I never used to get the idea of wine tasting. Although I’d been brought up by parents who appreciate wine, I essentially just thought that red was red, white was white, and rose somewhere in between. I assumed these people who stood around swilling the wine in the glass, making a show of sniffing it, drinking it noisily and then declaring it to “have flavours of gooseberry and vanilla but with some toasty undertones” were, to be honest, pretentious gits who had no idea what they were talking about.
That was until I was lucky enough to go to a wine-tasting evening at Berry Bros & Rudd in London. My Dad had been invited to a corporate evening of wine-tasting, and decided it was high time I stopped teasing him for thinking there was a difference in the wines he drunk.
Berry Bros opened in 1698, and the tasting was held in the impressive cellars, which just ooze history.
The wines to taste were set out on different tables according to whether they were ‘New World’ or ‘Old World’ (separate post on this to follow). Then, with the help of the professionals, you tasted comparable wines but from different places, to understand how they differed. And boy, did they differ.
For the first time I realised that actually, saying one red wine is like another is pretty much like saying every car is the same, regardless of whether it is a Mini, a Skoda or a Ferrari.
There is a whole world of wine out there, and believe me, it is well-worth taking a bit of time to explore how wines differ from each other, and which ones you like.