Monday 30 March 2009
Wednesday 18 March 2009
So, why has the government not asked every retailer of alcohol to sign up to a code of practice? The answer it seems is based on the belief that the multiple and forecourt retailers use their buying power to sell alcohol at prices that encourage the excessive use of alcohol; that alcohol can then be sold below cost thus distorting the true nature of the 'responsible retailing' of alcohol; that alcohol prices are used as an incentive to encourage consumers to buy items other than alcohol and as a loss leader to develop footfall within retail units.
So, lots of reasons. As far as I can see all of these are valid. But why don't all off licence holders have to abide by a code? If we accept that all of the reasons above are true and valid it doesn't tell me why a cohort of licence holders should not be held to account?
I drove past an independent off licence last week that had two VERY large windows completely blanked out with ENORMOUS signs advertising beer, spirits and wine at outrageous prices. This was leading into the St Patrick's weekend which has in the past been ruined by drunken yobbos rampaging through the streets of Dublin. This offie is a member of NOFFLA, the National Off Licence Association. NOFFLA claims its members are well trained and are socially responsible.
Neither the grocers, forecourts or indeed NOFFLA members are perfect. They all operate with the same licence to sell. They should all be treated the same with regards to a Code. It is unfair that one group should be treated as a pariah and forced to accept a code of practice when it has not been proven that they alone are responsible for the abuse of what is after all a very fine product. This is supposed to be about reducing the level of alcohol consumed and also about the responsible selling of alcohol. How we can exclude all of the independent retailers in this debate does not seem to make sense.
Took this photo from the Curious Wines Blog www.curiouswines.ie from Dec 15th last. Great focus.
Wednesday 11 March 2009
Monday 9 March 2009
Refosco is the Teran from Slovenia and for a long time now has produced quaffable 'peasant' style wines that are prone to high acidity and a fickelness due to the grape being a late ripener. These two attributes are malleable in the hands of technically proficient wine producer and so a bit of investment can go a long way with the likes of Refosco. In the case of this wine they have reached levels I wasn't yet familiar with. I say that because this wine comes from the relatively boring Grave rather than the soaring and most times much better Collio.
Antonutti's Refosco has gentle but persistent richness cloaked into a soft and generous palate. Fruit flavours are plums and mild dark berry fruits. The overriding effect is gentle persistence and a memorable experience due to the quality of the underlying fruit being so high. I really am looking forward to finding out more about Antonutti and his wine.
Tuesday 3 March 2009
(Follow this image and others through delongwine.com)
I'm not a 'grape collector' in the sense of. 'Well, How Many Grapes Have You Tasted Your Way Through Then, Son?' No, I follow odd grapes because it's easier to follow wine making changes, vineyard practices etc with something in short supply than it is with the main line stuff. Maybe then I'm just lazy and this is the easy way out? Maybe. I prefer to view this as a 'focus exercise'. It is simply not possible to do an honest days work and follow what's going on with Cab Sauv or Chard all around the world. There just isn't enough time. But if we take Albarinho we can follow how the Aussies are getting on, the multitude of styles ex Galicia and a few other brave souls in a few other countries. See what I mean?
Albarinho and Gruner Veltliner are sooo main stream now that I have dropped them from my 'obscure' list. (Gruner of course was only ever obscure to the patently blind members of the trade..)
So when they get the tannins under control in Montefalco and we 'find' aromatics yet 'undreamed ' of in Peruvian wines you can say you heard it first here. Or is that nerd it first?