Clare Valley Riesling…

Clare Valley Riesling…


Clare Valley Riesling..

Riesling is credited by many to be the world’s best white grape variety including myself. It typically produces a light, fragrant wine with lively acidity, gloriously aromatic flavours, and relatively low alcohol levels. Riesling comes in a range of styles from bone dry and minerally through to lusciously sweet and overly fruity, and it is rarely vinified with oak.

Germany grows more Riesling than any other country and is responsible for many of the most impressive examples.

Clare Valley is many things to many is the source of some of Australia’s finest and zestiest Riesling. This is South Australia’s most northerly vine growing region, some 96 km north of Adelaide, and it is quite hot. Clare Valley has a strong history of making quality Riesling. Clare Valley Riesling is resoundingly mineral with citrus and lime aromas, but stop short of coarseness on account of the crisp, citric acidity.

Wakefield Riesling 2008, Clare Valley, Australia, 12%, €10.99

Restrained floral aromas of orange blossom and rose petal with even stronger aromas of lime zest. Fresh lemon-lime flavoured palate and abundant tropical fruits of pineapple, banana and grapefruit with a crisp acidic backbone and a very pleasing mineral character.

A rich example of Clare Riesling, ripe, slightly exotic fruit bouquet is followed by a fractionally tart fruit finish.

Perfect alone as an aperitif, or with asian dishes, seafood, lime and chilli chicken stirfry, or the most sublime match is with fresh, natural oysters..


This Week’s Snippet of Info…

What is the difference between young and old Riesling?

Young Riesling tastes of lime, apricot and apples. With age, aromas of diesel and spice can develop. Sweet examples display delicious honey and marmalade nuances.

Available from Dicey Reilly’s, Ballyshannon

And good independent Off Licences






The origins of the Vementino vine are not entirely clear. One version is that it is native to Spain, and that it was brought to the Ligurian coast of northwest Italy during the Middle Ages. Another, according to the ampelographer Galet, asserts that it is a variant of Malvasia which migrated from the island of Madeira to Spain and then to Corsica.
It is, in any case, widely planted along the Mediterranean coasts of France and Italy, from the Languedoc-Roussillon to southern Tuscany, and is an important vine on the islands of Corsica and Sardinia. It exists in the three D.O.C. appellations of Vermentino di Gallura, Vermentino di Sardegna and Vermentino Riviera Ligure di Ponente, as well as in a number of subvarieties grown in the Mediterranean basin.
Vermentino is a warm climate vine of moderate to high vigor and productivity. Its leaves are medium large and pentagonal, with five rounded lobes, and the conical, medium compact bunches bear medium to medium large, ellipsoidal gold green berries with moderately thick skins which, in sunny expositions, acquire rusty spots near harvest. The fruit is gently aromatic, high in extract and moderately high in acidity and the best are concentrated and ripe with a flinty, floral dimension.

Tuscany and Sardinia produce the most interesting versions, and when cultivated with care the vine yields big, ripe deeply colored wines of balance, substance and character, with intense, supple fruit flavors and notes of citrus, herbs and almonds and a delicate, persistent bouquet which reflects the palate. Vermentino is also produced in semi-sweet version in Sardinia

Rocca del Macie Occhio a Vento Vermentino Maremma Toscaza, 13%, €15.99

Straw yellow in colour aromas of floral notes recalling acacia blossom and broom, giving way to delicate fruity perfumes of apple and pineapple. The palate is dry, smooth and pleasantly fresh.

Perfect alone as an aperitif, or prefect with hake, halibut, trout, scallops, chicken goujons or monkfish…


This Week’s Snippet of Info…

What other names is Vermentino known as?

Vermentino is otherwise known by the following names: Rolle, Vennentino, Varresana Bianca, Malvoisie (Precoce), Malvoisie a Gros Grains.

Available from Dicey Reilly’s, Ballyshannon

And good independent Off Licences






Minervois AOC is like a huge, south facing amphitheatre rising from the Canal du Midi in the South to the Montagne Noire in the north. Climatically there is an Atlantic influence in the West near Carcassonne, moving to Mediterranean in the east near Narbonne. Minervois lying north of Corbieres and the River Aude has wines of exceptional value. Carignan is the main grape. From the 1999 vintage, this variety will account for no more than 40 percent of Minervois blends. Meanwhile Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache are becoming more important. Since 1997 Minervois La Liviniere, in the centre of the district, has been awarded its own appellation. The rocky soils, hilly terrain, and warm, dry climate here produce wines (96 percent red) that are fuller, firmer and longer lived.

Lighter Minervois is juicy, raspberry-fruity and made for drinking now. Better versions are warm, welcoming and spicy, full of rich, sweet, smoky, blackcurrant, plum and berry flavours, often with a hint of vanilla on the finish courtesy of oak ageing.

Chateau La Grave 2008 AC Minervois, 13%, €12.99

The nose is of warm climate, plums and soft spice aromas. The palate is really juicy and very smooth. There are plenty of juicy black fruit flavours with soft and rounded tannins. The wine is so juicy and very smooth.

Perfect alone or prefect marriage with beef, hard cheese, burgers, turkey, vegetarian, game or steak…


This Week’s Snippet of Info…

What is the difference between French Syrah and Australian Shiraz?

This is the same grape. French Syrah is deeply coloured and full bodied with flavours of black fruits, pepper and burnt rubber. Australian Shiraz is a riper and more intense style of wine, due to the warmer climate.

Available from Dicey Reilly’s, Ballyshannon

And good independent Off Licences


Overberg District, South Africa..

Overberg District, South Africa..

Overberg District, South Africa

The ward of Elgin in the Overberg district is prime apple producing country, but early success with wines has seen increased plantings over the past number of years. Pioneers such as Paul Cluver proved the suitability of this cooler climate and longer ripening period. They are now testing other sites on their farm with vine plantings. The summer cloud here results in a longer ripening period, so grapes here have much more intense flavours.

The grapes were harvested from five year old vineyards situated on the Overberg mountain and were picked at optimum ripeness. The wine has been aged in three or four year old barrels.

The principles behind Slowine are very much the same as those enshrined in the mission statement of Slow Food.

Slowine Merlot 2007, 14.5% alc, South Africa, Normally €14.99 Special €8.99

A very rich and well structured wine, with hints of chocolate, violets and ripe plummy fruit on the nose, juicy dark red berry fruit on the palate and a savoury smokiness on the finish.

If you like juicy fruity wines you will like this wine…If you like chocolate notes you will love this wine…

Perfect solo or with slow roasted lamb, duck, Cornish pasties, grilled meats, steak, lamb chops or cheese..

Delicious De Cecco Pastas and sauces available in Dicey Reilly’s Off Licence…


This Week’s Snippet of Info…

What does barrel-aged mean?

This is the process of maturing wine in oak barrels which softens the wine and possibly adding some subtle oak flavours. The flavours imparted to the wine depends if the barrels are new or like the wine above 3 or 4 years old. New barrels impart stronger flavours of vanilla and cedar than 3 or 4 year old barrels.


Available from Dicey Reilly’s, Ballyshannon

And good independent Off Licences


Wines for Valentines Day

Treat your Valentine…


Treat your valentine to wine!

Here are a few to choose from…

Cave de Tain Syrah 2006, Rhone, France, 12.5% alc., Normally €11.49 Special €9.99

100% Syrah, lovely aromas and flavours of raspberry and dark berry fruits, with hints of violets. A very easy drinking wine…


Araldica Barbera 2007, Italy, 14% alc., €11.99

This wine has an enticing smoky brambly aroma. Fresh and crunchy blackberries ooze from the palate with lovely easy drinkability. Exceptional value..

Pere Ventura Cava Semi Sec Rose, Spain, 11.5% alc., €14.99

Delicious aromas of ripe red fruits and a palate bursting with wild berries. There is a beautiful sweetness to this cava. Too easy to drink!

Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir, Australia, 11.5% alc., €14.99

Crisp and delicious citrus apple, lime flavours exude with delicate crispness.

Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Rose, 11.5%alc., Australia, €14.99

This is a delicious fresh frothy glass of strawberries and raspberries, quite rich in style and exceptionally lively. Perfect for sipping with your valentine!

Graham Beck Brut NV, Robertson, South Africa, 12% alc., €22.99

Tart red berries and green apples in a refreshing crisp sparkling wine with a light biscuity touch adding complexity. Light and zesty with rich apple fruit.

Bouvet Saumur Brut 2008, Loire, France, 12.5% alc., €23.99

Chenin Blanc based with quite exotic ripe spiced pear fruit. Very crisp and fresh, lively small bubbles and a long delicious finish.

Champagne Forget-Brimont 1er Cru, 12% alc., €39.99

Fresh, light, bready nose with balancing acidity and a light creamy coating in the pear fruit. Delish..

Rose Champagne Forget-Brimont 1er Cru, 12% alc., €44.99

Delicious nose of red fruits. In the mouth, sensations of ripe red fruits – blackcurrants and redcurrants. Fresh and elegant finish. Perfect harmony between the richness of the Pinot Noir and the firmness of the Chardonnay. Yum!

Large Selection of Unusual Beers and Whiskies also available for your Valentine…

Available from Dicey Reilly’s, Ballyshannon

And good independent Off Licences


Breede River Valley, South Africa

Breede River Valley, South Africa

The Breede River Valley is tracked along its northern bank by the Langeberg Mountains. The area’s two principal winegrowing districts Worcester and Robertson straddle the banks of the river, the all-important irrigation source.

The district of Worcester boasts the largest area of vineyards in the country. Most vines here were initially planted along the fertile river banks, with brandy production their chief purpose. However, the varietal mix, vineyard sites, wine styles, and, most importantly, producer attitudes are now changing. While Chenin Blanc and Colombard remain the major varieties, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet and Shiraz are not far behind. Hillside vineyards are now producing lower yields of better fruit.

Robertson, the region’s other main district, has a lot of limestone which is ideal for its Chardonnay produced still, and sparkling. Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz do very well here, with bright fresh fruit, and firm but friendly tannins.

Springfield estate is a vibrant, family run wine farm. It is owned by the Bruwer family, 9th generation of the French Brueres who came to South Africa from the Loire, France in 1688 with bundles of vines under their arms. The wines of Springfield estate are all about the rocky, unforgiving terroir in Robertson and stand head and shoulders above most producers for sheer quality.

Springfield Estate Whole Berry Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, 14% alc,

Normally €22.50 Sale Special €15.50

Rich aromas and flavours of red and black berry fruits; Blackcurrants, blackberry, red and black plums with deliciously sensitive oaking. There is certainly a purity of fruit to this velvety wine. If you like velvety smooth wines that have rich fruits , you will like this wine…If you like pure fruity wines with sensitive oaking you will love this wine…

Perfect solo or with grilled meats, steak, lamb chops or cheese..

Delicious De Cecco Pastas and sauces available in Dicey Reilly’s Off Licence…


This Week’s Snippet of Info…

Best wines for beginners to start with…

White: Pinot Grigio or Riesling as both are light and easy to drink with delicious apple fruit.

Red: Bardolino or Beaujolais Nouveau; lovely light red fruits that are light on alcohol as well as on the palate.


Available from Dicey Reilly’s, Ballyshannon

And good independent Off Licences

Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo, Italy

Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo

Heading due east from Rome lays the region of Abruzzo. This is a historically poor region whose people inhabit the hills and mountains so prevalent in the provence. The hillsides are excellent for viticulture. The most popular white grape is the Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, and Chardonnay also does very well in Abruzzo.

Bolognano is a small village in the provence of Pescara and has a tiny population of 1300 people. This tiny village is home to the classic vineyard of Zaccagnini. The vineyards are over 80 hectares and combine local grape varieties as well as international ones. The vineyards are about 200m above sea level and benefit from the cool winds blowing in. The vineyard boasts many awards and is well known throughout the world. Now over 80 years old Zaccagnini still manages to hold to its traditions and attaches a little bit of the vineyard to each bottle, literally!

Twiggy White: Cantina Zaccagnini il Bianco di Ciccio 2008, IGT, 11.5% alc,

Normally €15.50 Sale Special  €10.00

Light in alcohol, but smooth with crispy green apple and melon fruits, given an extra complexity by some toasted almonds.

If you like wines that have crisp apple fruit, you will like this wine…If you like peaches, almonds and melon you will love this wine…Delicious wine at an even more delicious price!

Perfect solo or with creamy pasta dishes, fish, chicken or shellfish.

Delicious De Cecco Pastas and sauces available in Dicey Reilly’s Off Licence…


This Week’s Snippet of Info…

The correct temperature to serve wine…

The correct temperature is extremely important to the taste of wine. Both red and white wines are often served too cold. Light aromatic whites should be chilled to around 10 degrees Celsius, Chardonnays which are less aromatic should be served around 12 degrees Celsius. Reds should be served around 14-16 degrees Celsius; slightly cooler than the ambient temperature in a well heated home.

Available from Dicey Reilly’s, Ballyshannon

And good independent Off Licences

Cotes du Luberon

Cotes du Luberon

The Cotes du Luberon gained AOC status in 1988 and now has just over 3,000 hectares under vine. Its profile is similar to that of Cotes du Ventoux, with the added allure of a magical Provencal setting. Its vineyards are planted on the slopes of the Luberon hills, surrounded by lavender, fruit orchards, and picture postcard villages. The climate is slightly cooler here, and the red wines are generally light, fruity, and easy-drinking, although there are those which display greater weight and frame.

Chateau la Canorgue is a 30 hectare property in the heart of the Luberon. Chateau la Canorgue has a main objective – to produce high quality wines using the most natural methods. In order to respect the environment the wines are cultivated organically and biodynamically, no chemical products are used. Its south facing slopes are warmer than many in the AOC and the Syrah dominated wines (balanced with grenache, mouvedre and carignan) are one of the best structured and most articulate wines of the Luberon, with bright, pure herb-cherry scents and flavour.

Where the neighbouring wine growers use a lot of fertilizers and chemicals in order to harvest 60-70 hectolitres per hectare, at Chateau la Canorgue they are satisfied with about 30-35 hectolitres per hectare. It is no secret that smaller harvests have a positive effect on the quality of the wine.

Chateau la Canorgue Beret Frog 2009, 12.5%alc, €14.99

A low yeilding 80% Syrah with grenache and Cabernet. Lovely dark ruby colour, enticing nose of dark berries with soft spices. Morello cherry and red berries mingle with freshly crushed summer fruits and spices in its round, soft yet fresh palate.

If you like wines that have berried fruits and are medium bodied, you will like this wine…If you like fruity wines with a soft spiciness you will love this wine…

Perfect solo or with grilled meats, steak, lamb chops or cheese..

Delicious De Cecco Pastas and sauces available in Dicey Reilly’s Off Licence…


This Week’s Snippet of Info…

What wine to choose when in a restaurant?

In order to try and suit everybody’s dinner it is best to opt for medium bodied styles, avoiding extremes. For whites unoaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio are the most versatile. For reds, Pinot Noir, inexpensive merlot or a fruity Cabernet or Shiraz Cabernet are an excellent choice. Italian reds and whites tend to compliment many dishes.


Available from Dicey Reilly’s, Ballyshannon

And good independent Off Licences




Spain’s flagship wine, Rioja, takes its name from the region La Rioja in Spain.

Located south of the Cantabrian Mountains, along the Ebro, La Rioja benefits from a continental climate. The mountains help to isolate the region which has a moderating effect on the climate. They also protect the vineyards from the fierce winds that are typical of northern Spain.

Only four grape varieties are permitted in red Rioja wines, and they come from three sub-regions: Rioja Alta in the north-west, Rioja Alavesa in the Pais Vasco and Rioja Baja in the south-east. Rioja Alta and Alavesa’s wines are grown at altitudes of up to 600m, and share clay soils rich in chalk and iron, where the best Tempranillo and Graciano grapes are found. Rioja Baja is lower, down to 300m, and hotter, with alluvial soils; Carinena and Garnacha are grown here. Rioja reds are ripe with strawberry-raspberry Tempranillo fruit, underpinned with a warm oaky note: the result of barrel ageing in the winery. There are four main types: jóven, crianza, reserva and gran reserva, each with increasing levels of barrel ageing.

Vina Bujanda represents a new venture from the Martinez Bujanda family. Using grapes from their 120 hectares in Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa that they had previously sold on to other producers, they have launched the vina Bujanda brand.

Vina Bujanda Rioja Crianza 2007, DOC Rioja, Spain, 13.5% alc.€13.99

Aromas of black fruits – blackberries and blueberries mingle with spicy tones gained from the oak; on the palate, the flavours replicate the aromas with the addition of vanilla and tobacco notes – a traditioinal Rioja at a great price..This Crianza has lovely rounded ripe cherry fruits with a light spiciness.

After fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine spends a further twelve months ageing in American oak barrels giving a little complexity and softening the wine – yielding a well balanced ripe fruited wine with a soft, sweetish oak finish.

Great as a glass on its own, with roast beef, steak, duck, roast lamb, lamb chops, hamburgers, cheeses, stews or truffles.


This Week’s Snippet of Info…

What way are Spanish wines labelled regarding age?

1) Joven is a young wine designed for early consumption with little or no oak maturation 2) Crianza is a wine that has spent at least 6 months in oak and at least 18 months in bottle before release 3)Reserva is a wine that has spent at least 1 year in oak and the balance of 3 years in bottle before release 4) Gran Reserva is a wine that has spent at least 18 months in oak and the balance of 5 years in bottle before release.

Available from Dicey Reilly’s, Ballyshannon

And good independent Off Licences.

Masi Soave Classico 2009 Levarie

Masi Soave Classico 2009 Levarie DOCC…

By Sinéad O’Reilly AIWS, Dicey Reilly’s, Ballyshannon.

Soave DOC Classico, Italy

The wines of the hills above Verona monopolize the scene in the Veneto. Soave and Valpolicella – the area’s with the highest concentration of big-name producers – together make up 40 per cent of the region’s DOC production.

The basic grape in Soave DOC is Garganega, which has delicate lemon and almond flavours.

With an annual production of over 60 million bottles, Soave is by far Italy’s biggest white wine DOC. The credibility of the denomination was severely dented by an emphasis on quantity over quality through the 1980’s. In the past five to ten years, however, the efforts of small grower-producers have brought Soave back into the realm of serious white wines.

This particular Soave is labelled “classico”, which means it comes from the top hill sites in the communes of Soave and Monteforte d’Alpone, and which should have more body and flavour..

Masi Soave Classico 2009, Italy, 12%

Normally €12.99 January Special  €8.99

Garganega, from Italy’s Veneto regions, forms the base of the best Soaves. It makes a richly fruited, soft, light to medium bodied white redolent of melon, apple skin and lemon aromas and flavours, with a slightly nutty finish.

If you like wines that have soft fruits and are lighter bodied, you will like this wine…If you like fruity wines with a refreshing mouthfeel, giving out nutty hints you will love this wine…

Perfect solo or with cream based pastas , seafood pasta or cold meats.

Delicious De Cecco Pastas and sauces available in Dicey Reilly’s Off Licence…


This Week’s Snippet of Info…

What does Classico mean on an Italian wine label?

On an Italian wine label the word Classico means the original zone of production within a DOC region, generally with better vineyards


Available from Dicey Reilly’s, Ballyshannon

And good independent Off Licences