After 18 months of virtual reality, Carol Brown is delighted in-person events are now beginning to happen – and there’s plenty to sample.
I’ve had a few “I haven’t done that for 18 months” moments over the last month.
Apart from an actual live gig (the fantastic Manic Street Preachers!) the others have been live, in person with a glass in hand wine tastings.
It has been so good to taste again in person without the worry of issues with the mute button!
One of the most popular corporate/group tastings that I do is “Signature Grapes Around the World” which looks at classic grapes and regional specialities across a range of styles.
It’s the sort of tasting where, by the end, white wine drinkers find a red that they enjoy and vice versa.
The wines I show vary but here are a few ideas for you to try:
Domaine Wachau Weissenkirchen ‘Federspiel’, Wachau, 2020 Gruner Veltliner, Austria, £10.99 Majestic Wines
The aromatic white Gruner Veltliner grape accounts for more than 30% of all Austrian plantings. Expect scents of citrus, apple and blossom, a refreshing, zesty acidity and mineral finish.
The Wachau region has additional labelling terms so “Federspiel” indicates a medium bodied quality wine which is balanced, elegant and dry.
“Steinfeder” indicates a lighter bodied dry style and “smaragd” a high-quality dry wine made from very ripe grapes which will be richer and more complex.
Why not line the styles up and create your own comparative tasting?
Martin Codax 2019 Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain, £11.99-£15.99, Majestic Wines, Fountainhall Wines Aberdeen.
From the Atlantic corner of north-west Spain, this is a classic Albarino.
There are stone fruit and white flower scents with a textured mouth feel, lifting acidity and peach and mineral notes.
Chateau Minuty ‘M’ de Minuty Rose, Cotes De Provence 2020, France, £12.99 Majestic Wines.
I’m an advocate of all-year-round rose drinking, even if it is raining outside as I write.
This is a Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault blend and typically Provence pale.
With red berry and peach scents, there is a good red berry hit on the first taste with a lovely purity of fruit, zip of acidity and lingering dry finish.
Staying with South Africa
I also hosted the first Aberdeen Wine Appreciators tasting since February 2020 with a focus on South Africa looking at its diverse offerings. Staying with South Africa, I visited the recently opened Sugarbird Wines in Aberdeen.
It’s an ideal combination of wine shop and wine bar with a great selection of wines by the glass which changes weekly.
It felt just a little bit decadent sipping a deliciously delicate, perfectly tuned Boschendal Cap Classique Brut Rose (£16.95 bottle retail) on a Wednesday evening alongside an antipasto and cheese platter.
I also enjoyed one of my go-to Chenin Blancs – Raats Original 2020, an unoaked style with a citrus edge and good balance of acidity (£14.95 bottle retail). Whilst the focus at Sugarbird is on wine from South Africa, there is a small, well-chosen selection of wines from around the world too.
I’m going to finish up with a couple of Sauvignon Blancs for you to try:
Forrest Wines, The Doctors’ Sauvignon Blanc 2021, Marlborough, New Zealand, £11.95-£12.50 Tesco, Majestic, booths.co.uk
Fragrant with elderflower, cut grass and peach this is light bodied, just dry and herbaceous with a passion fruit tang and dash of minerality.
Fruit is sourced from various plots within Marlborough and numerous tweaks to training methods and canopy management have helped to naturally bring down alcohol levels to just 9.5%.
Bruce Jack Sauvignon Blanc, 2020, Western Cape, South Africa, £5.75. Asda (until December 12)
Fruit is sourced from different Western Cape areas. Lemons, limes and a ripe gooseberry scent lead the way to a dry, mid-weight, zesty glassful with notes of herbs, red apple and citrus peel and all for a very respectable RRP of £7, on offer at the moment for £5.75.
If you would like to find out about future virtual and live tastings and wine courses, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org