Thursday, September 11, 2014

Finest wine words, 27th August

Me, my best friend and 100 wines. Carnage right? Well, not quite. For I was at a wine tasting, not just an all-you-can-drink extravaganza and I wanted to take it seriously. The reason for the wine tasting? To forget for a while all the professional bottle descriptions listing fruits you might never have even tasted, let alone discern in the wine you’re drinking, not to mention references to minerality and silt. And instead invite some people to just say whatever popped into their heads when they drank different wines. To get the lay person’s perspective. Having spent hours doing a similar thing in Sampler of my own accord in times past, I was absolutely delighted to be invited to such a wine tasting, on a grander scale, and wanted to make sure I did it properly. And that meant not just necking as many glasses as possible, but being considered with our measures so we could taste a wide variety, and being considered in our drinking so we could really decide what we thought we tasted and felt with each mouthful. We were asked to describe each wine we tried with at least three words and submit them, and we had a notepad to also keep tasting notes for our own reference.

Not that I want to give you the impression I didn’t get drunk. I did. I mean come on, we’re not going to waste all that lovely wine, swilling it about our mouths and spitting it out. We’re going to drink it. But we managed to not get properly drunk until the end, and in the course of doing so we tasted some very wonderful wines. They were all from Tesco’s Finest range, and the majority were in the £6 - £10 bracket so pretty affordable. My favourite was a Chablis. I think Alison was particularly struck by a Muscadet. We definitely drank more whites than reds, and then alighted upon the champagnes and much posher wines at the end of the night. A rioja was a particular celebrity of the night, and there had also been a very lovely rioja blanco. The range was quite overwhelming.

When I was invited to this I hesitated - Tesco? How corporate! But let's be honest, I pop in to a Tesco practically three times a week on my way to work so to turn it down simply for not being an independent's wine tasting was a bit hypocritical. Of course I would much rather buy all my wine from places like Sampler or Bottle Apostle on principle but the truth of the matter is that good wine is good wine and I'm more likely to end up buying it from Tesco (or Sainsbury's) as my local independet isn't all that local to me, in my non-gentrified area. 

I drink enough wine now to know what I like, and this tasting didn’t really change my mind, but it was a good way to know that if that’s what I want, I can get it easily from my local supermarket, and it was a fun way to really think about what I'm tasting when I drink it. I thought the set-up of the event was really good - the opposite of a stuffy, serious tasting, they had divided the wines into different categories such as 'Maverick', 'Outrageous' or 'Classic'. In the end we probably tried 16-18 different types, some of which were very drinkable on their own, others I could imagine pairing well with food. Food for thought. And speaking of food we had some lovely canapes to make sure those of us actually drinking the wine didn't get too tipsy (well, it helped). 

More (and better) photos to follow!

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I work as an editor in educational publishing by day, and then spend most of my spare time discovering interesting things to do in London, and taking people there with my own Meetup.