MOVIES AND BOOZE: Some delicious wine for the Bank Holiday

Jean Smullen reviews The Stump Jump d’Arenberg Sauvignon Blanc and Château Bellevue La Forêt AOP Fronton

Given the summer we have had I wondered about the potential of this year’s harvest for the vineyards here in Ireland.   I was recently in touch with an old friend David Dennison and I asked him what was happening given the wonderful weather we’ve been having, are we due for a fantastic vintage for Irish wine?   David is based in Co Waterford, near Passage East where has a small (1 ha) vineyard growing hybrid grapes such as Rondo (red), Solaris and Bacchus (white) as well as the noble grape, Pinot Noir.

When I spoke to him in June, David told me that all of his vines are going through the stages, fruit set was at a critical time, if a drop in temperature had come the chances of Millerandage/Coulure was probable with Bacchus/Pinot Noir, the cooler climate varieties (It didn’t!).  His Solaris & Rondo are pretty much on the way;  he reckons that the Solaris could possibly be harvested in early Sept or late August.  This is not going to be a big harvest, he told me as believe it or not as water stress is a factor! You will find David’s wine in a few establishments in the South of Ireland including Bodega Restaurant and Faithlegg House in Co Waterford and in  The Lemon Tree in Dunmore East.

Commercial wine production in Ireland is relatively small.  David Llewellyn’s Lusca vineyard in Lusk Co Dublin produces approx. 1,000 bottles every year His wines can be bought at the Celtic Whiskey Shop in Dawson Street, Dublin 2.

A third private vineyard is owned by Thomas Walk, who has been growing grapes in Kinsale in Co Cork for over 25 years. These wines can be purchasd via their website

So, to keep the Irish wine theme going, today on Movies & Booze we are featuring two wines with an Irish connection, one from Australia and the other from France.

2017 The Stump Jump d’Arenberg Sauvignon Blanc €15.99

Stockists:  Carry Out and independent off licences, nationwide

Chester Obourne is one of the great personalities of the wine world but just never underestimate how good a winemaker he is.  d’Arenberg is one of the most significant wineries in the McLaren Valley, an Australian wine region with its proud sense of its own identity.  No winemaker epitomises that sense better than Chester Osborn, fourth generation family who took over as Chief Winemaker in D’Arenberg in 1984. 

There is an Irish connection to this winery .  Francis (‘Frank’) Osborn,  Chester’s grandfather  married Helena d’Arenberg in 1920, and had three children.   Helena d’Arenberg’s family were of French origin.  One of her direct ancestors ended up in Cork having won a duel against one of Napoleon’s generals.   His son and Helena’s direct ancestor became provost of Trinity College and lived in Annamoe in Co Wicklow.  The family eventually emigrated to Australia at the turn of the last century.

The fruit for this Sauvignon Blanc comes from the cooler Adelaide Hills as well as McLaren Vale.  This is a very drinkable Australian Sauvignon with tropical fruit aromas on the nose and tropical/citrus fruit on the palate.  Great for BBQ’s, serve with marinated chicken.

2015 Château Bellevue La Forêt AOP Fronton €15.99

Stockists:  Carry Out and independent off licences, nationwide

Philip Grant purchased Château Bellevue La Forêt ten years ago in 2008,  one of the many modern Wine Geese, ie. Irish who own and run a vineyard in abroad.   Today the 112ha (270 acre) vineyard is the largest single privately owned wine estate in the Southwest of France. Philip has long been passionate about wine and about France. 

Château Bellevue La Forêt was founded by Patrick Germain 43 years ago.  The wines have been available in Ireland for nearly 35 years and the Chateau has long been recognises as one of the great classic wineries of South West France.

Located Close to Toulouse, the vineyards of Fronton, spreads across vast terraces, situated between the Garonne and Tarn rivers.  The presence of iron and quartz in this poor and gravelly soil brings out characteristics specific to the Negrette grape variety.

This red wine is made from a blend of 55% Négrette, 20% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Negrette,  a black varietal confined to the south of France where it grows best in the hot and dry conditions. Perfumed, leathery and fruity all at once it is the most

famous single varietal in the Côtes du Frontonnais.   The grape originally appeared in the region during the 12th century under the name of “Mavro” (which means black in Greek).  It was brought to France from Cyprus by the nights of the order of Saint-Jean of Jerusalem.

This wine has deep ruby colour with intense aromas of red fruit and blackcurrants. Complex with a note of liquorice, smoky and a touch of green pepper. Ready for drinking now, serve with Sirloin Steak.


Lots of consumer tastings  wine courses and wine events coming up this Autumn from September 2018 – details  in the wine diary at