Friday, February 1, 2013

Wine Geese Heading Home

Wine Geese Heading Home
Mezzo soprano Amanda Neary at L'Atitude and,
in B& W, Beverley Matthews, Maurice O'Mahony,
and, at bottom, Tom Lynch (left) and Colm McCann

The Wine Geese are coming home. Watch out for them anywhere between latitude 51 and 52 over the next 12 months.

Indeed, one was present at the gathering in Cork’s wine cafe L’Atitude 51 last night when details of the exciting programme for Bringing the Wine Geese Home were announced by the dedicated troika of Beverly Matthews (L’Atitude 51), Colm McCan (Ballymaloe) and Maurice O’Mahony (Wine Alliance).

Local wine historian Ted Murphy, who assisted in setting up the Wine Museum in Kinsale, is also helping out and indeed his award winning book on the Wine Geese, a Kingdom of Wine, is a big help to the committee and no surprise to see Colm McCann reading from it last evening

Mendoza is the base for the El Commandante Wines and they were well represented by Tom Lynch who treated us to his two lovely easy drinking wines, a Chardonnay and a Malbec.

Tom also told us about another Lynch family (Benegas Lynch) making wine, not too far from Mendoza; these Lynches are related to Che Guevara (the South American El Commandante) and also to the Lynch-Bages of Bordeaux.

By coincidence, the French Chateau Lynch-Bages are one of the early highlights on the Wild Geese programme and their Jean Charles Cazes will be in Ballymaloe March 10th for a tasting and dinner. In October 10th, Ballymaloe will be the venue when Marc Boissonnet hosts a tasting and presentation of Hennessy Cognac.

Another big highlight comes on May 18th with the “Return of the Wild Geese Winefair” organised by Gary O’Donovan. This will bring together wines and winery owners with Irish heritage from around the globe in the Rochestown Park Hotel and will be followed that night by a black-tie dinner in the fabulous Fleming’s Restaurant.

The next event is coming up pretty soon, on February 13th. Jane Boyce (Master of Wine) will present a tasting, including Chateau Phelan-Segur, in association with James Nicholson Wines in L’Atitude.

You may check out the list of events here

Great to meet up with so many of the local wine and restaurant trade last evening. Geraldine was there from Cafe Paradiso and they’ll be hosting Emma Cullen of Cullen Wines (Margaret River) on May 28th while Sandra, sommelier at the Hayfield Manor Hotel, is looking forward to September 12th when their visitor is John McDonnell (Wine Australia), the event entitled “It’s a long way from Clare to here” featuring the wines of the Clare Valley.

Some of our well known Irish wine writers will host events. Thomas Clancy, John Wilson and Leslie Williams have all been lined up. Wine merchants have not been found wanting. Joe Karwig will have at least one event as will Mackenways, Wine Alliance, Curious Wines and O’Donovan’s.

And this cooperation was very evident last evening as the drinks were sponsored, starting with Blanquette de Limoux (thanks to Conor O’Brien of James Nicholson) and followed by Tom’s El Commandante wines. Then Peter Corr of Febvre & Co. treated us to Chateau McCarthy and we finished off on a sweet note thanks to Susie O’Connor of Classic Drinks and their gorgeous Seifried Ice Wine.

Not quite the final note though as that was supplied via the thrilling voice of the gifted Amanda Neary, Ireland’s leading mezzo-soprano, who sang ’O sole mio.

The night was still young and downstairs L’Atitude have a massive board with some fifty wines displayed. Just had to stop and sample and the one I picked and enjoyed was the Sepp Grüner Veltliner from Austria. No Irish connection there as far as I know but good nonetheless.

L’Atitude has gained many loyal customers in its short existence and the upstairs room is ideal for gatherings such as last evening. There will be other smashing venues on the schedule before the year is out.

The committee are negotiating for one special one (no details disclosed!) and other places that will hold Wine Geese Events include Longueville House in Mallow, the Triskel Arts Centre and Isaacs Restaurant (both in the city).

And way out west, there is one that I am looking forward to and that is the summer Food and Wine Extravaganza at Manning’s Emporium in Ballylickey on June 22nd. Val promised that this will have a strong Wine Geese theme. Lovely place, lovely people.

Bringing the Wine Geese Home is incorporated into the Gathering events for 2013 and you may see more details here; details that will be updated regularly.

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