The Wine Blogger NI

Wine was invented to make food taste better

By Ciaran Meyler.

This time last year I made a remark about Donald Trump doing a very good impression of Donald Duck; I should have chosen my words more carefully, as the CIA
is probably tracking me now. Well just in case they are, Donald, I congratulate you and I think you’ll make a wonderful President. If you’re ever in Ireland give me a call and we’ll share a bottle of wine.

2016 was the year for shock election results. As we are all too familiar with, the impact of the Brexit vote probably won’t be felt until mid-way through 2017. So, enjoy the first half of next year and drink loads of wine whilst it’s still good value (by loads I mean keeping within the government recommendations on units per week, of course).

It was a great year for sport. The European Championships in France was a joy to behold; not just on the pitch, the fans gave us all something to be proud of. Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland received an award from the mayor of Paris for their ‘exemplary sportsmanship’ during Euro 2016. It was great to see us making the headlines for all the right reasons!

In the wine world there wasn’t much change; the Prosecco revolution continued, with the Italians taking over the world and filling us all full of bubbles, we love them for it.

At home we had a busy year with some truly memorable events. Neil Mc Guigan and John Torde visited us again to launch the McGuigan Founders Range, Chardonnay from Adelaide Hills, Shiraz from Barossa Valley and Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra. Neil’s old mate John Torode put together some unusual yet stunning foods to match these powerful wines at the Ulster Museum. Our guests were the first to try Neil and John’s MT Pinot Noir Rose, a stunning example of Australia’s answer to Provencial Rose; pale pink, light bodied with juicy red fruits and refreshingly dry. Try it at your local independent and a chance to win a signed copy of John’s book My Kind of Food. Throughout the year I was again subjected to numerous five- to eight-course meals and outstanding wines to match. I know what you’re all thinking; does this guy do any work? Well, this is part of my work. How can you sell the wine if you haven’t tasted it? Not just tasted it but experienced. Having the wines with rich complex full-flavoured foods is the best way to truly understand what’s in the bottle. ‘Wine was invented to make food taste better.’
Yet another sublime evening was had at The Square Bistro Lisburn; Stevie Higginson teamed up with Andres Alvarado from Santa Rita Wine Estates to put on a spectacular evening. Well folks there you have it, another year and another two inches on my waist.

As I often say to my wife, “darling I’m six inches bigger than I was when I married you”. “Can’t say I’ve noticed,” is her reply… “I was referring to my waist honey.”

My year highlight came in September when I spent four days at The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and qualified as an Approver Programme Provider to test Level 1 & 2. My first 10 students at United Wine Merchants have just successfully completed Level 1. If you know me, you will know I always wanted to be a teacher because I just love telling people what to do.

Belfast Restaurant Week saw another unforgettable evening enjoyed at Shu Restaurant, welcoming Anna Vallejo from Marques de Caceres (Originally from Glasgow). It’s always been a pleasure to be the agent for Marques de Caceres as their wines never cease to amaze me. They always over-deliver on quality showing great depth for flavours and layers of fruits. The wines are always best with food. Brian McCann and his team provided the perfect gastronomic delights to pay homage to the wines.

Quote of the Month:
“What contemptable scoundrel has stolen the cork to my lunch?”
W.C. Fields

For more information on the fabulous products available at United Wine Merchants please call 02838 316555, or check online at 

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