Finding great wines at Molloys

vini-prowein-668x501Finding value in wine is one of our key strengths in Molloys. In the last few years of austerity, we’ve seen an exceptional hike in excise duty. Rather than scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel, we chose to go directly to the supplier. This allows us to taste and negotiate, and find the best price for wine, without compromising quality.

Right now we are in the process of shipping a range of new wines, which are starting to land in our stores. 

So how do we do it? 

First up, we ask our store managers what customers are asking for. We also keep a keen eye on trends in the market.   

Rather than trek around vineyards, we find the most efficient way is to go to Europe’s largest wine fair.  ProWein is held in Dusseldorf each March. To give an idea of scale – there 6,000 wine producers, from 50 countries around the world.   The fair is spread out over numerous halls, linked together. Put together, the surface area is something like 15 Croke Parks, with around 50,000 people attending. Each hall specialises in a country, so the trick is to organise your French meetings all the same day, to avoid Sonia O’Sullivan-scale distances. 

Over the course of 3 days, the three-person team from Molloys taste about 200 wines, starting at 9am each day. That’s a lot of wine tasting! Since all your taste buds are located in your mouth, there’s actually no need to swallow. The spittoon becomes your closest ally! 

It sounds like a great job, and yes it can have its highlights. However, we are very choosy about wines we select. Quality can be variable, and the weather can create vintage variation and price fluctuation. Sometimes wine producers can be a little bit too greedy with prices, or exchange rates make wines particularly expensive. Occasionally the wine is great, but the packaging lets it down. We estimate that less than 10% make the cut. Yes, we are fussy!

We are looking for wines with the right taste at the right price - good fruit profile, good balance, and typicity. At the cheaper end of the market, wines can often taste watery and bland. This makes the alcohol or acidity stick out – not very pleasant. Balance is key. Very often wines can be churned out with very little character – we expect a French Sauvignon to taste different to a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc for example. We also look for decent labelling – something that you’d be happy to bring to someone’s house as a gift, ideally.

Once back home, we follow up with samples, just to ensure that what was presented is the genuine article, and note any differences. If a wine shows variable quality, it is rejected, since we don’t want customers being disappointed. 

We’re thrilled this year to find great ranges from the New World.

Water Stop Station from Down Under has a full-flavoured Pinot Grigio and Spicy Shiraz. We know many of you don’t like oaky chardonnay, so we’ve selected a lovely fruity un-oaked Chardonnay too.

Butterfly Tree (South Africa) is a super duo of South African – delicious fresh Chenin, and really classic Pinotage. Great for barbecues.

Dos Condores from Chile gives really good value, fruit-driven Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot.

Bordeaux – we’ve gone to town a bit on white Bordeaux, as well as red Bordeaux at various price points. (Indeed we’ve been complemented on choosing very good red Bordeaux by wine critics, in the past). Château Larose Trintaudon is a Cru Bourgeois from the Médoc – the producer reckons it is their best vintage in 20 years!

South of France/Languedoc - this area is laden with good value usually, and the style, particularly for red wines are really well-liked by Irish wine drinkers. We work with some of the leading producers in the area, like Jean Paul Mas. Although 2014 had challenging weather, and lower harvest, we’ve found a lovely Malbec and Picpoul de Pinet, amongst other wines. 

From Italy, by popular demand, we’ve a sweet red – Oltre Passo, just landed. We also pride ourselves in a great range of prosecco, at superb prices. We’re introducing a new Extra Dry (ie. slightly sweeter), as well as an organic Prosecco - Fascino. 

And the quality? The wine critics are very much in approval of our wines. We’ve any number of wines which have been recommended in the press.  And importantly, the price is more than fair - we see more and more happy wine drinkers coming back for our exclusives. 

Look out for our new Molloys Exclusive wines, and in-store sampling at your local store.