Wine tasting? What imagery comes to your mind?
When I think of wine tasting I think of a bunch of poncy people huddling together with their noses in the air or in their glasses, spouting drivelly big words they looked up in the dictionary ten minutes earlier to keep up the pretence of the whole affair. For this reason I’ve steered clear from this kind of drinking scene, plus I don’t even like wine!
This all changed when I was invited by Kelly Bayliffe, the owner and presenter of Tastour. Although most of her sessions didn’t appeal, one stuck out in particular – dessert wines – the only type I find palatable.
Much like speed dating, the speed tasting session comprised five rounds where your two wine glasses were filled, Kelly talked about the wines, you tasted, chewed and chatted a bit, then moved on. By rotating tables you got the opportunity to meet many new faces and potentially make new friends. Also, on each table there were platters of nibbles (blue berries, cheddar and stilton cheese, pecans and dark chocolate) to experimentally pair your wine with which was a lot of fun to do.
It’s not hard to believe that Kelly won last year’s Wine Educator of the Year. She’s warm, funny and knows her stuff. Do you know the difference between wines whose grapes have been left on the vine for late harvest and noble rot? She will tell you all about it without even blinking. In case she doesn’t know the answer she will research and get back to you.
Overall, I found it to be a surprisingly enjoyable and informative evening. My fear of sitting between a flock of snobs was unfounded; the average punter is intelligent, well-travelled, loves his food and is hungry for more knowledge which made for a pleasant, civilised crowd. It’s worth mentioning that it was most people’s first time coming to such an event.
After the presentation was over, the bar opened and Kelly generously brought out mountains of food for us to scoff before we left for home. For £40 (less if you booked in advance or are a Bon Vivant member) the evening proved to be good value, having tried nine different types of quality wine with munchies afterwards and an entertaining, social evening.
As for me, I could happily guzzle any of the wines and port served that evening. In fact, I gave my husband a list of the wines I liked JUST IN CASE he wants to surprise me with a treat some time. (Ladies: No, subtle hints don’t work on men.)
Instead of sitting alone in your flat on a Saturday night or wondering what fun activities to participate in with friends, why not go on a Tastour? I wholehearted encourage you to go!
* A special thanks to Tastour for inviting me as a guest for the evening.