Wine Cuentista Newsletter – Edition 22 – October 2017

October: The harvest is in full swing! Visit any major vineyard, especially those harvesting red grapes at this time of the year and you’ll find a very busy time for most vignerons and wine-makers. Harvesting the grapes is always a delicate negotiation with the weather; the fact that the 12th October would be ideal according to your plans isn’t always factored in by mother nature, who is quite prone to rain at this time of the year, promoting both fungal rot and dilution of the grapes, forcing workers to pick earlier than otherwise desired. The winery itself will be working hard everyday and, in big commercial operations, around the clock to clean, select, destem, press and start the fermentation process for the incoming grapes. Hired hands mix with experienced, full time staff, the fields are alive with the sounds of picking and all this time, whoever owns the operation is praying that this year will see enough healthy, ripe grapes to make a reasonable profit. One of the real beauties of wine is this reliance on the basic crop; the humble grape. With the right phenolic ripeness, balance of acidity and sugar and the attention of a skilled wine-maker, the sky is the limit. 2017 is already proving to be an early year for Spain, so most will be finishing up over the next two weeks.

Hello Wine Lovers! It’s so nice to be back again, organising tastings with you all. I very much enjoyed our tastings looking at some Summer Discoveries from both the Old and New Worlds, and it was a nice way to introduce some new, top quality wines. This month we’ll be organising two more tastings with stronger themes. First of all, we’ll be heading back to that perennial favourite favourite on the 12th Octber; blind tasting. 6 different wines from around the world to be tasted, analysed and then speculated upon. It’s a lot harder than it looks, but also a lot more fun as well! Then, on the 26th we’ll be taking a trip to the north of France to discover the Loire Valley, one of the largest yet least known regions in France. Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc… all grown in these cool climate, resulting in wines with real character and charm. Make sure to check the tastings out here and contact me to reserve your spots!

Events: Maestrazgo Wine Club:

12th October– International Blind Tasting – 30 euros p/p

26th October – International Tasting: The Loire Valley – 30 euros p/p

Articles: I probably spend too much of my time reading online articles about wine. However, as a result I can find and select a choice few to share – here are my three favourites from last month!

1. ‘France’s Shrunken 2017 Vintage’ by Gavin Quinney. Gavin Quinney owns a wine estate in Bordeaux and produces vintage reports for on an annual basis. 2017 has been one of the worst harvests in living memory, with huge swathes of delicate buds and flowers annihilated by Spring frosts. Whilst this, along with a plummeting pound, is bad news for the UK wine market, it isn’t the reason I’m sharing this article. At the bottom, Gavin sums up 10 ways to interpret the data and I think it’s a great way to look at isolated parts of the wine industry, as part of a bigger picture.

2. ‘Rioja could be a victim of it’s own success’ by Yolanda Ortiz de Arri. A slightly misleading article title, as the piece is really an interview with an incredibly interesting sommelier in Rioja, covering various topics. I really gain a lot of interesting, contextual information from reading interviews and listening to podcasts, and this is no different. Carlos Echapresto and his brother run a small restaurant in Rioja, mainly focusing on local wines and centred around their philosophy of being genuine hosts. A statement that really stood out for me regarding the sale of expensive wines: “I won’t sell it to a Russian billionaire who wants it as a whim because I don’t want to make money with them. The public might think they are worth a certain amount, but it’s not my case. I store these beauties to treat friends..” My kind of guy!

3. ‘Take it away…’ by Paul Keers. I don’t often link articles from the Sediment Blog, mainly because the humour is very British and I’m not sure that everyone will find it as hilarious as I do. However, I had to share this one. Paul, known as PK in the blog, lampoons a lacklustre Sangiovese and mostly before he’s even tried it! Wine marketing isn’t always a success, especially when it falls into the hands of a cynically hilarious wine-lover!

Wine of the month: I’m constantly on the look-out for wines of real quality and value; you’ll find me mostly drinking in the 6-25 euro range.

Ritual Pinot Noir 2015: Choosing this wine seems to get harder and harder every month, which is probably a sure sign that I’m drinking too much! Regardless, the winner this month, and reconfirmed by its success at our New World wine tasting this week, is Ritual Pinot Noir 2015 from the Casablanca Valley in Chile. The fact they’re able to produce such a charming, accessible Pinot Noir at 15 euros a bottle is remarkable and good news for wine lovers everywhere! A fruit-forward wine with lots of bright cherries, strawberries and hints of pepper and toast from the 20% new oak, with some whole-bunch freshness and a touch of something earthy. Very ‘New World’ and extremely likeable. I purchased this wine through who are doing a really good job of supplying a strong selection of wines, through different styles and price points.

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These newsletters only come out once a month and there is a limit on space for content. If you use Social Media and want to keep up with regular wine updates and occasional rambles, feel free to connect with me on any of the following platforms.

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That’s it for this months newsletter. I hope you enjoyed it and please, if you have any suggestions or things you would like to see get in touch! Either respond to me here or email to I can’t wait to see you all soon for more wine, food and good company. ?

Fintan Kerr

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