A bunch of winemakers in the garden…

We are delighted to welcome a ‘bunch of winemakers’ to the Ballymaloe Cookery School on Wednesday 10th May, for truly special wine talk and tasting – outside in the garden. Winemakers travelled from wine estates in France and Italy in association with Le Caveau, including Elena Pantaleoni, and Francesca, of La Stoppa, Rivergaro, Emilia-Romagna, Italy; Theo from Foradori in Trentino, Italy;  Gulio from Ampelia, Maremma, Tuscany, Italy; Bertrand Ambroise of Maison Ambroise, Premeaux-Prissey, Cotes-de-Nuits, Burgundy, France; Nicolas Donne of Domaine Guy Allion, Touraine, Loire Valley, France; Guilhaume de Conti, of Tour des Gendres, Bergerac, South-West France and Thibaud Chaume of Domaine Chaume-Arnaud, Vinsobres, Rhône Valley, France.

We were fortunate with wonderful May sunshine to be able to have the wine class outside, in the timber amphitheatre in the gardens. A magical evening and our thanks & appreciation to all of the winemakers, who had travelled over, in association with Le Caveau.

Each of the winemakers spoke about their region, their wines and vineyards. All of whom have a focus on low intervention wines, organic, biodynamic and natural viticulture and winemaking. In turn, each of the winemakers gave a tutored tasting of one of their wines by way of illustration (and enjoyable tasting!).

Nicolas Donne of Domaine Guy Allion, Touraine, Loire Valley, France

Cédric and Dorothée Allion run their 30-ha estate with great care and passion. Members of Terra Vitis, their viticultural methods are resolutely organic and sustainable, while minimum intervention during winemaking ensure the wines are pure and offer a true expression of the terroir. The vineyards are mostly planted on slopes overlooking the Cher river, close to the beautiful Chateaux of Chenonceaux and Chambord.

Touraine Sauvignon, Loire Valley 2016

Grape variety: Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon character with a real mineral edge, the palate is full-flavoured with freshly squeezed lemon mingling with white fruit, pear and green apples ending with racy, fresh notes.

“This wine is produced under the Terra Vitis ethic that it is an approach based on reason, not faith. Cédric and Dorothée Allion`s small estate minimises strategic intervention in the vineyard and studiously avoids chemical additives. The results speak for themselves here – this is a super smart sauvignon blanc that is crisp to the point of steely sharpness, bursting with gooseberry, peanut and nettle notes. A clear and startlingly well priced competitor to New World sauvignon” Tomas Clancy, Sunday Business Post

Gulio of Ampelia, Maremma, Tuscany, Italy

Ampeleia (from the Greek word for ‘vine’) is owned by Elisabetta Foradori and Giovani Podini. It was founded with Elisabetta’s overarching vision of allowing the true nature of an area, its diversity, its grapes, land and culture to be expressed. The wildness of the southern Maremma, bounded by the Colle Metallifere and the sea were virgin territory, far removed from the glamour of Bolgheri and Montalcino. The estate is interspersed with chestnut and cork oak forests as well as Mediterranean scrub. 

‘Un Litro’, by Ampelia, Maremma, Tuscany, Italy 2016

Grape varieties: Alicante (Grenache), Carignan and Alicante Bousche

‘Un Litro’ is a true expression of the wild Mediterranean terroir of the Maremma. It is a peasant wine in the best sense of the word: a joyous, infinitely drinkable blend of Alicante (Grenache), Carignan and Alicante Bouschet which grow so well in this hot, southerly corner of Tuscany. It spends 6 months in cement tanks. Unfined, unfiltered, no added SO2. (Total SO2: 41 mg/l) Balsamic character on the nose, wild herbs and spices hints. Well defined on the palate, clear-cut and neat. Contrasting finish with pleasantly bitter notes of cherries and wild strawberries.

Bertrand Ambroise of Maison Ambroise, Premeaux-Prissey, Cotes-de-Nuits, Burgundy, France

Bertrand Ambroise, and his son Francois and daughter Ludivine operate on 21 hectares and purchase grapes from another 3. Their vineyards were converted to organic viticulture and they received their certification in 2013. From manually harvested grapes, neither filtered nor fined, the wines are classic Burgundy with distinct terroir-influenced personalities. 

Cotes de Nuits Villages, by Maison Ambroise, Burgundy 2015

Grape variety: Pinot Noir

Cotes de Nuits Villages is beautifully expressive and lush, with ripe red fruits, earth and a touch of  creamy oak. It is dry and medium bodied, perfect balanced, with ripe juicy fruit. Oak on back palate with will further soften with age. Long finish.

Theo of Foradori, Trentino, Italy

The mountain ranges that make up the Dolomites, a World Heritage Site, are found between the Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions and delineate a landscape of extraordinary beauty. Elisabetta Foradori’s grandfather bought the estate, based in Mezzolombardo, in 1929, a mere ten years after Italy’s annexation of the province from the defunct Austro-Hungarian empire meant that the traditional markets for the local wines had disappeared. At first, the wine was sold to local co-operatives, but Elisabetta’s father began bottle and sell their own production. His life was cut tragically short by cancer when Elisabetta was just eleven years old. Nine years later, she had graduated in viticulture and oenology and had taken over the reigns of the estate, albeit more out of a sense of duty than passion. Teroldego from the Rotaliano plain had been singled out for its quality since at least the 14th century, but the prevailing philosophy, post-WW2, was to squeeze maximum yields through clonal selection and an industrial approach to production. She decided to dedicate her work to renewing  Teroldego and planted as many cuttings as she could. 

Teroldego plunges its roots deep into the limestone, granitic and porphyritic rocks of the Campo Rotaliano, a small plain embedded between steep rock faces in Trentino (Northern Italy). It is the intense expression of its land, of its people, of the Dolomites. By 2002, Foradori had garnered international recognition for her work and visionary approach. However, always changing and evolving, she decided to convert the estate to biodynamic viticulture. Seeing the change in the quality and drinkability of her wines, she applied for and received organic and biodynamic certification in 2009. The vineyards cover 28 hectares – 75% of Teroldego, 15% of Manzoni Bianco, 5% of Nosiola and 5% of Pinot Grigio

Foradori ‘Morei’, Trentino, Italy 2015

Grape variety: Teroldego

‘Morei’ again from local dialect, translates as ‘moro’/’scuro’. The Teroldego here plunges its roots deep in the stones and sand of the soil carried by the river Noce giving rise to deeply coloured wines with a dense and mineral texture. Eight months on the skins in clay amphorae

‘Morei is very fresh, pure and linear with pure red cherry fruit and lovely fine-grained structure. Elegant, direct and pure.’ Wine writer, Jamie Goode

  

Guilhaume de Conti, of Tour des Gendres, Bergerac, South-West France 2014

Viticulture is biodynamic, the soil is nourished with seaweed and silica treatments to encourage microbial activity. Yields are low, 5 to 6 bunches per vine, manual picking and selection of ripe and healthy grapes is essential; on the top cuvées there are several ‘tries’ in the vineyard, and the wine will only be released if it reaches the highest of standards. The blends will also change according to the physiological ripeness of the grapes

Gloire de Mon Pere, Chateau Tour des Gendres, Bergerac, South-West France

Grape varieties: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc.

Gloire de mon Père – The nose is intense and powerful – black fruit, dark chocolate, anisee with flowery notes. Generous and ripe on the palate, the layers of sweet, juicy fruit are supported by a firm but balanced tannic structure.

Thibaud Chaume, of Domaine Chaume-Arnaud, Rhône Valley, France

Domaine Chaume-Arnaud biodynamic vineyards are planted on slopes and terraces around the picturesque villages of Vinsobres and Saint-Maurice, near Nyons.  The altitude, between 200 to 450m, and the cool wind from the nearby Alps (the Pontias) keep the temperature lower than the neighbouring villages and contribute to the natural freshness and complexity of the wines. Harvest in done by hand and yields are kept very low.   

The Chaume-Arnaud Côtes du Rhone is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault, dark-coloured, it has a rich and velvety character. Very inviting nose, sweetly fruited, with gamey/meaty hints. Gorgeously ripe and juicy cherry, plum and cream on the palate with discreet spices. Fine tannins and acidity on the finish hold and balance this brilliant wine very well.

Elena Pantaleoni of La Stoppa, Rivergaro, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

La Stoppa is located in the Colli Piacentini in north-west EmiliaRomagna. Founded in the late 19th century by Gian-Marco Ageno, the estate was bought by Elena Pantaleoni’s father in 1973. At the time, the estate focused on producing international style wines. Elena inherited the estate in 1991 and by 1996, she and head vignaiolo Giulio Armani began to execute the vision they had for the future of the estate. They replanted Barbera and Bornada, as well as a small amount of Malvasia Candia, Ortrugo and Trebianno, all of which were much more suited to the hot climate and heavy clay soils of the Colli Piacentini. 

The vines were worked organically from the early 90s and La Stoppa received organic certification in 2008. Elena, in typical humble fashion, describes herself as ‘la custode de la vigne’, merely a guardian, until she in her turn passes the estate to the next generation. Her low-key, but powerful conviction is that her responsibility is to farm and make wine in as sustainable, non-interventionist and authentic a way as possible. The wines qualify for Colli Piacentini DOC, but are bottled as Emilia IGT because she feels that the rules of the DOC do not allow the authenticity of the terroir to speak. Her stances on the necessity of truly artisan (as opposed to industrial) production, the use of indigenous grape varieties, yeasts and minimal intervention in the cantina have made her a leading voice for devotees of natural, artisanal wine. She featured in Jonathon Nossiter’s 2015 documentary ‘Natural Resistance’. 

La Stoppa ‘Malvasia Dolce Frizzante’, Emilia-Romagna, Italy 2015

Malvasia Dolce Frizzante, is luscious and subtely sweet with a soft sparkle, the wine is made from Malvasia di Candia grape variety. Single fermentation via the Charmat Method. Honeyed on the palate with floral, tangy fruits. Light, frothy, off-dry. White peach, lightly floral, simple, but delicious purity. Ideal as an aperitif, although Italians would drink this more as a light dessert wine with fruit desserts. It is a ‘mosto parzialemente fermentato’ wine. The method is to pick the aromatic Malvasia grapes quickly and do a very gentle pressing. The juice or ‘mosto’ partially fermented with the fermentation stopped by reducing the temperature. This results in a low alcohol, semi-sparkling, gently sweet wine.

Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine

The inaugural international Literary Festival of Food and Wine took place at Ballymaloe House, Grainstore and Cookery School over the May Bank Holiday wekend, 3 – 6 May. A magical weekend was had, with many wine & drinks events, and here are a selection of photographs and some links to write-up on the weekend. We are already looking forward to 2014 Literary Festival!

http://guides.ie/megabites/jancis-robinson-mw-ballymaloe-litfest-leslie-williams

http://www.jancisrobinson.com/tasting_articles/ta20130508.html

http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/a201305091.html

http://www.corkbilly.com/2013/05/the-ballymaloe-litfest-not-book-just.html

 

Jancis Robinson MW Wine Grapes presentation and tasting at the Literary Festival
Jancis Robinson MW Wine Grapes presentation and tasting at the Literary Festival

 

olm pictured with Jancis Robinson MW at Ballymaloe Literary Festival
olm pictured with Jancis Robinson MW at Ballymaloe Literary Festival
Ger Buckley, Master Cooper, Midleton Distillery pictured with Bill Yosses, Pastry Chef, The White House
Ger Buckley, Master Cooper, Midleton Distillery pictured with Bill Yosses, Pastry Chef, The White House

 

Tom Doorley and John Wilson 'Wine & Words'
Tom Doorley and John Wilson ‘Wine & Words’
Peter Corr and Literary Festival wine & drinks crew
Peter Corr and Literary Festival wine & drinks crew

 

Douro - still and fortified with Maurice O'Mahony, Wine Alliance
Douro – still and fortified with Maurice O’Mahony, Wine Alliance

 

Mary Dowey and Pascal Rossignol 'Going Natural - New Trends'
Mary Dowey and Pascal Rossignol ‘Going Natural – New Trends’

 

Ger Buckley, Master Cooper, Midleton Distillery
Ger Buckley, Master Cooper, Midleton Distillery

 

Sherry with Leslie Williams, wine writer, the Irish Examiner
Sherry with Leslie Williams, wine writer, the Irish Examiner

 

Rieslings to be Cheerful with John McDonnell, Wine Australia Ireland
Rieslings to be Cheerful with John McDonnell, Wine Australia Ireland
Nick Lander, Joe McNamee, Paul Flynn and Niamh Shields
Nick Lander, Joe McNamee, Paul Flynn and Niamh Shields
Single Pot Still Whiskey from Midleton Distillery matched with Irish Farmhouse Cheese by L Mulligan
Single Pot Still Whiskey from Midleton Distillery matched with Irish Farmhouse Cheese by L Mulligan

 

A Wine Goose Show with Susan Boyle
A Wine Goose Show with Susan Boyle

 

Pierpaolo Rapuzzi, Ronchi di Cialla, Friuli
Pierpaolo Rapuzzi, Ronchi di Cialla, Friuli

 

Penfolds Grange and The Rewards of Patience with John McDonnell, Wine Australia Ireland
Penfolds Grange and The Rewards of Patience with John McDonnell, Wine Australia Ireland
John Wilson, The Irish Times and Juan Gil, Albarino, Rias Baixas
John Wilson, The Irish Times and Juan Gil, Albarino, Rias Baixas

 

Tom Lynch, El Comandante Wines, Mendoza
Tom Lynch, El Comandante Wines, Mendoza
Wine & Literature with John Wilson, wine writer, The Irish Times
Wine & Literature with John Wilson, wine writer, The Irish Times

 

 

William O'Callaghan, Longueville Irish Apple Brandy and Cider
William O’Callaghan, Longueville Irish Apple Brandy and Cider
Maurice, Pascal and Geraldine checking the wines for Wine Grapes with Jancis Robinson MW
Maurice, Pascal and Geraldine checking the wines.
Sherry in The Big Shed
Sherry in The Big Shed
Daphne launching the literary festival with Nyetimber
Daphne launching the literary festival with Nyetimber
John Bowman with the box office crew - Nicola, Aoife and Ka
John Bowman with the box office crew – Nicola, Aoife and Ka

 

 

Sacha with delicious Iberico Ham for the Sherry
Sacha with delicious Iberico Ham for the Sherry

 

The Big Shed Fringe at the literary festival
The Big Shed Fringe at the literary festival

 

 

Upcoming wine/whiskey/cognac events in 2013

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Upcoming wine/whiskey/cognac events in 2013, include:

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– Visit of Jean-Charles Cazes, of Chateau Lynch-Bages, Pauillac, Bordeaux, to Ballymaloe on Sunday, 10th March 2013, in association with Michael Barry, Barry & Fitzwilliam

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– Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine, 3rd – 6th May 2013 with national and international food and drinks writers from Ireland and all over the world, coming to East Cork for the inaugural international ‘Literary Festival of Food and Wine’ – including Jancis Robinson MW,  Mary Dowey, Tom Doorley, John Wilson alongside iconic food names, to name but some of the 40 speakers (see www.litfest.ie – full confirmation of programme of events & details soon)

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– Hennesy Cognac event, at Ballymaloe, 10th October 2013, in association with Edward Dillon & Co

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Further details here on all these events

Clos des Papes, Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Delighted to recently welcome back to Ballymaloe, Paul-Vincent Avril, Clos des Papes, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhone. Clos des Papes needs little introduction in Ireland – his brother-in-law is Bill Kelly of Kellys Hotel Rosslare, and indeed, Clos des Papes needs little introduction in the world of wine, being much enjoyed by people who enjoy good wine, along with great reviews, including respected wine writers, Jancis Robinson MW here where she is writing about the 2010 vintage in the Rhone, and Mary Dowey here (Mary is a renowned expert on this part of France – Southern Rhone and Provence, and her blog is well worth following www.provencefoodandwine.com Clos des Papes also were awarded in 2007 ‘Wine of the Year’ by Wine Spectator and Producer of the Year 2010 by Le Grand Guide des Vin de France – Brettane & Desseauve.

Paul-Vincent Avril, Clos des Papes
Paul-Vincent Avril, Clos des Papes, at Ballymaloe

 

 

Mas de Daumas Gassac Long Table Dinner, 2nd August 2012

We were delighted to welcome the Guibert Family of Mas de Daumas Gassac, Aniane for a Long Table Dinner in the glasshouse at Ballymaloe Cookery School on Thursday 2nd August,  hosted by the Guibert Family and the Allen Family, with the Grand Cru wines of the estate, to launch Veronique Guibert’s cookbook ‘ Savours and Flavours of Daumas Gassac’. Ours thanks to two of Munster’s well known wine merhants, who represent Mas de Daumas Gassac, in Ireland for all their help in organising this evening –  Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine and Michael Kane, Curious Wines. Proceeds for the evening in aid of the East Cork Slow Food Educational Project.

Samuel and Darina
Samuel and Darina
Gary, Samuel, Veronique, Darina and Jim
Gary, Samuel, Veronique, Darina and Jim
Follow the Yellow Straw Road
Follow the Yellow Straw Road

 

Menu and table set-up
Menu and table set-up

sign for Long Table Dinner

 

Cully and Samuel
Cully and Samuel
Emer and Pam getting it all ready
Emer and Pam getting it all ready
Gary, Eileen and Sharon
Gary, Eileen and Sharon

Sign in the glasshouse

 

Long table set-up
Long table set-up

Ice bowl

Mas de Daumas Gassac Cookbook
Mas de Daumas Gassac Cookbook

Mas de Daumas Gassac boxes

 

Jimmy getting the kitchen in the glasshouse all connected
Jimmy getting the kitchen in the glasshouse all connected
Seamus and Fionn
Seamus and Fionn
Susan in the glasshouse
Susan in the glasshouse
amongst the vines
amongst the vines
Tomato sign
….the Heritage Tomato vines that is
Veronique Guibert
Mme Veronique Guibert, Mas de Daumas Gassac, and Colm, at Ballymaloe
Kitchen area all ploughed up
All over after a wonderful Long Table Dinner – the ‘kitchen’ area in the glasshouse all ploughed up and ready for sowing

For any futher information on Mas de Daumas Gassac wines, please contact wine merchant, Gary Gubbins, Red Nose Wine. Please also see the excellent video clips here from Mike & Gary’s voyage to Mas de Daumas Gassac – the vineyard here and the winery here

The Glasshouse at Ballymaloe School
The Glasshouse at Ballymaloe School

 

RAchel, Gary and Mike highlighting the Mas de Daumas Gassac Long Table dinner - with some giant glasses for fun, in the wine cellar at Ballymaloe House
Rachel, Gary and Mike highlighting the Mas de Daumas Gassac Long Table dinner – with some giant glasses for fun, in the wine cellar at Ballymaloe House

Jean Trimbach, Trimbach Wines, Alsace

We were delighted to welcome Jean Trimbach, Trimbach Wines, Alsace, France, back to Ballymaloe, who along with Giana & Fingal Ferguson, Gubbeen Farm, Cured Meats and Cheese, and Sarah & Sergio Furno, Cashel Blue and Crozier Blue, Fethard, Co. Tipperary, gave a brilliant presentation together, matching up a selection of Trimbach Wines, including Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emile Riesling and Trimbach Clos Sainte Hune Riesling with some of their produce – a brilliant presentation. Trimbach are family run since 1626, and ranked amoung the top white winemakers of the world. See also Billy Lyons brilliant series of blogs following on from their presentation all together here at Ballymaloe – about Trimbach here  and Gubbeen here and Cashel Blue here . (Also see Jean Trimbach’s previous visit, in 2010, here )

Jean Trimbach

Gubbeen and Cashel Blue

Irish Wine Geese

Caro Feely, author of ‘Grape Expectations’, and owner & winemaker at Irish owned & Irish run, biodynamic Chateau Haut Garrigue, Bergerac, South-West France, and Tomas Clancy, well known wine writer, recently gave a co-presentation at Ballymaloe on The Irish Wine Geese – Irish people both long ago, and present day, who are involved in winemaking around the world. A fascinating insight into generation of Irish people in all corners of the wine world, with a great selection of wines to taste as well. We also served ‘Irish Wine Geese’ wines at another recent event in Ballymaloe

Caro Feely and Tomas Clancy

Darina, Florence and Caro

Caro Feely and Ted Murphy
Caro Feely and Ted Murphy

 

Caro Feely in the wine cellar at Ballymaloe
Caro Feely in the wine cellar at Ballymaloe

 

Riesling

In Association with John McDonnell, Wine Australia Ireland, Ballymaloe hosted a Riesling Revolution  – a wine tatsing with three winemakers from great Riesling producing areas – Carl Ehrhard, Rheingau, Germany, Severine Schlumberger, Alsace, France and Tim Adams, Clare Valley, South Australia – and we had over 140 people turn up in Ballymaloe for this amazing Riesling tasting – Riesling Rocks! A video clip of the event can be viewed here and also see Billy Lyons blog here

Riesling event

Riesling at the Grainstore

At the Riesling event

In the cellar

 

Burgundy 2009 vintage – its wines & villages

Ballymaloe welcomed French winemaker, Marinette Garnier, Maison Jaffelin, Burgundy to a wine tasting in the Grain Store as part of their ongoing series of visiting winemaker events throughout the year. Burgundy is one of France’s great wine regions, and Marinette introduced the following wines from the acclaimed 2009 vintage –  Chablis, Chablis Premier Cru ‘Cote de Lechet’, Puligny-Montrachet,  Meursault, Fleurie, Pommard, Nuits-St-Georges, Gevrey-Chambertin. Our thanks to Mark O’Connor of  Dalcassian wine merchants for arranging this visit.

Ivan Whelan, Mark O'Connor, Marinette Garnier, Colm McCan
Ivan Whelan, Mark O'Connor, Marinette Garnier, and Colm McCan
Florence Bowe and friends at the tasting in The Grain Store
Florence Bowe and friends
The Grain Store Ballymaloe, Burgundy wine event
The Grain Store Ballymaloe, Burgundy wine event