Dublin Wine Bars: Two to Visit

While on a trip to Ireland with my mom (and about two dozen other folks) we toured around via bus. The itinerary was flexible enough that I got to explore on my own. So I used a few pockets of time to check out two Dublin wine bars. (Thanks to Lauren Mowery for the intel.)

Loose Canon Wine & Cheese / Photo via Loose Cannon FB Page

A Duo of Dublin Wine Bars

Loose Canon Wine & Cheese

Spot number one was Loose Canon. Ok, it’s a cheese shop. But I’m calling it a dang wine bar, sue me! During the day, they sell cheese and bottles. At night, they pour a few select reds and whites and one skin contact wine. It’s standing room only and you can also (of course) order some cheese and cured meats. They focus on natural wines.

Dublin Wine Bars: Two to VisitMy first visit was at night right before closing, so I had time for one glass. I went for the 2016 Testalonga El Bandito Cortez, a Chenin Blanc from South Africa. Cool label, huh?

But I had a sad face because I didn’t get to sample any food. So next time I came back earlier in the evening for three of my favorite food groups: meat, cheese, bread. (Bonus: fruit!).

How about some toast, cheese, plums, olive oil drizzle? Yes, please. I accompanied the dish with a glass of Ottavo Bianco from Piedmont in Italy, perfect pairing.

Dublin Wine Bars: Two to Visit

Dublin Wine Bars: Two to Visit

The coppa came on a separate plate, and I refrained from eating it all until I could get a glass of red.

[SIDEBAR: These are very nice plates, I wish I could have taken them home. But I left them behind, like a law-abiding, non-awful human being. Of course, I could have asked where I might purchase such fine and finely-hued dishes.]

My patience was rewarded with a glass of Fins Als Kullions, a chilled red (and white) blend from Penedès, Spain. This is an ideal wine with cured meats.

Dublin Wine Bars: Two to Visit

Take Me To Your Liter

And you know I love me a 1L bottle.

But like a glass of wine, when it comes to Dublin wine bars sometimes one is just not enough. So I also checked out the ultra-charming Piglet.

It was on my list, but I actually went there because on my first visit to Loose Cano, they weren’t serving wine yet. So I asked the person working there where I should go. Did I mind walking? Of course not. Head to Piglet, she said.

I strolled on, embracing a new adventure.

Piglet Wine Bar

I love tiny bars! Piglet has a nice patio, but I migrated to the inside where there are maybe a half-dozen bar stools. Head upstairs for very cozy table seating that makes you feel like all the cares of the outside world are a light year or two away.

Dublin Wine Bars: Two to Visit

Pull up a chair. / Photo via Piglet’s website

Piglet has a really great by-the-glass list. And the bottle selection is excellent, too. There are plenty of magnums to choose from for your party-starting needs. The food looks incredible but, alas, I was in recent post-lunch mode. But, hey, let’s try some wine.

Chateau Dereszla Tokaji Dry 2016

Dublin Wine Bars: Two to VisitI was so grateful for the sweater weather in Ireland after some extremely oppressive days/weeks/month of soul-crushing heat/humidity in New York. Cooler temps also means time for richer white wines, and the Chateau Dereszla did not disappoint.

It’s a blend of Furmint (85%), Muskotály (5%) , Kabar (3%), and Hárslevelű (7%). Fifteen percent of the wine spends time in oak barrels.

I then shifted gears to a fantastic Austrian red.

Arndorfer Vorgeschmack Red 2016

Dublin Wine Bars: Two to VisitThe Arndorfer is a blend of 80% Zweigelt 20% Pinot Noir. It’s got a touch of smoke, a few virtual grinds of black pepper, and a blackberry-esque finish.

A great all-purpose red, I don’t think there is any food that wouldn’t love being next to it. They would be swiping right on each other, etc. Austrian red wines are very underrated. Highly recommend exploring Zweigelt as a starting point.

Ooh, I almost forgot to show you the inside. Let’s take a look, ok?

Dublin Wine Bars: Two to Visit

Tiny bars forever. / “Pigture” via Piglet’s website

So while Guinness and Jameson (the whiskey, not me!) may be foremost on your mind, don’t forget to visit a few Dublin wine bars. I’ve just scratched the surface but you can’t go wrong with either of these memorable spots.

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17 Carry-On Luggage Recommendations from Expert Travelers

I’m going to be doing some international travel soon. Headed to Ireland for the first time and making a return visit to Portugal (see highlights of the latter trip from 2012) Since many of my friends have been and will be traveling all over the world for wine and beyond, I put out a call on Facebook for carry-on luggage recommendations. And boy did I get answers from people with passports loaded with international stamps.

My main concern was finding a bag that would be small enough for domestic and international airlines. The problems/questions:

  • Every airline has different rules about carry-on bag size.
  • Given measurements can me misleading (because many sites don’t factor in wheel/handle size) or just plain wrong. (Read the comments/reviews of any luggage you’re considering.)
  • Does it matter give or take an inch/half-inch? I got responses from people with bags supposedly “too big” that have flown everywhere with no trouble. Maybe it’s ok to roll the dice?
  • You might get unlucky at the gate and have to check it anyway, regardless of size.
  • Your bag’s dimensions might be fine, but it’s too heavy.
  • The maximum size allowed by an airline may/will change.

So with those caveats in mind, here’s the intel I gathered. If a bag got multiple votes, I added that in parenthesis. There is an astonishing variety of styles and configurations. Prices come from the company website. Also I arranged these by most votes, then price from high to low.

Your plane and bin will not be empty like this. /  SuperJet International via Flickr.

Carry-On Luggage Recommendations

Four Wheels

Away (7)

The Carry-On ($225)

Dimensions: 21.7” x 13.7” x 9” (includes wheels)

Rimowa (3) 

Salsa Air Ultralight Cabin Multiwheel Lata 33L ($495 at Saks Fifth Avenue)

Dimensions: 21.7″ x 15.8″ x 7.9″

Tumi (2)

International Carry-On ($645)

Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9″

Travel Pro (2)

Maxlite 5 21″ Expandable Carry-On Spinner ($140)

Lipault

Urban Ballet Spinner 55/20 ($220)

Dimensions: 13.8″ x 21.7″ x 9.1″

Muji

Adjustable Handle Hard Carry Suitcase 35L ($160)

Dimensions:  21″ x 14.6″ x 9.3″ (with wheels and “approximately”)

Two Wheels

Travel Pro (2)

Maxlite 4 International Carry-On Rollaboard ($120)

Dimensions: 19.5″ x 14″ x 8.5″

G-Ro

Carry-On Classic ($349)

Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9″

Osprey

Meridan 60L/22″ ($350)

Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9″

Victorinox

MVx Touring Global Carry-On ($270)

Dimensions: 21.7″ x 13.8″ x 7.9″

Samsonite

B-Lite 3 Upright Carry-On 20″ Widebody ($230)

Dimensions: 20.75″ x 15.25″ x 7.0″

Large Rolling Underseater ($120)

Dimensions: 16.5″ x 13.0″ x 9.25″

Swissgear

7651 20″ Pilot Getaway ($99)

Dimensions: 22″ x 13.75″ x 9.25″

Backpacks/Bags

Tom Bihn

Aeronaut 45 ($295)

Dimensions: 21.9″ x 14″ x 9.1″

Genius Pack

Tri-Fold Carry-On Garment Bag ($178)

Dimensions: 21.9″ x 14″ x 9.1″

eBags

TLS Motherlode Weekender Convertible ($130)

Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9″

Amazon Basics

Carry-On Travel Backpack ($50)

Finally, I received two picks for Kirkland (Costco’s brand) carry-ons. One was a two-wheeler and the other had four, but I only see the former on the site. Might pay to stop by a store if you are a member. And vote for a bag with an indiegogo campaign, Pakt.

Also, shop around because you can find different prices and deals on other sites. And most of the sites above offer a one-time discount for your first purchase. Ask if your friends have a discount code, like for Away.

Are these carry-on luggage recommendations missing your bag? Let me know about it in the comments.

Here are two of my posts about being on international flights:

Wine on Airlines: Will Ferrell, Graham Greene, and Sekt on Lufthansa

Wine on Airlines II: Sparkling Wine Not Bringing Me Down

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(Re)connecting With My Mother Through Wine Travel

After the death of my father I started taking a lot of international trips with my mother. Wine travel made sense because, well, duh it was my passion and what I did for a living. And, hey, wineries are generally in some pretty spectacular spots, full of interesting characters, and a source for many memorable meals.

Also, my mom is a very good sport and has a keen sense of adventure.

Our first jaunt outside the US was to Chile and Argentina. While in the latter country I had an epiphany about who I was as a son and a person. This realization, frankly, wasn’t a warm and fuzzy one, but rather more of a wake-up call. I needed to come to terms with what my relationship with my mother was before my dad died, what it was currently, and what it could be in the future.

I tell this story in the November issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. The link below will take you to the online version. It’s a very personal essay and I’m grateful I got to tell it in a forum where you wouldn’t expect to see feelings laid bare.

Growing Closer in Distant Vineyards

Photo is me and my mom at Nant Distilling Company in Tasmania, which I highly recommend you visit.

The post (Re)connecting With My Mother Through Wine Travel appeared first on Jameson Fink.

(Re)connecting With My Mother Through Wine Travel

After the death of my father I started taking a lot of international trips with my mother. Wine travel made sense because, well, duh it was my passion and what I did for a living. And, hey, wineries are generally in some pretty spectacular spots, full of interesting characters, and a source for many memorable meals.

Also, my mom is a very good sport and has a keen sense of adventure.

Our first jaunt outside the US was to Chile and Argentina. While in the latter country I had an epiphany about who I was as a son and a person. This realization, frankly, wasn’t a warm and fuzzy one, but rather more of a wake-up call. I needed to come to terms with what my relationship with my mother was before my dad died, what it was currently, and what it could be in the future.

I tell this story in the November issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. The link below will take you to the online version. It’s a very personal essay and I’m grateful I got to tell it in a forum where you wouldn’t expect to see feelings laid bare.

Growing Closer in Distant Vineyards

Photo is me and my mom at Nant Distilling Company in Tasmania, which I highly recommend you visit.

The post (Re)connecting With My Mother Through Wine Travel appeared first on Jameson Fink.