• JN Wine tastings on Friday 6 November in Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin

    JN Wine tastings on Friday 6 November in Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin – informative, informal and lots of fun!

    Displaying JN Wine Tasting .jpg

    One of the most anticipated and enjoyable events of the year for James Nicholson Wine Merchants’ staff is their annual tasting, an informal, walk-around tasting, no knowledge required, no lectures to attend. You don’t need to be a wine expert to enjoy it – interest and a bit of enthusiasm will suffice! All about sharing and enjoying wine with like-minded people, this year it takes place in Dublin on Friday 6 November in the Banquet Hall in Smock Alley from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

    Open to the public, and costing €15 per ticket, it is the perfect, relaxed and friendly opportunity to broaden your wine drinking horizons as well as your wine knowledge while you familiarise yourself with the JN Wine range. Come by yourself, in twos or as part of a group, the JN team will be on hand to guide you around and answer any queries.

    Current holders of the International Wine Challenge Regional Wine Merchant of the Year award – an award they have won over 20 times! – the staff at JN Wine wear their expertise lightly, but each member of the team is a professionally trained, educated, passionate wine drinker and is delighted to share their enthusiasm along with their independent and totally personal selection of excellent wines.

    Bringing the vineyards to you, their job is to source the best, most enjoyable wines from around the world and share them with customers. They travel. They taste. They sip. They deliberate. And then they buy for your drinking pleasure.

    The annual tasting is the ideal opportunity to meet some of the JN Wine partners and try the wines for yourself – with over 20 winemakers and 100+ wines to try, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get around. Some producers confirmed to date include from France, Billecart-Salmon Champagne, Domaine Gayda, Languedoc and Roc des Anges, Roussillon and Agnès Paquet and Domaine Jean Fournier, both from Burgundy. From Italy, Sartarelli, Marche, and Morisfarms Estate, Tuscany. From New Zealand, Pask Winery, Hawke’s Bay. From Spain, Pesquera Group, Ribera del Duero, Paco García, Rioja, and Familia Martínez Bujanda, along with Massaya from Lebanon, Quinta da Falorca, Dao from Portugal, Boekenhoutskloof from South Africa, Viña Casablanca from Chile and Shortcross Gin.

    Smock Alley’s impressive Banquet Hall makes a backdrop rich with character – the ideal setting for a selection of wines full of character and many wine producers who are characters too!

    Tickets are €15 per person and must be purchased in advance from James Nicholson Wine Merchant on www.jnwine.com or by calling Lo-Call 1890 667799. Places at the JN Wine tasting at Smock Alley, 6-7 Exchange Street Lower, Dublin 8, are limited.

  • Microvinification


    The winery as an idea lab. By Rafa Moreno

    • published by clubtorres onwednesday, october 28 2015
    We sit down for a chat with Mireia Torres, oenologist, manager of Jean Leon and responsible for the family’s DOC Priorat wines. She explains the what and why of the microvinification that Torres is doing at a new facility specifically created for this purpose.


    The result is simply fascinating.


    At this new winery, a team of three to seven professionals—[depending on the season]—are uniting all of the research projects Bodegas Torres has been working on for the past two decades.


    The main lines of research currently focus on reviving ancestral varieties, adapting the vineyard to climate change, isolating and identifying indigenous yeasts, and improving methods of analysis and the process of stabilizing and preserving wine.


    But let’s take it one step at a time. Conceptually speaking, what are microvinification wines and what is their purpose? Mireia Torres explains it very clearly: Microvinification is winemaking on a very small scale. This becomes necessary when working on experiments, which have to be repeated several times under controlled conditions. It is also very useful when making batches from very small amounts of grapes, which is often the case with certain ancestral varieties.



    How did this project come about? At Miguel Torres, we have produced microvinification wines since the 1980s. However, the number has steadily increased over the years, because we have been working on so many RDI projects.  At this time, we are producing approximately 250 microvinification batches per harvest.  Keep in mind that the smaller the vinification volume, the easier it is for the sample to oxidize and the experiment to fail.  Thanks to the new facility, we can work under ideal conditions.


    What are we looking for? We’re currently working on different kinds of experiments. The goal behind some of the experimental batches is to see the outcome of tests carried out in the vineyard or with ancestral varieties better adapted to climate change. Other batches study indigenous yeasts, which have been isolated in our vineyards and selected because they give the wine a particular character in addition to fermenting it correctly.


    Ancestral varieties. Can you tell us more about them? My father began the project of reviving varieties in the 1980s. Over the years, we have improved certain techniques, such as eliminating viruses in the process of in vitro reproduction (in collaboration with INRA in France). We have also added new varieties to the collection. We currently have over 48 known Catalan varieties and 40 unknown Catalan varieties (proven by DNA analysis using micro-satellites). Of the latter, 10 varieties are in the process of being certified due to their enological potential.


    We could call the winery an idea lab of sorts… Exactly. Our goal and our reality is that every single collaborator is an idea lab, regardless of the department where he or she works.  We want to really push innovation and foster this new kind of company culture.


    If I’m not mistaken, we might be seeing some special editions in the future. Can you tell us anything? Well… Not really! I’ll be told off if I do! [She laughs]. What I can tell you is that we’re seeing excellent results with some of the revived ancestral Catalan varieties and that we’ll be making more wines with them in the future.



    Amid all the technical jargon, it is fascinating to discover an effort that I, as a romantic, find idealistic to say the least.  And that’s very cool. Here innovation meets the past. Old vines, new wines…


    In light of all this, we’re eagerly awaiting the results—are we not, my dear wine lovers?
    Rafa Moreno



    Wine writer Liam Campbell will lead a series of ‘Wine Walks’ through the Rueda and Ribera del Duero regions of Spain during a ‘Spain Uncorked’ event at Smock Alley Theatre, 6-7 Exchange Street, Dublin on Wednesday 11th. November from 6 to 9pm.

    The evening will include oppportunities to taste a large range of ruedawines from these classic regions accompanied by live Spanish music.

    Tickets cost €20 and full information is on www.jeansmullen.com


  • DIT Cathal Brugha Street 75th Anniversary


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    DIT Cathal Brugha Street was officially opened on June 16th, 1941, as St Mary’s College of Domestic Science. The college was established as an integral element of the State’s infrastructure for the education of young females.

    In September 1941, Cathal Brugha Street received its first intake of students and among the subjects taught were “art, needlework, laundry, dressmaking and dress design, housewifery, cooking (including institutional and hotel work), the training of chefs and waitresses, applied science, domestic housekeeping and physical culture”.

    With the 75th anniversary of the opening of the college due next year 2016, we are planning a series of celebratory events, including a public exhibition which will chronicle the story of the now iconic building and the people who have passed through its doors to study and work.

    With that in mind we are appealing to members of the Irish Guild of Sommeliers, in particular, graduates, their families and friends or anyone who may have information, memorabilia, photographs or other items associated with the college to contact  Fiona Greagsbey at 01-4024519 or email fiona.greagsbey@dit.ie


    Collection can be arranged and all items loaned will be returned if so wished.