Valentine’s wines

Posted on: 6th February, 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.

Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us. These days it is celebrated, as a day of cards, chocolates, wine and perhaps a special dinner. But what of its origins? Well, the one thing that can be said with certainty is that the evolution of Valentine’s Day is shrouded in myth and mystery.

Consider this extract from the New York Times as far back as 1853.

‘It is one of those mysterious historical or antiquarian problems, which are doomed never to be solved, as to what the unhappy Saint Valentine had to do with February 14, and all its symbols and paraphernalia of Cupids, hearts, and love-letters.’

The confusion starts when we ask who exactly was Saint Valentine? It appears we are celebrating two different Saints who became a composite character over the centuries, Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni. Relics of the former are found at the Carmelite Church, Whitefriar Street, Dublin.

There are many legends surrounding Saint Valentine including that he wore a ring of amethyst with an engraving of Cupid, even in Roman times a symbol of love. Amethyst subsequently became the birthstone of February. Some historians trace the connection of Valentine’s and romantic love to the poets Chaucer, John Donne and Shakespeare.

In England, the introduction of the postage stamp in England in 1840 led to a reduction of postage expense and a huge boost to the practice of sending Valentine’s cards anonymously. In the United States, the first mass-produced cards can be traced to one Esther Howland of Worcester Massachusetts (my home State!) who from 1847 sold ‘elaborate creations of real lace, ribbons, and colorful pictures.’

From these humble and mysterious beginnings what is undeniable is that modern Valentine’s Day is a big deal. It is estimated that Americans alone spend something close to 19 billion on candy, flowers, cards, and fancy dinners. And the wine to go with the fancy dinner? Well, I love this quote from Hugh Johnson, ‘With very special bottles the wine guides the choice of food rather than the other way around.’


Two very contrasting reds.

If you like soft, light, wine with hints of cherry – Les Coteaux des Anges, Bourgogne, Pinot Noir, 2013, 12.5 per cent. SuperValu, Clonakilty only, on special at €8. Great value.

Much more full-bodied, Visan, L’Enclave Nord, ‘La Souco’, from the Southern Rhone. 2015, best drunk young. 13.5 pc. On special in Dunnes Stores at €12, excellent value.

Expression Limoux, (white). 13%, Chardonnay from the Languedoc, very classy, attracting rave reviews in the press. LIDL, €14.99.

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13th April, 2018  ·  

An evening on the 'Balance of Feeling Good' by Clonakilty Gaa Club Health and Wellbeing Committee followed by Guest Speaker, Cork GAA Chairperson, Tracey Kennedy.

Paddy Duggan, former Principal of Clonakilty Community College, will be MC on the night, facilitating a discussion on getting the balance of feeling good.
Contributors on the night are Colm Sheehy, Conor Murray, David Lowney, Denis Murphy, Eoghan Deasy, Sean McEvoy, Thomas Clancy and Treasa O'Brien.
Topics covered will range from awareness and responsibility to yourself and others to the benefits of exercise and nutrition.
The evening is suitable for everyone aged 16 and over from players, members of the community, parents of young and adolescent children, etc.

This is a public event, free of charge and everyone is invited and very welcome to attend.
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12th April, 2018  ·  

The Cast of Harold Pinter’s ‘No Man’s Land’ are on their way to the All-Ireland finals, having won 26 awards, including five best of Festivals, at the Amateur Drama League of Ireland annual three act festivals. The play ‘No Man’s Land, by Harold Pinter, the Nobel Prize Winning Author is directed by Jennifer Williams.

One last opportunity to view this multi award winning play at Skibbereen Town Hall, on Saturday 14th of April, before the finals.

Having met by chance in a pub, two aging writers continue a long night of drinking and reminiscing in a stately London home. As the night wears on, their conversation wanders through memories long forgotten or invented. Is their encounter real or a delusion? Are they strangers or do they share a past history? When unexpected guests intrude upon an increasingly surreal evening, the atmosphere quickly changes from friendly to threatening, and the encounter becomes a game of survival.

Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance by emailing

For more information please contact
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9th April, 2018  ·  

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