From Vineyards Direct brought a very impressive collection, curated by Stuart Smith, to the Crawford Art Gallery last evening, some minor and major masterpieces among the 30 or so wines up for tasting.

Missed some familiar faces in the crowd: there were two other wine events on in the city, one even in the Crawford Café up the hallway. But nice to see ex garda and author Jim Ryan (on escort duty), Ollie from Glanmire's Cream Café and Miriam from the Cork and Bottle Wine Club.

Some punters were very happy with the Torrebrava Manzanilla but I went for the Brut 1415 Moingeon Blanc de Blanc (€12.95) as my aperitif. This south of France sparkler was top notch and a great way to start a Christmas party.

There were at least two gems among the whites including Domaine de la Motte, Chablis Premier Cru Beauroy 2007 (17.95), a beautiful fresh minerally example of Chardonnay.

Perhaps the best of the New World offerings, of both colours, was the Stanley Estate Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2011 (€15.95), confirming to me once again that this area and neighboring Nelson are the places to go for reliable SB.

Those two whites would fit into the Christmas schedule without any problem as would two good value reds. For quality and value it would be hard to beat the Chateau Bauduc Bordeaux Rouge 2008 (€11.95) and, for two euro extra, the rich and spicy Mas Belle Eaux, les Coteaux, Languedoc 2008.

And for the special occasion, which Christmas is, you might consider splashing out on a top Bordeaux, the luscious and intense Chateau La Commanderie de Mazeyres, Pomerol 2001 (€31.95).

While in you are in the mood, why not try a sweet ending. Maybe not Yquem but Haut Charmes, Sauternes 2009, a good example of the famous dessert wine. A full bottle will cost you €35.95 while a half will set you back €18.95.

Maybe you don’t like them as sweet as that. There was a good alternative there last night, well balanced and warming: Churchills Reserve Port (€17.95).

A very satisfactory tour among the sculptures and drink for thought. For more info on the wines and to order contact From Vineyards Direct here