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

Monthly Archives: April 2017

  • Celebrate Spanish Wine Week With Us

    Just In case you hadn’t heard, we are right in the middle of the second, annual Spanish Wine Week.

    This exciting initiative from the Spanish embassy will see numerous tasting and events taking place right across the country all week, including this Thursday night at Smock Alley Theatre, where O’Briens Wine Director, Lynne Coyle MW will be hosting a very special tasting (unfortunately now sold-out) which will include an exciting mix of some of the best new-wave wines, and established classics such as Rioja Gran Reserva.

    If you have missed out on this tasting, don’t worry as we still have lots in-store offers on Spanish wines and there will be a great selection of Spanish wines on the tasting table in all our stores this weekend.

    To whet your appetite, I have picked out a few of my favourite wines below.

    Regular readers will know I have used this forum many times before to highlight the afore-mentioned new-wave wineries, so for today’s selection I have stuck to the classics; Albariño and Rioja.

    Grown in the Galicia, the cool and wet north-west corner (known to locals as green Spain) Albariño is without a doubt Spain’s best cool climate white wine.

    Owner/winemaker, Jesus Alvarez Otero makes one of our all-time favourite Albariño’s. His crisp refreshing Contrapunto (€12.95 down from €18.45), has attractive pear, peach and lemon fruit but more as there's a chalky mineral streak and a zesty fresh finish. This is just the perfect wine for spring and summer drinking - think sunshine, friends, and seafood Tapas, particularly Pulpo a la Gallega.

    Pergola-trained Albariño vines in Pazo Señorans cool-climate vineyards

    One of the finest estates in the Rías Baixas DO, ideally located at Vilanoviña, in the Pontevedra town of Meis, the vineyards benefit from coastal-influences and mineral-rich soils allowing Pazo Señorans to make seriously good Albariño (€18.95 down from €22.95), delicately floral on the nose with hints of lemon and pear. This opens up on the palate to reveal a complex, mineral-driven white with an incredibly long finish. It should go without saying that this wine is the ideal partner for a Seafood Paella.

    Rioja has long been one of Ireland’s favourite red wines so, you may know that there are four main categories of Rioja, each with its own distinct flavour profile related to its ageing programme in the winery: These are Joven, Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva. I have chosen a Crianza and a Reserva for today’s line-up.

    Consistently rated as one of Spain’s greatest producers the Eguren family have revolutionised modern Spanish wine. From their dynamic Riojas at Sierra Cantabria to their highly-regarded Tempranillo from central Spain the range is beyond impressive. Their Crianza (€15.95 down from €17.95) is a wonderfully dark Rioja which, rightly, suggests the fruit will be intense as it's full of juicy blackberry character, with just a whiff of oak.  This restrained oak-use makes this wine incredibly when it comes to food matching, working well with everything from cured meats to fillet steak.

    The Iconic Murrieta winery at the Ygay estate.

    An iconic Rioja house, Marqués de Murrieta are among the finest examples of Spain's most celebrated wine region, and their winemaker María Vargas is rightly considered to be one of Spain’s greatest winemakers. María’s greatest obsession is to extract the maximum expression of the region’s ‘terroir’, applying different wine-making techniques according to the variety, vine age, orientation, and the soil, choosing the optimum moment of ripeness of the fruit, as María says herself,

    “The hardest thing when making a wine is giving it its own unique personality, and when someone tastes it and can identify it, it makes you very happy.”

    María's personality is very much on display in Murrieta's Reserva (€19.95 down from €23.95), which beautifully merges the traditional and the modern; unmistakably Rioja but with wonderfully rich, ripe fruit. This wine would be the perfect choice to serve with char-grilled lamb cutlets.

    To top it all off, I should also mention that all the wineries above will be showing their ranges at our Dublin Wine Fair on the 5th & 6th of May.

     

  • Unusual Gin

    There is a vast array of different gins on the market, generally they fall into a few different categories depending on the botanicals used, distillation method or where in the world it is produced. One such category that is rarely seen in quality gin nowadays is cold compound gin.

    Cold compounding simply means infusing the base spirit with botanicals rather than adding the botanicals through distillation. Here the botanicals are allowed to rest in a neutral spirit at ambient temperature, before filtering, dilution and bottling. The technique was long seen as a poorer method of producing gin and rarely used anymore. In fact, it is easier and faster to produce a consistent product through traditional distillation. However, with skill and attention to detail, it is possible to create a high-quality gin using this method and that’s just what Ampleforth’s have done with their Bathtub Gin.

    The name dates back to bootleggers of the prohibition era in the United States, when cold compound gin made a brief clandestine resurgence. The bootleggers used flavourings to mask the taste of the cheap alcohol and the name bathtub gin denoted one of these poorly made, harsh spirits. The exact etymology is unclear, perhaps referring to bathtubs used as tanks to infuse the alcohol with botanicals or that the bottles were diluted with tap water from the bathtub, as the bottles were too tall to fit under the sink tap.

    Whether compound or distilled it's all about the botanicals used

     Ampleforth’s Bathtub gin plays on this name to brush off the stigma and create a unique gin using the cold compound technique. However, the quality of botanicals and care given in the creation of the gin are what sets this apart. They begin with a high-quality copper pot distilled spirit, infusing it with botanicals including juniper, orange peel, coriander, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. The time given to the cold compounding is entirely governed by periodic sampling to determine when the spirit has achieved the qualities required. Due to this method of production it pours a natural colour, lightly tinted by the botanicals. The compounding method also adds a fuller creamy mouthfeel, and displays earthy pine with spicy cardamom, juniper and clove backed up with fresh delicate citrus tones.

    You can pick up the multi-award winning Ampleforth’s Bathtub gin reduced from €53 to €48 in our Gin Sale this month. Enjoy it neat or try it in a G&T with a cinnamon stick and a little orange peel.

     

  • Early Easter Treats!

    With Easter looming large on the Horizon, many of us will be thinking of serving the traditional roast leg of spring Lamb, and the classic partner of red Bordeaux to serve alongside it.

    So, it is very apt, that we have just launched our spring Bordeaux parcels promotion, of course buying Bordeaux can seem daunting for some, so to help de-mystify the region, I have laid out a few simple tips below.

    The first point of note is that all Bordeaux wines from entry-level right up to some most of the world’s most expensive wines are made from a blend of two or more varieties, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Cabernet Franc. 

    Also, the region is bisected by the Gironde River, and indeed you may have heard Bordeaux wines referred to as right or left bank.

    On the left bank, Cabernet Sauvignon is king, these wines have more structure and tannin, with dark blackcurrant and blackberry fruit and can possess tremendous ageing potential. 

    On the right bank, the Merlot-dominant blends are generally softer and more approachable in their youth with layers of chocolate, spice, plum and red berry fruit.

    As you can see from the map below, with the dozen wines chosen, we have covered a wide geographic spread with our Bordeaux line-up, so we also have a wide range of wine styles represented.

    This map highlights the broad geographic spread covered in the promotion

    To give you a sense of the promotion, I have picked out a few of my favourites below.

    If you really learn more about Bordeaux though, in my opinion tasting is far more enjoyable than reading, so why not start out by trying one of the wines below, all of which have 20% off this April & May.

    From the Left Bank:

    In 2006 Ch. Fourcas-Hosten was bought by the Momméja brothers (owners of the Hermès fashion house) who have since then lavished money on upgrading what was already one of the leading estates in Listrac.

    Château Fourcas Hosten (€23.95 down from €29.95) excelled in 2009, so expect ripe dark fruits, some classic Medoc lead pencil spice, a touch of oak vanilla and seamless tannins.

    Wine ageing in expensive new oak barrels in Château du Glana's recently renovated and thoroughly modern cellars.

    Château du Glana 2013 (€32.00 down from €40.00) shows an interesting mix of black fruits, cherry and plum plus the typical aroma of Saint-Julien wines, tobacco leaf, with some tannin on the palate.

    From the Right Bank:

    Château Haut-Badon 2012 (€19.95 down from €24.95) is a beautiful Saint-Émilion Grand Cru that immediately displays the charm that makes Saint-Émilion the easiest to love of all Bordeaux wine. 

    As you can see the classic right bank communes sit side by side.

    Château Franc Maillet 2011(€34.35 down from €42.95) is from a family-owned estate which always delivers a classic expression of the Pomerol terroir, with deep raspberry, plum and black cherry flavours, undercut by some subtle spice and smoke. The tannins are ripe and fine.            

    To launch this promotion, we will have a selection of Bordeaux wines open on the tasting table in your local O’Briens store this weekend, so why not pop in, and try before you buy.

  • The Great Gin Hunt

    Here at O’Briens we have been searching out some of the very best and most interesting gins from around the world. Each week we taste, nose and examine gins from around the world looking for unique and interesting flavours and aromas. We are looking for gins that have a story to tell or an interesting approach be that through unusual botanicals or distillation methods. Above all of course they have to taste great. Yes, sometimes it’s a tough job!

    Here are just a few picks of world gins from our current gin sale line-up.

    Nordes, Citadelle, Monkey 47

    Citadelle Gin is produced in the heart of France’s Grande Champagne Cognac region. The French AOC laws governing cognac allow it only to be distilled up to the 31st of March following the grape harvest. This means the stills are quiet six months of the year so the distillers on the Logis d’Angeac estate decided to produce gin in the months they were not producing cognac. Citadelle is the only gin in distilled in a traditional Cognac pot still with a naked flame. Distilling over an open flame requires a particular set of skills and also means the gin is made in smaller batches compared to that which could be produced using a column still or steam distillation. The result of this unique distillation method the is an elegant flavour and a very smooth palate. This is a juniper lead gin supported with eighteen other botanicals for a complex floral and spicy flavour profile.

    Nordes gin comes from Galicia region in northern Spain. Nordes is not your usual gin. One of the things that is unique about the gin is its base spirit. The gin is distilled from the pomace of Albarino grapes which gives the finished spirit a superb rounded mouthfeel and texture. It also features twelve, locally sourced, botanicals including lemon peels, hibiscus, liquorice and eucalyptus. This is a fruity and floral gin with a light touch of mint and juniper tucked in the background.

    The beautiful Monkey 47 still

    We can’t talk of great gins from around the world without mentioning the venerable Monkey 47. The bold uncompromising style of this gin has lead it to pick up numerous awards and set a benchmark to which many others are compared. What’s unusual about this gin is the sear number of botanicals used, the clue is in the name, with 47 different botanicals in the distillation. The complexity on display from its long list of botanicals has to be tasted to be fully appreciated.

    You can pick these up on offer, along with a host of other Irish and international gins, in our Gin Sale.

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