News, Expert Opinions and general chit chat from the world of wine

JN Wine Blog

30 years sees significant change?

FT Weekend turned 30 last weekend (23/24 May) and Jancis Robinson has written an article about how the wine scene has changed in those 3 decades.

It’s a fascinating insight into how the world looked back in 1985.  Among other things, she points out that in 1985 Australia was exporting 2% of its wine abroad.  Today that figure is 60%.

In the 1980s Chardonnay was relatively scarce and in some cases had to be rationed.  

Robert Parker was virtually unknown in 1985.  A year later, Jancis wrote the UK’s first profile about Robert Parker for the Sunday Times detailing the young American wine writer who “devoted his days to tasting up to 100 fine wines, and introduced the concept of scoring these wines out of 100.” This scoring system came to dominate the world of fine wine for the decades to follow.  Fast forward 30 years and the next sea change – this is the first year Robert Parker is not scoring the Bordeaux En Primeurs and it remains to be seen what effect we will see from his passing the baton to Neal Martin.

In the early 1990’s the French Paradox was highlighted on CBS’s ’60 minutes’ programme.  The paradox being that the French consume larger quantities of red wine but have lower incidents of heart disease than other countries.  A perceived health benefit of drinking red wine ensued which lead to increased plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon throughout the world as this grape was perceived to be the epitome of French class because of its prevalence in classed growth Bordeaux.

Chardonnay has always a certain status because of the great white wines of Burgundy.

Styles have changed and continue to do so.  ‘New World’ wines were more starkly different to ‘Old World’ wines.  The fruit was riper so the wines were friendlier and more ready to drink; grape varieties were clearly stated on labels and new world winemakers were scientifically trained and knew how to produce more reliable, consistent, clean and fruity wines.  Oak treatment became much more heavy handed and has now come back to a much more balanced and lighter style.  Nowadays there is growing support and interest in where wine comes from and how it is grown.  The spectrum has broadened from heavy, industrialised, mass-produced wines at one end to ‘natural wines’ at the other.  Organically or biodynamically grown wines made with minimal intervention are increasingly common as are lower alcohol levels. 

It’s fascinating to think how a wine made from grapes harvested back in 1985 has been sitting patiently in its bottle, developing at its own rate while the world has changed all around it.  Jancis listed a few wines that made her top picks from 1985.  Sassicaia made the cut.  Any takers?

FT Weekend wine articles can be found here 


Domaine du Grapillon d’Or, Gigondas

Céline Chauvet exudes warmth; not just from her smiling face as she welcomes us to her home but also from her stunning, sun-kissed wines. The family domaine covers 37 acres of prime Gigondas land, in the craggy upperlands of the Southern Rhone. Celine takes care of the winemaking and has just recently supervised the design and construction of a state-of-the-art cellar. This is one lady who does not let the grass grow under her feet!

We were shown round the cellar and then proceeded to the tasting room which also houses the family’s collection of corkscrews, many of them dating back several hundred years.

Our tasting commenced with the Merlot Caladoc – a firm favourite with JN staff. The 2013 vintage is lighter than the 2012 but has an attractive juiciness to it. 80% Merlot / 20% Caladoc, it is extremely approachable with silky tannins and a medium body. Caladoc is a Grenache/Malbec crossing which seems to work well here.

Grapillon D'Or Merlot 2012

Grapillon D'Or Merlot 2012

£9.50 / €14.40

We then moved on to the 2013 Gigondas, Grapillon d’Or, her signature wine, made from a blend of 80% Grenache / 20% Syrah. Once again what strikes you is the fruit – bright, fresh, strawberry and blueberries bursting from the glass. On the palate it has presence but is not overextracted and has a very silky, gentle tannic structure. 

Grapillon D'Or Gigondas 2012

Grapillon D'Or Gigondas 2012

£18.65 / €25.95

Bravo Celine et merci pour la visite!




2015/2016 Retail Brochure now available! Come and get your copy

Download our Retail Brochure here ( £ )

JN welcomes RubyBlue - Award winning Northern Irish liqueurs

Here at JN we’re partial to the odd cocktail and now we have a great excuse to dust off the cocktail shaker. Local craft distillery Hughes, based in Country Antrim, produce bottle-aged liqueur made with only the finest produce sourced right here in Ireland.  This small batch producer is dedicated to producing exceptional craft spirits.  The quality of the ingredients isn’t to be messed about with- using only real, whole fruit, Irish grain spirit (distilled and charcoal filtered) and a touch of sugar they produce liqueurs packed full of flavour.  Each bottle is filled and sealed by hand and allowed to bottle-age naturally over a few months.  

We currently stock all four of the RubyBlue liqueurs- but which one is for you?  After having sampled all four I still can’t pin one down as my absolute favourite- they’re all delicious!  

RubyBlue Blackcurrant Liqueur

This little gem is made using whole Irish Blackcurrants.  And wow! You can taste the quality and care that has gone into producing this.  It’s absolutely packed full of fresh fruit flavour.  

Why not try it with Champagne, Cava or Prosecco in a Kir Royal? Or even better- how about a Ruby Bramble?

Fill a tumbler with crushed ice

Add 25ml RubyBlue Blackcurrant

10ml Lemon juice

25ml Gin


RubyBlue Blueberry Liqueur

Bursting full of blueberry goodness this was a real hit at our tasting session in Crossgar.  Just tasting this liqueur transported me to a summer’s evening enjoying drinks out in the sun.  

What about making some fruity Blueberry Tinis

50ml RubyBlue Blueberry

25ml Vodka

50ml Apple juice

Garnish with some of the blueberries from the bottle

Or, how about incorporating it into a Bellini? Just add 25ml RubyBlue Blueberry to your favourite Champagne/Prosecco/Cava.


RubyBlue Cranberry Liqueur

Again, this flavour proved very popular at our sampling session.  It really captured the refreshing, thirst quenching flavours of fresh cranberries.  This is a must-have to keep in the fridge for when friends come round for drinks! 

What could be better than a delicious Cosmopolitan?

50ml RubyBlue Cranberry

25ml Cointreau

50ml Cranberry juice

50ml Raspberry Juice



RubyBlue Chilli Pepper Liqueur

The wild card of the pack.  This is the newest, fiery addition to the RubyBlue range.  I have to admit, I’d never tried a chilli liqueur before- but wow.  It was hot and sweet, warming and had great length.  

Why not give it go in a Bloody Mary?

25ml RubyBlue Chilli Pepper

5ml Lemon juice

100ml Tomato juice

Celery Salt

Black pepper

Splash of Worcestershire sauce

Garnish with celery

We also stock a RubyBlue Miniature set which contains 4 x 5cl bottles of each flavour.  A nice gift for the liqueur lover in your life. 

So get your cocktail sets out and get inventing! The options are limitless when it comes to liqueurs and cocktails, and where better to start than with this local producer?






Win 4 Tickets to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

Would you and your family/friends like a day out at the golf? Or maybe you will choose to attend your four days solo?

We have four day tickets up for grabs plus a voucher to enjoy a bottle of JN Champagne on course.

To enter simply email the with a ME PLEASE in the subject line. Please make sure we have up to date contact records.

Feel free to share the chance to win with family and friends by forwarding the email or directing them to this page. We will also be launching a Facebook and Twitter competition in coming days-so keep your eyes peeled!

Terms and Conditions

There is one prize on offer-4 day tickets for the Irish Open. Tickets can be used individually or as a group on any day of your choice Wednesday 27th-Sunday 31st May

Competition closes 22nd May at 6pm.

JN Wine accepts no responsibility for any costs associated with the prize that are not expressly included in the prize, and in particular will not cover any costs associated with travel, insurance, food, beverages and parking 

Prizes are non transferrable. 

The winners will be notified by telephone on or before 23rd May 2015 and given details of how to claim their prize. If a winner does not respond to JNWine within 2 days of being notified of their win, the winner’s prize will be forfeited and JN Wine shall be entitled to select another winner in accordance with the process described above .

JN Wine accepts no responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities, injury or disappointment incurred or suffered by you or any other person as a result of entering the Prize Draw or accepting the prize.