Saturday, 22 August 2015

Good company, good wine, good welcome

Adrian Smith of Drink Me Magazine with Harriet, Emily and Sally

Have we no wine here?*

August began with an unmissable invitation to a wine-tasting experience organised by the extraordinary Adrian Smith, journalist and oenophile** currently writing for Drink Me Magazine.  His articles are worth checking out if you want to dip into delicious prose and delve into the more devious tips and hints to delight your friends who like to drink wine. 
* paragraph title from Shakespeare’s Coriolanus
** Oenophile = a connoisseur of wines

Language is wine upon the lips*

Adrian greeted his guests with Lanson Père & Fils fizz, a refreshing, yeasty, lively guzzle which allowed us time to take in the ambience of his stylish office space, centrally placed above Leeds railway station. We were allowed a sneak peek of the rooftop garden with inspiring views across Leeds. Who would want to retire with such a pleasant place to work and such a genial job? Adrian is a lucky guy! His online writing provides glimpses into the variety of wining and dining he enjoys in return for his enthusiastic reviews 
* Virginia Woolf invented the title of this paragraph, though it’s a good description of the way Adrian communicates too!

Drink to the general joy of the whole table*

Groaning under a counter top was a selection of edibles (pictured above) including various cheeses and meats for all tastes, with crackers and nibbles to munchily crunch between wines. One new experience for me that will feature on treaty tables in the future is Chaource cheese, a creamy slightly crumblier alternative to Brie. I learned how different glasses release different aromas and there is such a thing as a universal wine-tasting glass. In a job long ago I was a drama teacher to Adrian but on this August afternoon, he was the expert and I was a (happy and increasingly sozzled) pupil.
* paragraph title from Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Eat and drink as friends*

The company was convivial – and of course, as the afternoon progressed and more wines were sampled, the conviviality swelled. This was aided by a very clever competition which involved an aroma test – sampling (in pairs to keep the banter flowing) some sublime, some acrid and some weird smells. The aim was, simply, to identify the kinds of flavours that can go into wine – not so simple after all!
* paragraph title from Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew

Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature*

* paragraph title from Shakespeare’s Othello
Iago’s description of wine – a good familiar creature – can only be applied, of course, to social drinkers who haven’t tipped over into the state of being an alcoholic. But throughout history and literature, wine (and beer) have been constant presences in British life. I’ll write about that next time. But for now, what did Adrian serve us?

  • Rod Easthope Sauvignon Blanc (Light, Citrussy, POPULAR WITH US!) 
  • Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc (Gooseberry, Apricot, Flowery, POPULAR WITH US!)
  • Greywacke Chardonnay (Tuna, Tomato, Socks, NOT SO POPULAR….)
  • Manera Piemonte Rosato (With a kick, Sweet, Light, Peaches, POPULAR WITH US!)
  • Rod Easthope Pinot Noir (Smoky, Dark Cherry, Earthy, POPULAR WITH ME, LESS SO WITH OTHERS!) 
  • Rod Easthope Moteo Syrah (Peppery, Darkly fruity, POPULAR WITH ME, LESS SO WITH OTHERS!)
  • Viña Borgia (Spanish, Fruity, Raspberries, POPULAR WITH US!)
  • Graffignia Red Blend (Black plum, Vanilla, Ripe, Dry POPULAR WITH ME, LESS SO WITH OTHERS!)
  • Graffignia Malbec (Argentinian, Chocolatey, Black pepper, Smokey, POPULAR WITH ME, LESS SO WITH OTHERS!)
  • Marques de Casa Concha Merlot (Chile, Blackberry, Full Bodied, POPULAR WITH ME, LESS SO WITH OTHERS!)
What the experience taught me is to taste with confidence and trust my palate. It’s clear that perhaps I’m less discriminating than the rest of my family when drinking wine! Many thanks, BritWit Adrian, for hosting a delectable afternoon of drinking pleasure!