Posts Tagged Jura

Three women wine writers

Three women wine writers
Alice Feiring at Litfest 2015

Alice Feiring at Litfest 2015

First published in the Irish Times, Saturday 2nd July, 2016

This week we veer right off the beaten track and celebrate three female authors who have each published a well-written book on an obscure wine region. Books on nebbiolo, vin jaune and Georgian qvevri wine are unlikely to climb the best-sellers lists. But each is a lovely read.

Alice Feiring was a fascinating and provocative speaker on natural wine at the Ballymaloe Litfest 2015. She has gone on to write a wonderful, emotional book, For the Love of Wine, about traditional winemaking in Georgia, one of the oldest wine-producing countries in the world. She explores the ancient culture of making wine in qvevri, clay amphorae, and meets up with some of the most remarkable characters making wines that sound intriguing. I would love to have included the amazing Pheasant’s Tears Saperavi as a wine of the week. The wine is macerated and fermented with stems, skins and pips in clay amphorae lined with beeswax and buried in the ground for months on end. Sadly, it has sold out completely.

The Jura has been the trendiest region in the wine bars of London and New York for several years. It produces some of the most unusual and least known (until recently) wines of France. Even the most hardened wine anorak will find it difficult to recall savagnin, poulsard and trousseau. And nowhere else in France will you find a vin jaune, the country’s answer to sherry, as well as the most extraordinary chardonnay and pinot noir. Wink Lorch, author of Jura Wine, has spent part of the year in the French Alps for two decades. Her enthusiasm and knowledge is infectious; this book really makes you want to travel there, drink the wine and eat the food too.

Jancis Robinson calls growing nebbiolo an exercise in precision engineering. In Barolo and Barbaresco: the King and Queen of Italian Wine, Kerin O’Keefe writes that, for her, barolo “was like a Fellini film; with the first sip I wasn’t quite sure what was going on but I knew I liked it, by the next sip it was starting to make sense, and by the time I finished the glass I was hooked”. Not everyone finds it so easy to love nebbiolo, which can have very high levels of tannins and acidity. It has a haunting bouquet. All are agreed that it hates to travel outside of Piedmont, and that it reaches its apogee in two small towns; Barolo and Barbaresco.

Like Feiring, O’Keefe pulls no punches, and is quite happy to criticise where she feels it is required. She has an obvious love and understanding of her subject. Her book is the definitive guide to the soils, the grapes and the growers producing these great wines.

IMG_1923Didimi Krakhuna 2013., Imereti, Georgia


Bone-dry with invigorating crisp sparky minerals and cool yellow fruits.

Stockists: Blackrock Cellar: The Corkscrew; Green Man Wines; Fallon & Byrne.

DSCF6303Barolo Le Coste di Monforte 2011, ‎Guidobono

Fragrant floral aromas with liquorice, raspberries and firm dry tannins.

Stockists: Mitchell & Son; Sheridans Cheesemongers; Grapevine; Donnybrook Fair.

ImageVin Jaune 2006, Arbois, Domaine Rolet
€51 for a 620ml bottle

Astonishing wine with tangy almonds and walnuts, cumin and a long bone dry finish. Serve lightly chilled with a good Comté.

Stockists: 64Wine, Green Man Wines, Clontarf Wines.

Posted in: Irish Times

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A Long Weekend in Wine

A Long Weekend in Wine

It was a long weekend if you include St. Patrick’s Day; that is my excuse for drinking so much wine. Some nice bottles.


Wiston Estate Rosé South Downs

Made by Irishman Dermot Sugrue, so we drank it on St. Patrick’s Day. Wonderful rosé with precise ripe raspberry fruits and developing notes of brioche. The label gives plenty of information; a dosage 8 g/l sugar; 57% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Meunier. Disgorged 12/2013

Triennes Viognier Sainte Fleur 2013 IGP Mediteranée

This is what business class customers drink on Aer Lingus. Light peaches and custard with a touch of vanilla. Nice well-balanced wine that went nicely with my gnudi. Retails for €23 in Kellys, Clontarf; Corkscrew; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Sheils, Malahide.

I am Didimi from Dimi and this is my Krakhuna 2013
Imereti, Georgia

Surely the longest title for a wine. Krakhuna is the local grape (but then you knew that) and Dimi is the sub-region, part of Imereti. Georgia, the cradle of winemaking, is making quite a name for itself. Look out for Alice Feiring’s new book ‘For the Love of Wine’ on Georgian non-interventionist wine. This wine is made in glass demi-johns with no skin contact. Fresh with clean mineral fruits and a nice funkiness too; lovely wine. I Coravin the wine and celebrate the start of the weekend with a glass every Friday evening. Available through Le Caveau in Kilkenny, and Green Man Wines and probably a few others for €33.

Wolf Blass President’s Selection Chardonnay 2010, South Australia


This missed the photo shoot above as it was hiding in the fridge. Good medium-bodied Chardonnay, with subtle tropical fruits on the palate, with a good lightly creamy texture and the merest touch of oak. Currently being phased out, but sells for €19.99.


Domaine Rolet Côtes du Jura Savagnin 2009

4.5 years in old oak without topping up or racking. This has sherry-like qualities with intense oxidised nutty flavour and a bone dry mineral finish. Magnificent complex wine that I drank over three evenings. The back label suggested drinking it with creamy sauces, (chicken with morels being a classic match) as well as local cheeses. I tried mine with hake in parsley sauce, which was surprisingly good, and with Comté cheese, also very good. Sadly not available in Ireland yet, although I hear rumours it may appear in 64wine over the next few months; they have other wines from Domaine Rolet.

El Pájaro Rojo, Mencía 2014, Bierzo

Part of a big Mencía tasting, this was a richer style of Bierzo, from the lower clay soils. It went through malo in new oak. Textured rounded dark fruits with hints of spice, this may not have the freshness of some Mencía, but it more than makes up for this with a lovely rounded texture. Very well priced too. €16.95 from Searsons, Monkstown.

S.C. Pannell Tempranillo Touriga 2014, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley

Sleek smooth and concentrated dark fruits with a savoury touch and some perfectly integrated tannins. A gently purring, very cleverly made wine. Steve Pannell is one of the most highly regarded winemakers down under at the moment, having won the Jimmy Watson trophy in 2013, and was awarded Winemaker of the Year in 2015. €26.99 a bottle, imported by Liberty Wines.

Castello di Fonterutoli 2004, Mazzei Chianti Classico

I bought six bottles of this about eight years ago, as it was being highly touted in the press at the time. I have drunk two bottles, both fine, but had I paid the full €50 retail price (I got it at a discount) I might have been a little disappointed. It is rich and rounded with very good dark fruits, a touch of wood, and some acidity too. Maturing nicely with some development. As I say, nice wine, but lacking a little Sangiovese character.

Hans Herzog Spirit of Marlborough Merlot Cabernet 2005, New Zealand

I used this in a master class on New Zealand wines a few months back and coravined it. Mature, soft and leafy/herby in a good way, with ripe cassis fruit. Nothing like a Bordeaux but lovely interesting drinking. Sadly I don’t think this is available in Ireland. Hans Herzog is a Swiss winemaker/restaurateur who fell in love with Marlborough and moved there.

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