Invariably, a chance meeting with wine writer Tomás Clancy would have left you more informed than you’d been before getting into conversation with him. Whether that meeting occurred at a wine or spirits event, I knew I’d always learn something new about the subject matter after a chat with Tomás.
Following his untimely passing at the beginning of this week, I’ll miss those all-too-infrequent chats with him in which he always managed to raise a smile in me.
A regular contributor to Sean Montcrieff’s Movies & Booze slot on Newstalk, Tomás had a vast granary of knowledge to draw on for the listeners and the readers of his longstanding wine column in the Business Post .
That store of knowledge did not build itself.
Tomás had an unceasing curiosity and drive to learn more about whatever type of wine or spirit poured into his glass.
He absorbed data like a sponge. But seldom did he flaunt his wealth of savvy on any subject.
Once, at an event in the vaults at Christchurh Cathedral in Dublin to celebrate Santa Rita’s 120 millionth glass of wine sold, I noted him intent on his mobile, seeming to pay little heed to the presentation going on around him.
But subsequently where I reported a shadowy summation of the event Tomás had missed nothing, having learned to type super-fast on his mobile.
The last time I saw him was at a Barry & Fitzwilliam preview for the Villa Maria film Vintage hosted in the Stella cinema in the Devlin Hotel in Ranelagh. Tomás presided as MC.
Looking pale but hearty, his unbounded enthusiasm for his subject matter spilled over into the audience in a tide of good humour on which floated those informational nuggets of wine wisdom for which he was renowned.
Never in my 30 years of writing about the drinks trade did I ever hear anything but good said of Tomás – a fitting epitaph and one, surely, for which we should all strive…
My thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this sad sad time.