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Big Guns come out Blazing for Curious Tasting

As promised by the title, “Wine Tales of the Unexpected”, it was a night of unexpected wines with unexpected stories, hosted in the resplendent wine cellar of the Hayfield Manor in Cork. What was also unexpected was the incredible value for money received for €15 a head. The big guns came out for this event.

Led by the supremely knowledgeable Charles Robb, the evening kicked off with a bang, with three litres of Glaetzer’s iconic Barossan red, Amon-Ra. The standards were set for the rest of the tasting, and despite starting with one of the best reds available in the Irish market, there was suspense, surprise, shock and sheer joy with each bottle that followed.

The palate cleansing Borgo Magredo Prosecco was next up. It might not have the Champagne name, but it held its own and came out with nods of approval all-round. With the pleasant long aftertaste still lingering, the battle between Old World and New World Sauvignon Blanc got underway. In step Gordon Ramsey’s house white, the French Chateau Bauduc Blanc and, from New Zealand, Matthew Jukes’ “purest of the pure” The Ned Sauvignon Blanc. Charles wasn’t 100% about putting the finesse and delicacy of a French Sauvignon against that of the powerful New World alternative, but it paid off. Both shone through, the consensus for preferences being split down the middle.

Then it was Italian stallion Lugana Trebbiano and our Spanish amigo, the Valdamor Albarino, that went head to head, the first possessing pure fruit, minerality and a touch of saltiness, with the full-flavoured Albarino ensuring everyone knew why it was a Decanter Gold Medal winner.

The impressive red list began with two Bordeaux reds – one of Decanter’s Top 50 best value reds, Chateau d’Argadens and the perfectly conceived Chateau Reignac. The Reignac was revealed as being a great investment. It is sure to become one of the best Bordeaux’s at this price, given a few years cellaring.

Back to Australia, the Heartland Dolcetto & Lagrein was among the favourites of the night. We can say this because we sold quite a bit of it afterwards. Probably something to do with the resounding gasps of excitement once the enticing price tag had been revealed. “I was expecting at least €30 per bottle – I’ll be having some of that”, exclaimed one euphoric Curious mind. Made from two Italian grape varieties, Ben Glaetzer took a gamble with this one, but has excelled once again.

The climax had almost been reached when “The Stocks” Shiraz from Woodstock, and Ben Glaezter’s Bishop Shiraz, took the evening to another level. These two couldn’t be pulled apart either. We’ve said before how good “The Stocks” is, and independent Irish wine blogger Lar Veale will verify this, but the Bishop was easily as jaw-dropping. Charles described the amazing complexity of the Bishop, with it being one of the few wines available that include the ‘blue fruits’ spectrum of flavours. Another guest was looking for a knife and fork for these classic Australians.

The final unexpected treat were two fabulous South Africans from Rijk’s Private Cellar. Certainly a different style than the Aussie’s, but, oh man… certainly the best Shiraz and Pinotage we’ve tasted to come out of South Africa. World-class.

The night didn’t quite stop there as many of us hit the town afterwards, but the feedback was excellent once again. Somehow, in such a short space of time, we’ve created a cult following for the tastings and parties we’ve been known to throw. If you want to be the first to know about future tastings, be sure to sign up for our free monthly newsletter. Tickets for our next event will not last long.

Sincere thanks to Charles Robb for a highly informative evening, to the Hayfield Manor for the service to match the wonderful surroundings, and to all our curious tasters on the night.

Thirteen wines tasted in following order:

Glaetzer Amon-Ra (surprise wine)

Borgo Magredo Prosecco

Chateau Bauduc Sauvignon Blanc

The Ned Sauvignon Blanc

Lugana Trebbiano

Valdamor Albarino

Chateau d’Argadens

Chateau Reignac

Heartland Dolcetto & Lagrein

Woodstock “The Stocks” Shiraz

Glaetzer Bishop Shiraz

Rijk’s Shiraz

Rijk’s Pinotage


  1. How about taking the show on tour?

  2. That’s on the cards, but I reckon we need a little more time to establish a bigger customer base outside of Cork. You would have been in heaven on Friday night. You’ll have to try get down next time.

  3. catherine wilsonApril 20, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Would far prefer Hayfield to the Ambassador hotel, will you be holding them in Hayfield again?

  4. I’m sure we will at some point Catherine.
    We’re moving around to see what different hotels offer and the Ambassador have been very accommodating. We’re also keen to keep the ticket prices down, so that also has a bearing on location.

3 Trackbacks

  1. [...] recent article in the Irish Examiner had Blake Creedon salivating during a recent Curious Wines tasting. “‘Sauvignon’ it says on the label, an epiphany in conservative Bordeaux. Here [...]

  2. [...] gently pressed and then undergo controlled fermentation. It was put to the test in February’s wine tasting in Cork, and managed to stand up very well against a more pronounced Spanish Albarino. Certainly [...]

  3. [...] first put the Shiraz and the Pinotage to our customers at a wine tasting back in February and the feedback was tremendous. The Pinotage was particularly surprising, perhaps [...]

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