The Year in Wine. Paris the highlight.

The Year in Wine
Paris a Personal Highlight

All aboard with the judges on the Seine: Chef Chris Carpentier (Santiago),
Jo Mansell (UK), CL, Adolfo Hurtado (Cono Sur) and Yours Truly
Without a doubt the wine highlight for me in 2014 was the trip to Paris for the final of the Cono Sur Bloggers Competition. We didn't make the trip to Chile - Finland pipped us in the decider - but we had a ball with our fellow finalists and with the crew from Cono Sur, including genial winemaker Adolfo Hurtado, not to mention Chris Carpentier, Chile’s Top Chef and MasterChef presenter.

March was a good month. Chris Forbes of Taylor’s  and cheesemaker Dan Hegarty visited Ballymaloe for a Port and Cheddar Tasting and Forbes also matched his gorgeous liquids with chocolate by Shana Wilkie. And a few days later, Sherry supremo César Saldaña gave a masterclass at the Wines of Spain tasting in the Radisson Blu in Little Island.

The second Ballymaloe LitFest had no shortage of drinks events, most of them this time held in the rustic surroundings of the Tractor Shed! Here, with some distinguished company, we enjoyed Beer and Cider  and then a session sipping Port, Sherry and Madeira.

In June, we were on holidays in France. No shortage of wine outings in Bordeaux but our top visit was to Chateau Bauduc. Here, we got a terrific welcome and tour (and tasting of course) thanks to Gavin and Angela Quinney, and the dogs!

July started well with a walk around Cork where we enjoyed the Musica and Vino on the Campo Viejo Tapas Trail. The highlight this month was undoubtedly the Krug Champagne tasting and dinner, with Nicole Brown, in Ballymaloe.

in September, memories of the WineGeese events were revived in unusual fashion at Latitude 51, when a trio of Irish winemakers appeared on a big screen via Skype to take us through a multi-national tasting. Well done to Beverly Mathews, Maurice O’Mahony and Colm McCan for organising WineGeese on the Web.

All that before the November flight to Paris and that magical finale on a boat on the Seine. Slainte to all and Happy Christmas. And here’s looking to a great 2015. Wonder where will it take us? Or indeed who’ll come to visit?