I’ve got a bunch of tickets to be won for some of the absolutely fantastic lineup of events at this weekend’s Ballymaloe Litfest, so see below for competition rules:
As we sift through the wreckage of yet another blundering budget courtesy of an impotent and creatively bankrupt Government, the feelings of anger, despair and, worst of all, powerlessness amongst ordinary citizens are only too palpable. The scant few measures aimed at supporting SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises – which covers the bulk of theContinue reading “Self-empowerment Begins At Home”
It’s the closest I’ve come to generating a twitter firestorm – well, maybe more of a twitter firelog but it’s certainly the most tweets I’ve ever received in response to a query for an article I was writing, published in the Irish Examiner Weekend Magazine. The query? Name ten cookbooks you should own. And thenContinue reading “10 Cookbooks You Should Own?”
So The Swashbuachaill hightailed it off to France recently for the full pair of weeks seeking refuge from the deluge but it turns out precipitation and lots of it is currently the in-thing right across North Western Europe. But, as always, it began promisingly with the always-pleasurable cruise out of Cork Harbour on the PontContinue reading “Meeting Mattie Kiely”
One glorious Sunday evening a short few weeks back, The Swashbuachaill set out with a couple of bottles of vino, a rapidly assembled travelling kitchen and something less than his usual purposeful stride. You see, The Swashbuachaill, bound for uncharted territories, was rather unsure of what lay ahead.
Another lovely little bit of news for Irish craft beer drinkers (and anyone else in Ireland who claims to be fond of a pint) comes with the arrival of a new brewing company, launching three new beers. Cork-based Elbow Lane will be debuting Angel Stout, Wisdom Ale and Elbow Lager over the next two monthsContinue reading “Craft beer drinkers can tell their Elbows from their arses”
Leaving one very happy coachman to count up one very tidy tip, The Swashbuachaill alighted at the gates of his staggeringly palatial home sometime after dawn just a few short days back. Having enjoyed a most splendid evening abroad on the town, he reasoned a brisk walk and the balm of some fresh morning dewContinue reading “Cruelty, neglect and abuse”
So, The Swashbuachaill is back home again, and contrary to the old saw, the heart is not yet here, still lagging way behind somewhere east of Cork city, loath to leave Dungarvan town. And the spiteful, spitting rain, that sly chill wind without Swashbuachaill Manor only adds to the pain of returning to the realContinue reading “Fungarvan – Waterford Festival of Food 2012”
There is a giddiness abroad in The Swashbuachaill household, a nervous tension the like of which only prevails before the rare Christmas when I’ve been, by and large, a good and very deserving boy throughout much of the preceding year. (Or at the very least, intended to be.)
But we’re a long way off Christmas – The Swashbuachaill’s anticipatory fervour comes on foot of his eagerly awaited first delivery of wine from Red Red Wine, an Irish company owned by Tom and Elena O’Loughlin who are based in the South of France and sell online directly to private customers at wholesale prices, averaging about five deliveries nationwide per annum.
Now, when The Swashbuachaill first showed signs of developing what has turned into a most pronounced lip for the vino, choice on The Oul’ Sod was extremely limited and almost as hard to procure. Things have improved a thousand-fold, even down to doorstep delivery but what has The Swashbuachaill all of a lather is Red Red Wine’s ability to source wines unavailable in Ireland.
In particular, wines from the prestigious AOCs of the Haut Languedoc, the very same vinos exclusively used to fuel The Swashbuachaill’s nuptials some years back without remotely breaking the bank (in other words, The Swashbuachaill’s father-in-law).
It may seem silly to say of the world’s largest wine-producing region but Languedoc-Roussillon can still be relatively uncharted territory for many wine drinkers around the world, certainly in comparison to other more renowned regions in France.
I promise you, once you get to sample a few of the finer wines from the region, you’ll keep returning. And who knows, some day, like Tom and Elena, you might even get to set up shop there – those jammy ….!
For those wishing to know a little bit more about the wine and how deeply discomfiting it is to be forced to live in the sunny South of France, here’s Elena talking about …
… how they wound up in France
Tom is from Rathangan, Co. Kildare and I am from Slane, Co. Meath. Not long after we got married, we bought a wreck of a house in the St Chinian AOC (near Beziers) in 1999. We went out in the winter months to turn it into a little holiday house in the sun. Then our eldest started school and it looked like the work would never be finished, so in 2006, we decided to go for a year. We thought it was an ideal opportunity to put our daughter (age 5) into a French school and see how she got on with the language. We ended up staying here and now our 3 kids are all bilingual.
… how the interest in wine began
Tom’s family are dairy farmers who were also involved in tillage so farming is in his DNA. He got very interested in the local vineyards and production methods etc. Eventually about 2 years ago, we found a vineyard we were interested in buying. It was in the Terasses du Larzac, near Clermont l’Herault and alot closer to Montpellier. We started Red Red Wine to create a direct market to people in Ireland for this particular area, so that when we started producing our own, we’d have some clients.
The wine has proved really popular but unfortunately the vineyard fell through. It had been inherited by 3 elderly sisters but when it came down to it, they couldn’t all agree to sell it. Instead, we moved to Montpellier at Halloween, but are continuing to grow and expand the wine business. This year, we hope to add some Blanquette de Limoux, la premiere boule du monde, developed in Limoux by the monks in 1531. Dom Perignon came to investigate the discovery many years later. We also plan to add some more white wines, possibly Picpoul.
… the impossible hardships they have to contend with on a daily basis
Meanwhile, Montpellier is a glamorous, vibrant, rapidly growing student city with excellent transport, sports facilities and universities and of course, great weather. Montpellier has a Top 14 rugby team (Leinster were over here in November for a draw match in Heineken Cup) and an Irish scene based around Fitzpatrick’s pub in the historic city centre. The kids (now 11, 9 and 7) love it too…
… the wine and how to order it
I suppose that the main thing is that this wine wins lots of awards and doesn’t usually leave France. It is only available in Ireland through us. We sell to private individuals at wholesale prices.
Minimum order is 12 bottles which is a legal requirement of our wholesale license, but if somebody wants to organise a group order of family, friends, colleagues to one address, that works fine too, so long as the total order is 12 bottles or more.
Our next Free Delivery dates are 11 – 17 April. We do 4/5 Free Delivery trips a year, which is when most people buy the wine, but there is also a courier service available throughout the year.
These are just some of the most recent awards:
Best Seller: Closade St Jullien 2009 (Rouge) (Case x 6) @ € 65
Gold Medal from prestigious Guide Gilbert et Gaillard 2013.
Best Value: St Jacques Rouge 2009 ((Case x 6) @ € 53
Silver Medal Concours Macon, 2010
We also have St Jacques Rosé and St Jacques Blanc. All 3 regularly win awards. The 2010 and 2008 rosé are mentioned in Guide Hachette.
Barrel Aged: Jaques Arnal 2009 (Case x 6) @ € 77
Silver Medal, Concours Macon, 2010, Commended, Decanter 2010, Silver Medal, Concours Generale Agricole, 2011
Here’s a link to my recent Irish Examiner review of a tremendous – and tremendously important – book, Extra Virginity: The Scandalous and Sublime World of Olive Oil by Thomas Mueller (Atlantic Books) Read more: http://www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/books/virgin-on-the-ridiculous-why-olive-oil-will-be-hard-pressed-to-survive-187400.html#ixzz1qcVLcoJG Though I ate a shedload of Mediterranean food in London during the 80s, olive oil remained a rather nebulousContinue reading “Oil Crisis?”