Sunday, 10 June 2012

Ireland. Wine by Wine. Euro 2012.

Who knew the Irish made wine? Really, you did? Go on.

The label carries an image of the Round Tower
of Lusk, which can be seen from the vineyard
David Llewellyn became fascinated with grapevines and winemaking during a spell working with a winemaker in Germany in the 1980s.

From an early start days of experimenting with different vine varieties in the Irish climate, through trying to create drinkable wine and propagating vines for sale, in 2002 he finally planted a small vineyard to produce Irish wine for commercial purposes. Originally a mix of table grapes and wine grapes, David has now established  a vineyard that can produce red and white wine of a consistent quality exclusively from their own grapes - none are bought in.

Among reds successful varieties have proven to be Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Dunkelfelder and Rondo while for whites Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Schoenburger and Gewurztraminer have been the stars. Although production is currently limited to circa 350 bottles per year the aim is to get up to around 1,000 bottles.

Claret grapes Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot
have both proven successful growers for Lusca 
The entire winemaking process is carried out at the vineyard, from picking and pressing through the fermentation and maturation without the use of high-tech filters and other equipment. The wine is then allowed to clear naturally and ends up dry by nature. Finally it's bottled and labelled by hand, using traditional 75cl bottles and 37.5cl halves.

Naturally enough for Ireland's sole commercial wine, it's named Lusca, being Gaelic for Lusk and meaning vault or most appropriately, cave.

You can buy Lusca wines direct from Llewellyns Orchard for delivery to anywhere in the European Union and even secure a case or two in advance - en primeur in effect.

Beyond the EU, including for sales to the USA, Wines on the Green can deliver Lusca anywhere in the world, apparently. In Ireland you're spoilt for choice with Dublin-based Fallon & Byrne, drink store and Terroirs.




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