Paul Kiernan

Hi, Sour Grapes readers! I’m Paul J. Kiernan - you may remember me from such blogs as The Grapes of Sloth, and Diary of a Cork Gigolo.

Lar at Sour Grapes has been kind enough to ask me along to do a guest spot, and I’m delighted to do it.


I was down in Monkstown this afternoon and I dropped into Enowine. Amazingly, this was the first time in my four years living in Dublin that I’ve visited them.

Enowine is the company that patented and disseminated that in-shop tasting system. O’Briens, The Beacon, (my local!) also has it. I think that’s it? They don’t want to devalue the brand, the shop assistant was telling me. Intriguing - why sell more when you can sell less?

There was a guy working there who’s in my WSET Diploma class (a year ahead though). Out-the-door went the Chablis and Shiraz plans - I knew I needed to choose something to ROCK HIS WORLD.

Argus eyed, I shuffled round the bins, taking care not to even glance at the Marlborough Sauvignon or the Cotes-du-Rhone. Then - BOOM! - this amazing chick walked past.

After she was gone, I got down to business and I zoned in on a red and a white, both from Italy. Well, one was actually from Italy and the second was of Italian descent.

1. Skok / Zabura, Tocai Friulano, Italy, 2007. €17.50

You probably haven’t heard of it, but Tocai Friulano is Friuli’s most widely planted white grape. Friuli is an Italian province in the North-East, close to Slovenia. This variety is no relation to Hungary’s sweet wine. Also known as Sauvignonasse or, less commonly, Vert. If you’re looking to impress someone in the synonym game, you know which version to go for!

Slight, pleasant spritz. Lively and youthful. Honey, pineapple, almond. Very characterful and easy-to-enjoy. 8/10

2. Valbona, Bonarda “Reserva”, San Juan, Argentina, 2006. €17.50

Bonarda has only recently been surpassed by uber-grape, Malbec, in Argentinean plantings. Back in il stivale, it is known by a bewildering array of synonyms; only a die-hard masochist would attempt to understand it all.

Super-rich, with a serious acidic bite. Lots of oak, chocolate-raspberry, bitter cherry and prune. A real mouthful - have some hardcore red meat to accompany this. 7.5/10

I couldn’t be bothered going to Superquinn to gather food to prepare a bespoke meal to match these fine wines. I created a field blend dish instead, utilising only what I had in my presses.

Mouton de Paul

As the leg of lamb was thawing in the sink, I created a lip-smacking sauce of olive oil, minced garlic, anchovies, mirin, crushed coriander seeds and cumin. I slathered that messy marinade over the defrosted meat, and roasted it with fresh peppers on a bed of coriander… and cut-potato-chips in Maldon sea salt and truffle-infused olive oil. It was as good as it sounds and the Bonarda, in particular, paired perfectly with the roasted meat.

I threw the remains of the lamb over the balcony for my sometime-semi-tame fox. He has a limp since the February snows and I’m worried I’ve made him stoopid by feeding him for the past 18 months. Maybe I’ll bring him to Cork with me?

I’m not sure of the legalities of transporting wild animals but, to borrow the logic of the French AC system, if it isn’t forbidden, it must be permitted.

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