Samuel Guibert, Mas de Daumas Gassac, Languedoc

Samuel Guibert, of Mas de Daumas de Gassac, Languedoc, South of France on his first visit to Ballymaloe. Co-hosting for the evening, were well known Munster wine merchants, Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine, and Mike Kane of Curious Wines. Mike has done a great blog on the evening.
Rachel and the wine bunch

Helping Ballymaloe Sommeliers, Colm amd Samuel, highlight the event, are Darina and Rachel in the wine cellar at Ballymaloe, along with co-hosts for this great event, Gary Gubbins, Red Nose Wine, and Mike Kane, Curious Wines.

Colm, Darina and MikeMike, Rachel and Darina






Mike and Darina

 Samuel Guibert,  Mas de Daumas Gassac, Languedoc, South of France
Friday 21st October 2011

Samuel Guibert  presented the story of this great Estate and a selection of his wines. Described by Gault & Millau as “a Lafite in the Languedoc”, “the only Grand Cru of the Midi” by Hugh Johnson and “Exceptional” by Robert Parker.

Organised in association with, and our thanks to Mike Kane of Curious Wines and Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wines




Jane Ferrari, Yalumba, The Barossa

Jane Ferrari’s visit to Ballymaloe House and Ballymaloe Cookery School

Guest author of this blog: John Quinlan, Ballymaloe

Yalumba winery
Yalumba winery

On Thursday 29th of September I was delighted to meet with Jane Ferrari, the wine ambassador of Yalumba which is located in The Barossa in South Australia., and have lunch with Jane in the Ballymaloe Cookery School earlier in the afternoon. Over lunch, Jane met with ‘’ Famous Auntie Florence’’ (see Jane’s blog here about Aunty Florence here ) and fellow Ballymaloe Sommelier and wine tutor Colm McCan. We had a really interesting conversation about Yalumba and The Barossa as I heading to The Barossa in 2012 to get work experience in the wine industry.

Jane Ferrari at Ballymaloe Cookery School
Jane and Darina talking to the students

After lunch we went to the Afternoon Demo in which  Darina Allen was teaching, and Darina very kindly took some time out of the busy afternoon cooking schedule, and welcomed and introduced Jane to all the students. Pictured below is Jane and Darina with all the students getting a talk from Jane about the region and history of Yalumba and The Barossa. She spoke about the food, heritage and wines of her region which was really interesting. Our thanks to Kieran Coady and Aonghus Walsh from Cassidy Wine Merchants for arranging the visit of Jane Ferrari to Ballymaloe)

The Grain Store

All set for Jane’s talk in The Grain Store, Ballymaloe

Later that afternoon we attended a wine tasting of a very interesting selection of some of the different wines from Yalumba. (also see Billy Lyons ‘Restaurants and Food in Cork’  great blog and line-up of wines here about this Yalumba event at Ballymaloe with Jane Ferrari).  I picked up some very interesting information on  the wines.

Janes talk in the Grain Store
Jane's talk in The Grain Store

Jane gave a fantastic presentation and tasting – she got a standing ovation at the end (first time ever this has happened at a wine talk in Ballymaloe – well done Jane), and also mentioned her enjoyment and love of all things Sporting, especially Rugby and Horse Racing (two things Ireland excel at – come on Ireland in the Rugby World Cup), and Jane is a fan of local rugby hero, Corkman Ronan O’Gara (Munster and Ireland)

Jane and the Cassidy Team
Jane with Rebecca (The Grain Store), Kieran and Aonghus (Cassidy Wine Merchants)

Jane also spoke about her background – growing up in Alice Springs with her Italian background – she remembers having wine on Sunday as a young person – with a drop or lemonade or water added to it! All part of life in the good old days. She had the room in knots of laughter when she compared Viognier to Paris Hillton – ‘constantly needs lots of attention’ and compared Grenache to George Clooney – ‘turns up well dressed and well mannered all the time!’

John Quinlan

John Quinlan, Ballymaloe

John Quinlan, author of this blog on Jane Ferrari’s visit to Ballymaloe,  pictured here at another recent very interesting event at Ballymaloe Cookery School (in the middle of the glasshouse at the Ballymaloe Cookery School – ‘Outstanding in the Field’ – a concept where 100 people have dinner at one long table ‘outstanding in the field’ – as close as possible to the source of the ingredients for the dinner-  see Ballymaloe’s Colm McCan wine blog on this event here  the blog of The Irish Country Houses and Restaurants Association ‘The Blue Book’.

Colm, JR, Samuel and Jo
Colm, JR, Samuel and Jo

Jane also hosted a great wine dinner that evening in Ballymaloe – pictured are JR Ryall, Pastry Chef, Ballymaloe House, with Jo, Chef, and Colm, Samuel, and John (taking the photo!) at Ballymaloe working (hard at work – someone had to do it!) on matching the Yalumba Botrytis Viognier to a desset by JR – we matched it with Raspberry Almond Tartlet, Creme Brulee and Autumn Raspberry Ice-cream – delicious!

The ‘White Grange’

Penfolds ‘Bin 144’ Yattarna Chardonnay 2004

Yattarna 2004

Thanks to Edward Dillon & Co Wine Merchants, we had a very nice treat for the students of the 12 week course, during the Chardonnay module of the wine class – we were able to show the Penfolds Yattarna Chardonnay 2004.

Picturted below is the brilliant Peter Gago, chief winemaker at Penfolds (and the iconic Penfolds Grange – the Yattarna is sometimes referred to as the ‘White Grange’). During his visit to Ireland last year, Colm did a short video clip with Peter for the iPad Wine List at Ballymaloe – focussing on the high-profile ‘Penfolds Re-Corking Clinics undertaken around the world. (See the nice article ‘Apples for Dinner’ by Jancis Robinson MW on the Ipad Wine List at Ballymaloe here)
Peter Gago

Sealed under Screwcap – no cork taint, no random oxidation and promoting freshness & longevity. Penfolds has had well over a third of a century’s successful experience with white wine screwcap closures (e.g. the ideally preserved 1972 Penfolds Dalwood Riesling, 1980 Penfolds Autumn Riesling).

Marron at MagillPictured, is the matching dish I had with the Yattarna Chardonnay in the Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant, Adelaide, South Australia – this dish is Kangaroo Island Marron with Samphire, Young Shoots, Peas and Organic Honey – this really matched well – great dining experience – with Chef Jock Zonfrillo, waitress Megan, and Sommelier Joshua Picken – delighted to see the Riedel Eve Decanter in use here as we also have one in use at Ballymaloe.


This wine was matured for 11 months in one year old (50%) and two year old (50%) French oak barriques.

Winemaker comments:

Colour: Pale straw.

Nose: Complex nose of fruits, custard apple, white nectarine, peach and freshly cut lime aromas are embraced by spicy, roasted hazelnut, vanilla and wheatmeal characters.

Palate: This wine is tightly structured with a fine backbone; Apple, grapefruit, melon
and subtle citrus flavours are surrounded by barrel ferment characters of fresh nougat
and roasted nuts. The subtle oak provides structure and complexity.

Peter Gago
Colm with Peter Gago at Magill Estate, Adelaide

Barbara Lawson, Lawsons Dry Hills, Marlborough, New Zealand

Monica  Murphy, Barbara Lawson with Hazel and Darina
Monica Murphy, Barbara Lawson with Hazel and Darina Allen

Barbara Lawson, owner Lawsons Dry Hills, Marlborough, New Zealand, spoke to the students about her vineyard, and gave a tutored tasting of some of her wines, including Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir.

Monica Murphy, Febvre & Co Wine Merchants introduced the students to the wonderful world of wine from the seasons in the vineyard, to winemaking to wine tasting and food & wine, including a tasting of some of the key varietals.

Ross and Barbara Lawson founded Lawson’s Dry Hills in 1992, they had been growing Gewürztraminer grapes for other wine companies on their Alabama road vineyard since 1980.

Their first vintage, which included the Gewürztraminer grown on the Alabama road vineyard, was just fifteen tonnes and was managed by Ross from the old tin shed on the property, which is still standing and forms part of the winery cellar door.

Their Gewürztraminer has gone on to be recognised as one of the country’s finest and has firmly established Lawson’s Dry Hills on the national and international wine stage.

Other plantings soon followed and the company now produce a benchmark range of Marlborough wines including Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, as well as outstanding Gewürztraminer.

All the grapes for Lawson’s Dry Hills are sourced from Marlborough’s Wairau, Waihopai, Omaka and Brancott valleys.

Ross Lawson passed away in February 2009 after a long battle with illness. Barbara continues her work at the winery with the help of her very able team. Ross was the vociferous pioneer of the Screw Cap Initiative which has revolutionised wine closures worldwide. In early 2008 Ross was awarded New Zealand’s Order of Merit for services to the community and the wine industry.

The Lawson’s have very simple company philosophy –

“To produce Marlborough wines of great character at a fair price”

Lawson’s Dry Hills has one other distinction, they believe that it was the first winery in the world to seal all it’s 750ml bottles with a screwcap as a means of avoiding cork tainted wine.

Masterclass on Wines from Burgundy and The South-West of France

We were delighted to welcome back to Ballymaloe, Pascal Rossignol, Le Caveau, Kilkenny, for another of his fantastic masterclass presentations on wines from Burgundy, and the South-West of France, with the following wines: Laurent Parize, Givry ‘Champ Pourrot’; La Plaigne, Beaujolais-Villages; Louis Boillot, Cotes de Nuits Villages; Alain Brumont Gros Manseng-Sauvignon; Chateau du Cedre, Cahors and Charles Hours Jurancon ‘Uroulat’. Pascal, originally from Gevrey-Chambertin, and now one of Ireland’s most respected and well known independent wine merchant’s, based in Kilkenny.

Mary Pawle

Mary Pawle is Ireland’s specialist wine merchant for Organic and Biodynamic wines. Mary gave a presentation to the students on organic and biodynamic wines, and we tasted a great selection of wines with Mary, many of which are available in the shop at Ballymaloe Cookery School.