Can you taste in technicolour? Does the taste of Merlot cause you to see rich violet colours? Maybe, a tipple of Chardonnay inspires images of a vast sea of lime green with bright orange foam? Or, perhaps you simply prefer to describe a glass of Shiraz as “nice”!
Once a month, our wine devotees get together to sample a selection of wines. In truth, not everyone’s a Rotary Member but we all love a glass (or more) of wine! A typical evening sees participants tasting and savouring four different wines, without knowing their provenance, and choosing their favourite. Blind tasting1, vertical tasting and even horizontal tasting2. It’s a bit of fun!
Maybe, it will come as no surprise that wines have attracted comments such as “exquisite” and “improves with every mouthful” or “a foxy aroma” and “smells of silky sweaty socks”. On a serious note, there are a few aficionados and real wine connoisseurs amongst our insouciant flight. They know their Sauterne from their Chenin Blanc and their Barrique from their Nebuchadnezzar.
Enough of the introduction, let’s get down to the wine tasting.
During April and May our wine enthusiasts embarked on a blind tasting Grand Tour of European vineyards. No vin ordinaire here!
We started our tour at Schloss Vollrads. Devouring late harvest Riesling of grapes handpicked from vines grown on the steep banks of the Rhine; picked only during a full moon to ensure the right sugar levels!3 We moved swiftly on, avoiding any debate about German French claims to the Alsace region and the unpronounceable (with numerous spelling variations!) Gewuerztraminer grape.
And then, we were spirited (under the spell of Underberg Herbal Elixir) into a world of wines inspired by great novelists. From the foothills of the western Alps; a Benedictine monastery that inspired Umberto Eco’s first novel The Name of the Rose; to Sicily’s southeast coast and the murky il mondo of Inspector Montalbano. We vino-ed our way through Italy tasting local grape varieties; vibrant purple-red, distinctive dark colours, dark and crimson and more. Or were we simply tasting in technicolour?
Where to next? Watch this space.
1 Blind tasting; Tasting and evaluating wine without knowing what it is.
2 Horizontal wine tasting: Tasting of a group of wines from the same vintage or representing the same style of wine (i.e., all Chardonnays from different wineries in a region), whereas vertical tasting involves tasting the same wine through different vintages.
3 The reference to harvesting grapes during a full moon is a piece of fictional licence (one of many!) afforded to our host for the evening.