My father was always happy to go to hurling matches - whether it was an All-Ireland final or a Junior B League relegation decider, he would be there chewing the fat with his mates, one of whom summed up the action of every single match as "the worst I think I ever seen".
I am rarely seen at hurling matches these days, but I am happy to turn up at any wine tasting, if I can. The Riesling tasting held in Ballymaloe last Thursday night was very much at the All-Ireland end of the spectrum of wine tastings and was a successful meeting of minds between Colm, the sommelier in Ballymaloe and John McDonnell, the bundle of energy that runs Wine Australia in Ireland. That they got 130 people to turn up at a tasting of one grape variety was amazing. That this grape variety was Riesling made the night even more amazing.
We had three winemakers, all successful exponents of this noble variety - Tim Adams from Clare Vally, Australia, Severine Schlumberger from Alsace and Carl Ehrhard from the Rheingau. In the spirit of the evening, the winemakers showed some of their own wines , but also some wines from other producers. The evening was moderated by John Wilson from the Irish Times.
There were 4 flights of 3 wines each designed to show the different expressions of Riesling. The flights were as follows (* marks my favourite from each flight)
Tim Adams Riesling 2011
Kunstler Stielweg 2010*
Trimbach Riesling 2009
Tim Adams Riesling 2007
Kunstler Kirchenstuck 2007 *
Schlumberger Kitterle Grand Cru 2005
Peter Lehmann Riesling 2011
Carl Ehrhard Rudesheimer Berg Rosneck 2010
Weinbach Schlossberg Grand Cru Cuvee St Catherine 2004 *
Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut 2010 *
Carl Ehrhard Berg Rottland Beerenauslese 2007
Schlumberger Vendange Tardive 2009
It was a fantastic range of wines of different styles, price points and producers - something for everyone....well done to the organisers!
Afterwards, Ballymaloe got together some local food producers and set up a mini farmers market so there was some amazing food on offer as well, with the proceeds going to the East Cork Slow Food movement. It was high quality food with a very easy-going atmosphere.
The best I think I ever seen.