O’Briens Wine Beer & Spirits
33 Spruce Avenue Stillorgan Industrial Park Co. Dublin Ireland Ireland
+353 1 2931040 online@obrienswine.ie Monday-Saturday 10:30am-10pm Sunday 12:30am-10pm
  • The Restaurant TV3 | Episode 1 featuring Celebrity Chef, Donncha O Callaghan

     

    O’Briens wine are thrilled to announce their collaboration with TV3’s ‘The Restaurant’ as official wine partner for the new season. Wine director for O’Briens and Master of Wine, Lynne Coyle worked closely with the team to pair each exciting dish on the celebrity’s menus with a unique and delicious wine from the O’Briens portfolio of over 800 exclusive wines.

    During service, the celebrities get instant feedback in the kitchen to their menu from remote cameras and microphones covering the dining room. So the pressure was on for Lynne to choose wines that would not only match the food but also delight the diners by enhancing their overall experience.

    Alma de Blanco Godello | Monterrei, Spain
    “Rich black pudding, fatty fried egg and a spicy sauce, Godello has ripe fruit to cope with the spice & heat of the sauce, a fuller body good with the black pudding and acidity on the finish for the egg.” - Wine Director, Lynne Coyle MW

    Marotti Campi Verddichio dei Castelli di Jesi | Marche, Italy
    “An elegant and flavoursome wine which has the intensity & body to match beautifully with the various intriguing flavours of this dish. I like to match coastal wines with fish and these vineyards overlook the Adriatic Sea.” - Wine Director, Lynne Coyle MW

    Longview Yakka Shiraz | Adelaide Hills, Australia
    “Rich intense meat calls for a rich intense wine and an Aussie Shiraz is perfect. The red fruit profile and the hints of spice of this wine will work well with the savoury lamb and absorb the buttery mash.” - Wine Director, Lynne Coyle MW

    Norton D.O.C. Malbec | Mendoza, Argentina
    “Duck has a hint of sweetness and so does this Malbec so this is a perfect match. It addition the wine does not have too much tannin so will not overpower the duck, potatoes and spinach.” -Wine Director, Lynne Coyle MW

     

  • Russian Imperial

    I don’t usually limit this blog to just one beer, there’s just too much to choose from, but this one caught my attention and well there is a lot to talk about.

    The beer? Black Chocolate Stout, a seasonal release from Brooklyn Brewery. This ‘Russian Imperial Stout’ has made its way across the water once again, and it’s one I look forward to each year.

    First a little history lesson… In the early 18th century, Anchor Brewery in London began exporting their stout to Russia. The first shipment seemingly didn’t survive the voyage, the second attempt, with higher alcohol and bitterness quickly gained popularity. Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, was reportedly one such fan of the style. Hence the name adopted by the Anchor brewery, Russian Imperial Stout. The name stuck for this rich, dark and boozy take on stout.

    Brooklyn are laying down a marker for this Black Chocolate Stout by calling it a Russian Imperial, a stout that leans heavily on the hops and alcohol content, but you have to have plenty of malt to back it up.

    I think they’ve nailed. The aroma is upfront rich dark chocolate with hints of coffee and dark dried fruit. The body is velvety smooth, its drinkability aided by low, soft carbonation while the high alcohol content is noticeable more in the viscosity than flavour.  That flavour delivers roasted malt, molasses and dark chocolate notes with hints of black coffee and vanilla while those bitter hop notes finish it off.

    This beer’s robust nature and high alcohol content makes it a great contender for aging. Check out my blog from a while back on developing your beer cellar. Of course, it tastes great now. Go all out and try it with some rich chocolate dessert!

     

  • Great success from our Winter Wine Festivals!

    Happy smiling faces all around this week after the success of our fantastic events last November! As you might remember we held our Winter Wine Festivals last November in Cork and Dublin where we had over 60 winemakers fly in to Ireland for three days sampling over 250 wines to our customers .

    Evelyn Power, Irish Guide Dogs (left) Nicolas Sicot, O'Briens Douglas Manager; Laura Mc Grath, O'Briens ; Padraig Mallon, CEO of Irish Guide Dogs (Right) with ambassador Dog Jodie.

    While the 100 wines being showcased by our winemakers was the main attraction at the Cork Wine Festival, Jack, The Irish Guide Dog returned and stole the show for the second year in a row!

    We were pleased to welcome Padraig Mallon , CEO of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind along with their brand ambassador Dog Jodie to our Douglas store this week to accept a cheque for €3,000 raised from our November wine festival in The Clayton Hotel , Cork.

    Irish Guide Dogs for the blind offers a comprehensive suite of services which enable both blind and vision impaired persons and families of children with autism to achieve increased independence and an improved quality of life.

    Niamh Foley, O'Briens Wine (Left), Kevin O'Brien, Retail Director ; Edelle Monahan, Jack & Jill Childrens foundation (right)

    After a highly successful event in Cork on the Thursday evening, The 25 winemakers and O’Briens team continued on their journey to spend the next two days at the Dublin Wine Festival where they were joined by the rest of the winemakers and team!

    During the weekend in Dublin, our chosen charity was The Jack and Jill Children's foundation and we were delighted to welcome Edelle Monahan and Deirdre Walsh of The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation to our Naas store yesterday to accept a cheque for €10,000.

    The Jack & Jill Children’s foundation provides direct funding, to families of children up to the age of five who suffer severe intellectual and physical development delay, enabling them to purchase home respite care. We are thrilled to help provide their profoundly sick children with 625 hours of home nursing respite care after the success over the weekend at the Dublin Wine Festival.

    Deirdre Wlash, Jack&Jill Childrens Foundation (left) , Mark Totten, O'Briens Wine Naas; Kevin O'Brien, Retail Director; Edelle Monahan, Jack&Jill Children's Foundation (right)

    We are extremely proud to support these wonderful causes and would like to thank all of our customers in both Dublin and Cork for supporting us at these events as well as the teams in Cork and Dublin for doing a great job in organising the event!

    Keep an eye out on our Twitter & Facebook pages as we'll be returning with our Spring Wine Festival  in Limerick on May 10th and Dublin on the 11th & 12th this year!

  • Think Pink this St. Valentines Day

    St. Valentine's day is the perfect opportunity to treat that special person in your life, perhaps you plan to prepare a special meal at home, if so and If you really want to set the romantic tone, why not go with a special bottle of wine?

    Obviously, some wines are more suited to such an occasion than others and in my opinion, nothing says romance like rosé sparkling wine or Champagne.

    I have picked out a few suggestions below, but of course, if you already have a particular favourite in mind, the team in your local O'Briens store would be more than happy to wrap any wine for you.

    First up is a Prosecco-style wine, Mionetto Vivo Rosé (€14.95 down from €18.95), which is made with an unusual and exciting blend of grapes grown in the Veneto region of Northeast Italy, this delicious sparkling Rosé is rich and frothy in style with vibrant raspberry and red cherry fruit and an intriguing underlying floral character. With all that red berry fruit character, this wine would be even more delicious if served with a couple of raspberries in the glass.

    Mionetto's vines grow on the rolling hills of the Veneto region.

    My next choice is a Cava, which can be made anywhere in Spain but is mainly produced in Penedes. The wine style is dryer then Prosecco and the bubbles are formed during a second fermentation in the bottle (Just like Champagne). This important aspect of the winemaking gives a delicate fine bubble and a fresh clean wine style with sometimes a subtle biscuity character also showing.

    Valhondo Cava Rosado (€14.95 down from €17.95), comes from the historic Cava Capital of San Sadurni d'Anoia in the heart of Penedès, 40km Southwest of Barcelona, a blend of Monastrell and Pinot Noir, this delicious Rosé is bursting with strawberry and cherry fruit.

    Bottles of Cava ageing in the cellars at San Sadurni d'Anoia.

    My next three recommendations all come from Champagne, and one thing that is often overlooked is just how well-suited Champagne is to be served with food.

    Canard-Duchêne Rosé (€36.95 down from €44.95), is a very fine example of quality Rose Champagne; this is a wine with great elegance and complexity but above all, there is an abundance wonderful red-berry fruit. With a dry finish and palate cleansing freshness, this is an ideal choice to serve with delicately smoked salmon.

    The chalk cellars at Canard-Duchêne provide the perfect environment for ageing their wines.

    Lanson Rosé (€47.95 down from €57.95), has a beautiful pale pink hue, is dry in style with hints of summer fruits and crisp refreshing acidity. While this would go very-well not just with kinds of seafood and but also with white meat, Lanson Champagne who sponsors tennis at Wimbledon would certainly advocate drinking with it strawberries.

    Lanson Rosé spends a minimum of three years ageing in their historic cellars in the heart of the Champagne region.

    We have to push the budget out a bit for my last selection, but if you can manage it, you will be getting your hands on an astoundingly-good fine wine! Bollinger Special Cuvée Rosé (€65.00 down from €83.00), is complex and multi-layered with its red berry fruit complemented perfectly by the underlying toasty and nutty characters. The finish is crisp and fresh and slightly spicy. With all that complexity and texture, this wine is crying out to be served alongside a seared duck breast.

    Freshly-picked Pinot Noir grapes destined to form part of the blend for Bollinger Special Cuvée Rosé .

    *Please note, prices are correct at time of publishing, these offers will end on February 25th, 2018, please check our website or stores for the most up to date pricing.

    Follow the link above for further gift inspiration.

  • Italian Wines to enjoy this weekend.

    Ireland welcome Italy to the Aviva Stadium this Saturday, and hopefully, the men in green can kick on from last week’s drama in Paris and deliver the bonus point win we need to keep the grand-slam dream alive.

    Italy may still be considered relative new-comers the rugby competition having only joined at the turn of the Millennium, long before that though we were welcoming Italian wines at our dinner tables, and here in O’Briens, Italy only comes second to France in terms of the popularity of its wines.

    So, for the weekend that’s in it, I have picked out some of my favourites below. I have highlighted below just a few of my favourites, but to see the full selection of Italian wines you can click here, or even better, why not drop into one of our 34 stores nationwide.

    My first choice is made by top Winemaker Giuseppe Rizzardi, whose family have been crafting top-class wines for more than four hundred years now. Giuseppe’s Pinot Grigio (€10.95 down from €14.95) is a benchmark for the region with honey and sweet spices adding to the rich ripe pear and peachy fruit.

    https://youtu.be/78thCnEFdpE

    For my next choice, we must move to the shores of Lake Garda, where Bertani, long renowned for their top-class reds, have made a white wine of incredible quality. Le Quaiare (€14.95 down from €17.95) is a delicious single-vineyard Lugana, which is mineral-driven and complex, boasting subtle aromas of wild honey, ripe pear, and fresh lemon zest.

    Bertani's Lugana Vineyards stretch down to the shores of Lake Garda.

    Next up is a wine from one of the most influential producers in not just Verona but also Italy, respecting tradition whilst embracing innovation with ease is what the Pasqua family are all about. Romeo & Juliet Passimento Rosso (€12.95 down from €17.95) is the Pasqua family’s tribute to Romeo and Juliet and the 3,000 messages of love which are left every day on Juliet’s wall in Verona, this rich, spicy & velvety red is made following the local ‘Passimento’ method whereby the grapes are dried prior to fermentation.

    Juliet's Wall in Verona provided the inspiration for Romeo & Juliet Passimento

    I am finishing out my selection with another choice from the Bertani stable, but this time from their Tuscan estate: San Leonino Governo all’uso Toscano (€14.95 down from €18.95). Governare means adding slightly raisined grapes to the first new wine of the just completed harvest: it is a very similar process to the Veneto’s ripasso; Here, semi-dried Sangiovese grapes deliver intense notes of ripe cassis, cherry & liquorice.

    Sangiovese grapes drying for San Leonino Governo.

    *Please note, prices are correct at time of publishing, these offers will end on February 25th, 2018, please check our website or stores for the most up to date pricing.

  • This Seasons Must Have Beers

    Ah it’s that time of year, the time when you’ll hear people say ‘grand stretch’ with a lightness in their voice, before a quick cold snap freezes their breath in the air. However, spring is certainly in the air and after hibernating through dry-January brewers have emerged with new beers for February.

    Last week we had a new entry from across the water with Five Points Brewing along with the return of a few favourites from Beavertown but we had a lot of new brews from Irish brewers drop in the last week as well. Here’s a round up of just a few that crossed my desk. This seasons must haves if you will.

    From one of Irelands newest breweries, Dead Centre, comes a fresh release </soursecode> a very sessionable pale ale at just 4% abv but coming packed up with fruity citrus hops. Landing in stores soon. As fresh as can be!

    New Core Release for Wicklow Wolf

    Wicklow Wolf also have a new release, a reinvention of their Sorachi Red ale, a very popular seasonal from way back in 2016. This is now joining their core range.  The new tweaked recipe matches the smooth caramel and roasted barley of an Irish red ale with Sorachi Ace, a unique hop variety with distinct lemon and spicy herbal character, think lemon grass and dill.

    YellowBelly, dropped not one but two new beers this week. Electric Dreams a juicy pale ale hopped up on Simcoe and Amarillo for plenty of soft tropical fruit and a light piney bite. The second beer, Kellerbier, is a full bodied, smooth and naturally cloudy lager with light sweetness to the finish. This one is, as YellowBelly put it in their own inimitable style, “best enjoyed in [their] new monster 500ml cans.”

    It should also be noted there is a notable day drawing near, if the love of your life is also a craft beer lover, then you couldn’t go wrong with our special Valentines Kinnegar mixed pack. On offer at just €20.00. Pick it up while stocks last!

    It's the 14th of February in case you forgot!

    Please note prices are correct at time of publishing, this offer will end on 18th February, please check our website or stores for the most up to date pricing.

     

  • Five Points Brewing

    As I write a fresh batch of Five Points beers are making their way from East London to Dublin, soon to be distributed across the country.

    A Victorian railway arch beneath Hackney Downs Station, is where you will find Five Points busily brewing away. Since 2013 they have been making unfiltered and unpasteurized beers with a focus on consistency and quality. Each year they have been racing to keep up with demand. So much so that they have out grown the confines of the railway arch, recently spreading to next door Arch 440, which now houses their new barrel aging project. We can expect to see the benefits of this program with barrel age releases later this year.

    Five Points founders: Ed Mason, Managing Director (left) and Greg Hobbs, Head Brewer, (right)

    But what of those beer bound for Ireland? Well there are some very fresh beers on the way, with all the beers brewed within the last three weeks. Some, such as the fruity and hoppy XPA, canned just the day before collection. It doesn’t get much better than that!

    We are delighted to be stocking the Five Points range in stores with the core range beginning to roll out to a number of stores this weekend with more to follow next week.

    XPA is a juicy and tropical Pale ale dry hopped with Citra and Galaxy, all packed in at just 4% abv makes this superbly sessionable.

    Five Points Pale displays plenty of citrus hops, think orange and grapefruit, with a bitter bite to the finish.

    Five Points IPA is all upfront New Wold hops with juicy tropical citrus and stone fruit with a pine resin edge.

    Hook Island Red heads to the malt side of things for a great take on modern red ale. Toffee malt cut through with light fruity hops and a touch of rye spice.

    Brisk Field Brown is for those who want it darker still. A full, rich brown ale with classic caramel, nutty and earthy tones.

    Pick these up in stores soon

  • Treat yourself to a Shiraz this Australia Day!

    With today being Australia day, I thought I would use my blog to celebrate Shiraz, the best-loved vinous export from the land down under. While this grape variety, known as Syrah in its French homeland is not native to Australia, they have certainly made it their own in the relatively short time since it was introduced to the Country by James Busby in 1831 and since that time the spelling and pronunciation have evolved to give us Shiraz.

    Today I have chosen wines from three family wineries in South Australia, each with its own set of geographic factors and winemaking choices yielding three very distinct wines.

    Peter Saturno and his brother Mark oversee all vineyard and winemaking practices at Longview Vineyards in the Adelaide Hills. Making wines entirely from their own vineyards, they are truly cool climate grape growing champions. Their wines show restraint but have true finesse and depth.

    Their flagship Yakka Shiraz (€14.95 down from €19.95 from Monday, January 29th) is a model of cool restrained fruit, balance, and complexity, yet still, displays lush ripe fruit. This truly is a stunning Shiraz, but you don’t just have to take my word for it, the 2015 vintage picked up a Silver Medal at the International Wine Challenge 2017. I think this wine would work really well with a Moroccan lamb Tajine.

    The Saturno Brothers at their Adelaide Hills Estate.

    Owner/Winemaker Kevin O’Brien’s Kangarilla Road winery is located in the McLaren Vale, ‘Kangarilla’ is an aboriginal word meaning a place with abundant resources. The vineyards are located on multiple sites and ancient geologies giving our wines complexity. Farming sustainably, using small batch hands-on techniques, Kevin makes wines with natural fruit expression, reflective of site and season.

    Kevin’s Shiraz (€12.95 down from €16.95 for Jan./Feb.) was made using grapes sourced from several vineyards throughout McLaren Vale's sub-regions and was aged in French and American oak, yielding a wonderfully savoury wine with juicy blackcurrant and black cherry fruit with hints of spice on the lively lingering finish. This wine is crying out for chargrilled Rib-eye Steak with pepper sauce.

    Kangarilla Road Owner/Winemaker Kevin O'Brien

    Of course, nowhere in Australia is more closely associated with Shiraz than the Barossa Valley, so for my final selection, I have chosen a wine made by 6th generation Barossa winemaker Geoff Schrapel.

    Made from early-harvest grapes grown on the Schrapel family’s Barossa vineyards. Bethany Creek (€19.95 buy one get one half price for Jan./Feb) is a very elegant, rather European style red with slightly floral and red cherry characters on both the nose and the palate. The finish is soft and smooth thanks to two year’s careful oak ageing. To see this wine at its best, pair it with a fine fillet steak.

    Owner/Winemaker Geoff Schrapel is from the 6th generation of his family to grow grapes at their Bethany estate.

  • Non-Alcohol Beers?

    The popularity of non-alcohol beer (NA for short) is growing but what’s it all about and are they any good?

    NA beer first started appearing in America at the time of Prohibition, at the time anything greater than 0.5% alcohol was outlawed for consumption. This percentage has stuck and today, by common definition, to label beers as non-alcoholic they must not exceed 0.5%

    NA beer is made in the same way as ‘regular’ beer, from mashing in, to adding hops and on to fermentation to produce alcohol. Usually the beer would then be bottle or kegged, however NA beer gets another process to remove the alcohol content.

    The most common method is by heating the beer as alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature than water, approx. 78°C. This process does affect the flavour of the beer, however, as you are effectively “cooking out the flavour”. To mitigate this some brewers heat the beer in a vacuum, this brings the boiling point down, resulting in less flavours and aromas being lost to evaporation.

    Another process that is less destructive to flavour is reverse osmosis. Here the beer is passed through a filter, separating the alcohol and water from the flavour compounds and sugars. The alcohol/water mix is then distilled separately, removing the alcohol before the water is mixed back in with the sugar and flavour compounds. However, this does require more specialised equipment and is more labour intensive.

    But would you miss the alcohol? Alcohol does contribute to the mouthfeel of a beer, giving it a greater feeling of weight in your mouth but the major flavour difference is not the alcohol itself but rather the process of de-alcoholising that strips out some of the flavours in the beer. However, with greater demand and technological improvements the quality and flavour of non-alcoholic is certainly improving. There’s now a range of non-alcoholic craft and world beers to try.

    The increasingly popular Nanny State

    Germany has been leading the way in NA beers for a number of years, Weihenstephaner produce a very good Hefeweiss, wheat beer, with classic flavours of banana, lemon and clove spice. A little lighter in body than their original alcoholic version but still delivering plenty of flavour. Or from neighbouring Austria try Stiegl Freibier for crisper style with light citrusy hop notes.

    Producing a hoppy NA beer has always been a challenge as the more delicate hop flavour and aromas succumb to the dealcoholizing process. Brewdog do a good job with their Nanny State, an American pale ale delivering hoppy citrus and pine notes

    These beers are included in craft beer sale with 6 for the price of 5 across the range continuing through January…

    Dry Hopped Soft Drink

    For a slightly different take try the limited release Designated Diver. This is an unfermented, 0% alcohol soft drink made in collaboration between YellowBelly and Black Castle Drinks. They have created a lemon and pear soda dry hopped with Citra and Huell Melon hops. Dry hopping is when hops are added to almost finished beer to increase flavour and aroma and is used to great effect here balancing fruity hop notes with refreshing lemon tartness.

     

  • Wines to warm up with this January.

    With the wind whistling past the office window and weather warnings in place for next week, I’m planning for nothing more than a couple quiet nights in by the fire with a warming glass of red this weekend.

    If that sounds appealing to you too, read on as we have put together a stunning set of winter reds, all of which we are offering as part of a buy 1 bottle get 2nd bottle Half Price promotion (Mix & Match).

    I have highlighted below just a few of my favourites, but to see the full selection you can click here, or even better, why not drop into one of our 34 stores nationwide where one of these winter reds will be on the tasting table all weekend.

    Starting in Spain, Dominio de Artiga Reserva is a superb Tempranillo aged for five years so there's plenty of berry fruit, some vanilla and mocha notes but now with age also a savoury leathery note too.

    The Valdepeñas vineyards of Spain's central plateau are perfectly positioned for ripening bush-vine Tempranillo.

    My next choice comes from a Lynch-Bages owned estate in the South of France, L' Ostal Cazes Estibals is a high-quality wine, which is richly-textured with a wealth of ripe bramble fruit rounded out by subtle oak.

    The vines at L'Ostal Cazes are perfectly positioned for soaking up the Southern French Sunshine.

    On now to Puglia, deep in the heel of Italy, tasting Tenute Rubino Marmorelle Rosso from here is like tasting the Southern Italian sunshine in a glass, this is a gorgeous, richly textured red wine with an abundance of ripe black berried fruit.

    Sun-drenched Negroamaro vines at Marmorelle Estate

    To finish out the selection, I have gone with a Californian classic, Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve, which is an absolute benchmark Zinfandel, medium to full-bodied and velvet-smooth with a lovely ripeness of fruit over a bed of oak, cinnamon and pepper.

     

     

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