Autumn tastings

NB: I’m leaving this post with previous events up for reference only – if you want to see up-to-date listings of forthcoming tastings etc pop over here.

█ September 21 – Tinpot Hut winemaker in Cork
OH my. This is so promising. A tasting menu of some potentially top-class wines, presented by the winemaker, delivered at a very modest price and in a flexible way (to accompany a budget set menu or à la carte as you choose). It’s a pity it was set up at the last minute, as I’d have been there in a heartbeat if I could rearrange. So go and check it out for me.

While I haven’t tasted the wines in question, they certainly have a promising pedigree. Co-owned by Matt Thomson and Fiona Turner, the Tinpot Hut marque — comprising wines from both north and south islands of New Zealand — has picked up various posh awards.

Fiona is on a brief visit to Ireland and will be at Electric on the South Mall in Cork on Wednesday September 21. I don’t yet know if there’s a format but from 5.30pm, anyone dining from the early bird menu can also plug into her wines — a half glass each of the Tinpot Hut sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, grüner veltliner (gv), pinot noir and syrah. I’m interested in all of them, and am particularly intrigued by the gv which is rarely seen outside its native Austria. That’s five wines and your snap for €29. If you’d rather order à la carte, you can just add the wine bit as above for just €10. Ah come on, like.

You’ll find all the info about the event in Electric on their website here.  And again if you’re involved in such events, please drop me an email and let me know.

█   September 22 – Big tasting at Ely
More than 70 wines and cocktails on offer at Ely’s second BIG tasting. It’s €20 or, for a set three-course dinner, €35. 6pm and 8pm. Book on or 01 678 7867.

█  September 23 to 25 – The All-Ireland Beer Festival at the RDS
More than 40 beers and ciders (along some whiskies) will be pouring at this new festival which clearly aims to become a major annual fixture. It’s open on Friday (4pm to 12.30am; Saturday noon to 12.30am; Sunday noon to 6pm. Tickets are €10 per day or €15 for a three-day pass. You have to change your cash into festival ‘Beer Bucks’ to buy food and drink from the exhibitors at an exchange rate of €2.50 per buck, each of which buys you a half pint. Tickets are available at or from The Bull and Castle pub near Christchurch on Lord Edward St D2, and L Mulligan Grocer at 18 Stoneybatter D7.

█  September 23 Culture Night
There’s one deviation from the wine and beer events on this list, and it’s a biggie. On  Culture Night this Friday, hundreds of venues nationwide throw open their doors to the public late into the evening, many of them hosting special events, and all free of charge. Here’s the national Culture Night website.

Take my manor, Cork, as an example. There are 200 events in 75-plus venues, all quite rightly mashing up the arts — exhibitions, plays, film screenings, readings etc — with culture in the widest sense.

To give you a sense of the event’s breadth, you could…
♦ bring the littl’uns to the excellent Graffiti theatre-in-education in Blackpool,
♦ paddle your boat up and down the Lee,
♦ tour the innards of the Everyman Palace Theatre, a beautiful Victorian music hall whose stage was once graced by Miss Minnie Cunningham,
♦ join the Lord Mayor for City Hall’s open evening,
♦ be serenaded aboard the three Culture Bus shuttles laid on for the night,
♦ go to church for tours & talks by architectural and historical experts,
♦ drop in on rehearsals in the bandroom of the Butter Exchange Brass Band,
♦ visit the barracks that provided troops for conflicts ranging from the Napoleonic Wars through to UN peacekeeping missions…

And even if you got through that impossible itinerary, you’d still have experienced less than a tenth of what’s on offer. See what I mean? Download the PDF on the Cork Culture Night website or, better still, seek out the printed booklet in arts venues, libraries etc all over the city.

County Cork is weighing in for the first time this year, with a full programme of events at County Hall, right on the doorstep of the city. But there are also events going on from Beara in the west to Youghal in the east, and many points in between: Baile Mhuirne, Ballydehob, Bandon, Carrigaline, Castlelyons, Castlemagner, Castletownbere, Charleville, Coachford, Cobh, Crookstown, Cúil Aodha, Cullen, Eyeries, Fermoy, Freemount, Glengarriff, Goleen, Kilworth, Kinsale, Macroom, Mallow, Midleton, Millstreet, Mitchelstown, Schull, Shanagarry, Skibbereen, Youghal. So take a look at the County Council site above or ask around locally.

█  September 23 – Second International Grenache Day at elyCHQ
Grenache (aka garnacha) is the secret star of many beautifully-perfumed wines, particularly from southern France and northern Spain, but also from Australia and beyond. Here’s a whole evening’s opportunity to get up close and personal with the grape.
5.00pm to 6.30pmseminar
6.30pm to 7.30pmtasting
8.00pm til latedinner.
Tickets are €65. For information and bookings, drop in to elyChq in the IFSC ( or phone 01-6720010.

█  September 27 – Food producers & wine in O’Connell’s of Donnybrook
Wow. Even alongside some of the other rich pickings, this is likely to be an outstanding event. O’Connell’s have worked with several of their partner food producers and with wine importers Febvre to put together an enormously impressive and yet chilled-out food and wine evening. You will choose your starters in the style of a buffet – but you’ll be picking them up directly from the producers as follows…

Organic smoked salmon from Bill Casey Shanagarry Co Cork
Chorizo, Salamis and Cheese from Gubbeen
Organic Pork and Vegetables from Alan Pierce, Gold River Farm, Co Wicklow
Organic Chicken from Mary O’Regan, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford
Hereford Prime Steaks  Christy Broe, The Irish Hereford Prime Beef Society
Fresh fish from Shellfish de La Mer, Castletownbere, Co Cork

Then, the mains and desserts will be served to you at your table. And Carlos Martínez Bujanda from the top-class Bodegas Conde de Valdemar, Rioja, will be on hand to pour complimentary wines. There will also be a tasting flight of the winery’s wines at 20% off the normal price. Speaking of which, your final bill depends on what you order thereafter, including their €20.95 all-night early bird.  That’s good value.

Kudos for the imagination to put together an event that’s both useful and exciting, and also so accessibly priced. All the details are here on O’Connell’s website.  Go book.

█  September 28 – Latin American wines at The Merrion
The Merrion Wine Society’s second dinner this year is focused on wines from Latin America. The six-course dinner will be accompanied by wines from Chile, Argentina and Uruguay presented by Mary Dowey, wine editor of The Gloss. Book tickets (€90) now on 01-2755310 or email

Winequake, September 29

Several high-profile and otherwise worthwhile events are likely to compete for our attention on Thursday,  September 29.  I believe there may be more to follow but the first three confirmed are as follows…

█  September 29 – Yalumba tasting and/or dinner at Ballymaloe Co Cork
One of the best tutored tastings I’ve been at was conducted by Jane Ferrari. As she’d say herself, ultimately it’s what’s in the glass that matters most, and Yalumba does make terrific wines, from entry level to posh upmarket bottles.  But the presentations that Jane brings round the world are themselves superb — informative and highly entertaining.  This event is in two parts as follows
  Jane will present a tutored tasting on various wines made by Yalumba (€10).
8.30pm Wine dinner, with each course paired with one of Yalumba’s wines, which Jane will introduce (€75). Book now on 021 4652531 by email to and see

█  September 29 – Lohan’s Wine Fair Salthill Co Galway
Taste more than 100 wines as well as international beers, whiskeys and spirits, speciality cheeses, cakes and canapés at Lohan’s big annual wine fair – and as if that weren’t enough, there’s entertinment laid on too.
As ever, the entire proceeds go directly to local charities – Croí which supports families affected by heart disease and raises awareness of the issue; and Cystic Fibrosis, the most common life-threatening genetically-inherited disease in Ireland which has the highest incidence of it in the world.
Tickets (€20) are available from Lohans Bar & Restaurant, 232-234 Upper Salthill, Galway, 091-522696, or email and see

█  September 29 – Wilson & Caviston in Greystones Co Wicklow
St Patrick’ Parish Centre in Greystones, Co Wicklow, is the venue for what promises to be a highly entertaining evening in a good cause featuring John Wilson, wines from Mitchell & Son, and food from Caviston’s – with all proceeds going to the Parish Fund.  Tickets are €15 and are available from the  parish office on 01-2010648.

October 19 – Malbec tasting dinner at Thornton’s

The Corkscrew on  Chatham Street presents a dinner showcasing Argentina’s finest with winemaker Mariella Molinari presenting some of the premium wines of Argentina’s Catena Zapata to accompany a five-course menu created by Kevin Thornton. Tickets are €120 per person. See or phone 01-6745731.

October 19 – Roger Ravoire at Donnybrook Fair

Olivier Ravoire will present wines from his family’s Roger Ravoire Rhone winery in The Restaurant at Donnybrook Fair from 7.45pm. Phone 01-6144849 to book.

October 20 – Mitchell’s October Wine Tasting

On Thursday October 20, from 7pm, Mitchell’s present a  tasting of new additions to their range in their CHQ shop. It’s an excellent consumer-friendly format that other retailers might consider emulating: You pay €10 to take part in the tasting — but you get a voucher for the same amount that you can redeem in store on the evening.

October 20 – Food and beer at Cornstore Cork

Applause please for what looks like a terrific five-course tasting menu, each course paired with a selection of German, English, Scottish and Belgian beers. To pick just one menu item…

Pan-seared Ballycotton sea bass with roast pumpkin, sautéed spinach, grilled baby sweet corn with carrot and orange emulsion accompanied by Schneider Weisse Kristall

That sounds both delicious and a great match, as does the venison with celeriac, kale and cabbage matched with a doppelbock. Some of the matches sound a bit surprising to mefor instance Fuller’s Honey Dew pale ale with the salmon — although the latter is cured with treacle… But preparing to be surprised is half the fun of it, and you are in safe hands at the Cornstore, and that assuredly confident menu. It ought to be a delicious, interesting evening putting beer back where it belongs, on the dinner table.
Cornstore, Cornmarket Street, Cork at 7.30pm on Tursday October 20.
Tickets (€45) from 021-4274777 or

█ October 20 – Mas De Daumas Gassac in Thurles, Co Tipp
October 21 – Mas De Daumas Gassac in Ballymaloe, Co Cork

TWO Irish wine importers and retailers — Curious Wines in Cork and Red Nose Wine in Clonmel Co Tipperary — are collaborating to put on three great opportunities to meet wines and the people behind one of the Languedoc’s classiest names, Mas De Daumas Gassac. Samuel Guibert will present some of their wines at a dinner at Inch House, Thurles, Co Tipp, at 8pm on Thursday October 20 (60 from 052-6182939 or And on Friday October 21, he’s in Ballymaloe, Shanagarry, Co Cork to present a tasting at 7pm (15) and a dinner at 8.30pm (85). Contact Ballymaloe on 021-4652531; Curious Wines on 021-4320233, or

] Family of Four & Grenache 23 [] Nofla SIP 7 gold star wards 2 [] Pio Cesare Donnybrook September 28.   [] Portugal 24/10  []

Dingle Food & Wine Festival October 1 and 2.[] Cork wne fair 24/11  [] Taste of Christmas 25/11.

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