Wine expert Tomas Clancy joins Sean Moncrieff...
Peter Lehman, Clancy’s Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia 2013
Pricing :around €12.99
Available : Widely in Off Licences and supermarkets nationwide including Londis Malahide, Morton’s Ranelagh, O’ Donoghues, Cork; The Drink Store Manor Street, Dublin; Nolan’s of Clontarf and selected independent wines shops nationwide
The Australian Outback holds the kind of mystical, shared cultural idea of the happy go lucky probably never did exists past for many Australians, that say, The Quiet Man’s vision of Connemara does for many Irish people. The Quiet man is a rose tinted, lilting, amiable past where even the fighting or the clashes between Rebel and State Forces is played out with a humorous open hearted joy.
Well for Australians, poet Banjo Patterson, actually Andrew Barton Patterson a bored, wanderlust filled solicitor by day, poet by night, is the author of what was one of these shared reveries. Banjo Patterson wrote a poem called Clancy of the Overflow about a singing, horseback-rising, at one with nature, free-wheeling sheep drover who would disappear for week, months even on great adventures herding vast flocks of sheep too and fro across the great Australian interior.
The poem written in 1889 was a kind of Australian Cowboy adventure and sparked the imagination of the first generation of Australians to live in cities about the lost freedoms of the outback frontier life. Today Patterson and another of his Clancy poems is on the Australian $10 note, its that famous.
Peter Lehman was a pioneering Barossa Valley fine wine maker, one of the early players in the later 1960s and 1970s who transformed Australian wine into he industry it is today. Many of his wines are now quite expensive fine wines, but a whole set of which this is the leading one aim for the open-hearted, easy and early drinking style. Calling it Clancy’s evoking the poem is saying this soft, luscious and spicy Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz Blend is a horseback riding, whistling cowboy of a wine. An easy going pleasure. This 2013 vintage is just such a wine and the pricing is also a throwback for many of us as to why we loved the over delivery on quality for the price too.
Champagne Brimoncourt, Brut Regence NV
Pricing : €49.99
Available: Donnybrook Fair outlets; Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock, County Dublin; The Corkscrew, Chatham Street, Dublin 2 and online at thecorkscrew.ie; La Touche Wines, Greystones and nationwide on whelehanswines.ie; and selected Independent Off Licences and wine shops nationwide
Champagne is rarely as cheekily leftfield and irreverent as this one, but Brimoncourt has the advantage of not having to worry about several generations of brand image to unsettle. Founded only in 2008, by a Alexandre Cornot, a hipster beard wearing former art dealer, former member of the Navy, former Tax Lawyer who decided to return to his native Champagne to help rescue a childhood friend’s fast failing printing business.
The business in Champagne was a label printing business one of the oldest in Champagne which made the labels and etiquette the curved bits on champagne bottles necks. The printing business was located in a purpose built factory in the centre of the village of Ay, the epicentre of Champagne Grand Cru vineyards. The factory itself was designed and built, the 19th century parts, by Gustav Eifel of the famous Parisian tower fame.
For a couple of years Cornot worked to turn the business around and met many of the leading players in Champagne, this lead him eventually to sourcing some of the best small parcels of grapes on the market and in 2008 he decided to set up a new Champagne House, a feat common in the 18th and 19th century, almost unheard of these days without hundreds of millions of euro in backing.
His aim was to reconnect with the pure exuberant fun of the sparkling wine and with a combination of quirky settings and image and above all, with fruit , grapes that are far better than his rivals could manage at their price and production level he hopes to carve a small niche for himself and his wines. The NV Brit is the house entry level and uses exceptional fruit because he only needs a fraction of the qualities of his big brand rivals. So though never cheap, Champagne remains a discretionary luxury that no-one, requires, this Brut NV over delivers is subtly, opulence and complexity, with honeyed, nutty and citric notes, a wash of real creaminess and toasty warmth followed by a lifting, bright, clean finish. It does not yet have the brand recognition of the famous names, but the quality is there in the wine, the quirkiness in the image and the rest, the cult status, will simply take time, for the moment instead of being a€200 cult boutique producer, it remains an accessible delight.