About Me

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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.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Off to Clare...

Day three of the big adventure started early with a two hour drive up to the Clare Valley. I started at Paulett Wines where Matt Paulett and Kevin Mitchell of Kilikanoon had brought some wines to taste. Obviously, Riesling was the emphasis but Matt had a really good cabernet merlot and Kevin had some very good grenache!
The next stop was at Tim Adams where Tim, Neil Pike of Pike Wines and Richard Wood of Crabtree put on a good range of wines for tasting. There was some interesting discussion about stelvin versus cork, especially in relation to red wines, the way bigger companies had, to some extent, destroyed some of Australia’s old brand heritage as well as the identification of Clare with Riesling.
Then Peter Barry of Jim Barry Wines brought me off to his house for a lovely bowl of soup followed by a visit to his winery where we tasted 4 vintages of La Florita (a Watervale Riesling) as well as three bottles of 1999 Lodge Hill. Two of these had been bottled under cork and were over-mature, the third was stelvin and in much better shape.
After this I was met by Neville Rowe of Sevenhill and we headed to the Sevenhill Hotel (which is actually a pub) for a mad evening of good food, great beer and wines and very intense discussions about wine. Also present were Adam Eggins from Taylor’s (Wakefield), Matt Paulett and Harry from Jeanneret Wines. We covered things from biodynamics to Clare = riesling to MW exams to the alleged impersonality of some of the big names in the Australian wine industry to a lot more. After a mad drive through a vineyard after midnight looking for a hole in the ground I eventually collapsed into bed at about 1 am!
An interesting thread through the day was the apparent sense among the winemakers of a lack of confidence in relation to the outside world’s view of Clare. For me, it has long been one of the only two world class regions for white wine production in the New World (the other being Hunter for Semillon) but many of the winemakers I met felt this message was not necessarily getting through. Some also felt that Clare = riesling was good while others felt that shiraz from the valley also deserved some recognition.
Anyway, it was a mad and interesting day where, once again, I was impressed by the level of generosity of the people who hosted me. They all give so generously of their time and put up with my mad debates that I have no idea of how to thank them properly. Hopefully, letting people know through the blog, as well as through my work, will begin to repay them for all their help.
Today has been a day off, although Neville and I had a very good discussion in re biodynamics, wine judging, tannins in wine and a few other points on the drive back to Adelaide. Tomorrow it’s off to the AAMI stadium to watch the Adelaide Crows play Hawthorn as a guest of Orlando Wyndham – the Crows are expected to lose but, as they’re the home team I’ll be cheering for them – go Crows!!

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