This weekend, myself and a friend of mine from my trip to Greece trekked to North London for The Wine Show at the Business Design Centre (which you may or may not remember was also the location of last year’s Beer Show). Despite a rather stunning lack of wine knowledge, I managed to fully immerse myself in a wine-tastic afternoon and learned quite a bit about the different styles available.
The format of these shows is a bit like a car boot sale crossed with a tasting session. Upon arrival, James and I were given wine glasses with which to sample the wares of the various wine vendors who had sent in their stocks from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Portugal, Spain, France and, of course, California (I was quite pleased with myself for recognising the Kendall Jackson brand as a California wine). James was much more wine savvy than I was, but even his knowledge was put to the test by the range of Merlots, Shiraz, Roses, Pinot Noirs, Nobels and more available to sample.
We were particularly impressed by the Wine Tasting Case or, as it was much less elegantly called – box of wine in a tube. Although the idea of wine in a tube seemed more appropriate for a college test tube/mad science themed party, in fact the idea of a series of fine wines for tasting, a guide book for how to best enjoy the samples and a taste of the most expensive wine in the set won us over pretty quickly.
We were also fans of the variety of Nobel wines, created from grapes affected by nobel rot. The saccharine dessert wine tasted more like sugar water than alcohol but was quite a nice alternative to the heavy reds and crisp whites and roses.
We even found a couple of stalls showcasing their non-wine products. Buffalo Trace distillery from Kentucky gave us a taste test of their whiskeys. The whiskey was lovely but not nearly as nice as their homemade whiskey barbecue sauce which, after demanding a sample of that as well, we decided would be delicious on just about anything edible. Although I was content with the whiskey and sauce, James noticed some rather poisonous looking bottles of Absinth and, after being provided with a sample of that as well, just barely had the self restraint to keep from buying one of the 40 quid bottles.
We had a fantastic time at The Wine Show and although I came in knowing very little about wine, I found myself picking up the lingo fast enough. Now, who’s up for a glass of earthy, nutty, full-bodied, oak-aged red?