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Dublin, Ireland
Hi, I'm Dermot Nolan, and I became a Master of Wine (MW) in 1997, and resigned from the Institute of Masters of Wine in 2023 after being an MW for exactly 26 years. I opened a wine shop in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland, called The Wine Library, which closed in 2018, and this is my personal wine blog. 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. I was a Director of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) from 2008 to 2014 and was also a member of the Events Committee, founder of the Trips Committee, and member of the Governance Committee. 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.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I hate blind tastings!

What? Another blind tasting? We travelled to the Lovely Maggie Beer's Farm (both Maggie and the farm are lovely) to meet with one of the great personalities of the Australian wine industry, Brain Croser AO, who decided to put us through a fiendish blind tasting.

Twenty wines, all shiraz and/or cabernet (this included cab. franc), 10 of which were single vineyard, 8 of which were single region and two were inter-regional blends. All we had to do was ask six questions of each wine: was it varietal/regional in style or winemaker wine; was it cabernet or shiraz; where was it from; was the alcohol balanced or too high/low; was the acid balanced or too high/low; and was the sugar high, evident or dry?

So informed, we started and it was a tricky tasting. One wine was more or less equal parts cabernet and shiraz so there were 13 shiraz wines and 9 cabernet wines, as it were, in the tasting. I got 9 of the shiraz wines but only 3 of the cabernets so that was disappointing. I did nail four of the wines, which was nice, even if the shiraz viognier from Canberra is pretty easy to spot!

I found the regional characters hard to spot, which is not the best thing to admit after a four day intensive course on the regions of Australia but looking at my mistakes I was fairly close in climatic feel i.e. I went for a cool region but the wrong one! Still, work to do on this at some later stage.

I nailed the Brokenwood Graveyard, which was great, because the Hunter shiraz style had been a mystery to me before this trip. I also got the Cullen Diana Madeline and, for both of these, very few in the room managed to do this. Nyah boo sucks to ye!

It was a very entertaining tasting and made feel like a young MW student all over again - please let me out of here!!!!!! Interestingly, as Brian went through the results, the group did pretty well, which suggests that the Landmark people have done a good job. So, with that positive note, I'll sign off.

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