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Dublin, Ireland
Hi, I'm Dermot Nolan, and I became a Master of Wine (MW) in 1997, and resigned from the Institute of Masters of Wine in 2023 after being an MW for exactly 26 years. I opened a wine shop in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland, called The Wine Library, which closed in 2018, and this is my personal wine blog. I will do my utmost to be fair and responsible in my posts – please read my Who Pays article in re the ethics of wine trips and writing. I have worked in wine education, retail, and consultancy since 1990. I was a Director of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) from 2008 to 2014 and was also a member of the Events Committee, founder of the Trips Committee, and member of the Governance Committee. Having had problems with potentially libellous comments from unidentifiable posters, I now require that if you post a comment, you must identify yourself properly or it won't be published. Please note that I do not review products or services on request so kindly don't ask. I value my independence and I believe my readers (few that they may be) do so also.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bubbly fun...

Having slipped and fallen badly on black ice in January, Maggie McNie MW was unable to come over to give the sparkling wine lecture. However, she has recovered and was able to get here for the 15th March and we had a very good lecture. Stockists in parentheses with details below.

We started with a Kriter Blanc de Blancs Brut Vin Mousseux, (AU) €4.99, which is a straightforward tank-fermented white. Then a very nice Schäfer Classic Burg-Layer Schlosskapelle Riesling Sekt, (WSET), which had a very good riesling character. One of the better Sekts I've tried. Interestingly, Maggie explained that although the technical German word for sparkling wine is schaumwein the word sekt is used as an actor who was famous for playing Falstaff loved sparkling German wines; his entourage would rush to the restaurant he was eating in before him and demand, in jest, his "sack" - this being the Elizabethan term for wines from Sherry - and this became Germanized to sekt! There you are now, you learn something new every day.
After that we had Domaine Rosier Blanquette de Limoux Cuvée Reservée, (AU), €3.75, which was decent. It had good mauzac style but I find Limoux wines less than exciting. This was followed by a decent Pierre Chanau Clairette de Die Brut, (AU) €4.99, again OK without being exciting.
Then a Jeio Prosecco di Valdobbiane Brut, (WSET), which is very good - I thin k it's one of the beter Proseccos and is about €18.00 in Ireland. This was followed by Freixenet 2004 Brut, (WSET) which was not as good as I would have liked, but the Marcel Cabelier Crémant de Jura 2007 Brut, (AU) €5.99, was very good - really rich with lovely fruit.
Next, one of my favourite styles but I appear to be in a minority here. Banrock Station Good Earth Sparkling Shiraz, (BF) €19.80, really yumy dark shiraz fruit with lovely refreshing bubbles - have it at a barbeque in the summer and you'll see just how good it is. This was followed by a good Gangloff Crémant d’Alsace Brut, (AU) €5.98, again a really nice wine with good depth and a rich mousse. Then a standard from Australia, Yalumba Angas Brut Premium Cuvée, (CA) €16.50, a really lovely ripe fruit sparkler - yummy and fun. This was followed by the really good classic Jansz NV Premium Cuvée, (CA), a seriously good wine from Tasmania. There are some great sparklers in Australia and this one of the classics.
Next, a very, very good Vouvray Brut, (AU) €4.99 - much better than expected. But then, onto the greats - four wines from my favourite Champagne house: Pol Roger. We started with the classy Réserve Brut NV, (BF) €47.00 - superbly clean and elegant, with a hint of autolysis and crisp, fresh apple fruits. Then the Rosé 2000 Brut, (BF) €58.00 - soft berry fruits, crisp and fresh, the classy, classy Vintage 2000 Brut, (BF) €58.00 - lovely toasty autolytic characters, ripe apple fruits and very long. Finally, the outstanding and very weighty Sir Winston Churchill 1998, (BF) €100 - really rich but with lovely elegant mid-palate fruits.
In re the stockists, I happened to be in France at Christmas so I took the opportunity to try some of the wines which can easily be bought there but not here. To be fair, they're not all brilliant but some are very good and I can happily recommend a few of the ones we tried. Please be aware, though, that French supermarkets can sell wines at below-cost and that there is no duty one these wines; in Ireland duty is roughly €4.00 per bottle before VAT at 21%.

The stockists are AU = Auchan, BF = Barry & Fitzwilliam, CA = Cassidy's, both wholesalers who can only sell to retailers.

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