Wine has been produced in Spain for thousands of years: Romans had a particular liking for Rioja wines, records exist of shipments of nearly 20 million amphorae from Spain to Rome in 20 AD! The region gets its name from the river Oja, a tributary of the Ebro. The real improvements in Rioja wine making began around 1780, when then modern techniques were adopted from wine makers in Bordeaux. Historically in Rioja, growers grew the grapes, sold these to the wine makers who bottled, stored and sold the wines. This practice still exists, with contracts between growers and Bodegas. In the early 1980’s when Gabriel Cuevas inherited a portion of his family’s vineyards, located on the high mountain slopes of Rioja Baja, he decid..
Newbridge Wine Buff David Malone recently experienced harvest time at the Diemersdal Estate in the Western Cape. Here’s his report… I have been lucky enough to have visited over fifty countries, but never to South Africa, so it was the eyes of a novice that I drove from Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain north to Durbanville in the heart of the Cape Winelands. Diemersdal is one of South Africa’s premier wine estates, a pristine property where they have been making wine for over 300 years. It is stunningly beautiful hilly setting with 250 vineyards spread over 350 hectares. Anyone can visit, and many do, relaxing in the sunshine tasting a variety of great wines all at vineyard price. My host for the..
The region of Valpolicello has been making wines since before roman times the name translates as “the valley of many cellars”. The Romans developed a wine making process known as appassimento, for making sweet wines. The grapes were harvested and allowed to dry in the sun on straw mats. This turned the grapes almost into raisins, you lose the water but have a super concentration of sugar. The raisined grapes are then fermented and the yeasts would die off before all the sugar had been completely fermented leaving a sweet wine. Modern winemakers still follow these principles drying the grapes in lofts on trays and stopping the fermentation process manually. Amarone goes through a similar process. Legend has it, that ..
At this time of year there is a flurry of activity throughout the vineyards of France, with harvesting starting, just finishing or about to begin, dependent on the wine growing region you are based in. The 2018 vintage followed the pattern of the world cup football matches, it was a game of two halves. The winter was wet with a damp spring and the second half that followed was dry and warm, in fact July has been the hottest in France since 1947. Jean Claude Paret from Chateau La Fauconnerie on the outskirts of St Emilion reported back “We escaped the hailstorms that decimated vineyards in Medoc, Cotes de Bourg and Blaye. Mildew was an issue earlier in the year, but the dry July reversed this, we experienced a few small black rot patch..
Paddy O’Flynn originally from north Cork moved to St Emilion in 1988, the year his father in-law Rene Baylet, the wine maker at the renowned Chateau Cantin in St Emilion was awarded best wine maker in France for quality/price. Later that year his brother in-law Richard Baylet started his mobile wine bottling business and is now the largest supplier of this service in the southwest of France. So, you could say Paddy married into the wine culture of Bordeaux, soon after Paddy worked in Tour du Vin, St Emilion where he was introduced to the variety and complexity of Bordeaux wines and so began his lifelong passion for wine and sniffing out good quality/priced wines. In 2000 Paddy co-founded the Wine Buff chain of shops in Ire..
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