One of the best trade tastings each year is held by three of Ireland’s best small importers, although strangely none of them is Irish! Each specializes in a particular part of Europe, and each shows around twenty wines from their part of the world. It makes for a very manageable, fascinating and varied tasting.

Tyrrell & Co.

I am not sure if it was the vintages or my mood, but the entire range of Tyrrell wines were showing really well yesterday, red and white wines. It helps if you are showing the 2010 and 2011 vintages from the Rhône Valley I suppose, but almost every wine seemed star quality. There were some stunning white wines, and I loved the fresh elegance of the 2011 red wines from the Northern Rhône.

Ventoux ‘Persia’ 2011 Domaine de Fondrèche

€25 from

The nose is wonderfully complex with a mix of peaches, pears and wet stone; the palate is both fresh and full with rich peach fruits and a strong mineral streak.

Crozes-Hermitage Blanc 2011 Domaine Yann Chave

€25-30 from

An exercise in elegance with light fresh limpid pure yellow fruits that glide across the palette seamlessly. Wonderful wine.

St. Joseph Grand Duc 2011, Domaine du Monteillet

€29.95 from

Superb, haunting fragrant nose, silky soft pure savoury dark fruits and liquorice on the palate. Not showing much tannic structure, but a joy to drink right now.


Grapecircus Wines

Enrico Fantasia, who hails from Venice, has an uncanny ability to select wines that are always interesting, often excellent and usually well-priced. It was the red wines that showed best for me yesterday, although I loved the San Lorenzo Verdicchio.  I also had a second opportunity to try the wines made on the estate belonging to rock star Sting (I don’t expect he gets too involved in the winemaking himself).  All of his wines can be bought in Sheridan’s cheese mongers.

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2011 Fattoria San Lorenzo


A very rich intense textured Verdicchio with a panoply of exotic fruits, tangerine acidity and very good length. Yummy.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Le Salare 2010, Barba


I featured this as a wine of the week (and year) in 2012. It is lovely as ever with super fresh light crunchy red fruits, all elegance and style.

Marche Rosso ‘Il Casolare’ 2011 Fattoria San Lorenzo


The brother to the Verdicchio above, this is another characterful wine with lovely fresh red and black fruits, an attractive herbiness and easy finish.


Nomad Wine Importers

Former sommelier at Patrick Guilbaud, Charles Derain has built up a formidable list of fine Burgundies and a few other French wines too.

St Bris Exogyra Virgula 2010 Domaine Goisot

€12.33 exc VAT wholsale

The Goisots make a range of thrilling white and red wines in the communes of St. Bris and Irancy. The Chardonnay, Aligoté and Pinot Noir are all delicious, but this was the first time I had tried their Sauvignon. It is a stunning light mineral-laden crisp dry wine with precise green fruits and an invigorating freshness.

Rully 2011 Domaine J.B. Ponsot

€14.92 exc VAT wholesale

This is a lovely medium-bodied wine with toasted hazelnuts on nose and palate, lightly textured with lanolin on the lengthy finish. A class above most other Rully.

Lombeline Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2011

€10 exc VAT wholesale

Lovely light delicate fragrant Pinot with fresh young cherry fruits – the sort of wine you could drink all day.

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