Le Caveau Blog & Wine News

Jonathan Nossiter’s Natural Resistance documentary

 

Natural Resistance, Jonathan Nossiter

 

On Friday March 6th, The Cork French Film Festival will be screening the Irish Premiere of Jonathan Nossiter‘s Natural Resistance at Ballymaloe House Grainstore, Shanagarry, Co.Cork. Natural Resistance is a movie/documentary about 4 Italian Natural winemakers.

The screening will be followed by an Italian inspired rustic supper and 4 wines made by producers featured in the movie will be served to accompany Gillian Hegarty’s (Ballymaloe House Head Chef) dishes.

We are delighted to have been asked to supply the wines for this brilliant event. Furthermore, Doug Wregg of Les Caves de Pyrene, the largest importer and ambassador of Natural Wines in the UK will introduce both the movie and Naural wines in general.

Tickets for the evening can be purchased here

 

We hope you can join us!

 

Ballymaloe Cookery School, 12 week-certificate

Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wine presentation

Ballymaloe Cookery School, 25th February 2015

Ballymaloe Cookery School 2015

Any occasion to team up to with Colm McCan, Consultant Sommelier at Ballymaloe House and Wine presenter at Ballymaloe Cookery School is always very welcome, so it was a real pleasure to visit Shanagarry once again and introduce some ‘hand-made’ wines to the Cookery School 12 week certificate students. In front of a full class, the wines showed quite well and were well received.

The wines showed were:

Coste Piane Prosecco di Valdobbiadene ‘Naturale’

Valli Unite ‘Ciapé’ – Cortese – Colli Tortonesi DOC

Bodegas Menade, Rueda ‘Verdejo’

Cantina Tollo, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ‘Biologico’

Gran Cerdo Tempranillo, GONZALO GONZALO GRIJALBA

Arianna Occhipinti, SP68 Rosso IGT Terre Siciliane

Many thanks to Darina, Colm and the team at Ballymaloe Cookery School for the opportunity to introduce these wines to the class, and indeed many thanks to the students for your attention and feedback, very best of luck with the exam next month!

Picture courtesy of Ketty of French Foodie in Dublin blog

 

Portfolio Tasting 2015, Trade and Press

Le Caveau
Le Caveau
Annual Portfolio Tasting

 

Tuesday, 10th February 2015
10 am – 5 pm
THE EXCHEQUER ROOM
FALLON & BYRNE
EXCHEQUER STREET
DUBLIN 2
There has been a great response from our growers

and we look forward to welcoming the following:

 

Paola Oberto (Ciabot Berton, La Morra, Barolo)
Caroline Pobitzer (Az. Ag. Pian dell’Orino, Montalcino)
Alessandra (Az. Coop. Valli Unite)
Alejandra Sanz (Bodegas Menade, Rueda)

Dermot Sugrue (Wiston Estate, Surrey)
Yves Cuilleron (Cave Yves Cuilleron, Chavannay, Northern Rhône)
Stéphane le May (Chateau Turcaud, La Sauve-Majeure, Bordeaux)

Catherine Bertrand (Chateau Carteau Cote Daugay, St-Emilion)
Ludivine Ambroise (Maison Ambroise, Premeaux-Prissey, Nuits Saint Georges)
Frédéric Buisson (Domaine H&G Buisson, St. Romain)
Laure Meffre (Domaine le Clos du Caveau, Vacqueyras)
Thibaut Chaume (Domaine Chaume-Arnaud, Vinsobres)
Nicolas and Karine Mirouze (Beauregard-Mirouze, Bizanet, Narbonne)
Félix Meyer (Domaine Meyer-Fonné, Katzenthal, Alsace)
Many of the growers are in Dublin on Monday 9th as well as Tuesday 10th, so if you would like to arrange a meeting with any of them, do let us know and we will facilitate.
We hope you can make it on the day and if you need any further information,

please contact us at orders@lecaveau.ie

 

Sunday Business Post Wine Awards 2014 by Tomas Clancy

2015 is kicking off on a high note at Le Caveau as we have won 2 awards at this year’s Sunday Business Post wine awards:

‘Fine Wine Merchants Nationwide of the Year’ for the third time after 2008 and 2012

‘Burgundy Specialist of the Year’ (a tiltle very close to our hearts) for the second year running

Congratulations to all winners and runners-up and a massive thanks to Tomas Clancy, wine correspondent at the Sunday Business Post, to all our customers for their continued support, to the growers who make such wonderful wines and to our brilliant team!

Tomas-Clancy

Tomas Clancy, Sunday Business Post

 

December 2014 special opening times and deliveries

 

Christmas Case

 

 

December 2014 (shop) special opening times:

Monday 8th December                10.30 to 5.30pm

 

Monday 15th December               10.30 to 6.30 pm

 

Tuesday 16th December               10.30 to 6.30 pm

 

Wednesday 17th December        10.30 to 6.30 pm

 

Thursday 18th December             10.30 to 7.30 pm

 

Friday 19th December                   10.30 to 7.30 pm

 

Saturday 20th December              10.30 to 6.30 pm

 

Sunday 21st December                 12.00 to 6.00 pm

 

 

 

Monday 22nd December              10.30 to 8.00 pm

 

Tuesday 23rd December               10.30 to 8.00 pm

 

Wednesday 24th December        10.30 to 4.30 pm

 

Christmas Day                                 Closed

 

Friday 26th December                   Closed

 

Saturday 27th December              Closed

 

Sunday 28th December                 Closed

 

 

 

Monday 29th December               Closed

 

Tuesday 30th January                    10.30 to 6.00 pm

 

Wednesday 31st January             10.30 to 4.30 pm

 

 

 

Le Caveau (shop) will close for annual holidays on New Year’s Day and will re-open on Tuesday 13th January 2015

 

Deliveries (shop and website)

Last order for guaranteed delivery for Christmas is Sunday 21st December at 8.00pm – We will accept orders after this time but delivery may only be made from January 2nd 2015  – Normal delivery service will then resume on January 2nd 2015

 

Wholesale Customers Dublin:

Last orders for delivery before Christmas: 23rd December before 1.00 pm

Last orders for delivery before New Year’s Eve: December 29th before 11.00 am

 

Wholesale Customers Country:

Last orders for delivery before Christmas/New Year’s eve : 22nd December before 10.00 am

 

Normal service to wholesale customers (office and deliveries) will resume on January 5th 2015

 

We wish all our customers and visitors a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year 2015

 

Mid-year Trade and Press tasting

Last Tuesday we held our second Trade and Press tasting of 2014 in Fallon and Byrne, where we showcased the new Burgundies sourced during our last buying trip (read here). We also showed the myriad of new wines that have been added to our list since February, wines we sourced/discovered in Barcelona wine show, Vinisud Montpellier and the Real wine fair in London. In all, 50 wines were tasted.

A very good turn-out from leading restaurants, wine bars, specialist wine shops and wine writers combined with the wines showing particularly well on the day contributed to a very successful event.

The line-up of new Burgundies was well received – Burgundy is a place where big and famous names reign supreme, and prices are quite high, so it was always going to be a nail-biting moment to unveil such a large selection of wines coming from relatively new, up and coming producers.

The other regions and Countries did well too, Bodegas Menade was particularly well noted and so was Wiston Estate in Southern England and their stunning sparklings. Ville-Rouge in Crozes-Hermitage, Roches-Neuves in Saumur, Beauregard-Mirouze in Corbieres generated very positive feedback while the 2 ‘orange wines’ from La Stoppa and Denavolo divided the tasters the most.

Massive thanks to everyone who came, to Fallon and Byrne for their hospitality and sensational venue, and of course to Le Caveau sales team (pictured below)

Claire O'Boyle-Gallagher, Gary Byrne, Pascal Rossignol, Colm McCan

Claire O’Boyle-Gallagher – Gary Byrne – Pascal Rossignol – Colm McCan

2014tastingb         2014tasttingc

 

Celebrating 15 years in business!

Celebrating 15 years!

 

Since our opening late summer 1999, we have focused on importing and retailing authentic wines made by growers who feel passionate about their work, land and traditions, growers who highly respect the environment.

To celebrate our 15 years in business, we are delighted to offer 10% on wines that truly counted for us, either because they received rave reviews from the press, have been amongst our best sellers or simply because we feel they particularly represent well what Le Caveau is all about.

We have picked 15; we probably could have picked one hundred, so we can assure you these wines are really special.

(Prices are valid until October 31st, or while stocks last)

 

Alain Brumont, Gros Manseng – Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Pays de Gascogne IGP  €14.65 now €13.20

Our first wine buying trip in the South West of France, around Easter 2000, felt like Christmas and our birthday had come at once: imagine growers as famous and brilliant as Alain Brumont (Montus), Pascal Verhaeghe (Cedre), Luc de Conti (Tour des Gendres) and Charles Hours (Uroulat) had no importer in Ireland. Needless say, we became their importer on first meeting.

This is one of the wines that we brought back from this trip and it became our best seller between 2001 and 2010. Crisp, intensely flavoured and lengthy, this is a brilliant wine to drink on its own or with numerous dishes, including white flesh fish, roast chicken or salads.

 

Bodegas Menade, Rueda DO Verdejo 2013  €14.65 now €13.20

This is a very recent find, and it has gained almost instant popularity, selling very well in our shop (This one has been Charles’ favourite wine in the shop this summer) as well as in restaurants. It featured in John Wilson’s Top 20 Wines for Summer 2014 (Irish Times).

Organic farming, low intervention in the winery and small yields contribute to the concentration of natural flavours and intensity in this wine.

 

 Domaine Ménard, Cuvée Marine 2013, Pays de Gascogne IGP  €11.95 now €10.75

The other white gem from the South West, this is the wine that took first spot on our best-seller chart from Brumont Gros Manseng-Sauvignon back in 2011 – and has kept it ever since.

Fresh, zippy with gorgeous grapefruit flavours, what we initially thought would be the perfect summer wine turned out to be an all-year favourite.

 

 Château du Cèdre 2011, Cahors AC  €22.80 now €20.50

Another find from our first South Western buying trip in 2000. Pascal Verhaeghe’s Chateau du Cèdre is rightly regarded as the best producer in Cahors and probably one of the most respected in the whole of France. Tenacious work and experimentation in the vineyards, low intervention in the winery (why mask perfect fruit and great terroir?) and perfectly located vineyard result in an intensely flavoured wine, beautifully structured and with superb balance -Malbec in its most elegant form.

 

Vincent Girardin, Santenay 1er Cru ‘les Gravières’ vieilles vignes 2008  €31.95 now €28.75

When we opened Le Caveau, Vincent had already reached stardom; his fruit-driven and articulate wines had won him numerous awards and prizes. Getting an allocation from him would have been tricky; luckily my brother Hubert Rossignol was Chef de Viticulture there. He helped establishing a contact and eventually our collaboration with Vincent.

Santenay ‘Gravières’ has been one of our best-selling red Burgundies – its smooth, rich fruit, terroir expression and amazing value have always connected well with our customers.

 

 

We have asked our wonderful Sales Team – Claire O’Boyle-Gallagher, Gary Byrne and Colm McCan – to pick their favourite.

This week we start with Claire, who joined us back in March 2005, and have been the pillar of our success in Dublin, Claire’s genuine passion for real wine and work ethics have ensured so many of our wines are available in leading wine shops and restaurants in the Capital today.

 

‘I began working with Le Caveau almost ten years ago, after having being a fan of both the wines and Pascal’s passion for quality, his quest to find wines that are off the beaten track and in some cases, wines that others might write off as being ‘hand-sells’.

One wine that encapsulates this very well is the Antonio Camillo ‘Principio’ Ciliegiolo Maremma Rosso DOC. It is the personal project of Antonio Camillo, who is better known as the winemaker for  Poggio Argentiera. It 100% Ciliegiolo, a native and ancient Tuscan varietal that is believed to be either the direct ancestor/offspring of Sangiovese.

The vines are grown in two small vineyards (totalling a mere 5 ha) in the southern Maremma, are about forty years are old and farmed organically. The wine is lightish in color and body (a world away from the blockbuster mold) and bursting with ripe red fruits, floral hints, freshness, minerality and a palate-cleansing astringency that makes for a wonderful foil for rustic, hearty foods.’ Claire O’Boyle-Gallagher

Antonio Camillo ‘Principio’ 2013 Ciliegiolo Maremma Rosso DOC €15.80 now €14.20

 download the pdf version here

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André Bonhomme, Viré-Clessé ‘Cuvée Spéciale’ 2010  €21.25 now €19.10

We witnessed three generations at work in this long established and highly reputed estate. Freshly graduated from a school of viticulture, Aurélien has recently taken over the reins, and his first job has been to obtain organic certification for the 11-ha vineyard. Mind you, André Bonhomme was applying these methods since the late fifties, but never looked for certification. Viré-Clessé is one of these Southern Burgundy micro-climate where the wines combined the roundness, generosity and exotic flavours of Macon wines with the purity and minerality of the Cotes de Beaune (think Meursault, Chassagne etc..). In fact, it was dubbed “Le Meursault de Macôn” by the sommelier of Paris’s famed Le Taillevent restaurant.

 

Ghislaine Barthod, Bourgogne Rouge 2010  €32.35 now €29.00

This wine is not a best-seller, nor can it be found in too many restaurants and it certainly is on the higher end of the Burgundy price spectrum. But a simple sniff and a single sip will transport you to Burgundy – pure, authentic, delicately crafted and truly representing its region, this is one of these rare Bourgogne that could be easily mistaken for a village wine.

 

 

Meyer-Fonné, Pinot Blanc 2012 €17.45 now 15.70

Out of all the growers we work with, Félix Meyer is probably the one who received the most mentions in the Irish press. Considering he only owns 11 hectares in Alsace, this is some achievement. His wines are crystal pure and are always layered with generous ripe fruit. This Pinot Blanc is no exception it is very popular in our shop, and can be found on the list of numerous top restaurants and specialist wine shops around the country.

 

Pierre et Catherine Breton, Bourgueil ‘Trinch!’ 2011 €20.40 now €18.35

We got bitten by the natural wine bug in 2006, after meeting London-based wine merchant Eric Narioo (Les Caves de Pyrene) in Montpellier and tasting the wines he had uncovered later that year in London.

Natural wines are these pure, precise wines that are full of life, sometimes funky but always admirable. They are obtained from organic / biodynamic farming, gentle manipulation in the winery and no additions, except minimal and sometimes even zero additions of sulphur.

Pierre et Catherine Breton are amongst the most respected ‘Natural’ winegrowers in the Loire, each year they welcome at their estate dozens of young winegrowers interested in learning their methods.

Bourgueil ‘Trinch!’ is the purest and liveliest expression of Cabernet Franc you will ever come across. The primary fruit jumps out of the glass while its light structure, freshness and liveliness cleanse the palate, making it ready for the next sip.

 

 Our second Sales Team’s pick comes from Colm McCan.

Colm is the well-known and highly respected Consultant Sommelier at Ballymaloe House, Lecturer at Ballymaloe Cookery School and Organiser/Coordinator extraordinaire of all the wines events at Ballymaloe KerryGold LitFest.

We were thrilled to see Colm’s hard work and passion recognized this month, when he was awarded ‘2014 Best Sommelier in Ireland’ by the Food and Wine Magazine readers and judging  panel.

 

‘Having just joined the Le Caveau team this summer, there are so many wines I felt could be included here through our experiences of Pascal’s wines at events, tastings and listing at Ballymaloe House & Cookery School over the past 15 years. I have chosen ‘Clos Uroulat Jurancon’ by Charles & Marie Hours. At the cookery school wine lectures presented by Pascal & I, this top Jurancon has always wowed everyone, even those who may at first say “I don’t really like sweet wine” but once tasted, they love it! Clos Uroulat has been offered by the the glass at Ballymaloe ever since we met Charles Hours, and his daughter Marie at one of Pascal’s tastings. We were so immediately taken with this wine – a sweet wine, but not too sweet, with enticing exotic aromas & flavours, abundant minerality and refreshing acidity. Simply delicious!

I could also have chosen the wines by Pierre & Catherine Breton – their Vouvray ‘La Dilettante’ and Bourgueil ‘Trinch’ having become firm favourites on the wine list at Ballymaloe. We so admire the Bretons for quietly ploughing a consistent furrow of miniminal intervention for many decades now. Their names always features in any talk about real/natural/artisan wines – notwithstanding the connection that Pierre used to supply the wine for the Ballymaloe restaurant in Paris ‘La Ferme Irlandaise’ in the 1980’s.’ Colm McCan

Clos Uroulat Jurancon 2011, Charles et Marie Hours €26.90 now €24.20

 

download the pdf version here

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Champagne Gobillard 1er Cru NV  €39.55 now €35.50

We’ve always believed that good grower’s Champagnes have an edge over the larger brands, there is a sense of small is beautiful with these family-owned Champagne houses and value is certainly much better.

We started working with Gobillard in late 2001, after Thierry, one of the owners, met with one of my brother (Bernard) during a hunting trip in North Canada.  Gobillard was on the verge of signing an exclusive agreement to supply Aer Lingus, but the dramatic events of September that year, followed by the slowdown in air traffic contributed to the deal being cancelled.

Thierry approached us, we tasted his Champagne, loved it and several press mentions and listings in top-end Restaurants later, we had adopted Gobillard as our own house Champagne.

 

 

Jean Foillard, Morgon ‘Côte du Py’ 2011  €34.75 now €31.20

It was a tip from Edward Arnold, Cellar Master at Trinity College that lead us to Jean Foillard.

Foillard works naturally, he farms organically and adds nothing to his wines, however you won’t notice you are drinking a natural wine until the third or fourth glass. Cote du Py is a vineyard planted on a hill consisting of crumbly volcanic soils. The expression of the Gamay grapes there lean towards Pinot Noir character and some blind tasting (particularly with the 2008 vintage) has led many experienced tasters (me included) to point towards Chambolle or Volnay rather than Morgon.

 

Cantina Frentana, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2013  €12.25 now €10.95

What we are seeking in a wine is how authentic it is, how true to its origin, what kind of emotion it transmits and does it represent value in its particular price point.

Frentana ticks all these boxes, it unapologetically tastes like a real Montepulciano with lovely red fruit and cherry, pinned with a rustic, earthy edge, it is the exact opposite of a branded wine, made to suit international palates and we love it even more for that.

 

Now it is Gary Byrne’s turn to recommend a favourite wine of his. Before joining us, Gary worked as Sommelier in some of Ireland’s best known restaurants including the Commons, l’Ecrivain and Roscoff, he also worked in two Irish wine companies. Gary’s experience, dynamism and great knowledge of wine help us ensure our wines our listed by the leading Restaurants in the Capital.

 

“A personal favourite, and a wine I would be happy to take home anytime is the Vinsobres from Domaine Chaume-Arnaud. Produced from fruit grown on the Chaume family’s 33 hectares of biodynamic vineyards in the small and up-and-coming Vinsobres appellation, this is a typical Southern Rhone blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.  The wine is full-bodied and beautifully ripe, with dark, spicy fruit flavours and a fragrant, typically herby Mediterranean character.  Overall, a very savoury and enjoyable wine with superb freshness and elegance.”

Chaume Arnaud Vinsobres 2011 €20.35 now €18.30

 

 

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We would have included so many more in this list. Staring with Jean-Claude Regnaudot Bourgogne Pinot Noir – the wine for which we received our first mention in the press –Tom Doorley, in the Sunday Tribune at the time wrote : ‘The best Bourgogne rouge I have ever tasted is the juicy, cherry-infused Bourgogne from Jean-Claude Regnaudot that Le Caveau, a new shop in Kilkenny sells for an unbelievable £8.95’

Unfortunately due to very small successive harvests in Burgundy and continued popularity of this wine, vintage 2012 has now sold out (2013 will be available early next year)

Other wines that have been very successful in their time, but that we no longer stock include Perez Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile), Stormy Cape red (South Africa), Champagne Billecart-Salmon and the Madfish range from Australia.

 

 

It has been a great journey from which we have learned something new at each corner,

we met extraordinary growers who take pride in what they do and we had real fun and pleasure tasting and discovering their wines,

 

We have built one of the strongest wholesale team in Ireland, made of people who share the same passion for genuine, real wines, always prepared to go the extra mile to satisfy any request,

 

We got great support from the Irish wine press, our wines seem to have stroke the right chords and have received very positive reviews throughout the years,

 

But all of this would not have been possible without you, our customers. We received your heart-warming support from our first steps, at the opening of our shop in Kilkenny’s Market Yard in September 1999, where we showcased our first imports, an all-French selection made of 50 or so wines; it continued with the launch of our website, then with the development of our wholesale arm, where our wines got their entries on the lists of some of the very best restaurants and specialist wine shops around Ireland.

And this journey is continuing, our list is constantly evolving and growing, this year alone we have brought in over 25 new wines, and many new trips are planned,

 

So all going well, here’s to another 15 years!

download the pdf version here

 

Burgundy trip, July 2014

Our recent ‘Best Burgundy Specialist’ award in the Sunday Business Post prompted us to re-think our list from this region. Recent small harvests due to frost, hail storms and general capricious weather combined to a growing demand for the wines of Burgundy Worldwide has added real challenge and pressure on pricing and availability. (See John Wilson’s article in the Irish Times on Saturday 2nd August 2014)
Yes, we were happy with our offering, mixing renowed names like Vincent Girardin, Olivier Leflaive, Ghislaine Barthod and Bruno Clair with brilliant, less-known (at least internationally) and great value estates such as Jean-Claude Regnaudot in Dezize-les-Maranges. But I hadn’t visited in depth what is after all my home-region for a while and my brother Hubert, who has recently joined La Pousse d’Or in Volnay as Chef de Culture, constantly reminded me of ‘the myriads of young winegrowers who have taken the reins of their family Domaine in recent past’. These growers are producing seriously good wines and they are still on the affordable side (for Burgundy..). With this in mind, I embarked on a 8-day trip, the first part of which involved visiting estates, the second, catching up with my family.

 

 

Hubert Rossignol

My brother and guide on this trip, Hubert Rossignol. Currently Chef de Culture in La Pousse d’Or in Volnay, Hubert has been working in vineyards since 1982. His CV is quite impressive to say the least: Joseph Roty, Gevrey-Chambertin; Robert Groffier, Morey-Saint-Denis; Barthod-Noellat (now Ghislaine Barthod), Chambolle-Musigny; Vincent Girardin, Santenay then Meursault and La Pousse d’Or.

 

 

Domaine Parigot, Meloisey
Parigot, Meloisey

The first port of call was Domaine Parigot in Meloisey, just above Pommard. Alexandre Parigot trained with Hubert at Domaine Vincent Girardin, while he was studying in Beaune so there was no ice to break when we arrived. The tasting was excellent, the Parigots grow vines on 6 different communes (villages) – Meloisey, Beaune, Chassagne, Pommard, Savigny, Meursault. Adept of lutte raisonnée, Alexandre spends most of his time in the vineyards where he learns to understand the need and potential of each of his plots of vines.
The style is for limpid, precise and generously fruited Burgundies; out of the 2 dozen wines tasted, we selected the following ones:

W 2012 Meursault ‘le Limozin’

R 2012 Hautes-Cotes de Beaune ‘ Clos de la Perriere’
R 2011 Beaune 1er Cru ‘les Grèves’
R 2011 Pommard ‘les Vignots’

(wines will be available shortly)

Domaine Bachey-Legros, Santenay
Bachey-Legros

Samuel Bachey-Legros

We then moved on to a favorite of Hubert, an estate often referred to ‘as producing the best reds in Santenay’, Domaine Bachey-Legros where brothers Samuel and Lenaic have  joined their mother Christiane. The 19-ha vineyards are superbly located around Santenay – Clos des Hâtes, les Charmes, Clos Rousseau, la Comme etc.. – furthermore 80% of the vines are either old or very old. They also own vines in Maranges and Chassagne-Montrachet. Manual harvest, keen observation and attention to the vineyard needs, rigorous selection (tri) at harvest time and subtle use of new oak, the 2 brothers are absolutely meticulous in bringing in the best grapes possible in their different cuvées. Quite frankly, we could have selected any wines tasted there, but reason must prevail and our short selection is as follow (but this list will definitely be growing soon):

R 2012 Santenay ‘Clos des Hâtes’ V.V
R 2012 Santenay 1er Cru ‘Clos Rousseau’ V.V
R 2012 Santenay 1er Cru ‘Clos Rousseau’ les Fourneaux V.V

(wines will be available shortly)

Domaine Larue, Saint-Aubin
Didier Larue

Saint-Aubin

The third estate we visited was Domaine Larue in Saint-Aubin. In a time where the wines of neighbours Puligny and Chassagne are reaching eye-watering price levels, the village of Saint-Aubin with its rocky, limestone laden soils and great exposure seems like the obvious choice for sourcing mineral, racy white Burgundies. Brothers Didier and Denis Larue (recently joined by Denis’s son Bruno) run this 15-ha family Domaine, with vineyards located in the best premier crus Saint-Aubin but also in Puligny and Chassagne. The wines are unapologetically mineral, dry, tensed and precise, like true great white Burgundies. They seem to have serious ageing potential but deliver immense pleasure at an early age too. Not much availability in this estate (like in most visited) but Didier, who was just back from a holiday in Ireland, which he truly enjoyed, was delighted to find an importer there, he gave us a small allocation of the following: (again, expect more wines from this estate in the years to come)

W 2012 Saint-Aubin 1er Cru ‘Murgers des dents de chien’
W 2011 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘la Garenne’

(wines will be available shortly)

 

Maison Ambroise, Prémeaux-Prissey
Ludivine Ambroise

Following a tip from Arnaud Legat, Sommelier at One Pico Restaurant in Dublin, I went to visit this long established, small négociant house, who operates on 21 hectares of their own vineyards and purchase grapes from another 3. They own vines in Premeaux, Nuits-St-Georges, Ladoix, Meursault, the hill of Corton, Vosne-Romanée (and some Echezeaux!), Gevrey-Chambertin, Vougeot, Beaune and as far as Saint-Romain!  As always with similarly parcelled estates in Burgundy, logistic is key. Bertrand Ambroise was recently joined by his son Francois and daughter Ludivine, they have just received their organic certification (2013). Ludivine explained the move to organic viticulture is one of true belief as she lost her grand-father due to illness caused by chemicals used in the fields. Harvested manually, neither filtered nor fined, the wines are classic and expressive with distinct terroir-influenced personalities.

W 2012 Bourgogne Aligoté
W 2012 Ladoix 1er Cru ‘ les Gréchons’

R 2010 Cotes de Nuits Villages
R 2010 Nuits-St-Georges ‘Haut Pruliers’

(wines will be available shortly)

 

Philippe Milan, Chassey-le-Camp

Philippe Milan

Karl-Philippe Milan

Trying to locate the tiny hamlet of Valotte near Chassey-le-Camp (roughly equal distance between Santenay and Rully) was some kind of a challenge. Karl-Philippe is in his mid-twenties and is taking progressively over the 11.5-ha family estate. The Milans have acquired a very good reputation over the years and sell about 80% of their wines locally, newly-arrived Karl would love to develop the export a bit more. Vineyards are in the villages of Santenay, Maranges, Mercurey, Rully with small holdings in Pommard, Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet. The style is for articulate, fruit-driven wines with excellent freshness and dare I say drinkability. We selected three wines:

W 2012 Rully

R 2012 Rully
R 2012 Mercurey

(wines will be available shortly)

 

Henri et Gilles Buisson, Saint-Romain
Last but not least was to visit the marvelous estate of the Buisson brothers in Saint-Romain. I discovered their wines at Vinisud, Montpellier back in February (at the Mediterrannean wine show, of all places…) and we brought in a first shipment very shortly after, such was the immediate love I felt for these wines.
Frédérick (oenologist) and his brother Franck (commercial) are the eighth generation of Buisson vignerons at this estate. Their grandfather Henri began bottling his own production as early as 1947 when Saint Romain achieved its own AOC status. In the 1970s, his son and the boy’s father, Gilles began farming using an organic approach, and in 2009 the estate became Ecocert certified. The philosophy is one of hard work in the vineyard, indigenous yeast fermentations only and a low intervention approach in order to maximise the terroir-expression and to produce balanced wines that have the capacity to age well. The brothers also produce a white and a red Saint-Romain with zero sulphur added, both wines are pure, clean and expressive and represent beautifully the terroirs of Saint-Romain.

Our selection (wines are currently available)

W 2012 Saint-Romain ’Sous la Velle’
W 2011 Meursault ‘les Chevalieres’

R 2011 Bourgogne
R 2010 Saint-Romain ‘Sous Roche’
R 2011 Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru ‘Les Ecusseaux’
Pascal and Hubert Rossignol
Time to say good-bye to Hubert and Burgundy!

 

Colm McCan joins Le Caveau

Colm McCan in Ballymaloe House cellar

We are delighted to welcome Colm McCan in our team. Colm will be looking after our trade customers in Cork, the South and South-West.

Consultant Sommelier, Ballymaloe House and wine lecturer Ballymaloe Cookery School Colm  grew up in Co. Tipperary in the family guesthouse business, a listed historic property with a 250 year old wine cellar so no surprise that Colm has been interested in all things wine related since. Following completion of studies including Diploma in Business Management (Hotel and Catering Management – Block Release) GMIT, and wine studies through the WSET, Colm has worked in high profile hotels and restaurants both in Ireland and overseas for the past 25 years, joining Ballymaloe in 1995 as head sommelier, a position that won him much praise from patrons and peers alike. Wine accolades received under Colms tenure at Ballymaloe include:

• 2012 and 2013 nationwide award for ‘Best Restaurant Wine List and Wine Service’ in the annual wine awards by well known wine writer, Tomás Clancy, published in the Sunday Business Post • Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for one of the best restaurant wine lists in the world • Lonely Planet Magazine Number 1 Wine Weekend in the World • Georgina Campbell Wine Award of the Year • Food and Wine Magazine Top 10 Sommeliers in Ireland • Automobile Association ‘Notable Wine List’ award in Ireland 2013 • Daily Telegraph Top 10 wine events in UK & Ireland (only Irish entry)

Colm is also Wine lecturer at the Ballymaloe Cookery School running a wine education programme for the students during the 12 week cookery course, which runs three times yearly. Welcoming national and international wine experts on a regular basis both in person to the classes at Ballymaloe, as well as linking up live with winemakers in the vineyards via the latest technology, and participating in live streaming international tastings, all culminating in a wine exam for the students at the end of their course.

Colm is the organiser of the wine and drinks events of the internationally acclaimed Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine May 2013 and May 2014, bringing together the top names of the Irish and International wine and drinks world for a series of almost 40 wine & drinks talks, tastings, seminars and wine lunches & dinners to Ballymaloe House and Cookery School over the literary festival weekend.

He also organises the ongoing series of wine events at the Grainstore at Ballymaloe, and founding member of the ‘Bringing the Wine Geese Home’ series of year long wine events in Cork city and county held in association with The Gathering 2013 and Cork City Council. Founder member of the newly formed Cork based Munster branch of the International Wine and Food Society. Initiated set-up and managed the Ballymaloe 6 month ‘pop-up wine shop’ at Brown Thomas Cork.

Colm shares our passion and love of authentic, artisan and natural wines and we are absolutely delighted to welcome Colm in our team and are looking forward to working with him!

Edit: Big congrats to Colm who has just been awarded ‘Best Sommelier in Ireland’ at the Food and Wine Magazine 2014 Awards – (17th August 2014)