I was recently invited to join James Nicholson Wines for a Meet the Winemaker wine tasting evening at The Merrion Hotel. There was to be about 15 winemakers and winery representatives in attendance, all showcasing a number of their wines.
On a chilly November evening after work I made my way along to The Merrion, ready to try some wines and chat to the winemakers. As a bonus, Shortcross Gin were also in attendance so I finally got to try this wonderful Northern Irish Gin.
We met winemakers and winery representatives from Portugal, Germany, France, New Zealand, England, Italy, California; trying some great wines and some not so much but wine can be like that, what I love you may hate! There were a few standout wines for me. The main one being a wonderful sparkling wine from Gusbourne (Kent, England), the Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2009 – a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. This was a well rounded sparkling wine, very fresh, subtle, and a wine I definitely want to try again. We spent a small bit of time talking to Charlie Holland, the winemaker from Gusbourne Estate too. He was knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the wine and the vineyard and great to talk with.
In attendance from California was Cline Vineyards and their Cashmere 2010 was one of my favourite reds. A gorgeous wine, blend of Mourvedre, Syrah and Grenache, Cashmere is full of flavour, very smooth, lots of fruit – cherries and raspberries, with hints of chocolate and spice. I will always choose a Californian wine though so spending time at the Cline Vineyards table was an easy sell!
The Dog Point Vineyard (New Zealand) table was a popoular one, a selection of Sauvignon Blancs, Chardonnays and Pinot Noir. Nice young guys talking about their distinctive wines. I liked their Chardonnay, quite different to others I’ve tried – a balanced lively and intense white wine.
And of course Shortcross Gin – a classic Gin – smooth, floral, flavours of apples, elderflowers and wild clover, distilled with juniper, coriander, orange and lemon.
Overall a very enjoyable evening, the rooms in The Merrion were the perfect venue for this and some inspiration for future wine buying.