Today's Sponsor
 California Wine Club
Bloomin' Big Wine Sale Going On Now!

In This Issue
 Wine and the Irish We mark St. Patrick's Day by sharing a Belfast newspaper's report on the Irish influence in great wine ... plus a little lagniappe.
 Domaine Lafond 2004 "Roc-Epine" Cõtes du Rhône A simple, hearty red Rhône in the traditional style brings back memories of Paris sidewalk cafés.
 The California Wine Club Bloomin' Big Wine Sale Going On Now!
 This week on We mark a major anniversary for Port, and automate our weekly value Burgundy report. In our WineLovers Community, we're still tallying votes and comments on how we eat and sip.
Last Week's Wine Advisor Index The Wine Advisor archives.
Administrivia Change E-mail address, frequency, format or unsubscribe.

 Learn about our RSS Feed

Taking Friday off
Speaking of St. Patrick's Day, we'll be in the Big Apple for a few days this week on wine business, and might even wander over to Fifth Avenue long enough to catch a glimpse of a leprechaun and a taste of green beer. Accordingly, The 30 Second Wine Advisor will take a day off on Friday, returning to regular publication on Monday. If you start feeling deprived of wine talk, remember that you're always welcome to join the discussions in our WineLovers Community.
Wine and the Irish

"Did St Patrick enjoy a glass or three of wine?"

With the Irish saint's day coming up Friday and much of the world putting on something green regardless of our actual ethnic heritage, this provocative opener to a story in Sunday's Belfast Telegraph caught my eye. It's not a question I had thought of before, but if I ever imagined Saint Paddy drinking at all, I would have envisioned him quaffing something black and malt-based, an early precursor of Guinness Stout.

Not so, argues writer John Hunter in a feature story headlined Wine & Vine: Here's to St Pat. Since the historical Patrick's family was Romano-British nobility, he said, wine imported to the northern Isles from Rome might have been a normal thing. What's more, Hunter wrote, "Patrick's later Irish crusade led missionaries to Europe, where early records of their presence in Bordeaux and the Loire valley exist."

Ireland's French connection in more recent times - "recent" being interpreted as "the past 300 years" - is even more easy to trace. Simply check out the vineyard map of Bordeaux, and you'll find it as studded with Irish names as currants in a loaf of soda bread: "Lynch", "Boyd", "Kirwan", "Barton", "Clarke", "Dillon", "McCarthy" and "Phelan" all appear on the labels of excellent Bordeaux, including such great properties as Chateau Lynch-Bages and, at the pinnacle, Chateau Haut-Brion and the other properties of Domaines Dillon.

So if you're not in the mood for a black draught of Guinness or green-tinted mass-market American suds on Saint Patrick's Day, feel free to substitute a glass of fine Irish Bordeaux. And, although a good claret should go well enough with corned beef and cabbage, bear in mind that this purportedly Irish dish is really an Irish-American immigrant invention. Back on the Auld Sod they'll be dining on spring lamb, and there's really nothing better with that than a good Bordeaux.

If you'd like to read John Hunter's full story in The Belfast Telegraph online, here's a link:

If you'd like to ask a question or comment in more detail on today's topic (or any other wine-related subject), you'll find a round-table online discussion in our interactive WineLovers Community, where you're always welcome to join in the conversations about wine.

If you prefer to comment privately, feel free to send me E-mail at I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.

Here's a simply formatted copy of today's Wine Advisor, designed to be printed out for your scrapbook or file or downloaded to your PDA or other wireless device.

Domaine Lafond Domaine Lafond 2004 "Roc-Epine" Côtes du Rhône ($14)

I'm enjoying the return of a good, typical vintage in much of Europe after the wacky, fruit-forward and oversize wines that were all too common in the record-heat year of 2003. This modest table wine offers a lovely example: There's plenty of fruit, but it's well-structured with acidity and tannin in a balanced, food-friendly wine that takes me back in memory to years long past, discovering cheap but hearty Rhone reds served by the pitcher in Paris sidewalk cafés. Dark ruby in color with glints of reddish-orange, it offers classic Côtes du Rhône aromas of peppery cherry-berry fruit. Mouth-filling flavors follow the nose, juicy fruit shaped by tart acidity and substantial tannins. U.S. importer: Wines of France Inc., Mountainside, N.J. (March 11, 2006)

FOOD MATCH: Red meat is a natural companion, and it went very well with pan-seared flatiron steaks scented with garlic and lots of black pepper. Yes, it will be just fine with St. Patrick's Day corned beef, too.

VALUE: After so many years in which basic Côtes du Rhône was a stalwart of the under-$10 bins, it's sad to see it selling the middle teens. In fairness, though, this one is more than competitive with other table reds at this price poin.

WHEN TO DRINK: Côtes du Rhône is billed as a drink-now wine, but this item's balance and tannic structure suggests that it will hold up well for several years on the wine rack or in a cellar.

Côtes du Rhône = "Coat doo Rone"

Domane Lafond's attractive blog-style Website is available in French and English:

Look up prices and locate sources for Domaine Lafond Roc-Epine Côtes du Rhône on

California Wine Club
The California Wine Club:
Bloomin' Big Wine Sale Going On Now!

The California Wine Club is offering savings of up to 70% off normal retail during this month’s wine sale. A great selection of award-winning wines can be found at or give them a call at 1-800-777-4443.

Sale ends March 31, 2006, and inventory goes fast, so order early for the best selection.

Need a unique gift? Why not take advantage of this month’s sale and mix a half or full case of wines from California’s best artisan winemakers. Make your selections at, choose the gift option, include a gift message and The California Wine Club will handle everything else!

This week on

Some highlights of recent articles on that I hope you'll enjoy:

For the Love of Port: The Demarcation of the Douro
This year marks the 250th anniversary of the Demarcation of the Douro in Portugal - the formal establishment of the boundaries of the Port region. Here's Port expert and WineLoversPage contributor Roy Hersh's in-depth analysis. Selection of the Week
Celebrating the launch of our friend Allen "Burghound" Meadows's fully searchable database of Burgundy tasting notes, we've automated his "Selection of the Week" feature on to display a new report on a "top value" Burgundy every week. You'll find it here:

Hot topics in our WineLovers' Community
Our WineLovers' Discussion Groups, the Internet's first wine forums, are the No. 1 place online to ask wine questions and participate in the civil and intelligent discussion of good things to eat and drink. Drop by today!

Today's Poll: Eat and Sip
Remember last Monday's review of Hugh Johnson's "A Life Uncorked"? Inspired by Johnson's comment about the way he tastes food and wine in the same mouthful, we've set up a simple poll to determine whether most wine lovers do the same. If you haven't done so already, I hope you'll take a moment to vote in "Today's Poll: Eat and Sip." If the poll doesn't appear as a hotlink in your E-mail, you can find the ballot toward the lower-right corner of the WineLovers Community front page,

Last Week's Wine Advisor Index

The Wine Advisor's daily edition is usually distributed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (and, for those who subscribe, the FoodLetter on Thursdays). Here's the index to last week's columns:

 The return of Nero d'Avola (March 10, 2006)

 Eat and sip? (March 8, 2006)

 Hugh Johnson: A Life Uncorked (March 6, 2006)

 Complete 30 Second Wine Advisor archive:

 Wine Advisor FoodLetter: Burger buns (March 9, 2006)

 Wine Advisor Foodletter archive:

 30 Second Wine Advisor, daily or weekly (free)
 Wine Advisor FoodLetter, Thursdays (free)
 Wine Advisor Premium Edition, alternate Tuesdays ($24/year)

For all past editions, click here


For information, E-mail


To subscribe or unsubscribe from The 30 Second Wine Advisor, change your E-mail address, or for any other administrative matters, please use the individualized hotlink found at the end of your E-mail edition. If this is not practical, contact me by E-mail at, including the exact E-mail address that you used when you subscribed, so I can find your record.

We do not use our E-mail list for any other purpose and will never give or sell your name or E-mail address to anyone. I welcome feedback, suggestions, and ideas for future columns. To contact me, please send E-mail to

All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.

Monday, March 13, 2006
Copyright 2006 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to the 30 Second Wine Advisor

Wine Advisor archives