lively cherry colour, it has red berries, vanilla & spices aromas on the nose. Red berries, chocolate and sweet spices on the palate, with a long and smooth finish.


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Brumont, Merlot-Tannat

Tasting Brumont Merlot-Tannat 2011 – Vin de Pays Côtes de Gascogne

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Brumont, Merlot-Tannat

Brumont, Merlot-Tannat

This 50% Merlot and 50% Tannat was made to develop a complex and balanced wine matching style of New World wine. The grapes grow on clay-limestone hillsides soils located on Ténarèze, and fine clay soils called Peyrusquets. The wine rests over the grapes before bottling.

On the nose it has red plums, cherry jam, prune, blackcurrant and white pepper. A juicy palate of cherry, plum, peppery, and earthy flavours. A lovely red with good fruit and a plump and supple finish!


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Spanish Wines – The Use of Oak Barrels

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The use of oak plays a significant role in winemaking for Spanish wines, and can have a profound effect on the resulting wine, affecting color, flavor, texture and quality. The use of oak barrels can impart other qualities to wine through the processes of evaporation and low level exposure to oxygen.

The porous nature of an oak barrel allows some levels of evaporation and oxygenation to occur in wine. This evaporation (of mostly alcohol and water) allows the wine to concentrate its flavor and aroma compounds. The chemical properties of oak itself can have a profound effect on the wine, interacting with the wine to produce different flavors. Flavor notes that are common descriptions of wines exposed to oak include caramel, cream, smoke, spice and vanilla. Chardonnay is a variety that has very distinct flavor profiles when fermented in oak that include coconut, cinnamon and cloves notes. The “toastiness” of the barrel can bring out varying degrees of mocha and toffee notes.

The length of time that a wine spends in the barrel is dependent on the varietal and style of wine that the winemaker wishes to make. The majority of oak flavoring is imparted in the first few months that the wine is in contact with oak but a longer term exposure can affect the wine through the light aeration that the barrel which quickens the aging process of the wine.

New World Pinot noir may spend less than a year in oak. Premium Cabernet Sauvignon may spend two years. The very tannic Nebbiolo grape may spend four or more years in oak. High end Rioja producers will sometimes age their wines up to ten years in American oak to get a desired earthy cedar and herbal character.

In Spain, they classify the wines by the time they spend in barrels.

Young Wines are wines that have not seen any barrels, and are better consumed within 1-3 years from released.

Young Crianza Wines are wines that have staged in barrels for a short period, usually less then 6 months.

Crianza Wines are quality wines that are subject to an aging process of at least 24 months, from which at least six in oak barrels. For white and rosé the period is 18 months.

Reserva Wines have a minimum aging period of 36 months, from which at least 12 in oak barrels, and the rest in the bottle. For white and rosé wines, it must be at least 24 months.

Grand Reserva Wines have at least 18 months in oak barrels and 42 in bottles, reaching 5 years in total. For white and rosé wines, the minimum aging period is 48 months in wood and bottle.


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Tasting Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur-Lie from Domaine de la Chauvinière 2011

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Domaine de la Chauvinière
Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur-Lie 2011

Leia em Português

This Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur-Lie from Domaine de la Chauvinière was produced from vines surrounding a wind mill, planted in granite soil. It’s clear in appearance, with a pale lemon-green colour. On the nose it has intense aromas of green fruits (green apple), floral fragrances and herbaceous (grass) notes, with mineral hints (stony). On the palate is ample and harmonious, with a long finish.

Can be served with shell-fish, seafood and fish, or on its own, as an aperitif.

 


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