Blake’s Festive Fifty

THIS blog and my column in the Irish Examiner can never provide what they set out to inspire — namely, the pleasure of a glass of fine wine in good company.

So I was delighted to accept an opportunity offered to me by John McDonnell of Wine Australia Ireland earlier this summer.  They’ve given me free rein to pick a few dozen of my favourite wines from Australia, regardless of price, styles or retailer. In return, they’d provide the wine and the venue for a one-off wine-tasting evening, namely…

Blake’s Favourite Fifty Australians

The list I’ve put together is a mouth-watering range of reds, whites, rosés, sparkling and dessert wines.  And, for once, instead of talking at you about how good a particular wine is, we’re  going to be bringing you the wine live and in 3-D.

Wednesday, December 1, from 6pm to 8.30pm
at Cork School of Music, Union Quay.

Tickets are €20.
Booking (via Wine Australia Ireland on 065 7077264) is advisable.


Cork School of Music

The beautiful Cork School of Music - an inspirational venue.

For the price of a round of drinks, it promises to be a fun evening of tasting (and drinking) fifty top-class wines. We’ll be opening every one of them and serving them on the night along with some tasty bites of grub.

The practical side of the evening is represented by the brochure that everyone attending will get. This details each wine, its recommended retail price, and a  list of stockists — making it a handy shopping list if you’re inspired by any of the wines you encounter at the event.

One unusual aspect of the tasting is that the wines are drawn from right across the trade. We’ve been working with 19 Irish wine importers from well-established names (such as Findlater’s, and Barry & Fitzwilliam) to bright young firms like Classic Drinks who are also based in Cork.

All the wines are available to buy in Ireland, and the list of stockists spans a wide range of retailers from online wine stores and wine specialists such as Bubble Brothers, Curious Wines and O’Donovans, through to supermarkets and independent off-licences.

Another pretty cool aspect of the whole thing is the venue, the award-winning Cork School Of Music on Union Quay, designed by Murray O’Laoire architects and opened in 2007.

This modern, elegant building is a great setting for any event, and I’m delighted we’re holding the tasting there. And there’s more. The School of Music  wouldn’t have been built without a long campaign waged by parents,  students and teachers and their trade unions. In uncertain times, it’s good to remember that with such spirit and effort,  ordinary people can create something so positive for our city.  ♦


By the way, the event should really be named Blake’s Favourite Sixty-Five.  Hacking back the longlist was a pretty cruel task, and I had to leave out lots of great wines. So when I reached 65, I said to hell with it. Happily, John McDonnell is kindly accommodating my indescision, and we will be pouring all sixty-five on that list.


Wednesday, December 1
6pm to 8.30pm at Cork
School of Music, Union Quay, Cork.
Tickets are
20 and booking (with Wine Australia Ireland on 065 7077264) is advisable.

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2 Responses

  1. Sounds fantastic – well done Blake and woo hoo!

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