And who am I to argue with a Python?
It’s true though. I enjoy drinking wine but I don’t get hung up on which wine it is. I’m as happy drinking a chilled crisp white wine in the sun as I might be drinking a heavy red wine with a steak. And if the occasion calls for a bit of fizz a nice prosecco does the job for me.
I have never been that concerned with grape variety, geography or whether the vines grew on a south facing slope at an altitude above 1000ft, overlooking a village where the locals sang to the grapes each evening to ensure they were happy!
I appreciate that all these things make a difference (well all except the last perhaps), however they have not been something I have been conscious of while having a slurp.
So when I was fortunate enough to win a couple of tickets to Three Wine Men which clinked up at the Museum of Science and Industry, I took along no preconceptions, no airs or graces and let’s be honest no in depth knowledge of the subject.
The Three Wine Men are Oz Clarke, Olly Smith and Tim Atkin and according to their website they:
“want to get everyone in the country tasting, experiencing and enjoying new wines and discovering different foods. Their events bring together wine and food retailers and producers to show you just how much fun your taste buds can have in a day”.
So with the sun shining off I went with Mr B, (the only person I could convice to begin drinking wine at 11am) to see what I might learn from these three enthusiastic fellas.
What we found was a room full of people all eager to try some of the 250 wines on show, match them with food from various different outlets and possibly learn more about a product they thought they knew. In essence what we found was a cracking way to spend 4 hours on a Saturday.
I have neither the capabilty or the space here to describe the wines we tasted (there were lots) however I will pick out some that caught my/our attention:
- Gusborne Blanc de Blancs 2007 from Sparkling English Wines
- All three Viognier on offer at New Horizon Wines (Who knew wine was being produced in Virginia)
- Quinta de Azevedo 2011 from Wines of Portugal
- I Risi Gavi – Mario Giribaldi at the Barrica Wines stand
There was food to be had from Booths, Morrisons and ASDA. Booths in particular showing off some really tasty offerings from Mr Trotter’s Pork Scratchings to a raspberry balsamic vinegar which had summer salad dressing written all over it. There was experimentation with apples and cheese courtesy of The Wine & Spirit Education Trust. And there were masterclasses to attend, the one we stopped by having been excellently presented by Andy Green (Wine Buyer for Booths) on the subject of food matching and how and why different combinations work. Turns out I really like Sherry!!
But what of the Three Wine Men?
Well we caught glimpses of (TVs) Oz Clarke, running from table to table with a cohort of half a dozen people who appeared to be trapped in his enthusiastic whirlwind. We managed to catch a couple of talks from Tim Atkin who was entertaining, engaging and enlightening. I’ll come back to Tim shortly. A somehwhat reduced in bulk Olly Smith was kind enough to spend some time with us and introduced us to D Vine Wines, their enthusiasm matching Olly’s and their wine in a plastic bottle actually has some significant cost and environmental savings. I’ll let the snobs work out if it’s a seller or not but I can see the attraction in carrying around wine in a bottle that won’t break and as Greg from D Vine said “Ten/fifteen years ago there are some people who wouldn’t have drunk wine from a screwtop bottle”. Olly then went on to give us an insight and a couple of tips for the gewurztraminer grape, so thank you to him for that.The day was a blast. Fun, engaging and nobody made us pair of wine newbies feel in any way akward, therefore tickets have already been purchased for the return trip in December.But I will leave you with a point that Tim Atkin made, which was for me, the best point of the day. That being this – of all the wines in the room, regardless of opinion, of price, of whether you followed all the tasting hints and tips, the best wine is the one you enjoyed the most.
For me that was a Brazilian White wine – the Alisios Pinot Grigio/Riesling 2011 from Bibendum Wines which think ggiven the weather I could have drunk all day long!!