Function Wines and More from Febvre

 

All too often at portfolio wine tastings, the emphasis is on the speciality wines at the top end of the quality and price spectrum. These attract tasters, both amateur and professional and have a knack of stimulating conversations and column inches.

The reality of selling wine in the on-trade is however very different. Restaurants serving the top five per cent of the dine-out market will of course sell

01 Febvre

significant numbers of bottles of Premier Cru and Icon wines from the Old and New worlds, but for everybody else, the interest is likely to be towards the middle of the wine road- bottles that offer good quality at a price which will stimulate volume sales.

It was refreshing therefore to taste at a Function Wines table at the 2013 Febvre and Company Portfolio Day, held this year under the ornamental roof of the Banking Hall at the Westin. Presented here were wines which the visiting hotliers and restaurateurs could sell in volume, not only to Brides and Grooms (and their cheque-writing parents), but also to the Hon. Secs. of GAA Clubs, Chambers of Commerce,Past Pupils Unions and the many and varied organisations in the country who gather their members together for what are generally known as 'Functions'. Invariably these most important of hotel clients are seeking a wine that can be consumed with the ubiquitous roast beef/lamb/chicken and which they can comfortably combine with a €25-€30 menu in a ticket price which will deliver a small profit margin after allowing for a band, guests and a few peripherals.Their price point for wine is therefore likely to be around €20-€25 a bottle.

Febvre was attracting the attention of food and beverage and banqueting managers with eleven wines priced between €7.55 and €11.10 a bottle which would meet these criteria. All were from well-respected producers and the majority were varietals. In essense they are wines which will be acceptable to the vast majority of function clients spanning those who just want 'red or white' to the fusspots whose palates must not be offended.

 

Interestingly, no French wine was on the Function Table, although Languedoc is awash with bottles that would fit neatly into this category. Three of the wines were from Italy- a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC from Zagalia (€7.85), A Pinot Grigio Sicila IGT from the same producer (€7.85) and a second Pinot Grigio IGT, this time from Vini Tonon (€8.75). Montepulciano crops up on many function lists these days, but it must be an issue that wines from this DOC are being heavily promoted and  discounted by Tesco, Lidl and Aldi, with the result that price comparisons are likely.

Two Spanish wines were next- Iriana Tempranillo DO Carinena at €7.55 and a 'sister' Gannacha at the same price.

Prices moved up a notch for the New World offerings but there was nevertheless good value in Shiraz which is a strong favourite on function menus these day, often displacing Cabernent Sauvignon. The Table Mountain Shiraz was a well-made wine and good value at €8.30, as indeed was Babington Brook Shiraz for an extra 10c. a bottle. A Chardonney from Babington was also on offer at €8.40.

Chile is probably the origin of more function wine in Ireland than any other country and the Kawin Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc were typical of Chilean wines in this price range (€8.20)- fresh, fruity and flavoursome.

As would be expected, a Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough was the most expensive wine on the Function table but the Ta Moko was nevertheless good value at €11.10 and would be much appreciated by Mothers of the Bride who are also opting for the scallops starter.

The Febvre Portfolio Tasting had much more to tempt buyers and we will be returning to other highlights from the list very soon.

 

 

 

 

 

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