Wine Tasting for Beginners.

On Saturday I had my first wine tasting experience. Whilst not a novice to tasting in general (I have partaken in port tasting and tea tasting don't you know), there is an air of high-brow seriousness when you up your game to wine. A friend had found a voucher for discounted entry and tasting session to Vinopolis, a wine/cocktail/food extravaganza with 5 restaurants and 6000 different wines near London Bridge, London.

We arrived and swapped our voucher for a token card - the whole principle here surrounds each wine sample costing 1-4 tokens and you load your card with however many (however drunk) you like. We were then ushered into a lecture hall-like room and given a glass of chilled white on the way in. Our lesson on slurping, swilling and nosing was to be given by Patrizia, an adorable Italian woman with big crazy hair and a wonderful way of making English sound romantic and like a song. We were told very quickly NOT to drink the glass of wine yet - and more importantly to hold our glass only by the stem so as not to warm the wine ("the winer glass isa like-a flower, you-a don't-a touch the delicate part-a").

We were then taught the ins and outs of the different colours of wine, viscosity (how syrupy it is = how sugary and therefore sweet), age, how to tell how strong a wine is, the aromas and taste profiles of wines etc etc.

After this whistlestop tour of tasting techniques we were released to the self-service machines! The space is well laid out, with different rooms for red, white, dessert wines and a champagne bar as well as interactive touch screen panels for finding out what taste profile you have and learning about different grapes - taste profile = fun, grape knowledge = less so...

We soon got started on using our card to get samples, card in, button pressed and glass fills up - MAGIC (andperhapsdangerouslyeasy)! We were advised to start with white then red then dessert wine and we are not those to rule break so duly drank SIX glasses of wine in that order. Needless to say, some tiddliness followed, along with warm fuzzy winey feelings in the tummy region. Tried a crazy Georgian white wine which was delicious and drank what seemed like liquid sugar in the dessert wine section to finish off.

Sozzled, it was sadly time to leave. Until next time, Vinopolis - I am a fan!


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