• Wines and Labels

    Wines now have higher alcohol level than labels claim

    The rise of mighty merlots, stongking sauvignons and potent pinots has been a defining feature of our recent love affair with wine.

    And as the taste has got even bigger, so too has the alcohol content.

    New research has revealed the modern breed of wine is even more powerful than is claimed on the label.

    A study carried out for the American Association of Wine Economists found growers routinely and knowingly understated the alcohol content of their wine to appeal to consumers’ tastes for “more intense, riper flavours”.

    With some brands now boasting 15% or even 16% alcohol by volume, varieties from New World producers in Australia and the Americas-where the hotter climate produces stronger wines-had to mark down their product to make it appear weaker than European wines.

    The authors found label claims on average understated the true alcohol content of Old World wines from traditional producers in Europe by 0.39%; and New World wines were often understated by an average of 0.45%.

    Each extra percentage point of alcohol in a drink corresponds to an additional 0.8 units per bottle-the equivalent of 20% of the recommended safe daily levels for men.

    Based on more than 90,000 samples taken between 1992 and 2009 by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, the report said that the phenomenon was a product of the drive for a bigger taste. It said errors in labelling were “not made unconsciously”.

    “This speculation is based in part on informal discussions with some winemakers who have admitted that they deliberately chose to understate the alcoholic content on a wine label, within the range of error permitted by law, because they know it would be advantageous for marketing the wine”.

    Guy Woodward, editor of ‘Decanter’ magazine, said it was right for drinkers, to be cautious about label claims.(Ref Jonathan Brown, Independent News Service, London, 31/5/2011)

  • State Banquet


    Mary O’Callaghan, M.A.,Dip.W.S.E.T., Lecturer in Wine Studies

    Dublin Institute of Technology, Cathal Brugha Street, Dublin and President of the Irish Guild of Sommeliers, had the honour of assisting at the recent State Banquet in honour of Queen Elizabeth in St.Patrick’s Hall, Dublin Castle featuring a menu devised and created by Ross Lewis of Chapter One restaurant. With Taste Catering had overall responsibility for the hugely successful banquet. In the days leading up to the historic event, Mary gave an intensive training course to all of the company’s sommeliers who were on duty on the night with particular emphasis on the wine to be served namely Chateau de Fieuzal,Graves Pessac-Leognan 2005, and Pauillac  Chateau Lynch Bages,1998. Both wines have a strong Irish connection. Mary also oversaw the wine service for the reception and the dinner on the night which included tasting all wines before service and decanting all the reds.

    The State Dinner in Dublin Castle was offered by The President of Ireland Mary McAleese and Dr. Martin McAleese in Honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh on Wednesday,18th May, 2011 at which a colleague and friend of mine Mike J. O’ Connor, MSc, BA,(Hons.) BB’s, Lecturer, DIT, Cathal Brugha Street, Dublin was in charge of service at the top table where the Queen and her party were seated. (A. O’ Gorman,18/5/11)

  • Bols Foam Cocktail Competition


    Oliver Murtagh, Vice President, The Irish Guild of Sommeliers, Andrew O' Gorman, Martin Meade, Schoolhouse Hotel, Dublin were Judges at the recent BOLS Cocktail Competition held in Dublin .

  • La Rousse Wine

    Irish Guild of Sommeliers La Rousse Wine Tasting

    Date: 31st May, 2011 at 2.30pm

    Hosted by: Shane Murphy, La Rousse Wines, 31 Park West, Nangor Road, Dublin,12.

    Catherine Griffith, IGS Tasting committee member introduced Shane Murphy to the large attendance.

    Shane Murphy Wine Specialist, La Rousse Wines   presented a range top quality Spanish wines.

    The following wines were tasted:

    1. Verdejo, Prius de Morana, Rueda, 2009
    2. Albarino, As Laxas, Condado do Tea, Rias Baixas, 2010
    3. Moscato, Libalis, Castillo De Maetierra, Rioja, 2010
    4. Crianza, Hacienda Lopez de Haro, Rioja, 2007
    5. Ars Mitica, Bodegas De Bardos, Ribera del Duero, 2006
    6. El Recio, Crianza, Bodegas Matsu, Toro, 2008.

    www.larousefoods.ie          Email:smurphy@laroussefoods.ie

    Mary O’ Callaghan, President IGS thanked Shane for hosting this tasting and made a presentation to him. She also raffled a bottle of Late Vintage Port, which was won by Tony Conlon.)Andrew O’ Gorman).


  • Cote du Rhone

    Newsletter – November 2012

    Cotes du Rhone Découvertes en Vallée du Rhône 2013 – Save the Date

    The 7th edition of Découvertes en Vallée du Rhône will take place from Monday 11th till Thursday 14th March 2013. Over 700 exhibitors (wine producers & merchants) are expected over this four-day period to present their AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) wines from the Rhône Valley to trade and press visitors only.
    On 11th and 12th March, 600 exhibitors will present their AOC wines from southern Rhône Valley at the Popes’ Palace, the most famous and historical place in Avignon. Going up north on 13th and 14th March, visitors will discover the Crus from northern Rhône Valley at the heart of the vineyard in Tain l’Hermitage, Mauves and Ampuis.
    To get your access badge, register now on www.decouvertes-vins-rhone.com and browse all the useful information needed, such as the fair programme, the exhibitors’ listing, the access layouts, etc.

    Cotes du Rhone Launch of Inter Rhône’s new www.rhone-wines.com website

    The new version of Inter Rhône’s website www.rhone-wines.com has been recently launched in a new and a more dynamic format. The website is now divided into 4 parts :

    • the “Discover” section allow visitors to access very useful and complete information about Rhône Valley wines (the appellations, the grapes, the climates, the soils…) in a more modern design, brighter and clearer with easy downloadable pages
    • the “Visit” section transport users to the region through an interactive map, the wine trails…
    • the “Share” part is totally interactive: winemakers, bloggers, Rhône Valey wine lovers and ambassadors can share their experience, express their opinions, directly contributing on the website
    • And the “Magazine” part introduces the actuality with events, interviews, videos…

    Visit www.rhone-wines.com to know more!

    Balance and Harmony define the 2012 Vintage in the Rhône

    Inter-Rhône is pleased to report that 2012’s wines display all the classic flavours of region’s grapes and demonstrate the unique position of the Rhône vineyard, sheltered from the vagaries of the weather.
    First tastings show elegance, balance and freshness in the wines. “It would be tempting to draw comparisons with 2007 – both show elegance, finesse and an excellent flavour profile” says Françoise Dijon, Head of quality analysis at Inter Rhône. This year’s weather conditions have given Rhône grapes the chance to show their true personnalities : so the Syrahs are highly expressive with flavours of pepper and violets, while Grenache cover a whole spectrum of red fruit flavours and gives added smoothness with a lovely sweet touch. “Our Côtes du Rhône Villages are well-structured, with great character and personnality” adds André Farjon from Domaine de Dionysos.

    From North to South, from whites, rosés to reds, Rhône wines have plenty to smile about!

    Cotes du Rhone
    © by C. Grilhé

    Contact : Oriane Beloud Export Marketing Manager Ireland obeloud@inter-rhone.com

  • Argentina Wins Red Wine Battle

    Argentina has won the right to continue labelling its wines La Rioja after a 12 year diplomatic and legal battle with the Spanish wine-producing region of the same name.

    It was a Spaniard, Ramirez de Velazco, who in 1591 founded the city of Todos los Santos de la Nueva Rioja in Argentina and named it in homage of the region in Spain.

    But in recent decades Spanish producers of La Rioja began to question whether their counterparts in Argentina should be allowed to use the name and so took court action.

    However, Argentina’s Federal Administrative Court has thrown out the claim, ruling that the province differentiated its wines sufficiently. (4/5/2011).