Category Archives: News

COVID-19 new opening hours and arrangement.

Dear Customers and Friends,

We hope you are keeping well and safe during these challenging times,

We at Le Caveau continue to operate while taking all the necessary precautions, in line with the HSE and the Irish Government safety recommendations.

1/ Our shop in Kilkenny is temporarily closed, but we do operate click/phone and collect facility for our customers based in Kilkenny. You can order online and choose ‘local collection’ when checking out or you can phone your order in with Geraldine 087 981 9930. You can collect your pre-paid orders on Wednesdays and Fridays between 10am to 12 midday. We can organise free local delivery of orders of 6 bottles or more within 10 kms of Kilkenny City.

On July 15th, we will open our shop again, whilst taking all necessary precautions. The size of our shop will only allow us to let 2 customers in at a time, so we would encourage you to continue the ‘click and collect’ function on this website, or phone / email your order in advance when possible, so that we can get your wines ready for you to collect. Browsing and buying from the shop will also be possible.

Our shop opening hours from July 15th will be: Wednesday – Saturday 11.00 to 3.30 pm

2/ We operate Nationwide deliveries (26 Counties) for any orders via this website. We would ask that orders be of minimum 3 bottles (can be mixed) if at all possible. All our deliveries are contactless and safe.

3/ A large selection of our wines are available from numerous NeighbourFood.ie online farmers markets. NeighbourFood is a fantastic way to support local farmers and small food producers while gaining access to tasty and healthy food produced on a small-scale, with attention and care. Currently we are supplying the following markets:

Callan (Co. Kilkenny)Carrigeen (Co.Kilkenny)Owning (Co.Kilkenny)Carlow TownClonmel (Co.Tipperary) – Tipperary TownEnniscorthy (Co.Wexford) – Dingle (Co. Kerry)East Cork (Co.Cork)Watergrasshill (Co.Cork)Cork City  – Lisavaird (Co. Cork)Ballydehob (Co. Cork)Kinsale (Co.Cork)Cuskinny (Cobh, Co. Cork)

4/ Our wholesale operation remains unchanged, we continue supplying the very best and cutting edge specialist wine shops, local grocers shop with wine licence as well as restaurants, cafés and wine bars.

We wish to thank you, all our customers, wholesale and private for your continued support.

Take very good care of yourselves, and see you all very soon!

Pascal and Le Caveau Team

 

A lovely message from Nicolas and Karine, Beauregard-Mirouze (Corbières)

We received a beautiful video-message from Nicolas and Karine Mirouze of Beauregard-Mirouze in Corbières, Southern France this morning, we are delighted to see they are keeping well. Their vineyard are farmed organically, respecting and following Nature’s rhythm.

Fancy a little tour of their vineyard?

click on the link here:

Once on their site, the password is: Le Caveau-Avril 2020

Enjoy!

 

If you enjoyed the tour and would like to sample these wonderful wines, here are the links to Nicolas and Karine’s wines available to purchase from our own website (delivery available anywhere in the Republic of Ireland):

Corbières Rouge ‘Campana’

Corbières Blanc ‘Campana’

Ciel du Sud Rouge

Fantastic natural wines and where to find them – John Wilson, Irish Times

John Wilson, Irish Times – Sat, Apr 28, 2018

Fantastic natural wines and where to find them

‘We did not invent anything, we simply returned to what our grandfathers did’

Two high priests of the natural wine movement visited Ireland recently. Both paid homage to “the Pope”, the late Marcel Lapierre, a producer in Morgon who started it all back in early 1990s. Jean Foillard owns vineyards in Morgon in Beaujolais and Thierry Puzelat in the Loire valley. Inspired by Lapierre, they began to take wine back to its roots.

“We did not invent anything, we simply returned to what our grandfathers did,” says Puzelat. “I went to school where I learned to make wine in the normal way, using all the standard treatments. Then one day I tasted a glass of wine and thought s**t! That’s what I want to drink; and to make.”

 There is no legal definition for natural wine. Many argue that all wine is natural, yet that ignores the level of manipulation – additives and treatments – that are standard in a great many “normal” wines, inexpensive wines in particular. These days, many prefer to use the terms low-intervention or light-touch instead of natural.

The basic tenets are organic or preferably biodynamic viticulture, indigenous yeasts, no enzymes, filtering or fining, and, most controversial of all, little or no sulphur. A winemaker walks a tightrope when they under-sulphur or don’t add any at all. Sulphur (a natural byproduct of fermentation) has been used since Roman times to prevent bacterial spoiling and oxidising.

 Natural wines are a mixed bag. Some are clearly faulty or at least have aromas that have little to do with wine (or “terroir” as some claim). Others taste more like cider. Puzelat agrees: “For the first five years, we made a lot of vinegar,” he says, adding that it takes a decade or more to convert your vineyards to sustainable viticulture. But the good wines have a wonderful freshness and purity, a liveliness not always found in everyday wines. They are a joy to drink.

 While it is easier to farm organically in warmer, drier climates, wines from cooler regions have higher acidity, which acts as a natural antiseptic. It may be no coincidence that the highest concentration of natural wines are found in the Loire and Beaujolais, both regions that produce wines high in acidity and low in alcohol.

 I believe that generally, the best, most interesting wines come from small producers who care for their vineyards and often work organically or biodynamically. They also use as few treatments as possible in the cellar. Pascal Rossignol of specialist importer Le Caveau probably got it right when he argued it is not just about levels of sulphur. “Honest wine is about trust; wine that is made by good growers, working with good importers and sold to wine drinkers who care.” According to Puzelat, “Natural wine is not the aim. It is not enough. We have to make good wine naturally.”

Few could disagree with that.

Bottle of the Week:

Soave Colli Scaligieri Castelcerino Filippi
A delicious light Soave with a waxy touch, some peach and yellow apple fruits mixing in with marzipan and a lively streak of mineral acidity. Made from biodynamically grown grapes with minimal sulphur, it has a pleasant leesy touch too. Drink by itself or with lighter seafood dishes. 

Thierry Puzelat Vin Blanc du Clos Tue-Boeuf, Vin de France
Sauvignon with a difference. Organic, low-sulphur wine, lightly aromatic with clean apple and quince fruits, a refreshing texture, finishing dry. By itself or with creamy goat’s cheese salad. 

Morgon ‘Le Classique’ Foillard
Superb fresh crunchy red fruits, all cherries and blueberries, with a cleansing backbone of acidity. Drink now or keep for five years. Perfect with all manner of charcuterie or a grilled pork chop.

Why orange is the new white… – Corinna Hardgrave, Irish Independent

Corinna Hardgrave, Irish Independent 18.04.2020

Italian vineyards are going back to their roots to create these palate-pleasing artisan wines…

Wine of the week:

Ribolla Gialla Dario Princic 2016

Dario Princic’s 10-hectare farm is located in the Collio hills, just 1km west of the Slovenian border, and six hectares are planted as vineyards. He believes that the soils, in particular the schist sandstone marl (known as ponca), is particularly suited to the Ribolla Gialla grape, being rich in minerals, but not particularly fertile, which limits the yield of the grape, and ensures that the berries stay small and thick-skinned. Fermented with 30 days’ skin contact and aged in acacia and chestnut barrels, this is slightly spicy, with dried apricot and ripe pear melding with a creamy, almond character.

Calcarius Puglia Orange 2018

In a larger one-litre bottle, this skin-contact wine, made from 100pc Fallanghina, is what is often referred to as ‘glou glou’, a deliciously drinkable wine. Fresh and summery with flavours of confited orange and a touch of spice.

France Defines Natural Wine, but Is That Enough? – Eric Asimov, New York Times

THE POUR

France Defines Natural Wine, but Is That Enough?

The wine industry and many consumers have long sought a definition, but the adoption of a voluntary charter may not clarify anything.

Organic cabernet sauvignon grown near the town of Cowaramup in the Margaret River region of Australia.
Credit…Frances Andrijich for The New York Times

 

  • Natural wine is healthy and pure; natural wine is wretched and horrible. It’s the future of wine; it’s the death of wine.

For 15 years, natural wine has been a contentious time bomb that has divided many in the wine community, creating conflicts fought with the sort of anger that stems only from extreme defensiveness.

Since 2003, when I first encountered what has come to be called natural wine at the seminal restaurant 360 in Red Hook, Brooklyn, I have been a fan, though a cleareyed one, I hope.

I believe in the promise and beauty of natural wines, while acknowledging that many examples are not good, as is true with all genres of wine. The truth is that natural wines have made all of wine better.

Natural wines could not have offered a more luminous contrast to the industrial practices of the wine industry, a business that marketed itself as pastoral. Many mainstream wines are made from chemically farmed grapes, then produced like processed foods, with the help of technological manipulations and artificial ingredients, to achieve a preconceived aroma-and-flavor profile.

Natural wines, made from organic grapes or the equivalent, and fermented and aged without additions, are unpredictable but alive, energetic, vibrant and surprising. It’s like comparing fresh cherries picked off a tree to red Life Savers.

The winemaking spectrum offers many shades and degrees. Not all conventional wines are processed wines. Not all wines called natural adhere to a strict “nothing added, nothing taken away” protocol.

But the appearance around 20 years ago of natural wines as a group challenged an industry dominated by a postwar promise of better living through chemistry and technology.

Back then, the prevailing wine culture was marked by increasing homogeneity. Wine was elevated to a luxury good, and grapes were placed in a caste system and ranked by their “nobility.”

Natural wine, on the other hand, promoted a diversity of styles. It resurrected and celebrated indigenous grapes and local traditions that had been forgotten or dismissed by wine authorities. It sought to knock wine off its pedestal with irreverence, presenting it as a delicious, fun drink that nonetheless packed emotional and cultural power.

Most of all, it reconnected wine to classic farming as it had been practiced for centuries before the rise of industry and technology. Wine as a product of the earth resonated with young people concerned with the environment, with health and with wellness in its full, and now fashionable, sense.

I’ve seen the audience for natural wines evolve from the nerdy inhabitants of a small, secret parallel universe to a curious, eager, ever-growing crowd. In the last few years, natural wine has been anointed the next big thing, the new “it” wine and all the other tiresome labels issued by professional trend spotters.

In this time, natural wines have stepped out of the underground into the sunshine. Natural wine bars are common in almost every big city, while even some high-end restaurants have devoted entire lists to natural wines.

This new popularity has forced the sort of reckoning that natural wine producers have for so long successfully avoided — namely, what exactly is natural wine and who is permitted to use the term?

In the past, it was the wine mainstream demanding a definition for natural wine, an entreaty that most producers blithely ignored. Definitions smacked of authority, orthodoxy and bureaucracy, exactly the binding forces that many natural wine producers have long viewed as inhibiting their freedom.

I always saw this refusal to be pinned down as a strength. Allowing natural wine to be strictly defined would set it up to be co-opted, the way many organic food companies are now largely profit-making subdivisions of Big Ag.

But the notion of natural wine producers as independent bohemian artisans is tough to maintain when the genre’s popular breakthrough radiates dollar signs, not only to corporate bean counters but also to small-business poseurs.

In a recent pandemic-era Zoom discussion of natural wine, Alice Feiring, a longtime proponent of natural wine and the author of the 2019 guide “Natural Wine for the People,” said she had changed her thinking on an official definition of natural wine.

“I haven’t seen the need for legislation, but that was before it became worthy of imitation,” she said.

In an Opinion article she wrote for The New York Times in December, Ms. Feiring warned that big wine companies were creating ersatz cuvées disguised as natural wines in order to capitalize on their growing popularity. But a threat comes from the small business side as well.

Jacques Carroget, of Domaine de la Paonnerie in the Loire Valley, led a group of natural wine producers that after a decade of work won approval last year for an official, though voluntary, certification of natural wine in France. Wines that join the approved trade syndicate and follow its rules governing viticulture and winemaking will be able to label their wines Vin Méthode Nature.

Mr. Carroget, who joined in the Zoom discussion, said the group was motivated by the discovery that some small producers who were purporting to make natural wines had in fact used grapes sprayed with chemical pesticides.

“We analyzed 34 natural wines and found two had residues, including a wine which came from a famous natural winemaker,” he said in an email from the Loire. “We do not want synthetic chemistry in natural wines.”

As long as natural wines were the province of a small number of producers, he said, he saw no reason for an official definition. “Alas, the business, the greed — when we see natural wine emerge from its niche, we find unacceptable abuses,” he said.

The Vin Méthode Nature charter requires its members to use only grapes that have been certified organic and harvested by hand. They must be spontaneously fermented with yeast found naturally in vineyards and wine cellars, and made without what the charter calls “brutal” technologies like reverse osmosis, thermovinification or cross-flow filtration.

Only small amounts of sulfur dioxide, an antioxidant and preservative, may be used, and two different labels will distinguish between wines made with or without even this low level of sulfites.

The use of sulfur dioxide has been a difficult issue in the natural wine world. Some producers and consumers adamantly oppose any additions, while others are more tolerant of minimal use. The effort to accept both points of view is unlikely to satisfy everybody.

Neither will the requirement that grapes be certified organic at a minimum. Many producers work organically, biodynamically or the equivalent, but avoid certification because of the expense and the paperwork. That is unlikely to change.

Some leading figures in natural wine like Isabelle Legeron, the author of the book “Natural Wine” and founder of the Raw Winefairs, which bring consumers and producers together, generally favor the charter, though not without reservations.

“I understand people’s concerns around stifling creativity and freedom by applying rules,” she wrote in an email from England, “but from my personal perspective I don’t think this is something to worry about as a definition won’t kill the spirit of natural wine.”

But she added that practical hurdles, like the difficulty of determining what sort of yeast was used for fermentation, might make it difficult to enforce a definition. In addition, she said, big companies might be able to make wines that conform to the letter of the law even if they do not reflect the spirit of natural wine.

“Will it actually result in a natural wine with the small imperfections that make it unique and the palpable energy from the men and women who made it?” she said. “Of course not. I hope that consumers will not be fooled either and they will continue to understand the difference between ‘establishment natural’ and ‘small, artisan-farming natural.’ ”

That, I think, is a crucial point and perhaps indicates that regulations will not change much of anything. Natural wine is as much defined by the intention of the producer as it is by adherence to a set of rules. Most consumers of natural wines have either educated themselves to know the difference, or put their trust in retailers, sommeliers and wine journalists to point them in the right direction.

Relying on a label to guide curious consumers shopping for wine is a halfway measure, just as produce labeled organic in a supermarket is a far cry from the carefully grown produce sold by farmers at the greenmarket.

I’ve always thought the best way to enlighten consumers is to require bottles to carry labels identifying the ingredients and processes used in producing the wine. Only then can they make educated decisions.

Aaron Ayscough, a blogger who is also the wine director at Tablerestaurant in Paris and is writing a book on natural wine, argues that labeling like “Vin Méthode Nature” asks a lot of small producers and nothing of large industrial producers.

“It’s fundamentally regressive, because it puts the financial and administrative burden of proof on small-scale, artisanal natural winemakers rather than on industrial wine producers,” he wrote in an email. “It would be way more effective to mandate that all wine producers, natural and conventional, list the ingredients and processes used in their winemaking, and let consumers make the verdict about what’s natural enough for them.”

He and I share that ideal, but Ms. Legeron rightly pointed out that wine labeling is little more than a dream right now.

“We are far off this being a reality, not least because some of the biggest players in our industry have no incentive for it to be otherwise,” she said. “So given this, I am definitely not averse to a certification system for natural wine, mainly because it will set basic minimums and help avoid abuse of the category and of the term.”

Ultimately, nothing is wrong with the French label, which is voluntary and available only to producers in France. But for people who have not educated themselves, it may merely provide the illusion of discernment. They may be buying wines that are made naturally according to a set of rules, but that are not in the end natural wines.

Link to the article here

The Veneto Renaissance Masterclass – Trade and Press

Masterclass: ‘The Veneto Renaissance’

Tuesday 12th September 2017 – 3pm to 5pm

Ely Wine Bar, Ely Place, Dublin 2

Trade & Press only, places limited

Angiolino Maule  Filippo Filippi  Dario Poddana

Veneto Renaissance with Francesco Maule, Filippo Filippi & Dario Poddana

The Veneto is more often associated as a reliable, if slightly unexciting source of oceans of quaffable Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, Soave and Valpolicella that are must-lists in most restaurants. Producers of more terroir-expressive wines work quietly in the background of the fine wine scene in Italy, with Piedmont and Tuscany taking the glamour of being primarily fine wine producing regions. However this perception is slowly changing by the superb wines produced by growers like Filippi, Maule, and Terre di Pietra.
This masterclass will explore the wines of these growers and will offer interesting insights into volcanic wines from Soave and Gambellara.
La Biancara, in Gambellara was founded by Angiolino Maule and his wife Rosamaria at the end of the 1980s as an expression of their vision that wine should be a faithful expression of the land.
In their philosophy, terroir and vines are central – chemical interventions in the vineyard and cantina are neither needed nor welcome. They work with nature’s cycles and the land itself, acting as facilitators of the vintage, neither correcting, adding, nor subtracting in order to produce a healthful and digestible wine.
Angiolino Maule‘s life’s work has been to try to understand the possibilities of making the best possible wines in a ‘natural’, minimally interventionist way and in 2006, he founded VinNatur http://www.vinnatur.org as an association to help the exchange of knowledge and information between like-minded producers.  There are now 170 small growers across 9 countries who are members, all exchewing the use of chemical additions or manipulations and who strive to defend the integrity of their land and patrimony, respecting the history, culture and art that has been passed down from previous generations, drawing inspiration from  a strong ecological ethos. http://www.angiolinomaule.com/vinnatur/
Often dubbed ‘the godfather of natural wine in Italy’, it is impossible to overstate the importance of Angiolino Maule’s place in developing the ethos of minimal intervention wines in Italy.
Filippo Filippi is the owner and winemaker at his eponymous estate in Soave, and we are privileged to have him come in for a flying visit to do this masterclass, especially in the middle of the harvest season. Filippi’s vineyards are situated at the very highest points in the Soave appellation on mainly volcanic soils. His wines are considered among the top Soave and are in a style very much of their own which doesnt try to fit the DOC mold. Linear, mineral, smoky wines that are a faithful expression of their volcanic terroir. They can need time to open up, becoming textured and mouth filling with air and/or bottle age.
Dario Poddana is Italian Wine Buyer for Les Caves de Pyrene and has an incredible breadth and depth of knowledge about Italian wines and the natural wine world. He will introduce the wonderful colfóndo Proseccos  of Casa Belfi di Albino Armani and Maurizio Donadi as well as the Valpolicellae of Terra di Pietra.
This promises to be a fascinating tasting and not to be missed – be sure to reserve your spot early.

3 Awards to ring in the New Year

What a start of the New Year,

We were delighted to receive a very touching accolade from John and Sally McKenna on New Year’s Eve: ‘Wine Person of the Year’ in their Megabytes Yearly Awards:

Wine person of the Year – Pascal Rossignol
Ten years ago, when Pascal Rossignol first began to introduce natural wines, via his shop and wine company Le Caveau, people scoffed.
No one’s scoffing now. Thanks to the patient advocacy of Mr Rossignol and his partner, Colm McCan, we are well on the way to creating a wine world where natural is normal, and where industrialised wines are seen as the over-chemicalised concoctions that they are. The Le Caveau wines are superb, and there is no better advocate for the cause than Pascal. lecaveau.ie

http://www.guides.ie/megabites/wine-person-pub-and-drink-year

 

Then, on New Year’s day, Tomas Clancy published his Sunday Business Post Wine Awards, in which we retained our ‘Fine Wine Merchants Nationwide of the Year’ as well as ‘Burgundy Specialist of the Year’

‘Meanwhile fending off the annual competition from powerhouse Greenacres in Wexford, the other regular winner of the national award is Pascal Rossignol of Le Caveau, now ably abetted by Colm McCan and the rest of Le Caveau Crew.

Here the hugely strong base of French wines is now joined by the very best of the cutting edge natural and orange wine world.

Le Caveau’s influence as a wine shop and as an importer continues to be profoundly influential on the Irish Market and open-hearted wine consumers.’

Tomas Clancy, Sunday Business Post Wine Awards

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Happy New Year 2017 to all our Customers and Friends from a very happy crew at Le Caveau!

‘Natural Resistance’ by Jonathan Nossiter

Delighted to be supplying the wines for the supper that will follow the screening of Jonathan Nossiter’s movie ‘Natural Resistance’!

here are the details:

 

Natural Resistance*

Irish Premiere

*With an Italian inspired rustic supper paired with natural wines from the growers featured in the film

It’s about respect for everything – not only nature, but also workers and customers.

19:00 Fri 06 March, 2015 @

A former sommelier, Nossiter’s Mondovino, a documentary about the globalization of the wine industry was nominated for the Palme D’Or in Cannes in 2004, one of only three documentaries ever nominated in the history of the festival. He didn’t foresee returning to the topic until last summer when he found himself in Tuscany, seated with Italian winemakers dedicated to resisting the prevalent use of chemicals. Nossiter instinctively turned on his camera and continued to follow these subjects against the sun-kissed backdrop of Italian vineyards. These protagonists of a rapidly spreading European natural wine revolution exemplify the movement’s ecological and cultural ideals, one winemaker says, “It’s about respect for everything” — not only nature, but also workers and customers.

This special screening is followed by an Italian inspired rustic feast paired with wines from the growers featured in the film and music from French raconteur Christophe Rohr on accordion with Zac Gvi on clarinet.

 

more details and how to book: log on to The 26tCork French Film Festival website

 

Artisan Wine Tasting (Trade and Press)

We are delighted to announce the details of our forthcoming Portfolio tastings (Trade and Wine Press)

The 2 tastings will take place in Dublin and Cork on 12th and 14th April respectively. We are thrilled to be bringing our ‘show’ to Cork for the first time this year, we are huge fans of the incredible diversity of the food scene there and we’re delighted of the interest the Southern Counties are showing to our wines,

We will showcase about 80 wines on both dates, focusing on organic, biodynamic and natural wines (April is Real Wine Month!) and we are thrilled that 11 growers will be present at the tastings:

The estates represented will be: Chateau Turcaud (Bordeaux); Maison Ambroise (Burgundy); Bodegas Menade (Rueda); Wiston’s Estate (UK Sparkling); Guy Allion (Loire); Cockagee Cider (Slane); Tour des Gendres (Bergerac); Beauregard-Mirouze (Corbieres); Clos de Caveau (Rhone); Taylor’s & Fonseca Ports; Highbank Orchards Gin & Liqueur

 

Drury Buildings

Le Caveau Artisan Wine Tasting

 Trade and Press

Tuesday 12th April, 10.00 to 5.30

Drury Buildings

2nd Floor

Drury Street

Dublin 2

http://drurybuildings.com/

contact/enquiry: orders@lecaveau.ie

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Latitude-51-exterior

Le Caveau Artisan Wine Tasting

Trade and Press

Thursday 14th April, 10.00 to 5.30

L’Atitude 51

1, Union Quay

Cork

http://www.latitude51.ie/

contact/enquiry: orders@lecaveau.ie

See you there!

 

Sunday Business Post Wine Awards 2015

Happy New Year!

What a start of the year! We are absolutely thrilled to have retained our 2 awards in Tomas Clancy’s wine column in the Sunday Business Post published on January 3rd 2016:

– Best Fine wine Merchants (Nationwide) 2015 (previously winner in 2008, 2012 and 2014)

– Best Burgundy Specialist 2015 (previously winner in 2013 and 2014)

Many thanks to Tomas for choosing us and congratulations to all winners and finalists!

We also wish to thank the artisans behind the wines we import, who work sustainably and with minimum intervention in their wineries, our wonderful team and of course, our Customers for their support over the last 16 years!

Here’s to another brilliant new year, filled with exciting wines!

 

 

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