What better way to begin penning down this blog post than sip on a nice red and watch ‘The Mary Berry Story” on telly ?! I am warm and the house is toasty….but when I was rushing to go for my first ever wine tasting , London was enveloped in a blanket of snow, steadily heavier in it’s flow, it was my first ever snowfall experience…couple that with the late hour ,my hands going totally numb and my cell battery dying , it was well,what I’d like to call a recipe for disaster !Thanks to a warm hearted couple on their evening stroll I managed to finally find the venue, it was fairly easy to find but somehow looking for an address scrawled on a soggy bit of paper on cold winter evening is not fun!
So in the basement of a massive storage company in a cosy tasting room was a massive neatly arranged table , most the people attending had arrived. Emma Dawson, the wines and spirits buyer of M&S, was all set to make a presentation on East Mediterranean Wines. On my right was a vibrant young lady – Josie, who was such a pleasure to talk to , she particularly enjoyed reading through my notes , I hope to share most interesting snippets in this blog though not the entire sheet for fear of boring all of you ..and hey no excel sheets and tables in a food blog ! Well unless they involve weights and measures , then I shall be able to sneak in such things as scary calculations .
Umm coming back to the lovely people , there was this handsome couple sitting across the table , the lady salt pepper hair and so very polite , her companion a dapper gentleman ,I did like chatting with them , yes , they are a made for each other kind of couple and good to talk to…umm
The cheese ,olives and select meats and small eats on the table seemed so tantalizing… …I was a bit hungry but more so quite eager to sip on some exotic wines!
We started with the White wines, six of them, all tempting us with their beautiful aromas. I loved the Quercus Pinot Grigio from Slovenia, light in appearance, felt silky smooth, and fruity on the palate and I really think it would pair well with a white fish done served with tangy green chutney, Ummm. The white wine from Greece called Atlantis Santorini would pair amazingly well with a Bengali Bhetki (Indian River fish, Asian Sea Bass )and some steamed white rice, it seemed to explode with the zing of lime on my palate and on the nose, it felt fresh, airy like free-fall backwards on a meadow on a huge heap of hay!
Now the much awaited red’s made an entrance – ta ra ra pum pum 😉
After we had tasted all 6 we had a show of hands to vote for the crowd’s fav Red and Lebanese Cadet de Ka (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah) was top of the pops, I’d say on the nose it was deep, dark, mysterious – almost like a woman with a secret and passionate lover, even took me into a well-stocked spice cabinet with a thick teak wood door, imagine Nigella cooking up a posh steak or a rack of lamb with fancy sauces, food porn, oh yes, well this is wine porn if there is any such thing!
The Greek wine Red on Black Agiorgitiko from Nemea, Greece hits the palate and makes it jiggle like a belly dancer oh yeah, fruity and with a great depth of flavour. The Croatian, Pilato Malvasia Istarski would pair nicely with a rich dark brown sauce and meat, on the nose it sort of feels like a first date, a romantic on, maybe at the village fair. The 150-year-old Chateau Ksara Clos St Alphonse from Lebanon is to be served at a family get-together, a celebration, one befitting such a lovely fruity wine with a hidden surprise – notes of spice and chocolate.
We were all really happy by now, no not tipsy, no sir! So do not blame it on the twelve wines though;) the whole atmosphere was light, it was snowing heavier, the room was cosy, the conversation was fun and Emma had managed to take us on a virtual tour through Slovenia, Greece, Croatia, Turkey and Lebanon so effortlessly so it may seem. I had always wondered what a wine tasting would be like, I imagined a massive room with wine barrels all around, floor to ceiling wine bottles displayed along the walls, a massive room that smells of cheese and well wine, rich mature full bodies Wine, some chairs around a sturdy old well used mammoth of a table, lots of wine glasses, several varieties of grapes, cheese…lots of cheese, some pretty table napkins, the sound of laughter n the clinking of glasses … let us just say that thanks to Emma’s excellent selection of Wines and Jimmy Smith from West London Wine Schools excellent arrangement at the cosy tasting room,it was a perfect ”first wine tasting do” to be at, and yes thanks to Josie as well, you made me smile – a lot. And yes the kind couple whose name I didn’t get who took the bus ride with me, it would have been quite spooky waiting for the bus all alone and I was glad for the company.
Aahh…now to use that discount voucher and procure some wine bottles from M&S..whilst I am at it .. why not pour myself some red and sip it while I upload these snaps and fix some dinner…it’s chicken peri peri by the way with gluten free,wheat free bread, but ..more on that later , now for some late evening relaxing at home ,Good Night Folks in this part of the world .
(Well that’s one blog post that’s out of my drafts folder, better late than never I say! Since most of it was written in Jan this year it has lots of winter references, well Summer isn’t really here is it ?! grumble, grumble)