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James Nicholson ChristmasWine Tasting

Held in the beautiful Merrion Hotel, a couple of weeks ago James Nicholson brought 15 of his winemakers/winery reps to showcase some of the fantasic wines they have to offer. James Nicholson wine merchants is located in Co. Down but wines can of course be bought online at

Here are a few of the wines that really stood out for me:


Quinta Soalheiro, Alvarinho Reserve 2012. €31.45

This gorgeous white wine from sunny Portugal is full of rich stone fruit, zesty lime, honey and a creamy mouth feel. Delivering fresh fruit forward wine with a luscious palate. Imagine an apricot/lemon cheesecake! Oh my mouth is watering…


Loosen Estate, Villa Wolf Pinot Noir 2012. €16.50

Loosen Estate from Germany for me, was the highlight of the night. Their Villa Wolf Pinot Noir was a nice surprise. Maybe a little on the feminine side but certainly made an impression. The kind of wine that your mouth remembers for a full week afterwards. Medium bodied with demure cherry character enveloped by caramel and butterscotch notes most likely due to its barique ageing. This pinot although not completely typical was a pleasure to drink and one that I will look forward to again.


Nino Franco, Posecco Rustico N.V. €27.50

I’ve never been much of a Prosecco fan as I remember a couple of bad headaches the day after especially a certain new years eve! but lets not go there. Upon meeting the lovely Federica from Nino Franco, she informed me that most Irish people do not like Prosecco as the bottles sold here are bad quality hence the next day head throbbing. On tasting their Prosecco Rustico non vintage, I was surprised as It wasn’t the usual Prosecco taste im sure we have all become accustomed to. It wasn’t harshly drying and didn’t taste like stainless steel . It was almost comforting, with fine effervescent bubbles and an almost meaty hops flavour. I wasn’t sure if I was a fan at first, but since then it has won me over. Federica advised us that it was more of a food wine and could be drank throughout the meal as bubbles go with all food types. This is very true! Think of Christmas dinner. I can taste the combinations already. There was talk of a Nino Franco Prosecco wine pairing dinner next year. Looking forward to it already.


Dog Point Pinot Noir 2010 €37.50

From New Zealand, comes an intriguing Pinot Noir, on the nose it smells like anything but. I was sniffing for that familiar cherry, strawberry, blueberry character, but what I got from this wine was cloves, geranium and cinnamon. Very interested, I tasted.. and found that familiar cherry, blueberry pinot pleasure with spiced oak and a touch of minerality. Complex and structured. Medium tannins and long finish. Certainly one to try.


Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2009. €46.99

Gusbourne of England brought us a bit of bubbly. I hadn’t tasted English bubbly before and was a little excited about their wines. What really shone for me was their Blanc de Blancs. I know we all tend to go for the generic Champagnes for special occasions but I think opening a bottle of this makes any occasion special. The quality of this wine is right up there with the top Champagne houses. Made from 100% Chardonnay it delivers fresh apple and citrus flavours with some butter, praline and mineral notes topped off with a delicate mousse. Perfect with seafood starters on Christmas day. Or with anything any other day! Hopefully we can start growing our own here soon, who’s moving with me to Wexford!


Domaine Saint Rose Barrel Selection Roussanne 2013 €19.99

I had heard from another girl at the tasting that this particular wine was enough to turn a red wine drinker to whites. So if you are not a fan of white wine then take the Barrel Selection Roussanne test! From the Languedoc in France, comes this luxurious full bodied wine. Melon and spiced apricot fruit with vanilla and hazelnuts, creamy mouthfeel and a long rich finish. I’m drooling…

For all of these fabulous wines and more log on to


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