About RTÉ Television
The Afternoon Show
The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

Wine Club with Martin Moran

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Research shows that many people bluff their way through wine tasting. (See article from the Independent in additional info section) Why not learn a bit more about it so the next time you're out for dinner you will really know what your about to pay for.

The boom in Ireland contributed to the growth in wine consumption over the past 10 years. Wine is now well accepted and the introduction of smoking bans in on-trade premises has driven at-home consumption.

Research from the Wine Development Board of Ireland shows that in 1990, total wine sales here averaged 1.7 million cases. By 2007, that figure had reached 8.7 million.
The market for table wine in Ireland doubled in the past decade, and almost half of Irish adults now drink wine regularly compared to some 28pc in 1990.

The most recent CSO report also shows that the annual per capita wine consumption in Ireland is 17.1 litres, up from 11.57 litres in 2001, but still far off the average in more famous wine markets like France(around 55pc) and Italy (48pc).

In Ireland, women indulged in the greater volume share (57pc to men's 43pc), which has been well documented over the last few years, as has the growth of special evenings, clubs and even holidays centred around wine tasting.

Martin Moran-Master of Wine

Martin has over 24 years experience in the wine trade writing about wines for the Evening Herald. He has travelled the world sampling wines.

He passed the notoriously difficult Master of Wine exam in 1994 and became the first MW to work in Ireland the following year. There are still only three in the Republic of Ireland.

He's poured wine in restaurants and hotels in London, sold wine in Dublin, London, Paris, New York and Sydney; Picked grapes in Alsace, Chateauneuf-du-pape, Buxy, Chablis, Bordeaux and Southern England; grown grapes in England and helped ferment wine in England, Alsace, Beaujolais, Bordeaux, Bergerac, Adelaide and the Hunter valley;

Sparkling Wines

This week's wine club is all about sparkling wines! Fizz may just be wine with bubbles but somehow it's more than that. The 'pop' as the cork comes out invariably changes the atmosphere into one of celebration in a way that no other drink matches.

Aside from the wine's origins experts consider just how the bubbles get into the wine to be a key quality factor. If you've ever made home made beer you'll know that adding some yeast to sugar creates bubbles and alcohol and that's exactly what happens with fizzy wine.

How it's made:

After the still wine has been made, a little sugar and yeast is added to the wine and this new fermentation creates carbon dioxide bubbles that are then trapped in the wine. The inexpensive way to do this is in a big pressurised tank while the expensive and high quality way is to do it in individual bottles.

After the second bubble creating ferment there is a residue of dead yeast cells. In the tank method this is easy to filter out as and when the wine is bottled. However in the bottle-fermented version each bottle has to be turned on its head until the sediment sits in the neck of the bottle. The neck is then frozen and when the bottle is opened the frozen sludge pops out. The bottle is then topped up and a new cork inserted.

There is also a method that combines both bottle and tank called the transfer method. The new fermentation happens in bottle and then the bottles are opened and emptied into a tank and then filtered back into bottle. This is most commonplace in Australia.

The most popular and best known of inexpensive tank method sparkling wines is Prosecco. The best-known bottle-fermented (or traditional method as it is known) sparkling wine is, of course, Champagne, but Cava from Spain is also made like this. The finest Champagnes are aged for several years on the dead yeast sediment or 'lees' as it is known before it is removed and not surprisingly it contributes some flavour to the wine that tasters often say reminds them of bread or biscuits.

Name: Prosecco Torresella
Vintage: NV
Country & Region: Italy
Tasting Note: The main aroma and flavour in this wine is pear with perhaps some peach or banana too, which is very typical of Prosecco. It has soft easy drinking off-dry character with no sharpness or tartness.
Production Method: Made using the tank method to create the bubbles.
Food Match: Serve as an aperitif or party wine with light snacks
Price: €15.69
Buy It: Dunnes

Name: Jacob's Creek Sparkling Rosé
Vintage: NV
Country & Region: South Eastern Australia
Tasting Note: Made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The former gives attractive red berry flavours while the latter gives a crisp citrus finish. Bottle fermentation and ageing contributes a creamy texture.
Production Method: Made using the transfer method.
Food Match: A good choice for a party wine but could also be served with light shellfish dishes or strawberries and cream.
Price: €10.00
Buy It: Widely available €13-14, but currently €9.99 in Tesco

Name: Veuve Clicquot Champagne
Vintage: NV
Country & Region: Champagne, France
Tasting Note: This wine was aged for 3 years following the bottle fermentation, which means it develops a distinctive biscuit or bread like aroma from contact with the yeast sediment trapped in the bottle. The main grape used is Pinot Noir, supported by Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay and it is quite full bodied with cherry-ish fruit and a clean finish. The bubbles are very small, much smaller than in the Prosecco.
Production Method: Made using the bottle fermented or traditional method.
Food Match: The ultimate wine for a celebration although it can also be served with light foods such as chicken or prawn
Price: €50.00
Buy It: Widely Available

Additional Info:

Have you a THIRST for knowledge. Do you love wine but want to learn your pinot grigio from your riesling. Why not join our very own Afternoon Show wine club and learn each week from our Master of Wine Martin Moran. Our presenters will be learning with you and it's all for free.

Friday April 09 2010 Independent

Britain is a nation of wine bluffers, research published reveals.
Despite knocking back millions of litres annually, most wine drinkers know few vino facts despite often pretending to be expert.

Two thousand wine lovers took part in a survey exploring their wine knowledge and what they found confusing about the subject.

The results revealed a range of insights - including the majority of respondents picking the second wine listed on a restaurant menu and interpreting the advice from a sommelier like a foreign language.

The research was commissioned to mark the launch of WINEfindr, a pocket sommelier and the world's first visual search iPhone application.

A majority 62% of participants believed they knew a lot about wine but got basic facts wrong.

The one question answered incorrectly the most (87%) was that Champagne can only be made from white grapes, when it is in fact also made from red.

Nearly 70% did not know the difference between a Sauvignon Blanc and a Sancerre, even though it is made from the same grape, and 60% believed all wine enhances with age. Not all wine does - the majority of wines are produced ready to drink with little potential for ageing. Only a rare few last longer than a decade.

While 39% said they have no method to choosing wine in a restaurant, 66% either ignore or bluff their way through a sommelier's advice and pretend to understand their consultation.
Thirty per cent do not trust a sommelier's opinion but conversely, 84% feel they are being ripped off with their wine selection in restaurants. The research also reveals that the average price diners spend on wine in a restaurant is £12.64, and 25% just choose the cheapest on the list. A third of people spend between £9 and £12 and 30% spend between £13 and £17.