Waxing lyrical about Greek wines

We recently travelled to Prowein and Vinitaly Wine Fairs to ‘recruit’ some new wines to expand, improve and freshen up our wine portfolio.

One of the highlights for me was meeting the Sales Mng from Estate Argyros a top producer from Santorini in Greece famed for its dry and mineral scented white wines made mainly from the Assyrtiko grape. What we didnt realise is that the same grape varieties can also produce amazing sweet wines, the best of which can outshine their Tuscan counterparts.

The dry wines we already import have lots of complexity and freshness – they are also fabulous food wines and cellar really well giving masses of pleasure years after the vintage.

We met Stefanos on the Sunday afternoon in Prowein and I was impressed with his total professionalism and enthusiasm; he is a great ambassador for Argyros, Santorini and Greek Wines (a wine producing country on the up and one to watch).

Vinsanto_1989_-blue_cheese_1_op_800x600

We tasted the new vintages of the dry white wines and as usual they didn’t disappoint. He asked myself and my colleague Kenny to taste the VinSanto’s and I was thinking of saying ‘hard sell etc etc’ but happily I said ‘yes lets have a quick taste’. Stefanos seemed really proud of these wines as the VinSanto tradition goes back to the 8th century. The explosion of flavours on the palate on these sweet wines was amazing. The wines are made from the same white grape varities but picked very late and aged in bottle the wines turn a copper colour. The intense caramel, toffee and cooked fig flavours are balanced by an incredible acidity that keeps the whole thing fresh. The best bit is that saline acidity remains giving the whole wine a great kick of salted caramel!

‘Nichy’ and hard sell they might be but they will definitely be making their way to these shores on our next order!

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This little piggy went to the Market…

Six Course Dinner with Matching wines €75.00…

JP image

We are delighted to be hosting a 6 course ‘Nose to Tail’ Dining Experience with JP McMahon who runs Cava Bodega, Aniar (Michelin Star Restaurant) and Eat Gastropub in Galway . The event will take place in the Honest2Goodness Market Cafe in Glasnevin on Thursday September 25th.

Featuring Rare Breed Pork from The Whole Hoggs free-range farm in Slane, Co. Meath dishes will be paired with matching wines from exclusive wine producers across Europe.


Experience cooking skills and techniques JP and his team have honed in his top class restaurants paired with the fantastic flavour from Rare-Breed , hand reared Tamworth Pigs.

The menu with matching wines is shaping up as follows:

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pork crackling, oyster mayonnaise
Blood & fermented barley crisp 

Paired with Dominio de la Vega, Cava Brut NV Cava DO

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Pork cheek, chicory, piquillo pepper px sherry

 Paired with Rosso Bello, Rosso Piceno, 2010 DOC

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Pork belly, scallop, cauliflower, almond 

Paired with Ch St Go Blanc, 2009 St Mont AOC

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Pork neck, kale, carrot, fermented gooseberry

Domaine Galevan CDR Paroles de Femmes

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Bacon & pigs ear pannacotta, camomile, sweet corn

Ch de Haut Mayne – St Croix du Mont

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Bean & Goose Dark chocolate Truffle & Delish Melish Marshmallow Petit Fours

Teluccio – Late harvest Sangiovese

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The event will be hosted in the quirky but convivial surroundings of the Honest2Goodness Market and Cafe which hosts great local producers every Saturday. Numbers are restricted to 50 people so advanced booking is essential!


Contact Details: Email : colm@honest2goodness or brid@honest2goodness. Telephone 087 9914291 or 087 6294713
Honest2Goodness, Unit 136A Slaney Close, Dublin Ind. Estate, Glasnevin Dublin 11
www.honest2goodness.ie
Twitter: @colm_h2g @brid_h2g

Posted in French Wines, H2G events, Italian Wines, Spanish Wines, Wine & food Matching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What to drink with Charcuterie…??

So many restaurants and wine bars now offer a charcuterie or cheese platter, and what could be nicer than a sharing platter of lovely artisan products, with a couple of glasses of wine? But, what to match with those various porky, spicy flavours, alongside hummous, olives, even pate and cheese?

charcuterie platter 2

Our advice is to go for red wines that are medium to full-bodied, for example – in Spain, the tempranillo grape is a good option, but go for a Rioja,  not something as full-bodied or intense as a Toro or Ribero del Duero, which could overpower the food.

corral_2008At a recent wine and charcuterie evening hosted here at H2G, we opted for Corral de Castro, mainly Tempranillo but with some Cabernet Sauvignon blended in there. The wine is lovely and fresh, due to it being grown at high altitude in the Alpujarres in Granada, and it worked really well with the charcuterie from Black Pig in Donnybrook and our own local Whole Hoggs charcuterie.

la martineIf you fancy something French, then Bordeaux should work well. A blend of Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon  (typical in the Right-Bank area of Bordeaux) should be just the ticket. We used our Chateau Lamartine (Cotes de Castillon, Bordeaux) at our charcuterie evening, and it and the spicy salamis went together beautifully. It also works extremely well with the more mature hard cheeses that can appear on charcuterie platters.

valori montepulcianoIf your wine of the moment is Italian, then we would suggest something from Abruzzo, typically made with the Montepulciano grape, or a similar wine from its neighbour Rosso Piceno. And of course wines made from the Sangiovese grape (such as a Chianti) will also work well. Our friend Luigi Valori makes wonderful Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, so we chose his wines to go with our charcuterie platters.

Whatever you choose, ENJOY!!

Posted in French Wines, Italian Wines, Spanish Wines, Uncategorized, Wine & food Matching | 2 Comments

Looking to match wines with Cheese & Chocolate?

wine cheese choc tasting evening nov 2013

At Honest2Goodness Cafe, we recently hosted an evening of Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Tasting, where 50 enthusiasts gathered to taste, savour and enjoy combinations of these three wonderful products.

These were our recommendations on the night, which all went down very well indeed! All of these wines, chocolates and cheeses available at Honest2Goodness Market every Saturday… and since that tasting evening, we have added even more with the arrival of Dovinias chocolates with their amazing flavours!

Chocolate & Wine Pairings

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Chez Emily 70% Nibs  Co. Dublin

Dark chocolate Cocoa Nib

To match with…

Domain Galevan Cotes du Rhone Villages 2011

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Chez Emily Dark Honeycomb  Co. Dublin

Crunchy golden honeycomb pieces in smooth Belgian dark chocolate.

To match with…

Primitivo di Manduria Sud 2011

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Chez Emily Praline Co. Dublin

Crunchy millk chocolate Praline

To match with…

Chateau Du Haut-Mayne 2009/2010

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Magic Mayan Mucho Mocha Co. Clare

Savour the flavour of coffee and roasted hazelnuts. The cacao used is raw, organic and ethically traded from small scale producers in Peru, coming from the criollo variety, known as “The Queen of Cacao”.

To match with…

Valenciso Tinto Reserva 2006, Rioja DOC

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Magic Mayan Black Velvet Co. Clare

A very dark bar with 85% cocoa solids, especially suitable for diabetics. The cacao used is raw, organic and ethically traded.

To match with…

Vigna Sant’Angelo Riserva 2005/2006

and then our wine & cheese pairings…

Cheese & Wine Pairings

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St Tola Ash Log Co. Clare

Organic goat’s cheese rolled in traditional food grade ash. The ash slows down the development and maturation of the cheese and after a few weeks of handling, an elegant, smooth textured and full flavoured cheese emerges.

To match with…

Pouilly Fume Jean Pabiot 2012

Chateau Reynier Blanc 2012

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Glebe Brethan  Co. Louth

Hard cheese made from unpasteurised cow’s milk.Smooth, mild and slightly salty with a subtle sweet nutty overtone. Reminiscent of Comtè, Gruyére, Beaufort.

To match with…

Falanghina Rocca del Dragone 2011

Chateau Lamartine, Cotes de Castillon 2010

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Mossfield Mature Cheddar  Co. Offaly

Organic cheese made broadly in the gouda style. The cheese is made with vegetarian rennet from pasteurised cow’s milk. Zingy aftertaste, crystalline texture and a distinct nutty taste.

To match with…

Montalto Pinot Grigio 2012

Nespolino Bianco IGT Rubicone 2012

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Shepherds Store  Co. Tipperary

Semi-hard cheese made from pasteurised sheep’s milk. Firm and compact consistency and a buttery texture. The cheese has a distinctive flavour, well developed but not too strong, creamy with a slight piquancy, and leaves an aftertaste that is characteristic of sheep’s milk.

To match with…

La Ganghija Barbera d’Alba 2010

Pecorino Luigi Valori 2010

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Crozier Blue ,Co. Tipperary

Semi-soft blue cheese made from pasteurised sheep’s milk. When young, the cheese is firm and crumbly, and at around six weeks has a tangy flavour. As the cheese ages it becomes creamier, developing a fuller flavour.

To match with…

Sybille Kuntz Auslese 2003

Teluccio

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Wine duty increase

At midnight 15th of October 2013, 50c was added to the tax on a bottle of wine, less than a year after a previous increase of €1 was added to the costs. The 2012 increase represents a 41% increase in duty (according to the Irish Wine Association), and this years 50c adds a further 20% increase over the 2011 rates (or thereabouts!). So, in the space of 2 years, tax rates have gone up by almost 2/3, a massive increase…

This graph from Gavin Quinney was before the latest increase here in Ireland, and shows just how high our Duty rates are when compared with the rest of Europe, and thats before any VAT is added on at a further 23% on top of all the other costs…

https://i0.wp.com/blog.bauduc.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/002995_euro_duty_per_bottle2-01.jpg

Now, many people will ask, sure what is all the fuss about, wine is a luxury item?  That kinda misses the point – WINES ARE A PRODUCT SOLD BY BUSINESSES – 99% of wine businesses (importers/wholesalers/retailers/restaurants/wine bars) started business without any state support whatsover to get up and running, mostly family businesses and SMEs – the so called backbone of the economy that the various Government spokespeople say are critical to Ireland getting out of the economic mess we are in.

So, you would think that any changes to the fundamentals of how those businesses operate would be done with kid gloves, wouldnt you?? Not so – far closer to the iron fist!! When you consider that the Excise Duty now equals the average cellar door cost of the bottle of wine (i.e. the price to the importer before transport etc), you get some idea of the scale of the problem.  Put it another way, a bottle of wine selling at €15, around €6 of that is either excise or VAT…

Dont get me wrong, we love the wine business – we love that it is one of the oldest traded commodities in the world, that a piece of Mediterranean sunshine can be captured in a bottle, with lots of proven health benefits (as long as its in moderation!). That we get to meet great people with a passion for what they are doing – all the way along the line from producer to consumer.  But, if we and others like us cant survive in todays business and tax environment then Irish society will be worse off and there simply wont be an independent wine sector in this country. And the big supermarkets will have killed off another slice of the retail trade…

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Cava – 3 reasons to be cheerful!

‘CAVA: Traditionally made Spanish sparkling wines (using methods similar to Champagne). The Cavas imported by Honest2Goodness are from a company called Dominio de la Vega in the region of Utiel-Requena, close to Valencia.’

The word ‘Cava’ is peppering a few of our conversations at Honest2Goodness at the moment. Three reasons – one, Dominio de la Vega have two of their Cavas in the recently published ’50 Great Sparkling Wines in the World’ their Brut Reserva Especial (joint third at 95 points) and their Brut Pinot Noir (scoring 88 points). Their Cavas have been awarded top Cava in Spain on more than once occasion, but its great to see them feature so highly on an international comparison.

Cartel Alphons Mucha_Baja Res

The second reason is that Cava Bodega has opened its doors in Galway, to take up where the original Cava Tapas Restaurant left off at the beginning of 2013.  So, JP & Drigin have found a new home for their wonderful Spanish cooking, using lots of local Irish produce, matching with wines, sherries, beers and ciders – cant wait to try it soon.

Cava Kitchen Range

Photos from the new Cava Bodega website at www.cavarestaurant.ie

We are delighted that Jp & Drigin have chosen some of our wines as part of their eclectic and interesting wine list, including our Cava Brut Rosado from Dominio de la Vega… and this oaked sauvignon, also from Dominio de la Vega

The third reason that ‘CAVA’ is in our conversations at the moment is that Natalia from Dominio de la Vega will be in Dublin later this month, and as part of her visit, Paul at BlackPig Wines in Donnybrook is hosting an evening of Cava and still wine tasting with some of his wonderful jamon:

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At its best, Cava can rival Champagne for taste and quality and offers excellent value for money. At Dominio de la Vega, they use 100% Macabeo grape for their Cava Brut, 100% Garnacha for their Cava Brut Rosado and a blend of Macabeo and Chardonnay for their Cava Brut Especial Reserva. They also produce a range of still wines which include local grape variety Bobal.

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Choosing Barbeque Wines – 9 great Tips & some recommendations

bbq empty wine bottles

At the end of the day…

Yes, it is raining as this is being written (15th August), but there is a prediction that the weather will improve again for the rest of the month, so be prepared!

  • Ask your local wine merchant for advice. Most local independent wine shops stock a great range of wines and have a deep knowledge of matching wines and food. If you have large numbers of guests they can also supply wines on Sale or Return. Many can also supply extra glasses and ice if needed.

  • Choose a red wine that will match both white and red meats. Many BBQ’s have a vast range of meats starting with pork sausages, moving onto chicken and lamb or beef. If you choose something like a Cotes du Rhone, a Rioja, a red from Southern Italy (like Primitivo, Montepulciano, Negromaro or Nero d’Avola) or Malbec from Argentina you will be in the right territory. These types of wines have rounder tannins are have plenty of Juicy fruit which matched well with smoky marinades and match better with white meats.

  • Alcohol content – choose lower alcohol levels for long time drinking. Red wines from Beaujolais and reds from Veneto made with Corvina (Valpolicella or Bardolino’s being 2 examples) tend to be at or below 13% abv. For whites Sauvignons from the Loire or Sauvignon blends from South West France weigh in at 12.5% or below. If you want to splash out on more expensive whites there are some great Rieslings from Germany coming in at 12% abv or below.

  • Blend of white and red wines – if its 30C like we’ve had in the recent heat wave anyone who switched between red and white is far more likely to drink much more white than usual so be ready for this.

  • Match the weight of the food with the wine and escalate upwards. Serve lighter foods like grilled prawns first (matched with the lightest whites) and move up from there to chicken pork, lamb etc. Serve the fullest bodied red with the richest red meats.

  • Aromatic whites work fantastically with fish or white meats marinated with herbs and citrus. Albarino or Falanghina would be a great match with Monkfish or Chicken marinated in lemon, coriander and garlic

  • Just because the food comes from a barbeque it doesn’t mean we can’t match more expensive wines for something special. A barbeque is the perfect place to cook Dry Aged Rib eye that costs more than €25/kg., so don’t stint on the quality of the wine.

  • Chill reds! With the recent heat we have had 30-45 minutes in the fridge for the types of wine mentioned in Tip 2 will really bring out the fruit character of the wines. Chill whites in plenty of time and also have ice on stand by if your fridge is full of food.

  • Keep a nice bottle for yourselves for after the guests have left for a nice treat!

Wines to go with Pork, White and Red Meats in Smoky Marinades

Domaine Galevan Organic Cote du Rhone, 2011 €16.95 Stockists Fallon and Byrne, Bottle Shop Sundrive Rd, Cheers Delgany, The Corkscrew D2, Donnybrook Fair D4, Lohans Salthill

iTratturi Negromaro, 2011 €14.95 Stockists Corkscrew D2, Bottle Shope Sundrive Rd, Red Island Wines Skerries, Baggot St Wines D4

Valori Montepulciano d’Abruzzo €15.95 Stockists Corkscrew D2, Fallon and Byrne D2, Red Island Wines Skerries, Sweeneys Glasnevin

Nespolino Rosso, Sangiovese/Merlot 2011 €10.95 Stockists Corkscrew D2, Bottle Shop Sundrive Rd, Red Island Wines Skerries, Baggot St Wines, D4

Low Alcohol Whites

Rive Haute Colombard/Sauvignon 2012 11.5% abv, €10.95 Stockists Corkscrew D2, Red Island Wines Skerries, Fresh Grand Canal Quay

Sybille Kuntz Reisling Kabinett, 2010 11.5% abv. €19.95-21.95 Stockists Corkscrew D2, Red Island Wines Skerries, Cheers Delgany, Parting Glass Enniskerry, Lohans Salthill, Fallon and Byrne D2, Baggot St Wines D4, Jus de Vine Portmarnock

Aromatic Whites to go with Monkfish or Chicken marinated in Lemon, garlic and coriander

Senorio di Rubios, Albarino 2012 €15.95-16.95 Stockists Fallon and Byrne D2, Black Pig Wines Donnybrook, Parting Glass Enniskerry, Jus de Vine Portmarnock

Triade Bianco (Greco, Falanghina, Fiano) 2012 €15.95 Stockists Baggot St Wines, Parting Glass Enniskerry, Red Island Wines Skerries, Cheers Delgany, Corkscrew D2

Splash Out Red to go with Dry Aged Rib-Eye

Valenciso Rioja Reserva, 2006 €35.00 Stockists Black Pig Donnybrook, Corkscrew D2, Red Island Wines Skerries

Chateau Crouseilles Madiran, 2009 RRP €27.50 Contact info@honest2goodness.ie for details

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H2G Wines

At H2G we are mad about food and totally into wine, and put the two together and we are even more enthusiastic – if that were possible! We are a brother (Colm) and sister (Brid) team, officially called Honest2Goodness, and we started the company in 2009 (thats a whole other story!). We have carefully established a portfolio of wines which reflect our philosophy, which you can read about further on in this blogpost.ImageThrough our blog we want to share with you our story and our journey, among other things. Rarely can we keep our reflections onto straight paths, so please bear with us when we meander into another place or occasional cul-de-sac.

Our wine philsophy is pretty simple really:

We source quality-driven, good value and environmentally friendly wines from small to medium family-owned producers in Europe. We add value to our customers business through the quality of our wines and our people – thats it!

We find our wines in the many regions Italy, Spain, France and in one little corner of Germany. We like to source wines made from indigenous grapes, so

We also tweet quite a lot – @brid_h2g and @colm_h2g

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“Wine is…

“Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.”
― Louis Pasteur

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