Category Archives: Trips

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BiB? You’d be surprised!

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People usually think about boxed wine as low quality wine – and they might be right most of the time, but not always the case anymore. Boxed wine can be just as good as wine that comes out of a bottle. As bottled wine, boxed wine can be of poor quality or great quality. The major problems I see are offer and availability – both quite poor in Ireland.

Follow, follow the sun
And which way the wind blows
When this day is done.

– But Ireland is not a wine producer country, is it?
– Well, actually it is(check here) – but let’s say it is not. So, you need to follow the sun – I should say the wines – and visit wine making countries.

I was recently in Portugal for holidays. I drove there, with the clear intention of bringing some wines in the trunk – 90 liters allowance per person, for personal consumption. Not for trading, of course. With little space left among the luggage, countless toys, beach buckets and shovels, tend and camping stuff, I had to be creative in order to find – and fight for – some space for the wines… so NiN came as the best option!

Quality Check
Without knowing much about BiB myself, the only way I had to try to get quality wine was to look for the ones with appellation: Protected designation of origin (PDO), Protected geographical indication (PGI), like Douro DOC, Alentejo DOC, Vinho Verde DOC, etc. I tried some – as the one in the picture above – and they were good quality wines, good to my taste.

Apart from saving a lot of space, another advantage is the durability. The airtight polyethylene bags used in box wines keep oxygen sealed out, thus allowing the wine within to stay fresh for up to six weeks after opening

! The 3L box are equivalent to 4 750ml bottles – one bottle per week. Sounds quite right, doesn’t it?

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Red German Wines

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I’ve recently been to Berlin for the wedding of a great friend. As I always do when visiting wine-producer countries, I explore their wines, and although it was a short trip exclusively for the wedding, I managed to try some wines…

We were lucky to have a nice Sekt at the wedding, instead of the usual Prosecco for the bubbly drink. German Sekt has suffered some bad press for being cheap and lacking in quality, considered by many to be nothing more than carbonated fruit juice, which is not fair at all! Most Sekt uses the Charmat method for secondary fermentation, similar to Prosecco, and are usually sweeter and lower in alcohol than other sparkling wines. Sekt can contain aromas of apples, pears and white flowers, and when purchased correctly, can be a real treat!

Still in the wedding we got a lovely trocken (dry) Riesling – lots of fine wineries are producing more dry Riesling recently – but surprisingly the red was French. I asked why to the bartender, and she answered that German red wines were not good! Another unfair statement for German wines…

Germany’s red wines may not get the same reputation as their famous white wines, but they are really good! Food-friendly, fresh, and lively as their dazzling white wine counterparts, German red wine expectations should be set towards more delicate wine, lighter in body, high in acidity, and usually very aromatic.

The most widely planted red grape variety in Germany is Spätburgunder (literally “late Burgundian”), better known as Pinot Noir in the rest of the world, and it is considered to give the most elegant red wines of Germany. Other reds are Dornfelder and Trollinger.

As I couldn’t get a genuine German red at the wedding, I got a nice Dornfelder at the airport on my way back. A dark-skinned grape variety, Dornfelder is the second most grown red wine grape variety in Germany. It was initially bred (cross from Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe grapes) in 1955, to serve as a blending wine to improve the colour of pale reds. It only received varietal protection in 1979, and was then released for cultivation. Today it is prized on its own as a fragrant, full-bodied, complex wine with a fairly tannic acidity, and when fermented or aged in oak, it might fetch high prices.

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Priorat Wine Fair

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The 20a. Fira del Vi – Falset (el Priorat), happening now, 2 and 3 of May 2015, is the tasting show for Montsant and DOQ Priorat wines held in Falset, an extraordinary event which brings together the very best producers in the region, a program rich and diverse, full of surprises, with joy and good wines and oils that are part of a landscape that is pure culture.

The fair itself takes place on 2 and 3 May, in which attendees can enjoy an excellent representation of the wines of the region, along with region’s olive oil and artisan cheeses of Catalonia.

On May 2 at 10:00 the twentieth edition of the “Falset Wine Fair” opened its doors to the public with a timetable and ongoing attention that lasted until 20:00. This year marks the 20th edition of the Fair, and as such, needs new and important events that underlie its importance and prominence.

This is a HUGE opporyunity to find new business!

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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?