Bordeaux Evening at Crawford Art Gallery

Bordeaux Evening at Crawford Art Gallery
Left to right: Pierre Lawton, Colm McCan and Ted Murphy
A Bordeaux evening, that saw wine merchant Pierre Lawton in conversation with Ted Murphy (author “A Kingdom of Wine – the Story of Ireland’s Wine Geese"), drew many to the sculpture gallery of the Crawford on Thursday night. It turned out to be one of the highlights of the ongoing WineGeese series.

It was indeed a very good night for the WineGeese “committee” of Beverly Matthews, Colm McCann and Maurice O’Mahony. Maurice opened the evening: “We dreamt this up in January and now it’s true!”

Ted Murphy, widely credited as the originator of the Wine Geese concept, told us of the Lawton family, in particular how one of Pierre’s direct ancestors, Hugh Lawton, had been mayor of Cork city in 1776.

Four from Bordeaux.
Indeed, the Lawtons had a huge presence in Cork city and county and held many high offices, all the while continuing their trade with their relations in Bordeaux who, via Abraham Lawton, entered the wine business (buying and selling) in the 1700s.

And Ted was enthusiastic that the old trade links and cultural connections between the two Atlantic cities could be reinforced and new ones forged. He announced that UCC is to enter a student exchange programme with Bordeaux. And then showed us a very impressive recent tourist leaflet cum map from Bordeaux detailing the many Irish connections.

He then drew our attention to the nearby John Hogan sculpture of The Drunken Faun who, he joked, had wasted some pretty expensive wine. Indeed, some of the wines that Pierre then introduced do not come cheap but there was no danger of them being wasted! Pierre explained: “Thus is a horizontal tasting. Same vintage but different wines.”

1 – Chateau Clauzet Saint Estephe 2009
2 – Chateau Branaire Ducru Saint Julien 2009
3 – Chateau Clerc Milon Pauillac 2009
4 – Chateau Lynch Bages Pauillac 2009

All kinds of wine related topics were touched on, in a light and humorous way, by Pierre, including the ups and downs of buying en primeur, the risks (and rewards!) of playing backgammon with Philippe de Rothschild (wine #3 above) and the Chinese involvement in the wine market.

When we came to the Lynch-Bages, he let us know that a M. Lynch, then Mayor of Bordeaux, once seriously upset a certain Napoleon! Pierre, in a cheeky aside, shared this tip: the taste of Lynch-Bages is close to that of Mouton, but cheaper!
Horizontal tasting!

And the famous Bordeaux bottle? Yes, you’ve guessed it. That was invented by an Irishman (Mitchell) so that bottles could be stacked on their sides. 

Pierre also had a very practical tip for these hot days. To cool wine, drop an ice cube into the glass for a few moments, then remove and taste the difference. 

One got the impression that Pierre is not a lover of some wine critics, particularly those that overly use technical terms. “Enjoy the wine,” he advised. “Don’t be prejudiced by what you read.” Sound advice from a man that knows!