Sheen Falls Lodge in Kenmare, Co Kerry is launching a new Wine Academy Series led by sommelier, Jerome Torque, aimed at those who want to learn about wine but aren't quite sure where to start. The series will take place over the course of three weekends, each covering a different topic.
The underground wine cellar at Sheen Falls - the former kitchen of the original lodge - is stocked with over 10,000 bottles, with 800 wine varieties from 18 countries.
The first weekend, on February 23 and 24, is entitled 'The Perfect Pick: How to Choose the Right Bottle'. This introductory weekend aims to offer a general understanding of wines and to help those who find themselves overwhelmed at the prospect of reading a wine menu.
There will be advice on how to select the right bottle for the right occasion; when to drink wines young and when to keep them; 10 'safe wines' that are guaranteed crowd-pleasers and tips on overcoming the complexity of wine lists.
The second weekend, on May 18 and 19, focuses on the 'Geography of Wine: Grapes & Terriors', and Jerome will be joined by guest speaker and wine importer, Simon Tyrell of Tyrrell & Co - an expert on terroir, in particular the Rhone Valley. Guests will learn the 'how' and 'what' of wine tastings; understanding personal taste; the various types of grapes and their individual characteristics; how to comprehend wine vocabulary and explore the world of ports and dessert wines.
'Toasting & Hosting with Wine' on November 2 and 3 focuses on entertaining with wines, exploring the differences between champagnes, prosecco and sparkling wines; how to prepare wines - opening the bottle, serving and glassware - and food pairing suggestions. Jerome Torque will be joined by wine expert, Pascal Playon of Tindal Wine Merchants.
Each weekend will kick off with a drinks reception on Friday afternoon, and on the Saturday afternoon, guests will visit Vanilla Grape Wine Shop, in Kenmare, where owner Alain Bras will provide additional instruction. On Saturday evening there will be a private dinner with accompanying wines.
Each weekend is priced at €599 in total based on two people sharing in a Classic room overlooking Kenmare Bay or €435 in total for single occupancy. Breakfast in The Falls restaurant is included. Spaces are limited and early booking is advised. See sheenfallslodge.ie for more information.
February 9 is the deadline for Irish culinary students to apply to create a three-course menu celebrating Irish and/or French dairy produce. The winning entrant will get a week-long "stage" in the kitchen of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Paris. ie.ambafrance.org/Ready-steady-cook
ROBIN GILL GOES ITALIAN
Irish chef, Robin Gill, has turned The Manor in Clapham into Sorella, serving an Italian menu. The menu looks delectable - think truffle arancini, mackerel crudo with salsa verde, tagliatelle with pork and nduja and hay panna cotta; a four-course chef's choice menu is £45. sorellarestaurant.co.uk
CHEERS TO GLUTEN FREE
From February 5-11, Peroni Nastro Azzurro hosts a Gluten-Free Restaurant Week, with participating restaurants creating an Italian dish designed to complement Peroni's Gluten-free beer. Each dish will be served with a complimentary bottle of the beer. See thehouseofperoni.com.