A weekend in Kinsale
Opening of the Wine Museum and Wine and Cheese Tasting
The Irish Wine Museum opened in Kinsale on 11 April 1997. We weren't at the event itself but visited the museum the following day. The displays are very interesting, although the number of artefacts is small: I'm sure that this will improve with time.
The history of Ireland's association with the wine trade is well documented, as is the history of the building where the museum is situated.
The following day we found that there was an exhibition of Irish farmhouse cheeses. The produce was, needless to say, at its best and meeting the producers - generally a loquacious and friendly bunch - added considerably to the interest. Colm Brangan, whose handles the excellent Zind-Humbrecht range, told us about a tutored wine and Irish Farmhouse Cheese tasting, and, on turning up, we were made welcome.
Derek Davis, out of breath from unexpected hill walking, opened the event and introduced a very heavy line-up of experts:
Dr. John O'Connell
We tasted six wines with Irish connections, and one of the connections - Marquis de Goulaine - was there in person. These were accompanied by seven cheeses, Gubeen, Cashel Blue, Desmond, Bandon Vale mature Cheddar, St. Brendan Brie, Cooleany Camembert and Coolea Gouda style. The idea was to vote on the best cheese to accompany each wine. Below are my own observations.
1. Sherry Fino Patricio, Garvey
Garvey was originally from Waterford. When he started dealing in Sherry he named his label after the Irish patron saint, SAn Patricio. It's pale, lemony, with a touch of green. The nose is intense, almond. This comes from acetaldehyde which is generated by the flor. On the palate it is dry and crisp/crunchy, and grassy. The Desmond overwhelmed it. Cashel blue seemed to match it best.
2. Muscadet Marquis de Goulaine, 1995
Clear, pale yellow green. Apple nose, not very pronounced. Apple and lime on the palate, with a touch of richness from the "extra year" - it was 1995. What good Muscadet should taste like. Went best with the Coolea.
3. Michel Lynch, 1995
Semillon Sauvignon, with a little oak. Beautiful deep gold. Very little nose, but fresh. Some wood on the palate, with good fruit and acid. Coolea, again.
4. Fleur de Carneros, California
North coast, maritime, Pinot Noir, made by Mahoneys. Dark cherry red, pale rim, quite light. Burnt rubber nose. Some little wood on the palate, with medium/low acidity. Quite dry. Went well with the Gubeen.
5.Chateau Clarke, 1993, Bordeaux
Deep, somewhat murky red-black, witha small purply rim. FIne nose, dry, berry fruits, young. Way too young on the palate, with tannins and god fruit: blackberry and blackcurrant. Made with Cab Sauvignon (40%), Merlot (40%), Cab Franc (18%) and Petit Verdot. Desmond made it sing.
6. Sandeman Port, 1991 LBV
A lovely deep red with black brown rim. Wonderful raisiny nose. Sweet, spirituous after burn, with sugar left in the mouth. Quite refreshing, and great with the Cooleany.
All in all, while the Gubeen probably got most votes from the assemby, I vote top honours to the Coolea and Desmond.