"Oh I could drink a case of you darling. And I would still be on my feet".
So sang Joni Mitchell on her fantastic 1970 album Blue. She is talking about her lover and later says "You're my holy wine You're so bitter, bitter and so sweet." I met someone who reads the articles (that's not related to me) on the cold streets of Clonmel this week and they told me to cheer up and stop giving out. A paragraph that refers to an album called Blue is not the best start.
There is a reason to my reference to Joni and her song, which will become evident as the article unfolds. Christmas fever is starting to build although Tuesday's budget could have something to say in this regard. I have a lot of stock out of bond so even if they put the duty up, I'll sell the pre budget wines first at the lower prices.
Between the weather and other events that shall not be discussed for fear of drawing the wrath of the readers upon me, entertaining at home is becoming increasingly popular. A lot of people have been calling into the shop and stocking up on their favourite wines for the Christmas visitors. With the weather the way it is, we could be stuck in again.
Many more have been asking advice on different wines for different occasions. As always, I am happy to help and the new look shop is making it much easier for people to choose a wine by themselves. I am there if they need me. I do like to talk about wine.
A problem that has sometimes occurred is when people have too much choice. They just want good wine at a good price and don't really care that Brad Pitt owns the vineyard or that it won a huge amount of awards. It's a fair point and I have been listening. There is now a range of pre mixed cases in the shop and they have been a big hit. People can just pick it and go.
We are offering pre mixed cases of Red, White and Bubbly starting from €45. There is a Budget Buster case with three Reds and three Whites for €45. These are easy drinking wine styles and include a fantastic French Sauvignon Blanc as well as organic wines at a heavily discounted price.
The Quality case is a step up in quality, as the name suggests,but is only a €10 price increase. This case includes Italian Sangiovese and the ever popular Pinot Grigio as well as Prosecco for the festive bubbles. There is a fantastic Rhone Valley Red in the mix from just over the hill from Chateauneuf du Pape and at €55 this is a mix case that will impress this Christmas.
It is Christmas however and if ever there was a time to indulge, then it is now. The Luxury mix case has it all - Chablis, Sancerre, Fleurie, Bubbly and award winning winter reds. At €84 this discounted case contains pure quality and the some of the wines have been open for tasting recently and are proving massively popular.
I'm not the only one offering local solutions to your Christmas fare. Pat Whelan has included some of my wines in his fantastic Christmas hampers, and they include the produce of other Tipperary Food Producers. I know that there are options at a range of price points and the quality is a given. The whole concept of supporting local business has been getting lots of publicity lately and has been championed by such people as Darina Allen.
I had a great visit with the Domaine des Anges winemaker Ciaran Rooney in Ballymaloe recently. We visited the cookery school and met both Myrtle and Darina Allen. They were fascinated by an Irish man making wine and it was great to see the cookery school so full. They made lamb curry for lunch that day and Darina posted Pat Whelan's recipe in the newspaper a week later. Was it the same one? I will try and find out.
By the time this paper goes out the budget will have been published and I for one just want to get it out of the way. I can't see wine going untouched but I hope it is not by much. Like I said, we have a lot of wines out of bond before it, so be sure to get your wine as quickly as you can. As soon as the wine is gone we will need to go back to the bonded warehouse and the new duty rate will then apply. It is a first come first served basis.
We are now open on Sundays and longer hours from Monday to Saturday. Call in from 10.30 on those days and from 1 o clock on Sundays. We have put in a huge effort this last year in terms of finding the wines at the right prices and even though I talk about the more expensive wines a little bit too much, the vast majority of wines in our shop are of the everyday drinking variety.
Be sure to tune into Tipp FM as between now and Christmas you will hear two ads that I put together with the station. They are a little bit quirky and I am trying to get the message out there but offer a touch of humour (or else fall flat on my face). For those of you who remember the old TV show 'Allo 'Allo, it should bring back memories.
This is the last chance for the portfolio tasting which is happening this week, on December 9 in Nuala Hickeys cafe at the Westgate. We will have serious bottles open including the ones mentioned above. The event is free if you buy a voucher ticket and there will be offers on the night so it can save you money to attend, not cost you. It is happening the week of the budget and we are calling it "The Recession Session".
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"Life is much too short to drink bad wine"