About Me

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Dublin, Ireland
Hi, I'm a Master of Wine (MW) having passed in 1997. I opened a wine shop in DĂșn Laoghaire, Ireland, called The Wine Library and this is my personal wine blog. There should be no conflict of interest between my work with The Wine Library and the opinions expressed herein but I will do my utmost to be fair and responsible in my posts – please read my Who Pays article in re the ethics of wine trips and writing. I have worked in wine education, retail, and consultancy since 1990. From June 2013 until May 2017 I was the Retail Manager for The Wicklow Wine Company. I was a member of the Council of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) from 2008 to 2014 and was also a member of the Events, Trips, and Governance Committees. Having had problems with potentially libellous comments from unidentifiable posters, I now require that if you post a comment, you must identify yourself properly or it won't be published. Please note that I do not review products or services on request so kindly don't ask. I value my independence and I believe my readers (few that they may be) do so also.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Never strikes twice...

They say lightening never strikes twice but what about bad spring frosts? Well, in 1991 the whole west coast of France was hit by a devastating frost which caused a loss of about 90% of crop in Muscadet. This coincided, at least in the UK and Ireland, with the arrival of Jacob's Creek which meant that shelf space lost was never regained. As a consequence, Muscadet growers struggled to make a living and quite a few went out of business. So, what have they all done to deserve a second hit?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What makes a good pinot noir?

My MW colleague, Gerard Basset, recently said that he is reluctant to recommend pinot noir as he finds it has become a safe drink - easy, not demanding. Following on from yesterday's Central Otago tasting I wonder about the role of pinot noir and how we view it and the wines made from it around the world. We know there are great wines from pinot in Burgundy, and we know (I hope) that there is very good pinot made around the world, but is Burgundy the only place where great pinot is made?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Simple complexity?

At a tasting of Central Otago wines today, the excellent winemaker/presenter Jenn Parr responded to a comment about brett in one of the wines (I didn't note any fwiw) that sometimes this can add complexity. I've heard this comment a lot and I don't agree - to me, what makes a wine complex is not just one more flavour.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gulliver in the land of Lilliput

Well, having spent one day at Livingston getting a good overview of Gallo's operation, I spent the next day with Professor Hildegarde Heymann at U C Davis. Hildegarde works in the Robert Mondavi Sensory department and gets to do some really fun things. In terms of scale, however, going from the world's biggest winery to one of the smallest (I think Drew Noon MW actually has the smallest winery in the world) was interesting in its own right.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Livingston, I presume?

Ask anybody in the trade have they ever visited Gallo and the most likely answer is "no" (which often doesn't stop them from bad-mouthing the wines, by the way). If they say "yes" then most likely they visited the Frei Ranch facility in Sonoma, which I visited on my first ever MW trip in 1999. But today, I achieved a minor landmark in my time in the wine trade: I got to visit the biggest winery in the world - Gallo's crush facility in Livingston, California.