Thursday 26 April 2018

A steamy wine moment

Brian Merriman.
Brian Merriman.

When Brian Merriman, director of Dublin's Gay Theatre Festival, was paid €100 -- which he regarded as a derisory amount for a lot of work -- wine saved the day.

"I thought the best way to enjoy it would be to splash out on a good bottle to turn around the disappointment," says Brian, whose usual bottle spend is €10-€20.

For him, there is only one wine colour: "Red all the time -- regardless of the accompanying meat or fish, it's red for me!"

His choices cover the spectrum from France's Fleurie, regarded as the most fragrant of the Beaujolais, to more powerful, gutsy New World styles.

It was a bottle of Fleurie that gave Brian one of his most memorable wine moments -- and he hadn't even tasted it.

It was in a restaurant, andwhenthe bottle arrived at the table Brian noticed steam rising from it, so he sent it back. "From the yells in the kitchen, I later discovered that the entire case had been left beside the ovens. It was ruined."

He enjoys Clancy's red, an Australian blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot from the Peter Lehmann stable, and is also keen on Lebanese and South African wine, two countries known for their full-bodied styles.

Brian's splash-out bottle on a swanky night out is Château Musar, and he discovered other Lebanese favourites, Château Ksara and Château Kefraya, by asking for recommendations at the Cedar Tree Restaurant on Dublin's Andrew Street.

His favourite South African labels are Waterford and the Bordeaux-style Rustenberg John X Merriman ("I'm still trying to prove he's a relation!")

Brian wouldn't normally have a glass of wine with dinner at home, unless he has friends over, in which case the cork doesn't go back into the bottle. "That never happens, I can assure you!"

And he also reveals a guilty pleasure when watching TV: "A glass of New World red and a piece of dark chocolate".


The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, which runs from May 3-16,has an emphasis on new or recent international and Irish works with a gay theme. See

Irish Independent

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