Unmissable Spanish wine tasting in Cork

THERE are lots of public tastings, festivals and dinners coming up. Many of them are the best value night out you’ll have in ages so if you’ve never (or rarely) been to open-ended wine tastings I’d suggest you should do, and you may first want to take a look at this guide to how wine tastings work.

But first let’s start with one of the undisputed highlights (the info for which arrived too late for iniclusion in today’s column). This year, wine fans in the deep south have even less of an excuse to miss one of Ireland’s best annual wine tastings.

Wines From Spain 2010 in the Shelbourne. This year's tasting takes place in Cork on September 15. Pic: http://www.sherwood.ie.

The Wines From Spain open public tasting, organised by the Spanish Embassy, has upped sticks and moved to Cork. Named Wines From Spain: Changing Ways, the tasting takes place at the Imperial Hotel, South Mall, Cork, from 5.30pm to 7pm on Thursday, September 15, 2011, and anyone over 18 is welcome. More than 180 wines will be open to taste, running the gamut of the fabulous modern Spanish wine tradition, and 17 Irish importing companies will be pouring everything from good everyday fare to premium wines. Tickets, €20, are available from Sarah Currey on 01-2405387 or by email to scurrey@harmonia.ie.

If one wine fan’s affection for Spain, Spanish wines, and this annual tasting might whet your appetite, here’s my post about last year’s event.

The tasting format (laid out in great detail here) is the simplest: You’re provided with a glass and are encouraged to wander from table to table. Some participants will pick a theme and stick to it – for instance those looking for fish-friendly whites. Others will  skim through the entire range starting with the whites, moving on to reds, taking in the fabulous Spanish Cava sparkling wines along the way and, if you’re so inclined, Spain’s unique oxidised Jerez-Xeres-Sherry tradition.

Either way, you could think of it as a sort of wine speed-dating.

As always, the event is in two parts — an invitation-only trade fair earlier on the same day aimed primarily at restaurateurs and retailers, and the public expo event aimed at consumers as detailed above. (The Spanish embassy will be repeating the trade fair section, expanded to include wineries seeking representation on the Irish market, in Dublin in October).

I presume the embassy chose to switch to Cork this year simply because so much of the market is down south in Munster. But, perhaps surprisingly, quite a few of the participants, all big players in Spanish wines in Ireland, are also Munster-based. These include Approach Trade (Tipperary) Barry & Fitzwilliam; Bubble Brothers; Classic Drinks and Karwig’s (Cork) and Mary Pawle (Kerry).

The surprise announcement that the public Spanish tasting has moved to Cork marks the beginning of a busy autumn season of wine tastings and dinners all over the country. While such events may sound like an extravagant indulgence, many of them in fact provide consumer-friendly value-for-money opportunities for food and drink fans to test and taste what’s out there. Check out my column in the Irish Examiner Weekend this Saturday for further tastings and dinners this autumn.  ♦

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3 Responses

  1. Good stuff, Blake. As it happens I’m having one of the wines we’ll be showing on the night right now, a burly red from Utiel-Requena. The winemaker’s name is actually ‘Jesus’, though – disappointingly – he’s not THE Jesus.

    See y’all on the 15th!

  2. Great stuff Paul – bring it on. May have to choose between Cork one or Dublin leg in Oct but will be there! PS it may seem bizarre that there isn’t a word about the Spanish event in my column today – only heard about the public bit of the tasting after “Weekend” had gone to bed. :-O

  3. […] If you can’t wait until then for your Iberian wine fix the Cork leg of the Wines of Spain show takes place on September 15th (Thursday week) in the Imperial Hotel. The trade part is during the day (email justineadam@eircom.net) while consumers are welcomed then from 5:30pm to 7pm (€20. Phone Sarah Currey on 01-2405387 or email scurrey@harmonia.ie). Blake Creedon has more details about this event on his blog here. […]

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