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


  • Top picks from our Italian Wine Sale

    With our Italian wine sale kicking off this Friday the 9th , I thought now would be the perfect time to take a whistle-stop tour through Italy’s wine regions and look at some of the wines produced therein.

    We start our journey in the Northwest, in the region of Piedmont which is home not just to Italy’s finest reds; Barolo and Barbaresco, but also to one of the country’s best whites in Gavi, which can be just about the most refreshing of Italian white wines with clear lemon, ripe apple and pear fruit, and an underlying stony-mineral character. An extremely elegant white, la Battistina (€11.95 down from €14.95) is easily one of the best examples of Gavi in Ireland. Enjoy it with Lemon and Herb Roasted Chicken.

    La Battistina Gavi would be perfect with a delicious lemon and herb roasted chicken.

    Moving across to the Northeast, we come to the Veneto region, this vinous powerhouse produces more wine at D.O.C. level (Quality equivalent to AC in France) than any other region in Italy. This of course includes lots of white and sparkling wine, but the region is most famous for its red wines made using dried grapes. Porta Nova (€14.95 down from €20.45) is a big, bold, chunky Ripasso with loads of sweet, ripe, dark fruit, clever use of oak and that distinct 'sour cherry' Amarone tang. The velvet smooth texture means that this wine can quite easily be enjoyed on its own, but to see it at its best, I would serve it alongside a meaty Italian dish such as Tagliatelle al Ragù or even better with Veal Osso Bucco.

    Veal Osso Bucco would be perfect with Porta Nova Ripasso.

    Staying east but moving down the Adriatic coast to the Marche region of central Italy we have, Marotti Campi's  Albiano Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi (€10.95 down from €14.95) which has refreshing citrus fruits, zesty acidity and complex minerality as its hallmarks, when well-made like this example, Verdicchio is one of the very best whites Italy produces. Serve alongside Linguini with Clams for a match made in Heaven.

    Lorenzo Marotti Campi amidst his Verdicchio vines.

    Crossing west again we come to the Tuscany region, home to what is perhaps Italy’s most renowned wine in Chianti. Made by the award-winning winemaker, Stefano Chioccioli, Volpetto Chianti Riserva (€11.95 down from €19.95), is modern Chianti at its best, packed full of juicy, ripe red-berried fruit, nice touch of oak and above all silky smooth. It's a superbly made wine that will appeal to everyone, not just fans of Italian reds. This is a wine that is crying out to be paired with slow-roast shoulder of lamb.

    Volpetto Chianti Riserva is crafted by the award-winning winemaker, Stefano Chioccioli.

    We finish our journey deep in the South in the heel of Italy. From the Puglia region, Luna Argenta (€12.95 down from €18.95) is made using the Apassimento method (borrowed from the Veneto), whereby the grapes are partially dried prior to vinification. This yields a wine with intense aromas of crushed black berry and black cherry with notes of vanilla and cinnamon spice, these aromas follow through on to the palate along with hints of mocha/chocolate, with this wine’s wonderfully rich style braised lamb shanks would make for a delicious pairing.

    The sun-drenched vines of the Puglia region yield super-ripe fruit.

    Our Italian wine sale continues right through Saint Patrick’s weekend and finishes at 10.00pm on Monday the 19th.

    *Please note, prices quoted are valid from March 9th – 19th 2018, please check our website or stores for the most up to date pricing.

  • 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.


    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.

  • Treats for the Long Weekend

    This upcoming long weekend will surely see many dinner parties, celebrations, and informal gatherings as we all take advantage of the extra day off. Now, normally on the August bank holiday weekend, my blog would lean heavily toward BBQ wine tips, but unfortunately, the picture above might represent wishful-thinking as it doesn’t look like the weather is going to play ball.

    The good news though is that we have an exciting new line up of wine promotions in your local O’Briens store and that from this Thursday and right through the weekend we are offering 15% back on your loyalty card for any purchase of six or more wines. So, there can be no better time to treat yourself to something special.

    I have picked some of my favourites below, two from the old world and two from the new, all four delicious and perfectly suited to summer celebrations indoors or out!

    For my first choice, we are starting out on 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 vineyards overlook the Beautiful Lake Garda

    Next up is Ireland’s favourite wine style, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. I am sure this style needs no introduction, however, Whitehaven’s ‘Greg Label’ Sauvignon Blanc (€16.95 down from €20.45) is one well-worth a special mention.

    Made in honour of the company's founder, the 'Greg Label' represents the pinnacle of Whitehaven's winemaking. Hugely expressive aromas & flavours, bursting with cool fruit and mouth-tingling minerality make for a complex & super concentrated, lush Sauvignon.

    Whitehaven's stunning Sauvignon vinreyards

    Moving on to the reds, but Staying in the Southern Hemisphere, my next choice is the outstanding Yakka Shiraz (€14.95 down from €19.95). From the cooler Adelaide Hills region, this is a special wine with alluring perfumed complex aromatics of maraschino cherry, pepper, liquorice and cedar plus a rich and juicy palate of epic length.


    To finish up my selection, we are going back to Northeast Italy for Rizzardi’s Pojega Ripasso (€16.95 down from €20.45). This is quite simply one of the best Ripassos made by anyone. Year in,  year out it gets top ratings from major critics, made in an extremely elegant style with pure wild-cherry fruit & sweet spice undercut with notes of mocha.

  • A taste of ‘la Dolce Vita’


    Our Italian wine and Prosecco sale starts this Thursday, so I was inspired to have a look at matching some Italian wines with some classic Italian dishes.

    Italy probably produces the most diverse range of grape varieties and wine-styles of any country, but if there is one thing which unifies all these wines, it is a common vision among winemakers to primarily produce wines which offer great food-matches with the local cuisine.

    Of course, Italy has a hugely varied range of regional cuisines and a good rule of thumb is that ‘if it grows together, it goes together’, or in other words, Italian food and wine culture have evolved together over the centuries, so regional foods usually work best with wines from the same region.

    All this being said, when most of us think of Italian cuisine, Pasta is the first thing that comes to mind, so that will be the focus of my recommendations.

    For my first choice, I have gone with a Pinot Grigio, now I know this might not appear to be the obvious place to start, given that most Pinot Grigios are best described as being simple, light wines for easy-drinking.

    A strong contender to be Ireland's favourite pasta dish; Spaghetti Carbonara.

    But I implore to put those pre-conceptions aside to consider San Osvaldo Pinot Grigio (€11.95 down from €14.95), which is from vineyards in the historic Lison-Pramaggiore area just west of Venice, this is a delicious and richly-concentrated take on Pinot Grigio, ripe pear and golden apple flavours are kept in perfect balance with the crisp cool finish, making this wine a great match for the classic Spaghetti Carbonara.

    The exquisite Linguine alle Vongole.

    Moving away from the rich egg and cheese based sauce above, I simply must include my own favourite recipe, Linguine alle Vongole, this incredibly fresh-flavoured dish calls for a crisp white with more delicate flavours, the wine I have chosen is a benchmark Gavi (€15.15 down from €18.95), from leading winemaker, Matteo Ascheri, it is floral and fresh in fruit profile and perfect balance remains between acidity and fruit.

    Italy’s red wines often have relatively higher levels acidity, which allows them to work well with the tomatoes which are such a feature so many pasta dishes.

    Perfect with Sangiovese-based reds, just make sure your Arrabiata sauce isn't too angry!

    Tuscany’s Sangiovese grape is for exceptionally well-suited to tomato based sauces, San Felice Chianti Classicio (€14.35 down from €17.95), embodies all that is good about Italy’s most famous wine: Intense black cherry fruit balanced by classic Chianti freshness this is just wine to pair with Penne all'Arrabbiata.

    Proper Tagliatelle al Ragù; so much more than just a posh Spag-Bol !

    Proper Tagliatelle al Ragù is a gutsy dish and as such will need a richly-flavoured, smooth-textured wine to stand up to it, I would be thinking of a Valpolicella Ripasso, and in particular of Bertani’s Tenute Novare (€15.95 down from €20.95), silk-smooth thanks to nine months ageing in oak, this is richer and fuller than many Ripassos, with delicious dark cherry and raisin fruit.

    Our sale continues right through Saint Patrick’s weekend and finishes up at 10.00 pm on Sunday the 19th so there can be no excuse not to visit there your local O’Briens store and pick up a couple of bottles, nor to dig out those Italian recipe books and get cooking.

    Buon Appetito!

  • A Vinous tour through Italy’s Rugby Heartland.


     I’m sure, like me, many of you will be cheering on the Irish team as they take to field in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico this weekend to take on the Azzurri.

    And although the trip to Rome represents the longest journey in any Irish six nations campaign, it is also a bit of a stretch to consider this a home tie for most of the Italian side, as with their clubs they will be based at least 400 km (as the Crow flies) to the North.

    Of course, as well as being the Country’s traditional Rugby Heartland, Northern Italy is home to some of its most-delicious wines.

    The examples I have picked out below cover four Provinces stretching from West to East, and I think perfectly display the excellent quality and value available.

    Fazzoletto's Barbera grapes undergoing the 'Passito' drying process.

    Starting in the Western Province of Piedmont, Fazzoletto Barbera Passito (€10.95 down from €14.95) is made using the ‘Passito’ method, whereby some of the Barbera grapes are partially dried, resulting in a wine with a great concentration of dark cherry fruit. It’s super-smooth too thanks to six months ageing in oak.

    Moving Eastward, we come to Lombardy, home to Pino Pino Fizzante (€9.95), made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes, this refreshing sparkler has delicious pear & citrus fruit along with some light peach notes and a crisp clean finish.

    The next stop on our whistle-stop tour is the winemaking powerhouse that is the Veneto. As the biggest producer of D.O.C. wine, accounting for more than 20% of the nation’s total D.O.C. output, I thought we should look at two wines from the region. First up is another fizz;

    The Guerrieri Rizzardi family enjoying a glass of Prosecco (the Rosé version) in the grounds of their historic Veneto estate.

    Rizzardi Spumante (€17.95 down from €20.95), is an extremely-refined, fully-sparkling & extra-dry Prosecco which shows the perfect balance of white peach and ripe pear fruit with a fine crisp backbone.

    Next, we have the most-popular style of red wine from the Veneto, Porta Nova (€14.95 down from €17.95) is a big, bold, chunky Ripasso, with loads of sweet, ripe, dark fruit, good oak and that distinct ‘sour cherry’ Amarone tang.

    Puiattino's Pinot Grigio vines grow on the rolling hills of the Collio region, in the Province of Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

    We finish our Journey on Italy’s eastern boundary, in the Province of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, home to the country’s finest Pinot Grigios; Puiattino (€17.95) is pale in colour, with fresh grassy notes and hints of green apples. The palate has a touch of honeyed richness but is fresh and steely, making it a wonderful aperitif.

    So, if you are settling to watch the match this Saturday afternoon, or even better if you are looking to celebrate a four-try bonus-point win on Saturday night, why not choose one of the wines above, as unlike the Rugby result, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed!

  • Treat Yourself This Easter

    In its deliciously tender spring-Lamb, the traditional Easter Sunday lunch brings to the table one of my favourite food & wine matching opportunities.

    Lamb really is such a flavoursome and wine-friendly meat, working so well with a wide range of reds, from the classically Italian vibrant acidity and cherry fruit character of Porta Nova Ripasso through to the rich, robust style of Blason du Rhône Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and of course we can’t ignore the traditional favourite of a really good Rioja Reserva such as Marqués de Murrieta.

    But of course it’s not all about the reds, one of the great pleasures of spring is the return of fresher flavours and lighter fish-based dishes to the table and with them comes the opportunity to pair crisp, zesty and aromatic whites.

    With simply grilled white fish & shellfish, for me the only wine is an Albariño such as Lagar de Costa, but if the dish calls for something a little more aromatic, why not try one of our all-time favourite Sauvignons, Astrolabe.

  • Venetian Masterpiece for Sale!

    “Q” Valpolicella Ripasso is a wonderful blend of the Traditional and the Modern, offering the best both!

    It is produced using the traditional grape mix of Corvina, Corvinone & Rondinella, these grapes are sourced exclusively from vineyards are situated in the hills outside Verona in the Valpantena Valley.

    This location is ideal, as cool currents blow down the valley from the foothills of the Dolomites, helping to moderate the climate and enabling the grapes to ripen slowly. This helps the grapes to retain their aromatic compounds and acidity. The soil is poor and chalky so the vines are put under stress helping to produce superior quality fruit.

    So far, so traditional, I hear you say, well let me introduce flying-winemaker Matt Thomson, who has been building a reputation as a premium producer of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc since the early ‘90s, but for almost just as long he has also acted as a consultant at a number of wineries in France and Italy.

    Looking at this wine style from a unique perspective, Matt makes the wine is made using an adapted modern version of the traditional Veronese "Ripasso" method. Traditionally, the young wine was re-fermented on the skins of the Amarone grapes once they had finished fermenting in March. The new, more expensive approach is to ferment the young wine together with dried grapes in the January following the vintage, giving the wine more body and depth. This blend of modern and traditional winemaking produces a wine with a combination of freshness, structure and depth that is fairly rare among Ripasso wines.

    Following fermentation, the wine is aged for just over a year in a mixture of large oak and small, French oak barrels prior to bottling.

    All of this results in a truly sensational Ripasso with incredibly concentrated, ripe black-berried fruit, with the Ripasso method adding a dried cherry intensity. Full-bodied on the palate, with a lovely balance between the opulent cherry-pie character and the super-smooth mouthfeel, and with a mouth-watering sour cherry twist on the finish.

    The velvet smooth texture means that this wine can quite easily be enjoyed on its own, but to see it at its best, I would serve it alongside a meaty Italian dish such as Tagliatelle al Ragù or even better with Veal Osso Bucco.

    We were only able to get our hands on a limited parcel of this Delicious red, so it won’t last long, particularly at the special price of 2 for €25 ( down from €19.99 each).

    Due to the limited stocks, this offer is not available online, so why not pop down to your local O’Briens store this weekend (“Q” Valpolicella Ripasso will be on the tasting table in all our stores this weekend) and pick up a couple of bottles before it sells out! 

  • The original Super-Venetian


    With a just claim to the title of “the original Super-Venetian”, Masi’s “Campofiorin” was first produced in 1964 and was the first wine to be made on a commercial scale that utilised the now highly popular “ripasso” process. It is also interesting to note that Masi was the only producer making Ripasso from 1964-1989 – so they’ve had time to hone their skills with it and perfect their techniques.

    Whereas Valpolicella Ripasso is commonly made by passing a young and fruity Valpolicella over the dried grape skins left over from the production of Amarone della Valpolicella (thereby kicking off a secondary fermentation that results in additional concentration, structure and alcohol) Masi have re-invented the Ripasso process for their “Campofiorin”.

    Instead of using “second-hand” grapes from the production of Amarone, Masi instead dry a portion of grapes (a blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara) specifically for the purpose of kicking off the required secondary fermentation. The advantage of this is that a fruitier and less overtly structured style of “ripasso” can be produced.

    Having undergone both fermentations, this  “Campofiorin” was then matured in large oak barrels (with a mix of capacities from 600-9000 litres) for 18 months, yielding a wine which is medium bodied and super-smooth with abundant flavours of raisin, dark plum and dark cherry.

    So if that has whetted your appetite to try some, the good news is that for this weekend only you can pick up two bottles of the iconic wine for just €25 (down from €19.99 ) at your local O’Briens store or online at wine.ie, but you had better act fast as this is sure to sell out! ( Customer quotas apply )

  • Rip Roaring Ripasso

    Musella Ripasso

    Very quick one this week, as we are all getting ready for tomorrow’s Wine Fair in the Mansion House (Limited number of tickets available still available at the door)*.

    If there is one wine you shouldn’t miss out on before this month’s promotion ends it is Musella Ripasso €14.99 (until 1st Nov. was €19.99). Every time I taste this wine I am bowled over by just how good it is. Many producers talk about their Ripassos and emphasise their link to the Amarone which fathered them but in this case the wine really speaks for itself.

     The fact that this has been re-fermented on the pommace of Musella Amarone and even had dried Amarone-destined  grapes added to the tank is clearly evident in the classic, raisened, dark toffee character of  this Ripasso. Although there is superb depth of fruit this wine never forgets it’s a Ripasso so all that richness is balanced by fresher vibrant cherry fruit and excellent acidity.

    Food wise it’s great with fillet/rib-eye steak, slow cooked loin of pork or simply with cured ham or mature hard cheese. But – and this is the great thing about good Ripassos - it is also delicious on its own after the meal. So grab it while you can and enjoy.

    *Round Room (adjacent to the Mansion House on Dawson Street) opens 11am.

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