A New Take on Oaking: The World’s First Irish Peat Wine – The BT Wines Story
BT Wines of West Limerick has developed the world’s first Irish Peat Wine. A unique and innovative wine – and also intriguing…
Brendan and Trisha, the lifelong friends from West Limerick with a passion for good food and wine, have spent the past few years developing their product – Irish Peat Wine. It’s a first in every possible way. Together as BT Wines, they have created a beautiful wine that blends their creativity, ingenuity and enthusiasm into every last drop.
Brendan and Trisha source their Pinot Noir grapes from small vineyards in the Rheinhessen and Pfalz regions of Germany’s famous Rhein valley, carefully selected to ensure the marriage of vine and peat is perfectly matched. Maturation of the wine, developed by Brendan and Trisha over many years, happens through their application of a truly innovative process using peat sourced from the boglands of West Limerick. Similar to the process of Oaking, this allows the wine to settle and develop its complex palate and richly deep ruby red colour.
The Vineyards are small family owned estates located in the Rheinhessen and Pfalz regions; and the decision to settle on using Pinot Noir was based on a balance of the earthy flavours and aromas from both the grapes and the peat.
“BT Wines are involved in the wine making process the whole way through. Obviously the concept is ours, the process of introducing the Irish Peat to the wine is unique and one which we developed. We decide on the grapes, the vineyard, the process and the ultimate final blend/infusion level of the peat and decide when bottling takes place.”
The pair are frequently criss-crossing European skies as they move between Ireland and Germany to keep an eye on their wine! It’s a finely tuned process but one that needs their constant attention – this is small batch wine making where every drop is precious. As Brendan explains, “The wine is produced in small quantities of only 500 bottles. The amount of peat used is sufficient to infuse and complement the Pinot Noir.”
The precise quantities and length of maturation is a closely guarded secret. Not surprising considering the time invested in bringing their Irish Peat Wine to the market; from developing the process to researching the right grapes from the right areas. “The peat adds depth and character to the wine, resulting in a warm ruby red colour which is not usually associated with a Pinot Noir. On the nose, the wine has all the characteristics of a Pinot Noir with just a hint of mocha and the ever present smokiness of the peat.”
This wine is full of surprises. It will also leave you speechless for a while; make you smile, maybe produce an involuntary chuckle of delight. But mainly it will leave you in awe.
It has the most inviting deep ruby colour that is as clear and glassy as the precious stone itself. Upon the nose, there is the comforting smell of peat but almost as a half remembered dream. It stirs the memory and comforts – recreating feelings of sitting beside a turf fire with people of good humour, or alone in contemplation. Upon the palate, it has superb structure providing a front mouth, mid-mouth and finishing flavours that change perceptively.
It is rich and rounded from the peat, yet retaining its lightness – characteristic of classic Pinot Noirs. The final surprise is its warming finish: long, lingering and velvety. Akin to the welcoming warmth of an imbibed whiskey, but in a wine that is perfectly balanced with little hint of aggressive tannin. It simply is a delight to experience this wine, and to appreciate it for the dedication to the craft of small batch wine making.
The addition of the Irish Peat is a clever, ingenious addition that is far, far removed from a ploy and shows an understanding of wine making, wine appreciation and a celebration of place that is to be applauded and supported with fervour. As Brendan Reddin says: “It is our passion for wine and our love of home that inspired us to develop Irish Peat Wine.”
This is a complex wine that needs to be tasted to be truly appreciated…
The attention to detail is present even in the packaging. Individually presented in a beautifully designed box, each bottle is attractively labelled with gold detail and a diminutive booklet with information about BT Wines and the Irish Peat Wine within. An illustration of an abbey on the label was specially designed by a talented friend who took inspiration from a couple of abbeys in the west of Ireland. It all comes together to showcase a product that is artisan crafted in the heart of Europe, but is every bit a celebration of “home” – misty-eyed nostalgia, bottled.
For more information, visit BT Wines.
Kate Ryan is a food writer, blogger and founder of Flavour.ie a website that is dedicated to promoting West Cork Food through writing, events and tours. Kate writes regularly for The Opinion Magazine and The Southern Star newspaper and has been featured in the Irish Examiner and Irish Times. Her blog is recipe driven showcasing the best of West Cork produce and encouraging everyday cooking with it at home as well as the best places to eat in the region. Kate hosts a very popular social dining “Supper Club” as well as organising a variety of food-related events getting people to enjoy great local food together. In the summer season, Kate also runs the only guided Walking Food Tour of Clonakilty which takes place every Friday June to August and is accredited by Fáilte Ireland for the Wild Atlantic Way. Kate is also a judge with Blas na hEireann and the Irish Quality Food Awards.
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