When I walked through the grand building that is The Winchester Guildhall, I had no idea what to expect from this new Wine Festival. It was nice to see that immediately there was a buzz about the place, Christmas decorations adorned the walls and the smell of cheese filled the air! I had been a little dubious about attending such an event, there are two types of people in this world, people that ‘know wine’ and people that ‘know what wine they like’! If you’re anything like me I can easily go into a supermarket and pick out a cheap bottle of Pinot Grigio that I like. However, you don’t want to ever buy anything too different in case you don’t like it! That is where the wine festival comes in….
Hosted by BBC Wine experts Susie and Peter, there was so much going on throughout the exhibition. They had wines from all continents, different regions in France, specialist champagne and even a little port tasting. There was an incredible amount of knowledge under one roof. Some exhibitors were importing wine, others working in our very own English vineyards and some were wine bloggers with a huge passion for the stuff!
Follow Your Taste…
One of the main sponsors was Farrow & Ball and they had a great way of searching for those wines that tickled your taste buds. They stuck to what they know and had colour charts, the same that you would choose your kitchen paint colour. Instead each colour referred to a type of wine and each shade of that colour determined the sweet wines from the dry. When you arrive you advise the ladies what you normally drink – if you’re like me I tend to go for whatever is on offer, usually a Pinot Grigiot, maybe a Sauvignon Blanc. Then i was given the colours I need to look out for and I was able to pair my own wines and try things that suited my palette.
Naturally four hours of wine tasting and mixing was going to leave even a sommelier a little tipsy, so there was some food nibbles on offer. We were able to taste some of Hampshire finest cured meats and hams, alongside some beautiful pickles and jams. For £5 per person you could buy a small plate of cheeses and fruit through ‘The Chesil Rectory’, with their divine home-made pickle!
I‘ll never forget my first visit to Santa Rita Vineyard in Santiago, Chile. Sitting on the veranda, bathed in gloriously warm sunshine, surrounded by beautiful roses an experiencing the best Crème Brulee I have ever tasted! Its stunning grounds were enough to blow you away before you even tasted their wines and their food. I was absolutely thrilled to find that Andreas a representative from Santa Rita had made it all this way to the Wine Festival in our little City of Winchester. We spent a good deal of time talking about Chile, tasting some incredible wines and I can safely say I cannot wait to visit this winery again soon!
Whether you are someone who loves a good glass of wine you will certainly not be wasting your money here. For only £25pp you have 4 hours of delicious wine tasting in the beautiful city of Winchester. If you are someone that doesn’t drink wine then you simply might not have found one you like! Come, learn, and enjoy, I have no doubt you will leave not only a little tipsy but having found a wine that suits you!
DON’T FORGET: Next Winchester Wine Festival on 27th – 29th November 2015. Tickets on sale now! Check the website for more information – www.thewinefestival.co.uk