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  • What will you be drinking this Burns' Night?

    burnshead1 haggis-neeps-tatties

    So the 25th of January is swiftly approaching which means haggis season and of course celebrating Scotland’s national bard, Rabbie Burns.

    Haggis for most people sounds horrible, especially when you list the ingredients, but honestly it tastes amazing. Make some mashed potatoes, Turnip mash and whisky sauce to accompany and voila you have Haggis neeps’n tatties. It’s very simple food but very tasty and satisfying.

    So where do I get haggis I hear you saying and that would be O’Flynns on Marlboro Street, produced right here in Cork.

    This would traditionally be washed down with either a Whisky (yes no E) or with a nice bold glass of Bordeaux in thanks to our old buddies of the Auld Alliance.

    What to drink

    Surprisingly Haggis is very versatile when it comes to wine pairing, from dessert wines to light and heavy reds.

    After testing a few bottles these were my winners.

    Jean-Luc Baldes Triguedina Esprit de Flore Cahor Malbec, France

    Esprit de Flore is a rich, ripe and fruity wine bursting with red and blackberry flavours and smooth tannins. This tasty red wine is ideal on its own as an aperitif or for a match made in heaven pair with your peppery haggis. €15

    esprit

    Château Deyrem Valentin’s 2006 Margaux, France

    From Margaux this beautiful Bordeaux, Château Deyrem Valentin’s 2006 blends  55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot bringing a fairly chunky dark fruit based wine with nice gentle tannins, acidity and spice. That works perfectly with the spicy earthiness of haggis. €32

     prieure_lichine

    So if you’re looking for an excuse to have people round to the house for a wee drink and a bite to eat, accompanied with a wee bit of theatrical poetry reciting then why not celebrate Rabbie and the “great Chieftain of the puddin race” from Bonnie Scotland.

    saltire

  • Zamora in the Irish Examiner

    The reaction to Zamora – the ideal place to sample our wines by the glass (or bottle) with very fresh, very tasty food – has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic.

    The locally loyal and yet national Irish Examiner couldn't help noticing the hustle and bustle on Academy Street, and we thought we'd give you the link to their recent article – we've made the most of it everywhere else.

    Facebook, by the way, started going like angel chimes as soon as we put a Zamora page up, and hasn't stopped since. Keep it pinging, if you like, at facebook.com/corkzamora.

     

    angel chimes on a table

  • Château Rieussec Sauternes arrives at BB

    UPDATE: just (Christmas Eve) spotted a timely article about Château Rieussec from Wine-Searcher: 10 Things Every Wine Lover Should Know about Château Rieussec.

    We've just got in two vintages – see the 2008 here and see the 2009 here – of Château Rieussec's Sauternes, not cheap but super-luscious (it's a Premier Grand Cru classé, if you please), and a real end-of-year treat if you like the headily evocative, multi-layered richnesses of a really magnificent dessert wine.

    Château Rieussec 2009 Sauternes

  • Measure for measure at Zamora – from our wine dispenser

    We're all excited about the success of Zamora, the new restaurant in Academy Street, Cork, that serves and sells our wines (to take home or to enjoy with your meal) in stylish, friendly surroundings. A subsidiary thrill is finding the spiritual home of our fabulous sixteen-bottle wine dispenser from By the Glass.

    All we have to do is calibrate it, and our fashionably just-a-hint-of-wan pachyderm will become a beautiful, unashamedly dazzling swan. Sounds like a plan, don't it?. Go to lovely Zamora anyway, and see what you think over a coffee or a tasty plateful – but look forward at the same time to choosing a glass or a half-a-glass of any of sixteen wines, coming soon.

    By the Glass wine dispenser Machine sad. Machine empty.
  •  

    Turkey with herb butter

    Turkey

    An easy pairing, Beaujolais Nouveau was only released at the end of November and this is a perfect companion to pretty much all poultry. This very light fruity wine is the white wine drinkers red, not only that, it goes wonderfully with the gentle flavours of roast turkey. Pellerin Beaujolais Nouveau €15

    pellbn

    For the white wine drinkers nothing works better than the refreshing crisp, citrus fruit filled grassy whites of the Loire valley. Don’t get me wrong the sauvignons of Sancerre, Pouilly Fume etc are wonderful but the citrus fruit and minerality of Domaine Gautherin Chablis is perfection. Dom Gautherin Chablis €21.99

    chablis2

    In this part of the world rose seems to sadly be over looked or considered only for the girls. This is most certainly not true. Mas des Bressades Rose from between Nimes and Avignon is not only beautiful on its own but its subtle fruitiness of strawberry and raspberry are fantastic with delicate white meat. €14.99

    BRES06

    Turkey is either amazing or down right bloody awful and that’s all down to cooking. Lots of people have started removing the crown to cook the turkey in two stages. Don’t make things difficult for yourself if you don’t have to; follow my steps below for the perfect dinner paired with the perfect wines.

    My Recipe

    1. Since we’re cooking turkey I assume you have one and that if it was frozen that you have well and truly defrosted it (Buy fresh though!)
    2. Get a big block of room temperature salted butter, a handful of chopped parsley, Rosemary and sage aswell as three cloves of crushed garlic in a bowl, add a good few twists of salt and black pepper and mix into an herby buttery paste. If you’re a citrus fan a few grates of lemon zest into the butter mixture goes down a treat.
    3. Now for the bit most people don’t like for some reason but its well worth it. With the neck cavity facing you gently separate the turkey skin from the breast, pushing your hand right in there. Once separated grab a handful of the butter mixture and stuff between the skin and breast meat. Once stuffed, smooth out so all areas have equal amounts of butter. Throw a couple of halved lemons inside and sprinkle coast salt on the skin for crispiness.
    4. Pre-heat your oven to 165C/gas mark 3 and bung the bird in the oven covered in foil for 2½ - 3hrs (calculated for a bird between 6-8lbs). Check the turkey towards the end and in the last ½ hr remove to foil if needed to crisp the skin
    5. Let her rest for about 30 mins and enjoy this succulent bird with a large glass of Pellerin Beaujolais Nouveau.
  • Xmas dinner, what wine? Let Bubble Brothers help you.

    With Christmas only a few weeks away and stress levels rising I thought I’d give you a hand with your Christmas dinner. I’m putting together the classics with some slight differences and I’ve paired them with some beautiful wines. Every other day-ish I’ll post another Christmas recipe with three wine pairings, enjoy!

     

    Ham with mustard and Maple Syrup glaze.

    My pairings

    With this guy you have a good few options. The loaded fruit Pinot Noirs from the Hahn family in Northern California brings lush cherry fruit with nice acidity, this help cuts through the fat of the ham while the fruit loaded wine compliments the sweetness of the glaze. Hahn’s Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir €17.99

    Gladiator PN

    You can also compliment your ham with the subtle, somewhat bitter fruit flavour of an Italian Pinot Grigio. Again this wine works well with cutting through the fat content; if your glaze is going to be subtly sweet this wine will be perfect.  Corte Majoli Pinot Grigio €13.99

    Corte PG

    By far my favourite and quite luxurious is Sparkling wine. Veuve du Vernay Brut or Brut Rose from Bordeaux work wonderfully. This dry greenish-yellow wine shows notes of wild flowers, fresh pear and apple with persistent bubbles cleansing your palate between mouthfuls. Veuve du Vernay Brut €20.99

    Veuve du Vernay

    My recipe

    • Place the raw ham (bone in if possible) in a large pot, add enough water to cover and soak overnight, or up to 24 hrs ahead, changing the water twice, this helps to remove some of the excess salt from the meat. Some might simmer the ham but I prefer this method as it keeps the ham moist.
    • Heat oven to 180C/gas 4. Drain and place the ham in a large roasting tin on a bed of sliced onions, apple and bay, cover tightly with foil and bake for 3 hrs, double check cooking times depending on the size of the ham.
    • Remove from the oven and turn the heat up to 200C /gas 6.Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the rind off the ham, leaving about 1-2 cm of fat; cut a diamond-shaped pattern into this, in every other diamond cut you could place a clove. In a small bowl, mix together the maple syrup (you could use Brown sugar or honey if you prefer) and mustard, then rub all over the ham. Roast for 30 mins until the ham is tender and the outside nice and sticky, Just keep an eye encase the sugars start to burn.
    • Remove the ham from the roasting tin and place the tin on the hob. Deglaze the pan with a bottle of nice Irish cider. Sieve the liquid into a small pot to remove the remaining onions, apple and bay, add a heaped teaspoon of whole grain mustard and a heaped teaspoon of flour and whisk. If you need more liquid just add some water or stock.
    • Bring to the table on a large platter
    • with the beautiful mustard sauce. To serve, cut 1cm-thick slices off the ham to go alongside all those Christmas trimmings. Enjoy with a big glass of one of the above!

    christmas ham

  • Beaujolais Nouveau 2014 arrives in Cork for World Launch on 20th November!

    Beaujolais Nouveau 2014So the third Thursday of November is coming up (20th) and we all know what that means: Beaujolais Nouveau day, which for me pretty much marks the start of the festive season.

    At one minute past, from little villages and towns in Burgundy, over a million cases of Beaujolais Nouveau begin their journey through a sleeping France to Paris for immediate shipment to all parts of the world. "The New Beaujolais has arrived!" One of the most frivolous and animated rituals in the wine world has begun.

    Now for the science part: few other wines are produced, bottled, and released within a few weeks of the harvest. The simplest way to do this is to employ a method called carbonic maceration. This is when fermentation starts inside the skins. Traditionally, the winemaking process begins with the crushing of grapes; the juice of the grapes is pushed out of the skins and gradually ferments. With carbonic maceration, the grapes are not crushed. The grapes are piled on top of each other in a sealed container that is filled with carbon dioxide. More CO2 is produced by the grapes on the bottom of the container, as it is gently crushed by the weight of the top grapes. All this carbon dioxide causes fermentation to take place inside the grape skins creating a wine which is fresh, fruity, and very low in tannins – a great characteristic of the Gamay grape.

    Nouveau has very bright, fresh, red fruit flavours, such as cherry, strawberry, and raspberry, and will be delivered to your palate with a distinct zing. Because of the lack of tannins, it should be very soft in the mouth, and easy to drink. Beaujolais Nouveau is not a wine to sniff, swirl, and contemplate; it’s a wine to pour and party with.

    Beaujolais Nouveau pairs wonderfully with many foods, but none better than some Camembert and saucisson on a fresh baguette. Because of this we’re bringing you a wonderful offer over the weekend in conjunction with On the Pig’s Back, for €25 you can pick up a bottle of this year’s vintage from Bubble Brothers and from On the Pig’s Back a Camembert, the soft creamy French cheese made from cows milk; saucisson, a dry cured French sausage made from pork mixed with salt, sugar and a guarded spice mix (similar to salami) alongside a specially made Arbutus baguette all for €25.

    It doesn’t end there. We’ve also grabbed ourselves a pastry chef all the way from Burgundy (where Beaujolais Nouveau is from) John-Paul. JP will be working alongside ABC bread to produce the beautiful light cheesy choux pastry Gougère, these light bites work wonders with the light fruitiness of Beaujolais.

    So on Thursday the 20th and until Saturday the 22nd, pop in to the English Market and experience a little bit of France in Cork. Berets, baguettes, cheese and even some Edith Piaf singing in the background.

  • Help us choose some new Burgundy

    Sauce for the gander...?

    You-know-what is coming and the goose is getting fat.
    It's time to find some Burgundy to do justice to that.

    roast goose

    We thought you'd appreciate a reliable red and white Burgundy for the season ahead, so we've been requesting samples from likely suppliers. Now there's no need to get in a flap, but if you'd like to try for yourself the two white and four red wines we tasted yesterday, duck down to the Marina before 6pm today, Saturday, beak-ause the bottles are still here for your consideration.

    If it's any incentive, we didn't think any of them were turkeys: all tasty, approachable wines. So, as usual, the quack was mighty -- but the more opinions we have the better when it comes to making the final decision.

  • Things that go bump in the site

    We thought a change of website might scare away the ghouls and ghosties, so in the run-up to Hallowe'en we've switched to a new Bubble Brothers site based on Magento.

    Hallowe'en pumpkin lantern

    There's bound to be a bit of gremlin-bashing to do in the days ahead, but we think the secret powers and spooky flexibility of the new arrangement make it a tiptoe in the right direction.

  • Beaujolais Nouveau 2013

    bn thumbnailHere are a few snaps from Georges Duboeuf's report on this year's Beaujolais Nouveau harvest, which got under way on the 24th September during a very welcome Indian summer.

    Beaujolais report 2013

    That's the local colour -- but you'd probably like to know about the end result of all that hard work: what's in the bottle?

    By all accounts (I haven't tried it yet, though sources close to me have), this year's BN is a richly coloured wine, with a good bit of substance and flavour too, by the light and fruity standards of the style. It's always a great lunch wine, or a juicy and refreshing partner for autumnal roast chicken or mild game.

    We have a limited supply this year at €12.99, available from bubblebrothers.com, from the English Market and also from the Marina.

    If you're interested to see how this relatively delicate wine ages, ask for one of the half-a-dozen or so bottles we kept back from last year and have a little comparative tasting. A year of age doesn't do much harm, in fact: there's still fruit, but without the candied notes of a new vintage, and pleasant grippy tannins that make the 12 Month Old rather a rare drop, even if not to be preferred to the youthful charms of the 2013.

    Get it while you can!

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