‘These are a few of my favourite things’…

Posted on: 18th January, 2016

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.

Well, favourite wines actually! Some people like to find a wine they enjoy and then just stick with it. Understandable, but I like to try different types, different grapes, different countries, although I have my favourites as well, wines that I know will not disappoint. The following recommendations also take into account that for most of us, good value is a consideration after the splurges of the festive season.

Dolle Riesling and Dolle Gruner Veltliner. I can’t decide which of these delicious whites I like best although the Gruner is particularly interesting because it is exclusive to Austria. At €10 they have to be just about the best value wines available at the moment. (Super Valu).

Cecchi Chianti Classico 2013. A lovely young chianti I find myself going back to again and again over the years. From one of the very best growing areas, Castellini in Chianti. Think blueberry and cherry flavours. Smart new label as well. Dunnes Stores, €13.

Il Tauro, Salice Salentino Riserva, 2013. This is a real stunner from Puglia in the very south of Italy. Warming rich red wine, and a steal at €10 from both Dunnes Stores and Next Door Wines.

Lidl Valpolicella, 2013.  Classic light red made on the shores of Lake Garda from Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes. €8.99

Cupcake Red Velvet, 2013. The name doesn’t give much away, and unusually the label does not divulge the grapes used, but all you need to know is that the wine is a delicious example of what California red can be but too often is not. I love giving this as a present, but like even more unscrewing the top and imbibing!  Marks and Spencer around €14.

Terrazze Della Luna Teroldeg, unusual red wine with dark fruit flavour from the Dolomites region of Italy. From the same wine maker comes the best Pinot Grigio I have tasted this year. Both are on special at €9 from Super Valu. Your wine writer is off to this region of Italy, formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, next week. At present it is –seven degrees and snowing there. Hope to find lots of warming northern Italian reds!

I admit the Italian bias above and must take a more worldly view in the future. Hey, my first New Year’s resolution!

My favourite wine-matching experience this year? It was one of those Saint Emilion Grand Cru Bordeaux reds that Lidl and Aldi bring in as specials once or twice a year, and once they are gone, they are gone. Along with a tender roast beef on the bone from Michael O’Neill’s in Clonakilty, it proved that beef and claret really is a match made in Heaven.

Now for my favourite 2015 wine shops- very personal selections.

Best overall, wide selection, helpful manager etc.- SuperValu Clonakilty.

Best organic selections – Lettercollum and the Olive Branch, Clonakilty, (a tie).

Best beer selection – Matson’s and O’Donovan’s in Bandon, Next Door in Clonakilty, (a three-way tie!)

Most eclectic selection – URRU in Bandon.

Best value, especially for their twice a year posh French wines sale-Lidl, Clonakilty, Bandon, Skibbereen.

Best online service, Curious Wines and O’Briens Fine Wines, Cork.

Best for the personal touch- Eugene’s in Kenmare.

Wishing all our readers a healthy and happy new year.


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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

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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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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.

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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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