It’s all Greek to me

Posted on: 9th March, 2018

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.

“Greece has many of the most original wine flavours in modern Europe.” Oz Clarke, ‘World of Wine’

Tired of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio, all of which are planted and grown all over the wine-growing world now? Want to try something completely different? How about a glass of Agiorgitiko, Roditis, Lagorthi or even Moschofilero? Yes, these are all indigenous Greek varieties, and will undoubtedly give you a new taste sensation.

Wine culture in Greece stretches back thousands of years, but had fallen in recent years into a bit of a slump. A new generation of wine makers, many of whom trained in France, California or Australia have breathed new life into the Greek wine industry admirably relying on traditional Greek varieties.

The variety of styles is impressive. The north of Greece makes powerful reds from the Xinomavro grape, sometimes compared to Italy’s great Barolo, while central areas produce the famous retsina, which many tourists to the Greek Islands will have sampled. Retsina is unique in that pine resin is added during its fermentation. Very popular with ancient Greeks, sales in recent times have dropped off.

The Peloponnese is home to Nemea, one of Greece’s most important wine-growing areas, while the Islands, Santorini in particular, produce some of the country’s most exciting whites. Crete unfortunately has a name for mass-produced dull wines, although even here there are signs of change.

Surprisingly it can be hard to source Greek wine although they are appearing more and more in good wine shops and forward-looking supermarkets. Marks and Spencer’s in particular have led the way in introducing a range of both red and white examples of Greek wine making.

At the time of writing LIDL, (Bandon, Clonakilty and Skibbereen) have a couple of Greek wines to coincide with their controversial Greek week. Controversial because there were heated complaints when the company airbrushed out the Christian cross on top of Santorini’s famous church on all their packaging in order to remain ‘religiously neutral’!

The white is Mantinia made from the Moschofilero grape and I found it to be floral, off-dry, and delightful. The red is Nemea 2016 and described as medium-sweet. Evidently this is the case with young wines from this region while the aged examples tend to be stronger and drier. Both are selling at €7.99 ‘while stocks last’.

If you wish to know more about Greek wine why not have a chat with someone much more expert than myself, namely Yiannis, the friendly wine manager of Scally’s SuperValu in Clonakilty. He is from Corinth after all!

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This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
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8th March, 2018  ·  

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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20th February, 2018  ·  

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Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

Check out this new upbeat indie-folk track Edges, released today from Inni-K with a video by Myles O'Reilly. Inni-K will be performing at Levis’, Ballydehob on Saturday 24th February, with support from Sam Clague.
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16th February, 2018  ·  

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