Bordeaux's Irish connection

Irish people take great pride in the fact that the Irish diaspora can be found in every far-flung part of the globe, and have been incredibly successful in everything from medicine to politics. Not everyone realises that the Irish have a strong connection with Bordeaux wines.
After the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, over 20,000 Catholic Irish fled Ireland. England wasn’t an option for obvious reasons, so they travelled to what was then the second largest trading port in Europe, Bordeaux. While the 20,000 became known as 'Wild Geese,' the wine contingent were christened 'Wine Geese.'  As the trade in Bordeaux wines expanded, they used their charm and wit to marry into French winemaking families and so the intertwining of Irish and Bordelaise began.

Over a dozen chateaux in Bordeaux now carry Irish names, including top estates such as Chateau Lynch-Bages and Chateau Léoville-Barton. To this day, Lilian Barton, the owner of Leoville-Barton carries an Irish passport. You can see several streets and places carrying typical Irish names like McCarthy and Kirwan.

Bordeaux is fabulous to visit, as many Irish soccer fans may discover this June (Ireland play Belgium on June 18th in Stade de Bordeaux). The once-busy quayside has now become a 5km long promenade. The former wine dock, Quai des Chartrons, now has a Sunday market selling local produce like oysters from Arcachon.  (Bordeaux ladies better watch out for a second wave of charming Irish men.... oysters have aphrodisiac qualities!)  Nearby, in a merchant building built by the Burke’s, is the Musée du Vin which traces Bordeaux’s wine history.

So, to toast our Irish forefathers, the many Irish abroad, and in anticipation of a good performance in France, here’s a few delicious good value Bordeaux wines in Molloys.
Ch. Minvieille Bordeaux Blanc 2014 is a great example of everyday white Bordeaux. It’s wonderfully refreshing without being tart, with subtle notes of lemon and fresh-cut grass.
Ch. Larose Trintaudon Haut Médoc Cru Bourgeois 2010 is rich and concentrated with blackcurrant, black cherry, toasted oak, and notes of undergrowth and tobacco. 2010 was a great vintage – this is exceptional value for a quality Cru Bourgeois.
Ch. les Graves de Barrau Bordeaux 2014 This Merlot-driven blend is quite firm, but deliciously fruity, savoury and balanced – black fruits, with hints of tobacco and forest floor.
Ch. Bonnin Pichon Lussac St. Émilion - enticing aromas of lead pencil, coffee, chocolate and dark fruit, followed by generous layers of ripe dark fruit, sweet vanilla, earthiness. The structure, balance and finish are really impressive at this price.
Ch. Beausejour-Hostens Médoc - an exceedingly good Bordeaux at a great price! Classic structure (oak, fruit, tannin and acidity) evoking damsons, polished oak, with hints of lavender, spice, and mocha. Firm grippy finish, wielding lots of residual fruit. Drinking very well.

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