Impressive Gilbey’s Portfolio Tasting

Gilbey’s Portfolio Tasting
Jon Smith talking to visitors
at Gilbey's Wine Portfolio in the Clarion.

Enjoyed my tour of the Gilbey’s Portfolio Tasting in the Clarion Hotel (Cork) yesterday, the first time that the event has been held in the city.

Quite a few restaurants and bars represented at a very impressive display by Gilbey’s with eight tables, each with a  different wine theme, and a ninth stand that displayed the company’s growing beer selection.

Renewed acquaintance with Des King at Table 3 and he introduced me to a very fine wine indeed: Paul Jaboulet Aine Parallele 45 Côtes de Rhone Blanc. But I couldn’t resist the Trimbach Pinot Blanc 2010 and felt that that just shaded the Rhone. Might need a replay though.

The Old World was the general title for Table 5 and here I knew that Austria awaited and, in particular, two Grüner Veltliners by Laurenz V, the Forever and the Friendly. Must say that I could stay friendly with both forever. The major difference, perhaps for the those looking to reduce their alcohol intake, is that the Forever will come in at 11% abv while the Friendly has the bigger kick at 12.5.

A couple of excellent reds here also. I have, for a long time, enjoyed the Nero d’Avola from Sicily and here they had an excellent Cusumano 2007 but the star for me, one of the best in the show, was the 2009 Churchill’s Douro from Portugal, a rich unfortified wine from old vines.

The ever enthusiastic Jon Smith was manning Table 6 where the wines were Black Tower and Bend by the River. Enjoyed my sip of the Bend by the River Riesling 2011 but found the Black Tower equivalent a bit on the sweet side. But many people don’t and millions of bottles of Black Tower are sold each year in England and Jon reckons that, given two years, a similar proportion will be sold in Ireland.

New Zealand was represented by just two wines at the New World table and both, the Hunter’s Sauvignon Blanc and the Hunter’s Pinot Noir, were excellent. If I had to choose one, it would be the SB, “a pristine example of its type”.

Carmenere, once thought to be extinct but it was hiding all along under the guise of Merlot, was rediscovered in Chile as a separate variety in 1994 and has since been associated with the South American country. Sampled the Carmen Gran Reserva Carmenere and can recommend it. It is produced in the Apalta, “a new area ..and the best place for Carmenere”.

After that, and with time running out, there was just time to call to Table 9 and the beers and an informative chat with brand manager Ealron Kennedy and that will be the subject of a later post.