THE HOTTEST 100
2019 was a big year for STSWine. Our top seller from 2018 was the Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico 2015 and while the 2016 vintage sold very well in 2019, Pauillac by Lynch Bages was our top seller; the third wine of the famous Bordeaux house.
The Tour de France Mixed Dozen was huge, Does Banksy Drink Wine? has become a staple in the wheelhouse and now has a corresponding event.
Italy is coming in for some major focus soon with Chianti Classico and Barolo. Game of Rhones will be absent this year, but as James Bond fanatics we might accompany the new film with an offer. Major retail events of 2019 were:
Trediberri - Great Value Wine from Piedmont
Alvaro Palacios New Releases
Natterjack Irish Whiskey
Gorgeous Chianti Classico - Rocca di Montegrossi
Game of Rhones
The Mythical Celler Del Roure & Summer Drinking
Le Tour De France Dozen
Homegrown Terroirists - The New Wave of American Wine
The Macon and Beaujolais
Japan Rugby World Cup 2019
Burgundy Wine School
As well as our own in-house events and staff training in bars and restaurants across the the country, we were heavily involved in the festival circuit.
At Eatyard’s Wine and Cheese we kept our annual Wine & Crisp Matching going, as well as a 26 person BLIND public tasting The Judgement of Dublin where we re-created Steven Spurrier’s Judgement of Paris tasting 1976 featuring the USA against France (France finally got a victory!).
We had spots on radio and TV (delighted to get texts and emails directly from customers on exercise bikes - Ireland AM is good gym-watching apparently!).
We ran a pop up Burgundy Bar before Christmas in the Jam Park in Sword. Tomas Clancy included us in the 10 Top of online retailers in Ireland and this has given us incredible energy and enthusiasm to front up in 2020.
THE YEAR THAT WAS IN VINTAGES AND NEW RELEASES...
CLIMATE CHANGE - assured us that we only got hotter and fuller vintages put in front of us this year. In AMERICA, Napa is becoming like AUSTRALIA’S Margaret River in that it is practically impervious to bad vintages.
FRANCE is in fine fettle. In the Rhône, 2017 was not a blockbuster vintage in the way ‘15 & ‘16 were, but there are magnificently textured and enigmatic wines across the region -care in selection is needed.
2016 Bordeaux was released to as much fanfare as the ‘09 & ‘10 vintages and early reports are that ‘18 could match it.
Burgundy 2017’s impressed us greatly in the reds with a pliant approachable style but with more of a terroiric (not a word) tilt than the super ripe 2015s. The ‘17 whites in Burgundy are mesmeric and are nearly the equal of the extraordinary 2014 vintage.
Beaujolais ‘17 was incredible and the ‘18’s that are starting to appear are also fabulous, making it a clean run of 5 incredible vintages for the region.
ITALY has had its fair share of blockbusters this century but in Tuscany, ‘16 (and ‘15) before it have been hailed as the best ever for the region. The wines are so showstopping (and at times, huge) that the wet and disastrous ‘14 vintage is now a quantity in itself for its mellowness and restraint.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of Italy though is Piedmont. We visited some of the regions best producers in April including the legendary Giacomo Conterno. 2016 is an extraordinary vintage. (Barolo Wine School offer coming in February).
Previously when it came to the vintages of SPAIN, one may have been forgiven for saying who cares they're are covered in so much oak and winemaking malarky that you can’t see them anyway! Think again.
Unfortunately the last couple of vintages (2016 & 2017) have been difficult and at times wet, this has made the twin towers of Rioja and Ribera quite changeable, but Galicia (where it is always raining) has been great & 2018 was fab all round.
A super rare occurrence in PORTUGAL: 2016 and 2017 were back to back declared classic vintages. Family Symington says that the last time that they experienced it was 1872 and 1873.
So CLIMATE CHANGE just means bigger and riper wines? Considering Burgundy used to routinely fail to ripen grapes surely this is a good thing? Through that lens indeed it could be seen as good, but it’s not just heat, it is erratic climatic conditions. Chablis is starting to get used to losing most of their crop through frost.
Australia’s bushfires, when eventually brought to heel, will have claimed huge hectarage of vineyard, not to mention smoke taint on 2020 vintage. America is at risk. Will these erratic conditions impact established microclimates over time? Will the powers that be listen? You worry.
TRENDS, GOSSIP, NEWS...
USA-AOK - We will always remember ‘19 as the year that New Wave America rolled into town. The Godfather of New Wave; Pax Mahle, along with Napa Valley extraordinaire Tim Matthiasson and the patron Saint of Sommeliers Rajat Parr completely transformed people’s perceptions of American wine.
An extraordinary event down at Adare Manor organised by Winelab (the premier America dealers) was followed by animated discussions about dry farming and anti-vax - Matthiasson says his chemical spraying neighbours are the anti-vaxxers and vice versa. American wine has stormed wine lists in Ireland and all over the world.
In our beginner courses, we describe India, China, Japan and Brazil as Emerging World (as opposed to New or Old). We have noticed they are not being given a fair shake. Dismissed and berated, these wines need to be given the chance.
We have tasted some great and promising examples (and lots of dire!). Keep an open mind. Given the spectre of climate change and the rapid upturn in prices, it may just make sense to be ahead of the curve.
Spain has gone through some monumental changes. Franco, apart from being a murderous demagogue grubbed up everything interesting and only in the last few years have trailblazers such as Alvaro Palacios and Telmo Rodriguez helped precipitate wholesale change.
Rioja has brought in a vineyard based classification to be used beside the outdated and disliked aging system of Crianza etc. Priorat and Bierzo have also introduced vineyard systems. The goal is simple - help consumers recognise Spain's great terroirs. Change has been in the wind for years, during a trip to Priorat with an Aussie importer in 2014 I was told: Anyone can make a Gran Fackin Reserva, ya just need ta fackin age it in barrel for fackin years.
Not all changes are as cut and dry - white wine has been approved for Ribera Del Duero. Why erode its unique selling point as a producer of pure Tinta Pais? Cava and Sherry (as always) show signs of breaking through.
Galicia, or Green Spain in the North West is the revelation. Albarino is well known, but Godello is emerging as the white grape, along with a plethora of indigenous varieties making first class dry whites while Mencia dominates the reds. Monterrei, Ribeiro and Ribeira Sacra have become players. Sky’s the limit.
NOW! THE HOTTEST 100!
These wines are in no particular order. We have 25 of the 100 available to buy (view/buy collection). Each wine has a brief description, picture and a link to the product. The other 75 appear as a list. (contact us if you would like to double check availability on these wines.
MORRA O CONTA ALBARINO 2018 €17.5 MORE INFO / BUY
It doesn’t have to be Summer for a delicious dry white. Everybody likes Albarino from Galicia. This is all about racy clarity and cleanliness.
DOMAINE DE LA CADETTE MACON 2017 €24 MORE INFO / BUY
This is a game changing Chardonnay from the Macon. Extraordinary focus and purity, with just the right amount of Macon ripeness.
QUINTA DE MURADELLA CANDEA 2016 €19 MORE INFO / BUY
An absolute revelation of a white wine that offers balance but beautiful weight and texture before finishing clean and incisive.
RICHTER ZEPPELIN RIESLING 2018 €19 MORE INFO / BUY
Many people say they don’t like Riesling. Time to look again. This entry-level Mosel Rizza is a great gateway drug. You’ll be hooked.
HOLZER ZERO-G GRUNER VELTLINER 2018 €17 MORE INFO / BUY
Gruner has a peculiar ‘re-appearing’ acid profile - sounds like something out of Willy Wonka we know, and that’s why we love it.
DOMAINE FEVRE AC CHABLIS 2018 €25 MORE INFO / BUY
We are Chablis nuts. Nothing overly clever here, just super well made and approachable Chablis, best value Chab we tried.
PIEROPAN SOAVE CLASSICO 2018 €19 MORE INFO / BUY
Soave’s oldest producer and he can still surprise. This iteration has Riesling-like intensity and minerality, NEVER disappoints.
BIBI GRAETZ BOLLAMATTA NV €26 MORE INFO / BUY
Pink fizz from the crazy Tuscan artist turned winemaker. A fixture on Dublin wine lists at the moment, it is an incredible aperitif.
VILMART & CIE GRANDE RESERVE NV €55 MORE INFO / BUY
Grower-Champagne, meaning it is estate grown and made in much smaller quantities than the Marque houses. AKA Baby Krug.
LES DEUX COLS 'CUVEE D'ALIZE' 2017 €18 MORE INFO / BUY
Hardly a week goes by without this wine being featured in a newspaper. Made by Irishman Simon Tyrell, it is a Northern Rhône style Côtes du Rhône.
MOULIN DES CHENAS LIRAC 2015 €18 MORE INFO / BUY
Outstanding value here. The French laugh at us spending so much money on Chateauneuf du Pape, they drink Lirac.
CLAVIS OREA ST EMILION GRAND CRU 2015 €34 MORE INFO / BUY
100% right bank Merlot. Made by the former winemaker at Haut Brion, this wine matches elegance and power with aplomb.
PAUILLAC DE LYNCH-BAGES 2015 €33 MORE INFO / BUY
2019 top seller. Third wine of Lynch Bages, it is baby Bages, fruit coming off younger vines, but with some of the serious gear in it too.
TURPINIER BAUTISTA MERCUREY 2014 €27 MORE INFO / BUY
RIGHT in the pocket. Deep and complex with an almost gamey nose to it, this was turkey & hams greatest match at Xmas.
HENRI GOUGES BOURGOGNE ROUGE 2014 €36 MORE INFO / BUY
The master of Nuits St George in a classic vintage with 6 years of age. Beautiful Burgundy. Recently spotted on a wine list for €125.
DOMAINE DE FA FLEURIE 2017 €29 MORE INFO / BUY
Wonder boy of the Rhône Maxime Graillot turns his midas touch to Beaujolais. This is rich and fat but elegant and streamlined too. Astonishing.
ATA RANGI CRIMSON PINOT NOIR 2017 €30 MORE INFO / BUY
Lush New Zealand Pinot is frequently described as the best value wine in the world. We can't wait to pit this against ‘17 Burg.
CLONAKILLA HILLTOPS SHIRAZ 2017 €30 MORE INFO / BUY
Australia’s best Shiraz producer knocks it out of the park again. Anybody who doubts Australian wine, step right up. Drop. Dead. Gorgeous.
CRUA CHAN MALBEC 2016 €33 MORE INFO / BUY
The more eagle eyed will notice this was on the 100 last year. We made an exception. Decanter Magazines best Malbec in the world is actually improving!
PARIZE 'CHAMP NALOT' PREMIER CRU GIVRY 2016 €28 MORE INFO / BUY
Premier Cru Burgundy for 28 lids? Givry is an area of the Cote Chalonnaise that offers amazing value. This is just a terrific Burgundian Pinot.
VERONICA ORTEGA 'QUITE' 2016 €22 MORE INFO / BUY
Protege of Alvaro Palacios, Veronica Ortega is one of Spain’s hottest talents. If you have not tried Mencia, you are missing out.
LUIS PATO DYNAMICO 2017 €19 MORE INFO / BUY
Baga is the best grape you never heard of. It is like a Portugese Nebb. This is a cross regional blend of a few plots.
CELLER DEL ROURE 'SAFRA' 2016 €19 MORE INFO / BUY
We will cry when the last of these bottles go. Made in terracotta amphorae from resurrected indigenous varieties. Exceptional, unusual drinking.
REGNAUDOT BOURGOGNE ROUGE 2017 €23 MORE INFO / BUY
This was hugely popular at our Burgundy Bar before Christmas, big, bright, juicy Pinot Noir from the South of the Cote de Nuits. Super value.
(contact us to double check availability)
Henri Goutorbe NV