The Winebuff Blog

Rosette of Lamb and wine of course

Written by Mike McDonnell in: Wine & Food


Easter Sunday is the perfect excuse for a festive roast dinner and lamb is one of the many dishes we are planning in the kitchen over Easter. After all lamb symbolises celebration and springtime, and the best fresh lamb is in season at this time of year, so no excuses.

The Wine Buff lamb recipe


1 shoulder of lamb, boneless, 1.5kg
1 red pepper
1 celeriac
1 tbsp fresh basil leaves
4 medium potatoes
salt and pepper

for the marinade

½ cup of red wine
2 cloves of garlic crushed
2 tbsp. of olive oil
1 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves

To make the marinade mix all ingredients above and cover with foil for about two hours or in the fridge for as long as 12 hours.

for the stuffing

4 cloves of garlic
125g of feta cheese
3 tbsp. of olive oil
1 tbsp. of milk

Preheat the oven to 180°c

To make the stuffing wrap four unpeeled cloves of garlic and a dash of olive oil in foil and leave in the oven for 30 minutes.

Remove the garlic and squeeze the now soft garlic into a bowl, add the feta cheese and a tablespoon of milk, some pepper, mix until creamy.

Remove the ties from the lamb and roll the lamb out on the work surface. Place red pepper strips down the middle of the lamb, add basil leaves on top and the feta mixture on top of the basil. Fold the edges of the meat, roll the lamb to form a rosette shape and tie three times.

Place in a roasting dish, set the oven to 240°c and place the lamb in the oven for 15 mins, remove the lamb, pour the marinade over the meat and place back in the oven for 40 minutes at 180°c. This will give you a juicy pink roast for well done leave in the oven for another 20 to 30 minutes. Remove and cover loosely with foil, let sit for 10 mins so the juices flow through the meat.

for the jus

6 tbsp. of finely copped onion

1 chopped clove of garlic
1 tbsp. of chopped rosemary
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup of chicken stock
2 tbsp. of butter
1/2 glass of red wine

Sauté onions on the pan until they become clear, add the remainder of the ingredients hold back on the butter and reduce to 1/3, remove from heat stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper.

celeriac potato

Cut the celeriac into pieces the same size as your peeled potato pieces. Place the potato and celeriac into a pot with water, season with salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes until cooked through. Drain well, add the butter and two tablespoons of crème fraiche. Season with salt, pepper and mash well to a smooth texture.

Mike’s Wine match

Lamb and Bordeaux have a long history together and this recipe pairs superbly with Domaine La Tuque Bel-Air from Cotes de Castillon which is now one of the most fashionable of all the Bordeaux wine growing satellites. The fat of the lamb combines so well with the tannin in the wine that it releases a combined heady mix of deep rich flavours. It may not be the equivalent of 20 years in a cool dark cellar, but wines and foods that are thoughtfully matched can unlock hidden qualities in each other and this match sure does deliver. Currently available in our shops reduced from €17.95 to €13.99 (while stocks last).

April Fool….NOT!

Written by The Wine Buff in: Wine Offers

The Wine Buff Easter Wine Offer

You will rarely see great Bordeaux white from an artisan producer for under €10.

Jacques de Chevillard has been supplying The Wine Buff since we opened our first shop in Limerick way back in 2000 and we have secured a few cases of the Marquis de Beaulieu which we are offering at just €9.99. It is likely to be snapped up pretty quickly so if you would like some, please see us soon.

We also have a few cases of Domaine Tuque Bel-Air from Jean Pierre Lavau,  another one of our original suppliers, Jean Pierre is more renowned for his St Emilion Grand Cru “Ch Petit Fombrauge”, the Domaine La Tuque Bel-Air is his prestige wine from the vineyard in the Cote de Castillon region. which neighbours St Emilion.

These wines are not available online, but you can buy in any of the Wine Buff shops or email/phone one of the shops and they will look after your order.  


The La Tuque Bel-Air is an excellent red from the vineyards of the Côtes de Castillon in Bordeaux. Made from a blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet. Fleshy and rich with soft tannins, the wine boasts a deep ruby/purple colour along with sweet blackcurrant fruit intermixed with notes of tobacco and new oak. Available at €13.99 while stocks last.

The Marquis de Beaulieu is a deliciously refreshing Sauvignon Balnc white wine, offering a wonderful bouquet and a mouthful of fresh fruits with a refreshing finish.  It can be enjoyed on its own or with any white meats, fish or shellfish dishes. Available at €9.99 while stocks last.

A Year in Montaribaldi

Written by The Wine Buff in: Wine Stories

The Taliano family who own Montaribaldi have been making wines since 1968 and are proud caretakers of their lands in the heart of Barbaresco. The family is committed to producing wine using Integrated farming methods, in short this means using agricultural and biological methods rather than chemicals to deal with disease and pests, only treating the vines when and where it is necessary, maintaining the local flora and fauna of the area which assists in the biological diversity of the vine growing eco system and ensuring sustainable production of high quality, healthy grapes.

Wine making is not just about growing grapes, it encompasses a large diversity of activities from sales trips, wine tastings, vineyard visits, celebrations and much more. To have a quick insight into a year in Montaribaldi take a look at their 2103 video.

Luciano and his team are currently out pruning the vines, this is a skilled process as the pruners have to know how to choose the best branches which will deliver not only the best 2014 yield but also the best yields for years to come. You can read more about their work at “Pruning in Montaribaldi”

Guinea Pig Tasting

Written by The Wine Buff in: Wine & Festivals

A big thank you to everyone who visited us at Electric Picnic 2013, again this year we hosted the Guinea Pig club tasting for The Food & Wine Magazine and as always it was a great fun event. A big thanks to Aoife Carrigy who guided the festival goers through the wines, no mean feat with all the distractions and banter that is part and parcel of Electric Picnic every year.

Wines to fall for this Autumn

Written by The Wine Buff in: Wine & Food

Autumn is about falling leaves, shortening days, slightly chillier nights and warm evening fires. Just as we dress seasonally, we tend to eat and drink seasonally and at this time of year we revert back to our comfort wholesome foods of game, roasts and stews.

The summer is a little hot for the big, juicy, spicy style reds and autumn allows us to ease back gently into these wine styles, but it’s still a wee bit early to be diving into the big boys of heavy brooding dark reds like oaked shiraz and grenache.

In autumn medium bodied wines with aromas of wood, tobacco and pepper are the perfect follow on from the bright and fruity summer reds and a perfect gradual introduction to the heavier styles suited to cold November and December evenings in front of the fire.

It’s the perfect time of year to try a Montelpulciano d’Abruzzo from the central slopes of Italy, these wines are full of rustic charm and stewed fruit, great with grilled meat and roast chicken.

Arboreto Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, highly aromatic with earthy notes and black berries, has an inky-purple colour with a thick, almost syrupy mouthfeel, for €10.99.

A red wine partnered with October is wine from the Piedmonte region in Italy the world renowned truffle region celebrates October with a bang, try a Barbara d’Alba or d’Asti to match your rich mushroom infused dishes or if your lucky enough your fresh white truffle.

Montaribaldi Barbera d’Asti, ruby red with violet tints, with a complex balance of plum, cherry and blackcurrant at €15.95

While spring and summer whites are fresh, zesty and zingy, autumn whites take on a more serious note of oak and complexity. An oaked chardonnay from the Languedoc in France or the valleys of Chile are perfect autumnal wines with vanilla aromas, golden hues and rich fruit.

Rawen Reserva Chardonnay, a richly coloured white wine with aromas of banana, vanilla and a hint of pineapple, great depth of flavour on the palate at €12.95.

St Jean du Noviciat Chardonnay, ripe fruits on the nose with a touch of creamy vanilla. Big on fruit with a delicious oak and pepper finish at €16.95

The Kinghts of Westfest

Written by The Wine Buff in: Wine & Festivals,Wine Events

With less then one week to go, this festival now in its third year has already become one of the most popular of its kind in the Munster region. 

This year the festivities will take place over five fun packed days from Sept 11th to the 15th, a blend of live music, food fairs, cookery demos, family entertainment and sporting endeavours.

Over 60 producers from all over Ireland will showcase their food and drink to the local public and festival goers. In the midst of it this year will be The Wine Buff, so call over say hello and enjoy the craic.

Top Restaurant, Top Wines.

Written by The Wine Buff in: Wine & Food,Wine Events

The WineBuff and Tannery DungarvanFancy a great night out in Ireland’s Restaurant of the Year for 2013, accompanied with wines from the award winning South African Diemersdal Estate?  Well if you do, you need to act fast as we have only a few spaces left and they are selling fast.

It promises to be a wonderful night with Paul Flynn’s great cooking and Steffi Layer from Diemersdal taking us through the wines.

Call Michael at The Wine Buff Dungarvan for more info and ticket availability.

Location – The Tannery, Dungarvan.
Date - Thurs 19th September
Time – 8pm
Price – €50
To Book – email Michael at or call The Wine Buff Dungarvan on 058 24523

Sold Out, Sold Out, Sold Out!

Written by The Wine Buff in: Wine & Festivals

A big happy tenth birthday to Electric Picnic, it’s come a long way in ten years and yes… we are back. As part of The Theatre of Food with great wines, speed dating events, wine tastings and loads of fun fun fun. Looks like it’s going to be a bumper festival, weather reports are promising, line up is great and tickets sold out, so drop by and say hello and enjoy a glass of wine at the Wine Buff Wine Bar. You’ll find us in the MindField next to the Theatre of Food.

Fancy fifteen minutes of fame, washed down with some free wine?

Food & Wine Magazine and The Wine Buff will be looking for volunteers to lend their taste-buds to a free wine-tasting on Saturday afternoon. You’ll  get to try some tasty wines for free, and you’ll get to appear in the November issue of Food & Wine Magazine. Think how proud you’ll make your mammy! Enquire at The Wine Buff tent to sign up in advance, or just rock up by 2.30pm on Saturday and chance your arm. No wine knowledge required, just an open mind, a festival spirit and an ability to differentiate red from white and of course be able to taste.

Competition: Strings Attached

Written by The Wine Buff in: Wine Competition

Mention Ukulele and it brings to mind the comedian George Formby (when I’m cleaning windows), but times are a changing, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder is about to release an album of pure ukulele tracks. And leading this renaissance is the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain the eight piece band have played sell out shows around the world and are touring Ireland in the coming weeks.

Highlights include ukulele versions of Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”, Kate Bush’s “Withering Heights”, Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” and many more eyebrow raising surprises.

We have a number of tickets to give away, just call in to your local Wine Buff shop, buy a bottle of wine and your in the draw to win a pair of tickets.

Tour Dates:

Dublin, 25th July National Concert Hall.

Limerick, 26th July UCH.

Waterford, 27th July Theatre Royal.

Cork 28th July, Opera House.

The Pinker Side of Life

Written by The Wine Buff in: Wine Reviews


The Wine Buff Rose

As temperatures (finally) start to soar into the mid 20′s, you never know we may have a 30°C day this year, we see the sales of Rose wine steadily rise. During the seasonal interest in Rose we are often asked questions like how is Rose made? Why the different shades of pink? Is Rose a mix of red and white wine? And is it dry?

Technically speaking, this pinkish wine is produced differently than red wine but with the same red grapes. In short there are 3 proper ways of making rose wine, which give it’s pinkish colours.

1. Saignée or bleeding: The red grapes stand in a large tank and the weight of the grapes do the crushing, the grape juice is in contact with the red grape skins for a very short period resulting in a very pale pink colour wine.

2. Pressé or pressing of the red grapes until the grape juice has the desired pink colour.

3. Maceration is the most commonly used method, the red grape skins are left in contact with the grape juice until the winemaker is happy with the colour, the grape juice is then transferred off the red skins.

And remember when you buy Rose, ask is it dry? (dry=not sweet), that’s what your looking for in a Rose; a wine that’s fresh and acidic, without extra sugar to drown its mineral, fruity and zingy flavours.  As a rule of thumb:


NEW WORLD ROSE (Everywhere Else) = LESS DRY

What results is a wine that’s ideal for barbeques or just chilled down and drinking on a lovely summer evening.

Selection of exculsive Rose Wines available in our Wine Buff shops.

The Wine Buff Rose Wine

NEW – 2012 Baccichetto Pinot Grigio Blush, arriving at the end of July for the August heatwave (fingers crossed), this is a clean crisp blush from the Fruili region of Italy, for €11.95.

The Wine Buff Rose Wine

2011 Domaine du Begaudieres, Loire Valley, a salmon pink Rose made from Cabernet Franc, faint aromas of strawberries with plenty of minerality, at €11.95.

The Wine Buff Rose

2012 Chateau Beaubois, Rhone Valley, a true Rhone blend of Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault give this organic wine a medium fullness and lively red fruit flavours, for €12.95.

2011 Marquis de Beaulieu, Bordeaux, a mouth watering merlot based wine witha refreshing fruity palate of raspberries and strawberries, for €12.95.