MOVIES & BOOZE: Some delicious wines for your weekend

Jean Smullen review's 2012 Campo Viejo Reserva and Killahora Orchards Rare Apple Ice Wine

This week on Movies & Booze we are looking at one of Ireland’s favourite red wine styles,  Rioja. Our wine today comes from the DOCa Rioja in Spain’s heartland. 

We are also featuring a Ice Cider from Cork, this is a new product to the Irish market and is a rare and wonderful drink.

2012 Campo Viejo Reserva  €15.99 on offer in Carry Out  at €12.99

Stockists – Carry Out, Nationwide

Spain has a number of things going for it, the climate is excellent for viticulture, and there are plenty of old vines and a lot of indigenous grape varieties.  The key to quality in Spain is their old vines and low yields.  In recent years winemakers have been quick to take in new technology to their bodegas and many of the most modern wineries in Europe are now to be found in Spain.

Two mountain ranges the Cantabrica and the Pyrnees, protect the wine zones of North Central Spain, providing favourable conditions for red  and white wine grapes.  The best known of these zones is undoubtedly Rioja.

Last year,  the Rioja region sold more wine than in any other year since 2006 with 3.628 million bottles. Spain is the fourth largest volume supplier of wine to ROI and it looks as if it may overtake France in the next year or so into third place, just behind Australia and Chile.  Sales of Spanish wine in 2016 increased by 15.6% in with the region of Rioja driving much of this growth.

Why does the Irish wine drinker love Rioja so much?  There are many answers to that question but   mostly it is  because since the 1970’s Irish people like to get their annual dose of Vitamin D in Mediterranean Spain.   

The style of the wine, also appeals to the Irish palate  the Spanish like to sell their wines when they are ready to drink and use a complex ageing process to allow them to do this.  For most Irish, the Reserva category is the most sought after.  

The Spanish use an ageing  classification to define the age and in principle, drinkability of a wine.  Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva are terms used to describe wines that have been matured in a certain way for certain lengths of time.  The idea behind these is to present consumers with an instantly drinkable wine, rather than selling them a bottle that they may have to keep for years until it is ready.

A Crianza wine must have had a minimum of two year's ageing, whether in tank, barrel or bottle with a minimum of six months in oak.  For Reserva the rules are more precise, they must be of good quality and red Reservas must have at least three years ageing (of which one must be in oak barrel).

This wine is made from 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo. It has been aged for 18 months in American and French-oak casks (50%).  This wine has a lovely range of fruit chachteristics including cherries, black plum and  ripe blackberries.  The wood  ageing gives hints of clove, pepper, and vanilla. 

As we come into Spring and Easter approaches the perfect dish to serve with this wine is roast lamb with rosemary and all the trimmings.


Killahora Orchards Rare Apple Ice Wine €24.00

To buy

Nine years ago Barry Walsh and Dave Watson planted their 1st apple orchard on a site in Killahora House about 10 minutes east of Cork City.  Records show that  180 years ago in 1837 an orchard was planted exactly on the same site they choose .   Today their orchards are  planted on south facing slopes, with 108 variety of bittersweet apples and 36 pear varietals.   Since they started their venture they have also found 13 Wild Apple trees, (Crabs), some  at least 100 years old.

The apples produced by the trees they have planted,  range in taste from the sharpest dessert apple to the deepest bittersweet .  Barry feels that utilising different apple species means the cider produced can offer flavour profile differences in the same way that white and red wine do.  His aim is to bring out this spectrum of flavours over time and he emphasised that to him, cider is more similar to wine rather then beer.

Their business in a nutshell is 100 Apple Varieties, in a 200 Year Old Orchard, making 3 Unique Drinks.  Oh and since they started production they have been awarded a Gold Medal for their Johnny Falldown Rare Apple Bittersweet Cider at the Irish Food Awards (Blas na hEireann) and a Gold Medal at the 2017 Great Taste Award. Their first commercial batch of Johnny Fall Down cider was launched last year. They have three core products in the Range:

Johnny Falldown Cider (500ml) RRP €4.50 per bottle

Pom’O (500ml) 18% ABV RRP €24.00 – a type of Apple Cider port that the French call Pommeau (Get it?)

Killahora Orchard Rare Apple Ice Wine RRP€24.00 (ABV 10.8%)

Rare Apple Ice Wine, is a world first in that it is made mainly from Bittersweet cider apples and is the 1st Irish Ice Wine, or Dessert wine to be made.  They make it by concentrating their pressed juice using freezing temperatures and slowly thawing it. This creates a beautiful, deep and rich must which is slowly fermented for a year and stopped before completion, leaving half of the apple sugars intact.  Barry Walshe’s tasting note is wonderful “an explosion of candy floss aroma , then on the palate, toffee apple flavours with green apple acidity peering through”.

Their first Apple Ice Wine has taken over a year to make and they have already cellared some of the production to see how it changes over the years.  This Cider offers  a truly unique drinking experience.  Perfect served with pork and Barry also recommends goats cheese from nearby Ardsallagh Farmhouse  Cheese particularly their new Feta style and Ash Pyramids.

Wine Diary 


DATE FOR YOUR DIARY:  Sheen Falls Wine Academy 23rd & 24th February 2018

The Perfect Pick: How to choose the right bottle  Sheen Falls Wine Academy's first education weekend  will explore wine and offer a general understanding.  At the weekend's close you will never again be overwhelmed at the prospect of reading a wine menu.  More details on my website