Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cheese and Wine Tasting

Thanks to everyone who attended our Cheese & Wine Tasting last Friday.
We'd a great turnout and there was hardly any cheese or wine left over
for myself and Harry to snaffle!(I took that as a good sign that the various
combinations had gone down well!)

Our line-up was as follows:

“Honoré de Berticot” Cotes de Duras Sauvignon Blanc 2010
and Sainte Maure Goats Cheese (French)

Nespolino Trebbiano/Chardonnay 2010 and Manchego Sheeps Cheese.(Spanish)

Parrell Montsant 2006 and Comté cheese (French)

Delicato Old Vine Zinfandel 2008 and Cashel Blue Cheese. (Irish)

A “mystery cheese” turned up aswell. It arrived fresh off the plane from Galicia.
Many Thanks to Paula and Viv for bringing this little beauty along!
We found out that its called “San Simon” It looked amazing and tasted wonderful!

Here are some more details..

San Simon is a popular smoked Spanish cheese. It is made from cow's milk in the region of Galicia in the northwest of the country. The curd is transferred into pear-shaped molds, after a day, the forms are immersed in hot whey. After two weeks, the cheeses are smoked. The gourmet San Simon cheese has a delicious, creamy buttery texture. The cheese has a thin chestnut-orange rind, a soft inside and is mild but full of flavor. This versatile cheese is great on its own, and sublime when paired with fresh fruit or served as a dessert cheese.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 the Liffey!

Here are some more details about the exciting "Italy Unwrapped" wine tasting event,which will take place at the rather lovely venue No. 10 Ormond Quay on Thursday 8th September.

You can check out the venue on their website here:

“Italy Unwrapped” Event”
Thursday 8th September (7.30 – 10pm)
Venue : No. 10 Ormond Quay, Dublin 1
Ticket Price 20euro / Tickets now available to buy in the shop.
(Limited number of places available so please register your interest as early as possible)

We hope you can join us and one of our favourite Italian Wine Importers for a celebration of Italian Wines, their diverse regions and the fabulous breath of grape varieties and wines styles that are such a feature of the country.
The Showcase will include 7 different wineries covering 8 regions from the Veneto in the North to Sicily in the South. The wines and wineries on show have won a host of awards from the likes of from Decanter World Wine Awards, Mondus Vini, Vinitaly and include many 2 and 3 glasses Gambero Rosso wines. Some of the wineries include Masciarelli, Valori, Montalto and Poderi dal Nespoli. There will also be nibbles and antipasti to sample along with the wines!

An opportunity to taste thirty fantastic Italian wines and meet some of the “faces behind the label” this is a once-off wine event not to be missed!

If you're interested in attending just give me a call at 01 2944067 or send me an email:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Muscat + Valrhona “Tanariva” 33% Milk Chocolate

“Domaine de Fontavin” Muscat de Beaumes de Venise 2005 (Sweet White)
Valrhona “Tanariva” 33% Milk Chocolate

I found this “milk chocolate” to be quite fascinating in that there’s a distinct caramel flavour going on. This is apparently down to the character of the cocoa bean varieties and plantations in Madagascar that Valrhona select in making this chocolate. Just as with coffee beans, different cocoa beans produce various flavours and aromas in the final chocolate. The sweet and “grapey” Muscat worked well in creating a luscious, honeyed and creamy sensation together with the chocolate.

Overall..a “choctastic” wine tasting!

Ribera del Duero + Valrhona “Guanaja” 70% Dark Chocolate

“Hoya de Los Lobos” Ribera del Duero Crianza 2005(Oak-Aged Red)
Valrhona “Guanaja” 70% Dark Chocolate

We paired up the dark, oaky Ribera red with the darkest of the dark chocolate options, the 70% Guanaja (named after the Caribbean island where Christopher Columbus landed in 1502)
The chocolate and wine both possess a smoky, spicy allure and this match worked very well also. I was picking up a coffee/mocha impression from this pairing, which was very nice indeed!
I’m told “Los Lobos” means “the wolves” in Spanish..I thought they were an 80’s band famous for the worldwide smash La Bamba..Oh well you live and learn.

Cotes du Rhone + Valrhona “Manjari” 64% Dark Chocolate

“Chateau Marjolet” Cotes du Rhone 2009 (Fruity Red)
Valrhona “Manjari” 64% Dark Chocolate

Cotes du Rhone is generally considered to be in the “fruity” spectrum of wine styles so we paired up the Chateau Marjolet 2009 (a great vintage by the way!) with the Manjari 64%. Something about the fruity, fresh and tangy character of the Manjari worked really well with this wine. My favourite combo, this was definitely one of our more successful matches!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bastille Day

…Bastille Day…the 14th of July..

I for one (and one for all..) did my best to get into the spirit of Liberté, Egalité et Fraternité, and to toast the idea of general revolution I enjoyed a lovely bottle of French white wine.

“Les Fumées Blanches” Sauvignon Blanc 2009 RRP 11.95

“Les Fumées Blanches” takes its name from the light morning mists, which drift like white smoke over the foothill vineyards. In these relatively cool microclimates, Sauvignon Blanc develops the smoky, slightly pungent aromas, which are part of the unique personality of this grape.

Or if you fancy practicing your French..

“Les Fumées Blanches” tire son nom des brumes matinales qui s’étendent sur les vignobles en coteaux. Le Sauvignon Blanc développe dans ces microclimats relativement frais le fumé légerement vif, qui fait la personalité unique de ce cépage.

The wine is simply labelled “Vin de France” a new designation which has come along to help the French Wine Industry compete with New World Wines. The general idea is to loosen up the Appellation Controlée laws in the south of France, to allow more freedoms to winemakers in making fruit-forward, easy-going, commercial wines. For example they can put the grape name on the label of these wines to help the consumer identify the wine style. This particular wine won a gold medal in the "Concours Mondial du Sauvignon 2010"

Strangely enough when I put my nose in this wine my first thought was “New Zealand” as the nose is really quite pungent and “Marlborough” in style. On the palate we’re straight back in France with a smoky, mineral, crisp and subtle flavour profile.Its a very tasty wine, which would be lovely with Goats Cheese and a good foil for slightly spicy Thai or Chinese chicken dishes. Excellent as an “Aperitif” wine also!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dry Tokaji + 66% Valrhona Dark Chocolate

“Chateau Dereszla” Tokaji 2009 (Dry White)
Valrhona “Caraibe” 66% Dark Chocolate

White wine can be a tricky match for chocolate so for fun we went for this Hungarian wine, a Dry version of the world-renowned “Tokaji” Its quite aromatic, luscious and mellow in style and has bags of flavour from the three component grape varieties in the blend.

Valrhona “Caraibe” 66% chocolate is described as “balanced and velvety” or “équilibré et voluptueux” en Français. I reckon if you gorged on enough of this combo you might very well achieve a state of voluptuous equilibrium!

Seriously though, this Tokaji wine is gorgeous and the 66% Valrhona chocolate slides down very easily in its company.

A great start to our tasting!

“Wine & Chocolate Part 2” …

“Wine & Chocolate Part 2” …

For our June WineClub Tasting, we were back exploring one of our favourite combinations “Wine & Chocolate”

Our special guest was Miss Aurelie Baylac (Brand Ambassador for Valrhona Grand Cru Chocolate)

Valrhona chocolate is made with tender love and care in the Northern Rhone Valley, in the town of Tain L’Hermitage. This is beside where the famous hill of Hermitage is found, where they produce some absolutely sensational wines (Hermitage / Cote Rotie)

Its an outstanding quality chocolate favoured by top pastry chefs (and chocoholics..) the world over. Valrhona has a famous cookery school where you can learn the art and alchemy of making great chocolate and chocolate desserts!
I thought “Wine School” was great..well what about “Chocolate School”, sounds very tempting!

Our quest was to see how various types of chocolate (From 33% Milk up to 70% Dark) matched with different types of wine.

This was our tasty line-up..

“Chateau Dereszla” Tokaji 2009 (Dry White)
Valrhona “Caraibe” 66% Dark Chocolate

“Chateau Marjolet” Cotes du Rhone 2009 (Fruity Red)
Valrhona “Manjari” 64% Dark Chocolate

“Hoya de Los Lobos” Ribera del Duero Crianza 2005(Oak-Aged Red )
Valrhona “Guanaja” 70% Dark Chocolate

“Domaine de Fontavin” Muscat de Beaumes de Venise 2005 (Sweet White)
Valrhona “Tanariva” 33% Milk Chocolate

More details to follow..

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Red Wine of the Year

Red Wine of the Year

Schutz Barossa “Red Nectar” Shiraz 2006
Way out in the Barossa Valley, South Australia, Tammy Schutz has been working her family vineyards and quietly producing a tiny quantity of sensational red wine. Full bodied, with velvet, rich and smooth black fruit, chocolate and spice, this is a wonderful wine to partner steak or beef dishes.

A wine that wears its name well..Red Nectar indeed!

On promotion for a limited time only.

White Wine of the Year

The White Wine of the Year (as voted by our customers..)

Masi “Masianco” 2010
A fantastic blend of Pinot Grigio and Verduzzo grapes,
from sunny vineyards close to Venice.
The Verduzzo grapes are given a short appassimento (drying period) to concentrate flavours before pressing and the resulting wine is absolutely luscious and chock-full of fantastic flavours and aromas.

On promotion price for a limited time only!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Catherine Fulvio Visit

Catherine Fulvio Book Signing & Wine Tasting

Thanks to everyone who attended our tasting night with Celebrity Chef Catherine Fulvio. It was one of the best nights we’ve had for a while.

We were absolutely delighted to welcome Catherine as our guest and she was in fabulous form, giving out plenty of cooking tips and tricks and insights into her excellent book “Catherine’s Italian Kitchen”

The Italian-style nibbles went down very well (Thanks a million to Hajni and Mary for all the hard work and preparation!)

On the wine front I selected a dusky range of Italians and the wines we tasted were:

San Giorgio Prosecco RRP 11.95
Pasqua Pinot Grigio 2010 RRP 10.95

Borgo Cipressi Chianti 2009 RRP 12.95
Nespolino Sangiovese / Merlot 2009 RRP 11.95
Masciarelli Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2008 RRP 15.95

The San Giorgio Prosecco went down very well, it’s a lovely easy drop and a good wine to kick off any party or celebration. This one is quite fruity, not too dry at all and there’s a decent bit of fizz going on. It’s screwcapped too, which is handy if you you need to crack open a few bottles in a hurry! It will be great “warm-weather drinking” in the months to come!

The Pasqua Pinot Grigio was very typical in style, light, crisp and fresh with lots of pear fruit character and a “dangerous gluggability”

The Borgo Cipressi Chianti 2009 (Cypress Village..named after the beautiful cypress trees so typical of Tuscany) was the first red in our line-up and is a good example of benchmark DOCG Chianti. Tasty cherry fruit and spice with a nice bite of acidity, this is a wine designed in wine heaven for Italian cuisine. Works great with pasta dishes in tomato sauce.

The next red Nespolino 2009 is from the Emilia Romagna region (near Bologna) and is a super example of modern Italian winemaking.
It’s a blend of Sangiovese (the Chianti grape) and Merlot, a bit of a turbo-Chianti and delivers great colour, a lovely plummy nose and bags and bags of flavour. A great new wine which we’re delighted to recommend.

As one or two tasters pointed out we’d saved the best until the end with the Masciarelli 2008.This is a damn fine Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ,from one of the best local producers and the wine punches well above its weight pricewise. A wine to try with meaty food.

You can check out all the details about Catherine at and find out about her cookery school in Wicklow at

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wines of the Year

Wines of the Year

Its that time of the year again where we ask you to vote for your favourite wines of the last twelve months.

We will then count up your votes and put the winning wines on promotion in the shop, to “spread the good wine news” to all our customers.

We’re looking for your FAVOURITE RED and FAVOURITE WHITE.

Here are some popular wines which may help jog the wine memory..

Twiggy / Lavignone Barbera d’Asti / Zenato Ripassa / Mas Laval / Mukuzani Georgian / Belleruche Cotes du Rhone / Red Nectar / Kalleske Pirathon / Chocolate Block / Casa Patronales Carmenere / Marmesa Syrah / Sokol Blosser Meditrina / Dry River Shiraz / Il Bucco Montepulciano / Vina Plata Malbec / Antares Merlot / Devils Corner Pinot Noir / Millbrook Shiraz / Chateau La Tonnelle Haut Medoc / Chateau Gravier Figeac St. Emilion / Mudhouse Pinot Noir / Chateau Musar / Resalso Ribera del Duero

Berticot Sauvignon Blanc / Tsinandali Georgian / Mirror Lake Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc / Huia Sauvignon Blanc / Zenato Lugana / Fontavin Chateauneuf du Pape / Masi Masianco / Backsberg Chenin Blanc / San Giorgio Pinot Grigio / Antares Sauvignon Blanc / Martenot Macon Lugny / Mudhouse Sauvignon Blanc / Barking Owl Semillon-Sauvignon / Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc / Tamellini Soave / Pieropan Soave / Teresa Rizzi Prosecco / Martin Codax Albarinho / Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc / Prova Regia Arinto

To cast your vote just email:

Thanks for voting!

Wines over Christmas..

Happy New Year from Nectar Wines!

I hope you all enjoyed lots of tasty wines over the Christmas season.
It felt like a bit of a relief to finally get to Christmas this year, after all the economic woes of 2010 and tough wintery weather.
Thanks to everyone who braved the arctic conditions and fought their way down to Sandyford Village for some wine.
It’s certainly the first time we’ve had customers in the shop decked out in ski-wear!

Christmas Day wines in the McGrath household were..
Jeio Prosecco
San Giorgio Pinot Grigio 2009
Les Laquets Cahors 2001

The whites were beautifully chilled..out the back garden in the snow!
Wines were all very enjoyable I have to say.. although discussions concluded
that the Cahors (Malbec) was maybe a bit full-on and heavy for the Turkey and Ham.

There wasn’t a drop left all the same.Definitely a great wine for steak or beef..

Still not sure what’s the perfect wine for Brussels Sprouts..any suggestions?

Other wines I enjoyed over the holidays were:
Barista Pinotage 2009
a fab new South African wine which has that lovely “coffee and chocolate” thing going on..

Parrell Montsant 2006
a lovely full oaky red from the mountains near Barcelona D.O.Montsant, a lively blend of Garnacha, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet!Needs a breathe to open up but there’s lots going on in the glass..

Mas Laval 2006
One of my absolute favourite French wines (I selected it for my wedding last summer) a beautiful rich and smooth blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. You just don’t find wines like this from New World wine regions. Spellbinding!

Our tastings will kick off again in a few weeks..details of our first theme and special guest to follow..

Keep an eye our for our Australian Wine Sale..coming soon!!