Over the next week I will be visiting the Decanter Great Italian Fine Wine Encounter, the RAW Wine Fair and the London International Wine Fair – that’s a lot of wine to taste. So when the opportunity arose to visit a small wine event in Bristol with less than thirty companies I jumped at the chance to give my palate a bit of a breather and allow myself the time to enjoy the wine rather than rushing around and overloading myself as I tend to do at the bigger events.
The event was held at Paintworks, a creative facility in the south of Bristol, on a day when there was actually sunshine coming through the clouds!
The focus of the event was quality products from local producers and there was a mixture of stands offering wine, cider, beer and a variety of food. With my relaxed attitude to the event I meandered around the stands, drawn around the hall by a mixture of delicious smells and tempting looking breads, cheeses and pasta dishes. Normally I would be complaining that it is impossible to properly taste wines in this kind of environment – the scent of raw fish from the sushi stand mixing with the pungent aromas of the Bath Soft Cheese Co. But instead I just indulged my senses. Out went the formal rules of tasting – white wines were followed by Australian liqueur Muscats followed by hot chilli Cheddar cheese washed down with some English Sparkling Wine and a slice of Portuguese custard tart.
My favourite wines of the day came from Avonleigh Organic Vineyard. Based in Bradford on Avon they are less than 10 miles from where I live but I had never heard of them. Di Francis and Ingrid Lindskog are the creative force behind this company and they were definitely drawing a big crowd. I tried their 2010 Woolley White, 2010 Woolley Rosé and my favourite, the 2009 English Sparkling Wine made with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Living so close to the vineyard I know how bad the weather can be and I was surprised at the refreshing acidity, delicate aromas and overall balance of the sparkling wine. Supplier details can be found on their website www.avonleighorganics.co.uk.
I came away from the event with a large soda bread, some spicy cheese, two Portuguese custard tarts and a bottle of Box Steam Brewery’s ‘Chuffin’ Ale’ and a reminder of just how much fun tasting events like these can be. Studying the WSET Diploma has meant that I have had to become very serious about wine tasting and I had kind of forgotten why I started the diploma in the first place – because I love wine!
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