By Philippa Morton.
Ahh, who wouldn’t want to indulge in a day of wine tasting? The swirl, sniff and spit regime (or swallow, in my case) was so addictive, I could have counted it as my work out necessary for the day. Although, in all honesty, I didn’t have enough wits about me by the end of it to count at all (too much swallow, not enough spit).
The whole exercise completely wasted me. Even my arms were sore the next day (as was my head) from lifting those heavy glasses of wine, one after the other. My boss at Fluid London forced me to attend the Wine Gang Christmas Wine Fair at Vinopolis. How could he do such a thing? Does a day-long headache as a result of over-working count when it comes to Occupational Health? Hmmm. Nevertheless, it was my obligation to carry forth my duties, and so onwards I went, as professional as I could be. And in this industry there is only one way to do this: taste to learn.
Vinopolis is a must for anyone who already appreciates wine. For those of us who are not as well versed in wine, a visit to Vinopolis will open your senses to a whole new world of taste. Did you know that grapes grown on the coast result in a much fruitier, full wine, and those grown further inland (maybe up a hill) result in a wine with a much more delicate, even translucent taste.
Impressed? You should be. And in fact, to know more it would definitely be worth investing in one of the regular Vinopolis wine tours. You can learn anything, such as matching cheeses and chocolates to the right types of wine. I’d rather fancy impressing my guests sometime with this kind of refined knowledge. Oh La-Di-Dah Dears!
Set in large halls with high ceilings, Vinopolis reminded me of a ballroom. The halls were framed by tables dotted around with wine agents from all over the world, showing their wares. Shiraz, Prosecco, Chablis, Port, Champagne, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, and many more were there to sample, some by names that were just far too complicated for my alcohol-soaked brain to recall, never mind pronounce.
My favourites were the Rieslings. It has been a good couple of years since I have had a Riesling, and I had a sudden rush of memories when the taste graced my tongue (ahhh the good old days of cheap Riesling, when my taste buds were much less refined).
I wondered if Oz Clarke might have been honouring Vinopolis with his presence that day, but I couldn’t see him anywhere. It didn’t worry me too much though, since evidently he is a frequent visitor at Vinopolis, and holds wine tastings as well. Just a matter of checking out the Vinopolis website: www.vinopolis.co.uk
So after tasting many a wine and trying hard to educate myself that much more - and while Shiraz became Rishaz and Pinot Noir became Nipot Poir - the crowd was growing and talking to my dictaphone got a little tiresome. I was a lone and lonely wine taster. So my tip for a really great day out at Vinopolis? Take a mate and swirl, sniff and spit (or swallow) your way round together.