Yorkshire's Independent Restaurant Guide

Remote Wine Tasting

How much of a wine’s character sticks in the memory – smells, tastes, colours, overall impression?

Well, this week I learned the hard way.

I was due to host an in-house introduction to wine tasting for staff at at The Cooking School at Dean Clough in Halifax. But a delayed flight back from Sicily (where I had been filming the harvest at Planeta, of which more later) and the parking angels helpfully losing my car, and then when they found it, discovering it had a flat battery, conspired against me getting there.

All The Cooking School staff plus the team from the Focus on Food Cooking Buses – 20 in all – were waiting expectantly.

What to do?  Barbara Govan, The Cooking School Business Manager offered to step in, but she didn’t have my tasting notes. We’d already agreed we would ask the staff to come up with three words to describe how the wines came across to them. So driving up the M11, I had to rack my brains and remember, without the benefit of seeing, sniffing and sipping, what my three words would be and relay these to Barbara by mobile phone.

Well, here’s what I came up with from memory on the drive back, albeit slightly more than three words.

Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference South African Chenin Blanc: Tropical fruits, golden, slight hint of sweetness, dry finish.

Tesco Finest Soave (Italy): Fruity with bitter almond twist, elegant, pale.

Tesco Finest Argentinian Malbec: fruity with tastes of blackberry, slightly leathery, soft.

Tesco Finest Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, Le Francese (Italy): Warm, spicy, hint of vanilla and cherry fruits.

Apparently I got the colour of the Soave wrong – this version is well made and was more golden than the Chenin Blanc when they were side by side. But otherwise the descriptions tallied, with one of the wine tasters actually volunteering leather for the Malbec, which proved the evening’s favourite wine.

Great audience apparently, so sorry I missed you!

So, winetasters, wine you enjoy is, above all, memorable!