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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, October 15, 2015

Thank you so very much....

A trip like this is a costly thing, for all concerned. Every MW on the trip paid GBP 750 to be there as well as flights to and from Australia. Our sponsors in Australia all paid varying sums of money to cover wines, venues, food etc. There’s also the cost of time off work and away from family. Since we have paid we have a right to be critical of the wines we taste and what we hear but that in no way diminishes our gratitude to our hosts. 
Think about how generous they were: Stephen & Prue Henschke not only allowed us in the Hill of Grace vineyard they also showed two vintages of the wine. That’s 6 bottles at a cost of about AUD 650 per bottle. In fact, the tasting they offered us was worth about AUD 4,500 in total! Penfold’s gave us Grange, St Henri, RWT and a host of other wines. At Seppeltsfield each of was able to taste wine from our birth year as they have laid down fortified wine every year since 1878 and only release the wine after 100 years. The Centenary Release Para sells for AUD 1,500 per half bottle…
In Mornington and Yarra small producers offered extensive range of their wines to taste and also gave us some lovely lunches in very contrasting venues: the lovely 10 Minutes By Tractor restaurant and the windiest and hottest hill you could imagine! We had a super tasting and lunch at the Star of Greece in Port Willunga, saw the vine nursery at Yalumba, tasted the lovely old wines of Tahbilk and the interesting new blends of Brown Brothers, including a wine from a grape so secret they weren’t allowed tell us what it was! We had ancient wines at Campbells in Rutherglen and at some point or another met all bar one of Australia’s First Families of Wine.
At our farewell dinner at Mothervine in Adelaide, David LeMire MW and Michael Hill-Smith MW gave us magnums of David’s excellent La Linea Tempranillo (drinking beautifully right now) and Shaw + Smith M3 Chardonnay and Shiraz, as well as getting magnums of Henschke Mt Edelstone. Tolpuddle Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Pewsey Vale Riesling, Jim Barry Lodge Hill Riesling, and jereboams of d’Arenberg Dead Arm and Yangarra Old Vine Grenache, to mention but a few; there were too many to taste.
At Jacob’s Creek a dedicated group of young staff brought wine, oysters and tables up to the Steingarten vineyard just so we could swan in, drink and eat and listen to Bernard Hicken and head off half an hour later, leaving them to clean up. Admittedly, at that point we had already put in an 8 hour day and only had another 8 hours to go… including an extensive tasting of Barossa wines followed by a dinner jointly hosted by the Barossa Growers and the Barons of the Barossa.
At every point along the way we express our thanks to our hosts but it’s worth offering general thanks to all who helped make out trip fun, informative and an experience to remember and if I’ve forgotten to mention anyone it’s because at this stage I’m not sure where I am or when it is!

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