The Wines of Rioja

Wine1

Posted on: 9th June, 2017

Category: The Wine Buff

Contributor: Tony Eklof

Tony Eklof, originally from New England, has settled in Clonakilty after a career as a librarian at University College Dublin. His knowledge and passion for wine has been inspired by frequent visits to the wine growing regions of the continent, particularly Italy and France.

Recently I watched two programmes which got me thinking about Spain and Spanish wine.

Neven Maguire visited the famous Cune Bodega in Rioja in one of the episodes of his ‘Neven’s Food Trails’. I was fascinated to hear that penicillin is grown over the bottles to protect them! Neven was able to taste Cune’s Gran Reserva, which was served at the King of Spain’s wedding!

Also the latest offering from the excellent duo Steve Coogan and Rob Bryan was called ‘the Trip to Spain’ following on from their hugely entertaining ‘Trip to Italy’.

Having never put a foot in Spain, I have been reluctant to write about Spanish wine. However keeping in mind the Irish love affair with Rioja in particular, I will try to put this right.

Perhaps later we will return to some of the exciting wines coming from lesser known regions such as the white wines coming from Galicia.

Rioja is an enormous wine area with over 4,000 growers so style and quality can be mixed. Most of us think highly oaked, aged and strong red when thinking of Rioja, but in fact over half of the production is of a younger, lighter un-oaked variety. The three districts of the region are Alta, the traditional area and home of the great Rioja names, Alvesa, lighter fruitier young wines from the Basque region, and Baja, the warmest, driest and largest section, and traditionally relying on the Ganarcha grape, as opposed to the traditional grape of Rioja, namely Tempranillo.

A recent article in the Independent, quoting a Spanish wine expert, recommended wines in the €12-13 range, simple young wines, as opposed to crianzas or reservas ‘because it’s not possible to have good quality properly oak aged wines at that price point.’

Some terminology which may help you when choosing Spanish wine:

• Tinto – red wine.

• Blanco – white wine.

• Rosada – rose wine.

• Cava – sparkling wine.

• Joven – young un-oaked wine

• Roble – lightly oaked.

• Crianza –  oaked, often with better grapes than Joven.

• Reserva – oaked for a longer period and capable of ageing.

• Gran Reserva – made from the best fruit, aged for an even longer time and only made during the best growing years.

   

Recommendation:
Cune Rioja. Gran Reserva 2010. On special at €15 in SuperValu at time of writing.

Handpicked Tempranillo grapes, aged in oak for 24 months and then further aged in the bottle. One of the finest vintages ever for Rioja!

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11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at xavierdubuisson@gmail.com or text at 086/0476124.
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26th September, 2017  ·  

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