MOVIES & BOOZE: Wine for the Weekend

Jean Smullen reviews unoaked Burgundian Chardonnay

To celebrate the definite arrival of Spring this week today on Movies & Booze we are looking at two lighter and elegant wine styles.  We have a classy Burgundian Chardonnay and a soft silky German Pinot Noir.


2014 Saumaize Saint-Véran "En Creches" €21.95


Stockists:  Cabot and Co, Westport; No. 1 Pery Square, Limerick; Poppy Seed, Galway;  On the Grapevine, Dalkey, Co Dublin.


This wine is imported by Gabriel Cooney of On the Grapevine in Dalkey.  They have been in business now for 15 years and  in that time have built up an impressive portfolio of wines.  As of April 1st, On the Grapevine are on the move from their current location in Patrick Street to 26 Castle St, Dalkey a much bigger premises, literally around the corner.   The new shop will be bigger and will have an all-new wine bar as well as an art gallery upstairs.  They be offering a selection of wines by the glass, or you can choose a bottle off the shelf and have it with only €7 corkage.  There will also be space for tastings, music and private functions.


Saint-Véran is a village appellation of the Maconnais district.  On the label, this appellation may be followed by the name of the “climat” (named plot) of origin, in this case “En Creches”.  The AOP was first awarded in 1971 and this stand alone AOP is to the south of the Macconais vineyard district, surrounding the Pouilly Fuisse AOP.  The fossilised limestone  soils are perfect for Chardonnay and the appellation only produces white wine.


This is an un-oaked Chardonnay and it shows lovely pure fruit flavours.  This is a very well made white wine.  It is quite fresh with lovely white apple flavours and a beautiful structure which is slightly honied but with a beautiful mineral finish.  Serve this with a sea food or mushroom risotto or with a oily fried fish.  Jancis Robinson voted this as her “White Wine of the Year” in the Financial Times.


I tasted this at a wine fair in the west of Ireland a few weeks ago.  Knockranny House Hotel in Wesport held a wine producers weekend.  There were 7 producers taking part all from different parts of Europe including France, Australia, Slovenia, and Italy.


The highlight of the weekend was a wine and food dinner at La Fougere Restaurant in Knockranny.  Head Chef Seamus Commons has won awards as the Best Chef in Connaught, he is one of the most innovative chefs  in the West. 


Seamus works with Sommelier Nick Faujours one of the top 10 Sommeliers in Ireland.  Nick’s knowledge and attention to detail is second to none.  We had a spectactular seven course dinner, expertly matched with an exciting range of wines.   I can heartily recommend these wine evenings and recommend you keep an eye out for future wine events at Knockranny because if you are into food and wine, these are not to be missed!



2012 Becker Pinot Noir €21.95


Stockists: Cabot and Co, Westport; Market 57, Westport; No. 1 Pery Square, Limerick

McCambridge's, Galway; Morton's of Galway; On the Grapevine, Dalkey, Co Dublin.


The German name for the Pinot Noir grape is Spätburgunder, though nowadays they tend to use the English name, as is the case in this wine where the label says Pinot Noir.  This wine comes from the Pfalz region of Germany near a town called Neustadt am der Weinstrasse which I visit quite often.  Pfalz used to be known as Rheinpfalz.  It is the second largest wine region in Germany.


The Becker estate  is located in Schweigen,  to the south of the Pfalz on the border with Alsace. The estate is known as one of the top Pinot Noir producers in Germany. The best Becker  Pinot Noirs compare favorably with the best Burgundy has to offer.


This is the great red grape of Burgundy where it is generally accepted as being at it's best.  Although grown in many countries it is a difficult grape to grow The wines are soft perfumed usually pale in colour with complex flavours and a hint of sweetness.


The flavours which Pinot Noir gives are Raspberry, Chocolate, and Cherry fruit. For many wine drinkers Pinot Noir has the most satisfying taste of any red wine.  When young it has some tannin but far less than Cabernet Sauvignon.  Pinot Noir is usually ready for drinking sooner than Cabernet  Sauvignon. 


The Becker Estate is family run,  Fritz Jnr took over from his father in 2005 making the wine.


This is another beautifully elegant wine, imported by Cabot & Co another innovative importer/retail operation, who are based in Westport.


Wine Diary:


For details of wine events go to www.jeansmullen.conm