Le Caveau

 
Source: facebook.com/lecaveaukilkenny

Source: facebook.com/lecaveaukilkenny

Market Yard

Kilkenny

Phone: 056 775 2166

lecaveau.ie

 

I find it very hard to believe that Le Caveau was established as recently as 1999. It’s such an important – in fact, vital – part of the world of wine in Ireland, it seems to have been working away quietly and self-effacingly for several decades.

Pascal Rossignol, who owns and runs Le Caveau with his wife Geraldine, is a native of Gevrey-Chambertin and I reckon that this, alone, makes him the one true aristocrat of the wine trade in Ireland. On the other hand, I know that he is so modest, so inclined to hide his light under a bushel, that would demur. In any case, I’m only reporting the general consensus in the business when I say that he is certainly the nicest man in wine on this island.

Nice he he may be, but also passionate about the kind of wine he sells or, perhaps more accurately, represents; he is an ambassador for every wine on the list at Le Caveau and he reserves a particualar enthusiasm (which is infectious) for what are generally called “natural” wines or, at least, wines that have been made with a minimum of intervention and little or no sulphur.

When he speaks of such things it’s clear that he admires the purity of this kind of winemaking, the absence of high-tech gambits that disguise or even flatter the true nature of what the vine and the terroir deliver. And, as a result, I know exactly what kind of wines Pascal will never like, those confected, over-extracted, pimped up monsters which, in a slightly different context, Randall Grahm has referred to as “the Cola-Colanisation of wine”. (Pascal’s blog is a key feature of Le Caveau’s website).

There is a tardis-like quality to the shop in Market Yard. It seems impossible that it could hold such a vast range of outstanding wines, a range that actually increased during the downturn. As Pascal likes to say, he just kept finding superb wines and he simply had to list them.

Source: facebook.com/lecaveaukilkenny

Source: facebook.com/lecaveaukilkenny

It would be ludicrous to say that Le Caveau has a French emphasis (their Californians are subtly brilliant) but the fact is that Pascal is a Burgundian and Le Caveau has won the Burgundy Specialist of the Year two years in a row, at the hands of the estimable Tomás Clancy of The Sunday Post.

What more does one need to know? But I will just mention names like André Bonhomme, Bruno Clair, Louis Carillon, Domaine Leflaive, Ghislaine Barthod and Vincent Girardin as a random selection of what you will find here.

And there is so much more. The affordable Alsace stars of Meyer-Fonné, the genius produce of Alain Brumont from the honeyed Pacherenc-du-Vic-Bilh to his monumental Chateau Montus Cahors, great Rhone names like Yves Cuilleron, Beaucastel, Vieux Telegraphe, even obscure gems like the fino-ish Vin Jaune d’Arbois and Arretxia Irouleguy.

All of the wines that Le Caveau offer us are genuinely artisan, to employ a much abused word. Here it is applied with great sensibility because Pascal relates to the world of the artisan producer, to the scale, the considerations, the challenges and the rewards (which, by and large, are not financial).

It is about representing people whose obsession with what they do is breathtakingly impressive, about offering varied and interesting experiences, quality of course, value for money, advice born on years of experience and profound knowledge and, above all, pleasure. And the sharing of pleasure.

Add to all of this the fact that Le Caveau offers free delivery on 12 bottles or more (which can be mixed) and will get your order to you, north or south of the border, within 24 to 48 hours.