Wine varietals and blends

Posted on: 5th February, 2014

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.

The term ‘varietal wine’ comes originally from California, and means that the wine is made principally, (75 per cent and upwards) from one grape variety. Wines composed of two grape varieties in equal measure, or from a number of different ones, are known as blended wines. You might assume that varietal wines are necessarily superior to blended wines, but that is not the case.

To illustrate the point, consider wines from the most famous region of the world, Bordeaux. The prized wines from here are from a scattering of villages on the left or right of the River Gironde. The famous Medoc peninsular on the left bank and its towns of Margaux, Pauillac, and St Estephe produce Cabernet Sauvignon dominated wines which are blended with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and sometimes Petit Verdot to soften the wine.

On the right side of the river, wines from St Emilion and Pomerol are Merlot based. Finally in some growing areas, namely Graves and Pessac-Leognan around the city of Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are blended in near equal measures with perhaps five per cent of Cabernet Franc added to the mix.

When asked about their favourite wine, many people will respond with Cabernet or Merlot, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, but you should consider that wine guides list over ten pages of different varieties so it can be fun to try something different every now and then. Wines from Portugal or Greece are generally comprised of Grapes we are much less familiar with such as Aghiorgitiko from Greece or Touriga Nacional from Portugal and are likely to give you a new taste sensation.

Here are some of the most famous and popular varieties.

Red:

Cabernet Sauvignon — Grown almost everywhere, most successfully in France, USA and Australia.

Merlot — Best examples from California, France, New Zealand. Widely planted, responsible for some of the best and worst of wines available. Anyone who has seen the excellent film ‘Sideways’ will remember merlot, as the variety to avoid at all cost!

Tempranillo — Spanish Rioja!

Pinot Noir — Responsible for the delicate, perfumed, and generally expensive wines of Burgundy. (The hero-grape of ‘Sideways!’)

Syrah or Shiraz — Backbone grape of Rhone wines.

Primitivo or Zinfandel — wines from Southern Italy and California respectively.

Sangiovese — Chianti.

Gamay — Beaujolais

Nebbiolo — Barolo, king of Italian wines. You can also find fine Nebbiolo not from Barolo and much less expensive.

Malbec — the star of Argentina.

White:

Chardonnay — Chablis from France, but grown almost everywhere now.

Sauvignon — New Zealand, France (Sancerre), and Chile.

Riesling — Germany, Australia, Austria, Alsace in France.

Gruner Veltliner — Austria

Albarino — Spain

Pinot Blanc — Italy, although fairly ubiquitous now. Lighter, less scented than Chardonnay.

Chenin Blanc — the Loire in France, California and South Africa.

Gewurztraminer —spicy white from Alsace and Germany.

Muscadet — Brittany in France.

Semillon — Sauternes and Bordeaux in France.

Refs: Oz Clarke, Pocket Wine (2014), Hugh Johnson, Pocket Wine (2014).

Wines of the month: Lar de Paula — Rioja Blanco 2010 Malvasia and Viura grapes. Delicious white Rioja. (€13.99) Borgo Magredo — Merlot, 2010 Red from the Veneto region of Italy. (€11.99) Both available from Curious Wines, Kinsale Roundabout, Cork.

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Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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Check out this new upbeat indie-folk track Edges, released today from Inni-K with a video by Myles O'Reilly. Inni-K will be performing at Levis’, Ballydehob on Saturday 24th February, with support from Sam Clague.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1jc2tlH75Q
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16th February, 2018  ·  

Vikings talk in Clonakilty!

“The Viking Gold and Silver Hoards from County Cork” is the topic of the next Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage lecture on Thursday 22nd at the Parish Centre starting at 8pm.

It will be delivered by John Sheehan, senior lecturer in the Archaeology Department, UCC and a former member of the Heritage Council and the Board of the National Museum of Ireland.

The Vikings were an important presence in Ireland for over two centuries. As well as inflicting great terror they were also responsible for introducing urbanism and new economic systems to the country.

In this talk the focus will be on the economy, looking at the gold and silver hoards that were buried in Co. Cork. It will also explore how these hoards were discovered, what happened to them, and where they are now!
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15th February, 2018  ·  

Bandon Toastmasters is a club that helps people overcome Glossophobia, a fear of public speaking. The club is holding a night of inspirational and motivational speakers on February 22 that is a must for anybody wishing to overcome this phobia.
Tickets can be purchased either on the club's facebook page or through eventbrite.

www.eventbrite.ie/e/bandon-toastmasters-presents-ignite-your-potential-tickets-41871052445?aff=es2
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