I thought that a love of wine was as good a reason as any to attend a wine tasting evening, but it turns out that I might have been wrong. You either have to have an interest in how wine gets from grape to bottle and the impact that that has, or a palate that is more sophisticated than pub Pinot Grigio or Tesco’s half-price but very drinkable whites.
Last night, I went to a Portuguese wine tasting evening at the Southbank. After a trip to an unexpectedly awesome Lisbon earlier this year, my interest in their wine was slightly higher than might be expected….which upon reflection seems a little weird as my main complaint during the holiday was that the only alcohol available was beer or Port.
This was my second wine tasting evening and both times I have come away remembering that I am not really grown up enough to take discussions about wine seriously. While the idea of hearing about grape development and learning that cheese brings out the flavour of a aromatic red while a light floral white goes better with fish or moderately spiced food is certainly appealing, I always end up feeling that things have gotten over-complicated and remembering that, for me, wine is an accompaniment to good conversation more than anything else.
Fortunately, by the time we got onto the four red glasses, the rest of the room seemed to have reached the same conclusion and, once I’d popped to the bar to get something that didn’t taste of oak barrels or swirls of creamy vanilla, things took a distinct up turn.
I wonder whether I will appreciate it more if I keep going back. I think I can safely say that, aside from a drinkable Muscat, Portuguese wine is not for me, but there’s certainly something alluring in the promise of discovering the next golden nectar and the offer of some expertise about something that evokes such passionate discussion and is meant to have more depth than simply what goes down best on a Friday night. Next year there’s an Argentine evening and a Piedmont themed session, so I guess we’ll find out.