North­side cork­ers

The old and the new: a tale of two Dublin off li­cences

The Irish Times Magazine - - DRINK -

The north­side of Dublin is very well served with wine shops. This year one of the finest, Jus de Vine in Port­marnock, cel­e­brated its 20th an­niver­sary by win­ning the Nof­fla Na­tional Off- Li­cence of the Year ti­tle for the third time. Tommy Cullen will be 77 years old this July, but has no in­ten­tion of re­tir­ing. Cullen sold Kelly’s off- li­cence on the Malahide Road af­ter 18 years, think­ing he would re­tire. It didn’t last.

“I got bored and wanted some­thing to do,” he says. His daugh­ter Julie, re­cently re­turned from Amer­ica, was look­ing to get back into the wine busi­ness. They ap­proached Paul McKenna, who ran a small shop in Port­marnock, and the three formed a team. To­day, they run one of the big­gest – and best – in­de­pen­dent off- li­cences, win­ning a wine spe­cial­ist of the year award 10 times in 14 years.

All three love their work. “Dad had me work­ing week­ends pol­ish­ing bot­tles from a very young age,” says Julie. “It is all I know and I love it. We get to know the story and to meet the peo­ple that are be­hind the wine.” Tommy says: “I get to do what I want to do. I love the area, we have a great set of cus­tomers and I am very happy at it.” McKenna also men­tions their cus­tomers. “Af­ter nearly 30 years, I still en­joy go­ing to work. This is a great com­mu­nity.”

Green Man Wines in Terenure re­cently cel­e­brated its third an­niver­sary. David Gal­lagher and his wife Claire O’Boyle both worked in var­i­ous wine shops be­fore go­ing it alone in 2015, al­though O’Boyle also works for a wine im­porter.

“We felt that there was an op­por­tu­nity to of­fer a dif­fer­ent style of wine in a dif­fer­ent shop­ping en­vi­ron­ment. We had been to wine fairs in the south of France and tasted some stun­ning ’ nat­u­ral wines’, made with min­i­mal in­ter­ven­tion and dif­fer­ent than any­thing avail­able here. We vis­ited Ter­roirs in Lon­don which serves nat­u­ral wines along­side well- sourced food and were con­vinced this could work in Ire­land. We wanted to of­fer some­thing very dif­fer­ent to the mul­ti­ples.

“The wine bar ele­ment was cru­cial; we have a space where you can en­joy wine at a rea­son­able price along­side some tasty food.” They have space for wine- tast­ing evenings, vi­tal for gain­ing cus­tomer loy­alty and trust. “We want a shop that is fun, ex­cit­ing and con­stantly evolv­ing.” The cou­ple looked at the city cen­tre but found that rents and rates were too high; and most sub­urbs were al­ready well served. It was a cus­tomer in Fal­lon & Byrne, now a neigh­bour, Kevin Byrne of May­field Res­tau­rant who first sug­gested Terenure. “It has a great com­mu­nity feel and we’ve been very much wel­comed and now feel very much part of it.” Ciello Bianco 2016, Catar­ratto, Can­tine Rallo, IGT Terre Si­cil­iane, 12%, ¤ 12.95 Or­gan­i­cally grown and nei­ther fined nor fil­tered. Vi­brant and bright . Stock­ists: Green Man Wines, Terenure, green­man­wines. ie; Bag­got St Wines, bag­gotst­wines. ie; Clon­tarf Wines; 64 Wine, Glasthule, 64wine. ie; Red­monds, Ranelagh; Black­rock Cel­lar, black­rock­cel­lar. ie; MacGuin­ness Wines, Dun­dalk, dun­dalk­wines. ie; Bradley’s Off- Li­cence, Cork, bradley s off li­cence.ie; Le Cave au, Kilkenny, lecaveau. ie. De Combel- La- Serre, Le pur fruit du Causse 2016, Ca­hors, 12.5%, ¤ 17.95 Made from or­gan­i­cally grown grapes with min­i­mal sul­phur at bot­tling. For­ward and aro­matic with pure, fresh, sup­ple dark fruits and a dry fin­ish.

Stock­ists: Green Man Wines, Terenure, green­man­wines. ie; Don­ny­brook Fair, don­ny­brook­fair. ie; Bradley’s Off- li­cence, Cork, bradley s off li­cence.ie Château Bauduc Sauvi­gnon Blanc 2016, Bordeaux, 12%, ¤ 16 Crisp and re­fresh­ing, with sub­tle yel­low fruits and ap­ples. A great all- pur­pose wine. Stock­ists: Jus de Vine, Port­marnock, jus­devine. ie; The Vin­try, Rath­gar, vin­try. ie; Cu­ri­ous Wines, Cork, cu­ri­ouswines. ie; Red­mond’s, Ranelagh; The Corkscrew, Chatham Street, corkscrew. ie; Cal­lan’s, Dun­dalk, callans. ie; Dwan’s, Bal­ly­cullen; Black­rock Cel­lar, black­rock­cel­lar. ie; Martins Off- Li­cence, Clon­tarf Les Trois Ter­roirs 2015, Cairanne 2015, Do­maine Bois­son, 14%, ¤ 18.99 Medium to full- bod­ied with ripe plum and cherry fruits and a savoury edge, bal­anced nicely by a re­fresh­ing streak of acid­ity. Serve with roast pork or pork chops.

Stock­ists: Jus de Vine, Port­marnock, jus­devine. ie; Sear­son’s, Monkstown, sear­sons. ie; The Part­ing Glass, En­niskerry, thep­art­ing­glass. ie; Mor­ton’s of Gal­way, mor­ton­sof­gal­way. ie; Cin­na­mon Cot­tage, Cork, cin­na­mon­cot­tage. ie

WINE JOHN WIL­SON

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