I know next to nothing about wine. On one French course I did we had a class about wine-tasting, as our teacher must have thought it would be more interesting than the subjunctive. Unfortunately, it was just about the terminology, and there was no actual wine involved. So when I was invited along to a Turkish wine masterclass at Vinopolis, a restaurant/museum/attraction/shrine to everything wine, I needed no persuading.
Vinopolis is right by London Bridge, so it’s easy to get to. The venue itself is beautiful: it’s under the railway arches, big and spacious. It is like a maze, with lots of different spaces for the restaurant, cocktail classes and various wine-tasting sessions.
Our host was Sarah Abbott, Master of Wine. (Fantastic title.) She struck the perfect balance between being enthusiastic and not being overly geeky. (Her word, not mine!) I always thought wine tasting would be quite a funny thing to do, bordering on pretentious for taking it too seriously! That’s why Sarah was brilliant – her enthusiasm was contagious.
She offered enough information about the wines and their backgrounds for it to be interesting, but not too much, yet she was able to give more information to those who asked questions.
What was especially interesting was that some of the wine-makers were there – we had a man called Alp Törüner at our table, whose vineyard makes a rather nice red wine (and I don’t normally drink red wine). There was the chance at the end to chat to them and try some of their other wines.
And what of the wine itself? When tasting one after the other, it was surprising to see how different they could all be. However, both of my favourite whites had Narince in the name, so that is my Turkish wine to look out for.
Vinopolis is a beautiful, unusual venue, and it was sad to discover it will be closing its doors at the end of this year. If any of you are particularly interested in wine, or have visitors who love it, do take them along. Masterclasses like this cost between £40 and £59 per person, so it is good for a special occasion, but you might also find it a nice alternative to spending too much on cocktails on a Thursday night!
All in all, it was a really enjoyable, relaxed evening. And now I have my eye on the chocolate and wine masterclass…