MOVIES & BOOZE: Irish wine for your St. Patrick's weekend

Jean Smullen reviews 2014 Irish Peat Wine and 2014 Michel Lynch Reserve AOP Medoc

Wine Geese wines for St Patrick’s Day! For many generations the Irish diapora have been extremely influential in promoting and making high quality wines all over the world. The original Wild Geese fled from Ireland in the 17th century and many of the young military men and merchants gravitated towards Bordeaux which had a long established trading connection with Ireland where they established themselves in the wine trade there.

Wine Geese is a term created by historian Ted Murphy to describe the emigrant Irish families from the 17th & 18th century who became part of the established wine trade in various regions in France. His book The Kingdom of Wine is a must read for anyone interested in learning more about these pioneers.

2014 Irish Peat Wine €39.95
Stockists: McCambridge, Galway; Ballymaloe Shop, Cork; Celtic Whiskey Shop, Dawson Street, Dublin 2; The Wine Buff, Limerick

Brendan Reddin and his partner Trisha Kelly are contemporary Wine Geese. They have developed a unique wine with a very distinctive Irish flavour, peat! Brendan was bitten by the wine bug in his student days and has always enjoyed learning about it and tasting wine. The “day job” involves a business degree and commercial finance.
As a student, Brendan worked one summer in Tuscany picking grapes, this really sparked his interest and since then he has travelled all over the world, visiting many wine regions. A trip to Seattle to visit his brother four years ago brought him into contact with a fellow oenophile who was also a fan of Irish whiskey. The idea for Irish Peat wine was borne via that whiskey connection and a number of conversations during the trip. Growing up in the West of Ireland , Brendan was no stranger to the Irishness of peat, so the idea was born, if peat can influence flavours in whiskey, what would wine infused with peat taste like?

Teaming up with Trisha, a Chef who runs her own catering business they embarked on a new venture which involved a lot of experimentation with grape varieties and the infusion of peat . After some time and much trial and error, Brendan and Trish found the grape best suited to peat ageing was Pinot Noir. So they took themselves off to Germany where they sourced good quality Pinot Noir (or Spatburgunder as it is called in Germany) from small producers in the Pfalz and Rheinhessen regions. The peat is sourced in West Limerick.

Brendan and Trish (BT Wines an amalgamation of their initials) are hands on in terms of the wine making and the maturation. They use organic peat that hasn’t been processed and put a small portion of it into the wine as it ages in the barrel. The wine and peat is left in the barrell for a minimum of 6 months and they using barrels with a specific toast which adds a mocha flavour to the wine. Their production is small, only 500 bottles are produced at a time, but the wine, though produced in Germany is now very distinctively Irish!!! The aroma and flavour of the peat is infused with the mocha flavours from the barrel and the cherry fruit of the Pinot Noir creating an intense wine with a subtle peat flavour.

2014 Michel Lynch Reserve AOP Medoc €19.99
Stockists: Independent Off Licences and www.winesoftheworld.ie

Michel Lynch was the grandson of an Irish immigrant, James Lynch a colonel in the Irish army of James II whom he followed to France. Michel Lynch was the owner of the Bages Estate in the 18th Century. He was born in Bordeaux in 1752. He was Mayor of Pauillac during the French Revolution and was a key figure in Bordeaux’s wine history. A prominent wine merchant he owned numerous chateaux in the region including Chateau Lynches Bages, Chateau Moussas, Chateau Dauzac Lynch and Chateau Pontac Lynch. He became a very well know viticulturist in the Bordeaux district.

Two centuries on his name lives on in Chateau Lynch Bages . In 1986 the current owner of the estate, the Cazes family created the Michel Lynch brand as a tribute to the estates historic Irish owner.

2014 Michel Lynch Reserve Medoc is outstanding, made from 50% Merlot/Cabernet from a pretty serious Bordeaux vintage, it has lots of concentrated black cherry aromas with coffee and chocolate aromas. On the palate it has lots of ripe softening tannin and a lovely earthy finish.

If you want to push the boat out this Easter, this is definitely a perfect wine to put in your shopping basket. Ideal with any kind of roast meat, this would be a perfect match with roast spring lamb and rosemary and all the trimmings.

Lots of great wine events coming up in March and April, check out the wine diary for more information: www.jeansmullen.com