MOVIES & BOOZE: Award winning wine for New Years

Jean Smullen reviews Champagne L. Bernard Pitois (Brut) and 2018 Callia Pinot Grigio

Today on Movies & Booze we are going to look at an award winning white wine and a well priced Champagne to help celebrate the New Year.

Champagne L. Bernard Pitois (Brut) €37.00

Stockists, Independent Off Licences, Nationwide

The market for Champagne as a celebration drink has been seriously eroded by the enormous growth of Prosecco; almost unknown 14 years ago Prosecco is now the sparkling wine of choice for most celebrations.

Champagne however is still one of the ultimate luxury products and still holds great appeal anyone prepared to pay for a quality product.   It is important to take into consideration how Champagne is made. The ageing process in the deep limestone cellars of the great Champagne houses where humidity is retained, ensures the complexity of the wine? 

What makes Champagne so unique is a second fermentation in the bottle of an acidic still wine, made from three grape varieties, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier. The wine is bottled and some extra yeast and sugar (dosage) is added to the bottle. This starts second fermentation within the bottle which gives the wine it's sparkle as it produces carbon dioxide and six atmospheres of pressure.

The yeast sediment from the fermentation process is eventually moved to the neck of the bottle either manually or by machine and is then removed by popping the crown cap to release the dead yeast cells now resting in the neck of the bottle. The final wine is sealed with a special three-layered cork held down by a wire muselet.

In 1878, Champagne appeared in the Bénard-Pitois family. Now, third generation winemakers in Mareuil-sur-Ay (only a few kilometers from Epernay), Michelle Laurent Benard and Louis perpetuate the traditions and have managed the family estate since 1991.

This is a beautiful elegant Champagne with only a hint of subtle oak which adds.  They vinify different vineyard parcels in small tanks which gives better control when it comes to selecting a final blends.

This is a small Champagne house, but the wine really punches way above its weight in terms of price/quality.


2018 Callia Pinot Grigio €15.00

Available from Independent Off Licences, Nationwide

The National Off-Licence Association (NOffLA) organises its annual Irish Wine Show Star Awards.  Now in its eighteenth year, this year 45 wines were awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze stars.  The winning are available to consumers all over the country in NOffLA outlets and they have a great booklet called The Irish Wine Show Star Award Winners 2018-2019 which has great information about all the wines.  You can pick one up in any of the 315 independent off licences nationwide. The chosen are recognisable by distinctive Award symbols on each bottle.   The Irish Wine Show Star Awards 2018-2019 Collection is an  ideal Christmas gifts and is available in a variety of special gift packs so look out for them this weekend.

This Argentine white red  voted “White Wine of the Year 2018-2019” by the tasting panel made up of Noffla judges and independent wine journalists who tasted 600 wines.  Points were awarded on the basis of appearance, smell, taste and value for money.  15 Gold Medal wines were selected from key suppliers across a number of price categories.   

Pinot Grigio has to be one of the most popular white grape varieties currently being sold on the Irish market.  It is everywhere, and now you can get Pinot Grigio grown in nearly every country in the world where wine is produced.  The grape is originally  French and originates in the Alsace region of Northern France where it goes by the name,  Pinot Gris;   It is also produced in the Alpine regions of Italy where the Italian name for the grape is Pinot Grigio.  Because of the success of the fairly neutral Italian style of wine made from this grape, the term Pinot Grigio  is now used globally to sell wine. 

Pinot Grigio is not a grape you would normally associate with Argentina, this is a very unique wine,  from the cool temperature region of San Juan north of Mendoza this is a very aromatic, floral white wine, delicate and appealing.   The tasting note reads Lemon Verbena scented sophistication, try with chicken fajitas or chow mein.


FLAVOURS OF NEW ZEALAND - DUBLIN 2019   6:30 pm - 8:30 pm 

Monday 14th January, 2019   Venue:  Radisson Blu, Golden Lane, Dublin 8.

Tickets are now on sale price €15.00. 

Dublin Consumer masterclass 07:00 - 07:30 : (Tickets also available on the link below price €5)

The New Zealand Wine Trail

John Wilson will lead you on a road trip around New Zealand wine regions to highlight the diverse array of styles being produced today.

To purchase tickets you can use the following methods:

To purchase a ticket to the 2019 New Zealand event CLICK HERE   (Credit Card accepted)

Or contact Jean Smullen in Dublin. Email:  Telephone (086) 816 8468 

More details of wine events in the wine diary