Stories of Friendship, Family, Fun and Food.
All the way from the Emerald Isle!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Gourmet Lovers Guide to Galway and the surround!

Cases Wine Warehouse
Riverside Commercial Estate,
Tuam Road
Galway City

00 353 91-764 701

I have started, therefore I will finish. That is usually the way things go once a bottle of wine gets opened around here. There are a few very simple rules I live by when it comes to guzzling great grape juice. First of all, I do not drink shwag wine. Life is too short. I would rather do without than drink or dabble in the enormous amount of crap that is out there. Secondly (and this is where you should take note), I have always had a wine expert in my circle of friends. Go to your nearest (nice) wine shop and get friendly with the wine expert. They will teach you everything you want to know about wine! Lastly, I like a nice wine glass. Not a little teeny tiny one from the eighties, but a nice big, two-fister bowl of a glass. Something that I can swish n' swirl my wine around in, breathing in the body and aromas before I allow myself that first sumptuous sip. Call me a wine snob. I am - what I am.

After returning home to roost in gorgeous Galway, an old friend of the family that liked to grapple with the grape juice told me to check out the wine warehouse close to my home. He was certain that the owner would not steer me astray in my ever increasing thirst for wine knowledge regarding the glorious grape and its divine wine.

Enter the pleasant and proud Peter Boland of Cases Wine Warehouse. Peter, originally from Dundalk, County Louth, has been living in Clarinbridge for over thirteen years. Several years of experience under his belt working for Bulmer’s (yum!) and Beamish, gave him time to recognise the fact that there was something missing in Galway. In August 2007, Peter took that giant entrepreneurial leap into the world of self employment and what a leap it was!

How did he know that Galway was ready to wander down the lane into the wonderful world of wine when really, most everyone was still buying Tesco's finest flabby sauvignon blanc on a Friday night?

... "Galwegians (home grown and blow-ins) are ‘early adapters’ to use a marketing term. They are experienced, experimental and hungry for new experiences when it comes to food and wine. I knew that long before moving to Galway!"... Well stated Peter and I could not agree with you more, being a proud Galwegian myself.

Cases Wine Warehouse is filled to the brim with wines from all over the world, and neatly organised too. You can wander around (by country) reading the interesting facts he has printed up about the grape variety or the wine itself. There is always a chance he will have several bottles open for you to sample if you are not quite sure what it is you are looking for.

I asked Peter what his advice would be to the nervous wine novice...

"Ask a specialist retailer (like himself, no doubt) and be prepared to have fun and experiment! You will have successes (and disappointments) and you will be constantly learning what you like, and do not like! Supermarkets have their place, but all you’ll ever learn from their shelves is what’s at half price. (Ever notice that the tasting notes on the bottle labels don’t always ring true?) Finally, don’t tolerate patronising or evasive staff. They’re usually covering up for their own knowledge gaps".

Molecular Structure of Fullers ESB

It is not just great wine from fruits of the vine that Peter is flogging but better beers from hearty hops too!

When asked if Galwegians surprised him with their educated palates when it comes to wanting more from beer, Peter responded with a resounding NO! What did surprise him, was how quickly us Irish have abandoned that ‘Burn anything English but their coal’ mentality and have warmed to their ales. Too right! So many great beers, so little time.

Seeing as I drive by twice a day, I try to stop in at least once a week to see what's hot (right now it is summer Albariños from Spain and Argentina). Cases is one of the few Reidel Stemware stockists in town and has the best price (by a long shot) for these essential guzzling gems. Trust me when I tell you, you cannot go wrong in picking up a party tube for your next gift giving occasion. It will go down a huge treat!

A plethora of knowledge and a world of wine awaits you. Although the flood gates of recognition and awards from the powers at be have opened, Peter remains humble and credits his success to the fact that he has a dedicated, knowledgeable and hardworking crew by his side.

Winner, Bridgestone Irish Food Guide Award 2010
Best Wine Warehouse in Ireland, Sunday Business Post Annual Wine Awards Jan 2010
Top-10 Wine Websites, Sunday Business Post Annual Wine Awards Jan 2010

Supporting local business is a way of life for me and mine. I urge you to shop locally next time you step out on a spending spree. As a consumer you have the power to ‘thank’ those smaller city gems that provide us with tasty treats from here in our own back yard and abroad.

It is local, it is Galway. It is home!

That is all the WiseWords I have for today!



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