Independents’ Day

Last night I did a wine tasting for about 40 knackered mothers, organised by the very brilliant Hungerford Bookshop. Emma, who runs the bookshop, got the local independent wine shop to bring some wines for us to taste together and all I had to do was talk about my specialist subjects. Namely wine, me and my book. Unsurprisingly, I loved it. Lots of people talking, tasting wine, laughing and not rushing back home on a rare week night out. Quite a few people said they wouldn’t have gone to a wine shop before last night, thinking it too expensive or intimidating. But in fact, the wines we tasted last night ranged from £6.50 to £12, covering everything from something to perk up a baked potato to friends in for dinner. So, more expensive than some of the offers in the supermarket. Plus the fact that you’ve got to make a special trip to get there, rather than bung a bottle in the trolley as you fly round the aisles with a small child in tow. But the wines were delicious, great value and refreshingly different. Here are two of my favourites from last night.

Last night’s rose of choice: Petit Arnau de Loxarel Rose 2012, £11.95, Caviste
This was more light red than pale rose, and some of last night’s tasters definitely voiced a preference for the pale pinks of the Provence. But, once people got their nose stuck in the glass, there were plenty of sighs of delight. This is a blend of Merlot and Pinot Noir, made in the Penedes region in Spain (Cava country, near Barcelona). And it is a bio-dynamic wine, which sounds like it might give you superpowers but just means super-organic, really. Bright young thing with cherry fruit; it won hearts. 

Last night’s red of choice: Ca di Ponti Nero d’Avola 2011, £6.50, Caviste
I loved this wine, and so did most of the rest of the room. One clever taster stuck her nose in the glass and pronounced it very ripe, which was spot on. It’s made in Sicily, where it is bloody hot. Hence, very ripe Nero d’Avola grapes. It was a bit like a new world shiraz, but with more grrrrip. In a good way. Really juicy, loaded with plum fruit, this one rounded off the evening beautifully before we all headed home a bit later than we all intended. 

Chin chin x

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  1. Still enjoying being more adventurous with my wine choices. Bought a new one on me, Tarrango, by Brown Brothers in Tesco. Loved it, very light and a rally unusual taste. Will go back for more.
    We also have a wine merchant nearby and I've been much more relaxed about visiting it and asking for advice. Great value too.

    • And that is the really brilliant thing about wine merchants – being able to ask for advice. And Tarrango, how funny! Saw that was on offer in Waitrose yesterday, the Brown Brothers one, and thought 'must get some and put it on the blog'. Such a brilliant summer red.

  2. Sounds like a whole lot of fun. Love Nero d'Avola…makes me feel all Sicilian!

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