Blakes Blog Rugby World Cup & Wine

Where you up early? Or did you stay up all night to watch the rugby? Me, I stayed up with a couple of friends and colleagues drinking some wine and rating our chances with our drawn team,( each Fine Wines store is in our World Cup Rugby pool and we are competitive) it all adds to the general excitement, and kept us entertained till the rugby started. As usual, the topics of discussion included the wine we were drinking. And that got me thinking, is there any relationship between wine and rugby?


Well, you might be surprised to know that out of the 20 teams playing in the world cup, 13 of them produce wine! And out of the top ten only Ireland, Scotland and Wales have no real wine industry. Yes, here in Ireland, there are a few mad men (or geniuses, if you prefer) out there trying to make wine from the vine but there is very little on the market. And before you scoff, the English and Welsh are producing some good white wines and very good sparkling wines, we are looking to stock them in the near future.


Of course we and Scotland produce the world’s best whiskies and some very good beer, sometimes wine just isn’t what you want to drink. Remember that first pint?
I had a quick chat with my colleaugues and asked them to recommend a little tipple from their allocated team and they have come up with winners. I have also highlighted a few special wines and spirits, from the rugby playing nations, for you to try during the world cup, while most of these are available on this site, I have mentioned some that are exclusive to our shops (a good excuse for you to drop in to the stores and talk to us)
In no particular order of rank, although I rate the french wines as the best,(even if I didn’t draw them for our pool) here are the countries and my selection of wines/spirits.


New Zealand Drawn by Fine Wines Roxboro Limerick
Branken Hill Sauvignon Blanc- €8.19 A Classic Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, displaying an attractive balance of stone-fruit, gooseberries and capsicum. An aromatic experience, this wine finishes with tantalising zest and persistence.


Branken Hill Pinot Noir-€8.19 This full-bodied Pinot Noir has a bouquet of dark cherries, plums and cinnamon. It displays rich and generous flavours, excellent balance and silky tannins.


Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc-€25.15 Pale straw green in colour and enticingly fragrant, Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc is rated as one of the best wines from New Zealand. The palate is rich and succulent, with a zesty citrus and apple-sherbet acidity that leads to a long, lingering, and characteristically crisp finish.


Check out the Dry Lawson’s wines in shops, well worth a look at.

Australia Drawn by Fine Wines Roslevan Ennis Co. Clare
McGuigan Black Label Shiraz- €8.39 A medium bodied red with fine integrated tannins and characters of red berry, pepper and spice that reward drinking now. A classic Australian shiraz.


Rosemount Estate Chardonnay-€9.66 A perfect example of Australian Chardonnay with a crisp nose with a touch of creaminess and oak. On the palate, light notes of pineapple with a little butterscotch on the finish.


Dutschke St. Jacobi Shiraz-€22.70 A fantastic single vineyard Shiraz from the Barossa valley. There are rich mouth filling dark plum and black cherry fruit flavours, with support of vanillin and spicy oak, giving a finish of soft drying tannin.


Have a look at the d’Arenberg range of wines in the stores, these are new to the shops and are a great range wines everything from the stump jump blends to the extra special “Dead Arm” Shiraz.


South Africa Drawn by Fine Wines Thomondgate Limerick
Meerlust Rubicon- price in store, one of the classic red wines from South Africa. Great body of warm, spicy blackberry fruit framed in high quality oak. Matures slowly, gathering lots of complexity and secondary flavours as it develops. Superb alternative to top Bordeaux or Italian.


Klein Constantia Cabernet Merlot- €11.35 A new style of wine from this great wine producer, focusing on accessible fruit flavours with barrel ageing. Fresh fruit flavours and soft tannins giving a mellow finish to the end.


Klein Constantia Sauvignon Blanc-€ 12.09 slightly green in appearance with abundant aromas of green vegetables and passion fruit with a touch of ground pepper. The palate is racy with taut acidity and sauvignon flavours. No wonder south Africa is getting a name for great whites.


France Drawn by Fine Wines Washington Street Cork
Chateau Marge red-€9.08 A great wine from the Graves area in Bordeaux, Dense red and black in colour. Nose is ripe and sweet, with brambly fruit. Very rounded on the palate, with broad, black, gummy fruit and a good backbone of tannins and a long finish.


Chateau Tour De Pez-€17.08 A deep red with expressive bouquet of black fruits and precious woods. The tannic structure makes this classic French red more accessible. The palate is round and pleasant.


L’Echany Muscadet sur lie-€ 8.69 A complex wine with floral, minty and exotic fruit notes. Fresh on the attack, with a touch of carbon dioxide due to the ageing on lees, round and well-balanced on the palate, bringing out minty and floral notes again on the finish.
Drop in to the stores and ask about our new petit chateau range which have just arrived, they are very good and include a couple of very good second wines from some of the top Bordeaux houses.


Argentina Drawn by Fine Wines Head Office Limerick
Los Cardos Malbec-€7.69 A great red wine, Malbec is something the Argentinians do very well. Typically violet-red in colour. Its aromas of fresh red and black fruits, berries, spices and cigar box. A smooth and rounded wine in.


Los Cardos Sauvignon Blanc-€7.69 This is a fresh and vigorous Sauvignon Blanc showing intense aromas of yellow grapefruit. On the palate is a wine of great volume and freshness with a very long finish.


Italy Drawn by Fine Wines Rialto Dublin
Castelli Di Jesi Verdicchio-€6.60 Something a little different from the usual pinot grigio, this is very light and crisp with nice pear and apple notes on the nose. Medium to light bodied with lively acidity and a smooth, easy drinking finish.


Masi Campofiorin-€13.08 Deep ruby colour, with a purple touch on the rim. The perfumes are very clean, with ripe fruit, raisins and spicy aromas, mainly cinnamon. On the palate, the wine is round and offers complex aromas of ripe red fruits and berry-fruit preserve. The good acidity and soft tannins gives the wine its easy drinking style. Again something different to try.


All of our stores have slightly different ranges of wine and if you want something different from Italy drop in to Roches street as they have a great range of wines from Tuscany to Sardinia


America Drawn by Fine Wines Corbally Limerick
Bonterra Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc-€10.99 a great organic wine from California, A blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from the Fetzer group. On the nose there is honeydew and melon, the fruit is bright, persistent and refreshing and the texture round and silky


Bonterra Carignan/shiraz-€10.99 a big bright wine with cherry fruit on the nose with a herby, juicy, berry fruit palate. Another great organic wine.


Ask in store about the Parducci wines, a family run winery from California with a great chardonnay and fabulous Zinfandel.


Ireland Drawn by Fine Wines Blackpool Cork – Backed by every Fine Wines Store
As we do not have any wines yet i thought I would recommend a couple of whiskies and beers, which we are famous for.


Bushmills Original-€19.49 Grain whiskey reserved for Bushmills Original is slowly matured for a minimum of five years in American oak casks before blending with Irish Single Malt whiskey to produce this original blend. Voted best Irish whiskey in the spirit awards in 2010


Bushmills Black Bush-€25.47 A blend of triple distilled whiskeys containing 80% malt whiskey some of which is aged for up to 18 years. The malted barley is dried in closed kilns so there is no peaty smoke. It is then matured in oloroso sherry casks. A distinctive, full bodied aroma with spicy, malty and nutty sweet sherry notes. One of the best blended whiskeys in the world in 2010.


In our store we have just brought in a range of beers from the Carlow brewing company. The O’Hara range of beers bring a taste of the growing number of small brewers who are introducing beers of great quality and flavour, I personally love the O’Hara Curim Gold, a great hoppy beer with a great golden hue.


Romania Drawn by Fine Wines Tralee
La Umbra is a new range of wines launched by Halewood Romania, following significant investment in planting international grape varieties and using international winemaking techniques.


The range includes a chardonnay, pinot grigio, merlot rosé, merlot and pinot noir, with the marketing emphasis placed on fresh, youthful, fruit driven wines.
The wines are all single estate, hand-picked grapes, from vineyards in Dealu Mare, Murfatlar and Transylvania.


Dan Muntean, Managing Director of Halewood Romania commented: “La Umbra, meaning in the shade, was inspired by the tradition in Romania to enjoy fresh, youthful wines sitting in the shade of a large tree, in the outdoor summer kitchen found in every rural home.
La Umbra Pinot Noir €0.00 This Pinot Noir is a fresh, elegant wine, full of cherry and raspberry flavours and hints of ripe strawberry.


La Umbra Chardonnay €0.00 This Chardonnay is crisp and structured with aromas of ripe yellow melon and lingering hints of succulent peaches.



The others
Scotland Drawn by Fine Wines Westside Galway
In the next couple of months I will bring you a blog on the differences between Irish whiskey and Scottish whisky but for the moment can I recommend trying the glenmorangie 10 year old-€ 39.89. From One of the smallest distilleries in Scotland, but one of the biggest selling single malts in the world. This 10 year old is the full of floral, fruit and honeyed flavours, which warms on the finish.


England Drawn by Fine Wines Clonmel Tipperary
From England our stores have just got a selection of ales which I cannot recommend highly enough, just ask the staff and they will recommend a beer to suit your tastes


Canada Drawn by Fine Wines Kilmurry Limerick
From Canada we have Canadian club-25.15 This whiskey is ‘barrel-blended’ prior to aging in white oak barrels to allow the flavours to marry. Aged six years, Canadian Club is a true, quality Canadian whisky that has not changed with time. Also ask about their ice wines.
As of yet we have no products from the other countries playing, but if you are looking for something special, just ask your local fine wine staff and they will try and assist you. If not just contact me!