Being as it was a special weekend we decided to 'go posh' and dress for the occassion ..... don't we all look grand?
|In all our finery|
As you can see for this tasting we were seated at one large table, my lovely Hubby and Son were our wine waiters (a bit of a busmans holiday for our son as it was his day off from his bar work at Mecure Brandon Hall Hotel)
As a little extra touch we even had candles and our Son used his napkin folding skills for each setting. A very different look to our HQ than on a Beaver, Cub or Scout night :)
|Centre candles (the space was soon filled with food and wine)|
|Our place setting|
And so to our tastings, I tried to make the food and wine match the occasion, it is getting more and more difficult to find new wines but most were new grape varieties this time.
Our first wine was from Aldi - literally from Aldi. I am on their tasting panel and they recently sent this lovely bubbly, perfect to start our evening.
This Prosecco Superior from Northern Italy is made from Glera grapes, a new variety for us to try.
Lovely bubbles, large and lively with a mouth full of ripe apples. There was a lovely creamy finish to this bubbly although it wasn't a sweet wine.
Most of us enjoyed this unaccompanied but one of our ladies loves Kir Royale and added just a drop of blackcurrant - 'delicious'.
Being Valentine's I couldn't not include rosé wine; this time I chose two, one from Sainsbury's and the other from Majestic. In fact this time I only shopped in three stores as sometimes it gets confusing as to where the wines were from.
Contenda Tempranillo Rose a Spanish wine from Sainsbury's that was full of crisp summer fruits.
Luis Felipe Edwards 'Mountain View Vineyards' Rose from Majestic this rosé was a little dryer than the Sapnish wine with a little zappy acidic finish
I served strawberries with these wines; they definitely brought out the sweetness in our first rosé and went well with the second but didn't add anything to the wine flavour itself.
Before moving onto our six white wines we paused for our starter - pate with French bread. Usually we have a main break for our buffet so it made a change to have pauses throughout the tasting for different elements of our meal.
Our whites began with a new wine to all of us, including myself and Hubby. Rheinhessen Muller-Thurgau a German wine from Asda this was a light and fruity wine which everyone enjoyed and one that we will be buying again, for me it was one of the best of the evening.
Sainsbury's Winemakers Gavi was our second white, Gavi (Cortese) is another new grape to our tasting group. A fruity wine that everyone enjoyed although paired against the German wine it appeared a little light.
|All our whites|
Asda was the source of our next wine, Isla Negra Sauvignon Blanc Chardonnay.
I included this as we haven't tasted these two grapes blended together before, within our group we have a mix of sauvignon blanc lovers and chardonnay lovers so it was interesting to see what everyone thought .... and they liked it.
No-one chose it as their favourite but everyone thought it a good wine.
Back to Spain for our next tasting, although I actually bought the wine at Majestic: Lopez de Haro Rioja (Viura). The tasting notes said flavours of dates and bananas - oh what fun this caused. Some of us could smell banana but couldn't taste any and vica versa, there were no dates (a shame with it being Valentine's !)
I served goats cheese on melba toast to accompany our final two wines as both match really well with this.
Silver Ghost Sauvignon Blanc is a Chilean wine with a citrus nose full gooseberries and a mouth of crisp green apples, beautiful with the cheese.
As equally as good, in fact my favourite, another wine of two grapes; Picpoul and Sauvignon Blanc from Majestic. It really is a good blend with both wines coming through, the lively cirtus notes with lovely melon and pear.
All our whites were great - in fact even our red wine drinkers liked them ! And so to our main course - a Valentine's special ..... pizza !!!
|Our selection of red wine|
Six reds to follow or extravagant main starting with an Italian wine again from Majestic;
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. We have tasted this grape before but it is such a lovely wine it seemed perfect to start our red selection.
Back to Asda for our next red Isla Negra Merlot Carmenere. Merlot is the favourite grape of one of our group so it was good to try a wine with it blended with another grape. A rich red with a very smooth finish.
Bobal was next on our tasting list, a Spanish wine again from Asda. A wine from the WIne Atlas range which promised hints of chocolate but we all found it a little missing. A good wine for those liking a lighter red but it didn't provide the depth of richness we hoped for, although it did improve with the accompanying slightly spicy falafal.
Sainsbury's Winemaker Petit Verdot was a vast contrast, really rich, very deep with quite a complex range of flavours. This was a favourite amongst our red drinkers and one of my top wines of the night.
Our final two reds were both French; a new grape and an old favourite. Mont Saint Jean Corbieres is a full rounded red from Southern France. A Majestic wine full of blackberries with a touch of spice in its finish.
The old favourite being a Cellier des Dauphins Merlot Grenache from Sainsbury's - Les Dauphins is a wine we've included many times, especially our last tasting but this wine is the original label in the original shaped bottled we love in France and it's now available in Sainsbury's. A wine loved by everyone, it seemed even nicer in the 'proper' bottle.
And so our Valentine's tasting came to an end - well nearly - you can't have Valentine's without chocolate. I found some chocolate mini cups inthe supermarket and filled each with chocolate mousse, a perfect dessert.
What goes with the perfect dessert, one of the loveliest dessert wines Brown Brothers Orange Flora and Muscat . Available at Majestic this dessert wine is so smooth and sweet, it was perfect with the chocolate.
Everyone enjoyed it, even those who don't normal like sweet wine and everyone agreed it was the perfect way to end our Valentine's tasting.
Our next wine tasting will be ................ who knows when or what but it will be another great night.