Well what a week wine fest was…. for those who missed it, mark your calendars for next year! A fantastic idea brought to fruition by Aoife Carrigy & Oisin Davis. The premise being you buy a wrist band for five euro which then entitles you to a host of discounts at 30+ bars & restaurants around Dublin, plus each venue will host their version of Dublin’s wine experience. It sounded like a great idea at the launch but who was to know that the experience was going to be so festival like, with so much to do I had to sit down to see how much I could fit in my six days. No mean feat considering that the venues had a variety of special events in house. So what did I do?, well Monday saw me joining organizer Aoife & her Mom at Ely for their sparkling wine flight, this consisted of Dravigny – Godbillon (Grower Champagne) Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 2009 (English Sparkling) Bianchi (Argentinian Sparkling) & Le Cortesse Prosecco.
A beautiful selection, I have tried them all before but together it gave a whole new topic of discussion. Out of the four that evening the Nyetimber won out. The champagne was lovely & fresh the Nyetimber was yeasty, the Bianchi was an elegant surprise and the prosecco a bright & fruity number. We also ordered one of their pairings Becker Family Pinot Noir 2011 with steak tartar, a delicious and brooding pair. I tried a little with each of the sparkling’s and surprisingly the champagne sung out beautifully with it, an ideal fresh lunchtime pairing. So we had a Happy Monday at Ely wine bar.
Tuesday saw me meet up with my friend Ara, a lover of great food & drink, an ideal partner in crime for the evening ahead.
We started in Dundrum in the Candlelight cocktail bar which has quite the classic cocktail bar look and vibe. We were especially excited to try their wine cocktail flight and boy were we in for a delicious journey. Three wonderfully crafted wine cocktails with little bites to surprise the palate. We had ‘Happy Pearing’ pear & Malbec punch, ‘The Martinez’ homemade plum wine martini, ‘O’Sherry’ PX-based Manhattan and all for €10 they were exquisite. Darren the mixologist gave us a little bit of the history, a mine of information we would have loved to have kept listening to but we had another stop to make that evening.
So off we headed to the Whitefriar Grill, they were hosting a three-course early bird menu with paired wines (€32), plus a 10-question wine quiz where each correct answer docked 10% off your bill! What fun we had, the place was absolutely buzzing when we arrived. The food was great and plentiful, the wine matched well and Tommy’s service was great. He definitely enhanced our evening. We had hoped to finish our evening with a wine cocktail from Saba but alas it was too late. A great Tuesday though.
Wednesday I had signed up for the “Off the beaten path” tasting at Stanley’s lead by their wine director Morgan Vanderkamer with Harriet Tindal (Tindal/Searsons Wine Merchants) and Barbara Boyle (the Wine Masons). A great selection of wines were tasted but the nuggets of information from all made it an interesting evening and gave a talking point for the rest of the night. From Stanley’s I headed to Ely for the Riesling Flight to join some friends.
There we were given Ekam (from Spain) Sipp-Mack (Alsace) Mount Horrocks (Oz) & Weingut Max Ferd Ritcher (spätlese from Germany). A lovely journey through Riesling, the Ekam being a real surprise; I would have got the grape but Spain would not have jumped into my mind if I were blind tasting. A stunning wine all were but that evening the Ekam was perfect. Since it was still relatively early we decided to share my Monday night sparkling choice the Nyetimber 2009 and Mullineux Syrah from the Swartland in South Africa. The Nyetimber was enjoyable but it was the elegant Syrah from the Swartland that kept the evening conversation of wine from ‘off the beaten path’ going.
On Thursday, I missed Wine fest to attend a fantastic McArdle v McArdle dinner in Stanley’s, incredible food and great list which we dipped into over the evening. Stanley’s is worth checking out for the many wine events the ever changing list and flights of wine.
For Friday I popped by the O’Briens Wine Fair in the Printworks at Dublin Castle (more on this later), afterwards I may have popped by Ely with a colleague eager to try the Syrah Flight on which the Swartland featured as did Preface from Saint Joseph, Clonakilla and Thalarn. The Thalarn was again every bit Syrah but from Spain, again not the first country I would have thought of.
Sadly my plans for Saturday did not allow me to try anymore of the Wine Fest but wine was involved.
So I must say a big thank you to all my dear friends who joined me on my journey and to all I visited who all put forward such a great selection of treats I could not miss. Most of all a big thank you to Aoife Carrigy & Oisin Davis for designing such a great event… Next year make it a month 🙂