Eat, drink and be married

Tony wine1

Posted on: 6th February, 2017

Category: The Wine Buff

Contributor: Tony Eklof

Tony Eklof, originally from New England, has settled in Clonakilty after a career as a librarian at University College Dublin. His knowledge and passion for wine has been inspired by frequent visits to the wine growing regions of the continent, particularly Italy and France.

When it comes to choosing wine for your wedding reception there is really only one major decision to make. Should you go along with the hotel’s recommendations and choose from their list or should you go independent and make your own choices of wine? After that there are a number of smaller points to consider.

The advantage of going along with the hotel list is obvious – the ease and the convenience. Choose from the list and leave everything to them. Job done.

However, there are advantages to choosing and bringing your own wine to the event. First and foremost you get to choose whatever wine you like. You most likely will have to pay corkage, which should be around €10 per bottle, maybe a bit more for the bubbly. When negotiating the corkage don’t be afraid to haggle and the chances are you might get the hotelier to come down a bit in the price.

Most good outlets will let you purchase on a sale or return basis. One little tip here I came across is that if you are availing of this make sure they don’t put too many whites in the ice buckets, as the labels could get damaged and the unused ones back might not be taken back.

Personally I’m not a big fan of the ice bucket in any case, as I believe the wine tends to over-chill and lose some of its flavour.

If you choose your wine carefully you are quite likely to get better value even with the corkage, for example there are many good wines for around the €10-12 mark, so you are still likely to pay less than the ‘house wines’ on the hotel list.

For quantity, most experts recommend calculating a half bottle per person. As for which wine to choose, the first tip is to wait until your menu is decided, which will allow you match the wine to the menu choices.

I consulted with a good friend, Federico, who manages one of the O’Brien’s Fine Wine shops. He said New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is very popular for the white, as you have a good range to choose from and it is generally light and lively. For red, the important rule is nothing too light and flavourless or too heavy and strong in alcohol. You don’t want your guests falling asleep over the speeches! That leaves as popular choices, Valpolicella from Italy, young Rioja from Spain and medium-bodied French wines, but probably not Burgundy, as they tend to be overpriced. Bordeaux from some of the lesser regions such as Castillon can be a good choice in both style and flavour without the big price tag.

Finally, when choosing your bubbly, keep in mind Champagne may be the most famous but it is also the most expensive. There are many areas of France producing lovely sparkling wine at a fraction of the cost of Champagne, not to mention Prosecco from Italy and Cava from Catalonia in Spain.

Finally the websites of leading wine merchants offer sound advice on choosing wedding wines.

Have a look at O’Brien’s Fine Wines in Douglas, the excellent Curious Wines in Cork, or Bubble Brothers in the English Market. The latter advise that choosing your wedding wine should be ‘a pleasurable experience before things get too busy’.

Hear hear!

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11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at xavierdubuisson@gmail.com or text at 086/0476124.
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26th September, 2017  ·  

Dúchas Clonakilty's first lecture for the Autumn promises to be of huge interest to all: Emerging from the Shadow of Tom Crean – The Parish Centre, Clonakilty, Thursday September 28th 8.30pm.

Lecture by Aileen Crean O’Brien & Bill Sheppard

In May 2016, Kerry man Tom Crean, along with Ernest Shackleton and four other crew members, landed the James Caird lifeboat on the rocky isle of South Georgia. The navigation of that small boat, across 1500 km through icy winds and towering seas, is regarded as the greatest ever feat of navigation. They then trekked across the forbidding and inhospitable mountains and glaciers of South Georgia to seek help for the rest of their crew, who were left behind on Elephant Island after their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by the Antarctic ice.

One hundred years later, Crean’s grandaughter, Aileen Crean O’Brien, set off with her sons and partner to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. Join Aileen and Bill to hear of their adventures (and misadventures) on the Southern Ocean and the island of South Georgia.
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7th September, 2017  ·  

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