Tasting Notes

As you know, I spend a lot of time tasting wine. (Yes, I know. My job is ridiculous). But over the next few weeks I’ll be tasting more wines than usual. Around 300 a day, in fact. It’s the International Wine Challenge and as one of the judges I’m lucky enough to get to taste wines from all over the world. Today I’ve tried wines from Peru, Portugal, South Africa, Japan, England, Spain, Italy, France, Croatia, Greece, New Zealand, Australia, Moldova and Georgia. Among others. And here’s the thing: I’ve been doing this for over twenty years and yet today I was still able to taste wines made from grapes grown in places I’d never tried before. The fact that there’s always more to discover is one of my favourite things about wine. Basically, you can never get bored. Unless of course you’ve tasted them all in one day in which case the only thing you want is an ice-cold G&T and a plate of cheese and crackers.

This week’s wine recommendations include a brilliant Italian featured on Saturday Kitchen at the weekend and a gin that tastes good and does good. Win win.

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  1. Found the Ribolla slipped down a treat last night with the Mediterranean Seabass that is offer at M & S, will definitely be buying some more, of both! Thanks Helen

  2. Very enviable position you’re in Helen. I hope very much that we get to hear from you again about your favourite discoveries. I’d be interested to hear more about the process. Do you judge individually or in a panel? I hope you’re having as much fun as it sounds on your journey of discovering wines from new destinations. Chin chin!

    • Helen McGinn

      Hi Philippa, yes we judge as panels with a team of co-chairs (of which I’m one) so all the wines are blind tasted by a team of people. And yes, it’s very very fun! x

  3. Busy working mum managing an around the world wine tasting over zoom as a school fundraiser. Any tips on current wines that don’t necessarily need a food pairing to find the delight? I was thinking 6 wines (3 whites and 3 reds) moving across continents. Any ideas or inspiration gratefully received. Thank you Helen.

    • Helen McGinn

      Hi! Easiest way to do this would be to pick some wines from the new Found Range from M&S, a selection of off-the-beaten-track grapes from all over the place, some great wines in there all under £10 too. More ideas in my Knackered Mother’s Wine Guide book in the Book Club chapter! Hope this helps x

  4. Thanks Helen. Your book was in my Christmas Stocking so that chapter will now feature as part of my research! Will check out the new Found Range. Thanks. Liz (Lockdown wine enthusiast)!

    • Helen McGinn

      Ah fabulous, hope all goes well! If you need any help on individual recommendations and can’t find them here do just drop me an email and I’ll do my best to help. Helen x

  5. Hi Helen
    I would just love some recommendations for 1/2 bottles please or even the tiny ones…no idea where to start ! Thank you

    • Helen McGinn

      Hi Kate, there is a website dedicated to half bottles I think? I’ll have a look too (not my usual default, I must admit)! x

  6. Jeff Arnold

    Can’t wait to try a few of these wines! Thank you. Keep up the informative pieces. As a somm, I am always up for reading more. If you are ever in Sonoma CA, look me and my wine touring business up! Cheers. https://www.vinesofsonoma.com

  7. Marlene moakes

    Yes please to winning the wine I never know what to choose. Like all sorts wine .

  8. Anne Lambert

    Hi Helen,several weeks/months ago ,you showcased an alcohol free red wine. Unfortunately I missed the name, other than the fact that the label was black and white.I do remember that the couple who were the guests that Saturday were very impressed, and said it actually smelt like wine!Hope you can help. Many thanks Anne.

  9. Hi Helen ,

    I’ve been watching Saturday Live Kitchen now for over 2yrs , I’ve not been able to watch TV as been so mega busy with these two kids now they are finally both in School my son 4yrs old and my daughter 6yrs old

    Just wanted to say Thank you so much you and Matt make such an good team and love watching you all , I normally freeze the screen to take photos of your choice of wines to buy.

    I just hope one day I be able to cook as well as I’ve not been doing really well .

    Love watching you guys every weekend I record it and even watch it when ever I get the chance 🥰wish one day I can meet you all I feel like your all such an lovely bunch to be with xXx

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