We are delighted to let you know that we are slowly cranking up the Rhône Wine Week machine and beginning to get ready for Rhône Wine Week 2016. If you would like to join the list of importers, restaurants, or wine shops involved for 2016 then please email us on:
2016 is set to be a great one. We’ll be kicking off on 29th October and running until 5th November. The week long celebration brings the wines of the Rhône Valley to Ireland. With visiting winemakers, tastings, dinners, offers, and more. We will be painting the country red (and white!).
The importers taking part this year are:
Links between Ireland and wine go back a long way. A very long way. Turtle Bunbury writes
Muirchertach mac Erca, King of Ireland, was feasting with his nobles in the Summer Palace of Clettech by Newgrange when ‘a vengeful woman’ tiptoed into the night and set the premises on fire. The King threw himself into a nearby barrel of wine where he swiftly drowned. Thus goes one of the first known stories of Ireland’s connection with the grapes of wrath. Enough Bronze Age goblets have emerged from the bogs to prove that wine has been a part of the Irish diet at least since Noah got so drunk on the stuff that he passed out in front of his kids. If you know your history, you’ll know Noah’s granddaughter Cessair was one of the first to settle in Ireland after the Great Flood. A brewer and an innkeeper were amongst her followers.
You can read Turtle’s full piece here.
There are of course the famous Wine Geese, the Irish who fled to France to avoid persecution. From 1691 they left Ireland and went to wine producing regions such as Bordeaux and the Loire and gave us Lynch-Bages, Kirwan etc as well as Hennassy Cognac to name but a few.
We’ve also come across claims that St Patrick himself brought Syrah to the Rhône. Norman Mongan writes
Two former Rhone valley vineyards were named after the saint: Clos St Patrice at Tain-l’Hermitage, near Tournon, and Saint Patrice at Chateaneuf-du-Pape, near Avignon, both now closed since the ‘50s. Maurice Healy, writing in 1940 in his Stay Me with Flagons noted that the Clos St Patrice was ‘producing a red wine that would almost convert Hitler to Christianity, great, rich, glowing red wine, with a mouthful of bouquet at every sip … I remembered the wonderful freshness and exuberance of that Hermitage, and I discerned a reason for the sudden and overpowering success of Saint Patrick in Ireland’. Local tradition says that the saint planted these vines in these regions on his way to convert Ireland.
You can read the full article here.
The closing of the St Patrice vineyards may be interesting for any rugby fans out there, did you know that in the 4 years leading up and including 1950 Ireland was doing better than France overall in the Five Nations championship. Having been disqualified in 1931 (let’s not go into that now) France had been subsequently allowed back in 1939 but of course everything was put on hold during World War II. From 1947 to 1950 though the results speak for themselves. Could they have ripped up the St Patrice vineyards as a result? …could they? We do know some of the Rhône Valley’s winemakers we work with take their rugby very seriously (Yann Chave we might be looking at you).
If then St Patrick brought Syrah to the Rhône (and we’d like to think he did) then for Rhône Wine Week we are in a way welcoming home many of our own. Syrah is one of the main grape varieties grown in the Rhône Valley; it is truly at home in this region.