I soon found the venue for the wine tasting, in a conference suite on the first floor where I was welcomed warmly by Mark and Richard. They were so friendly that I felt as though I had known them for years and it was a pleasure to absorb their knowledge of wine. The scene in the room was set, with wine glasses and detailed notes awaiting the guests. I could not wait to find out all about the delicious wines we would be tasting during the evening. Mark and Richard are identical twins born only seven minutes apart, which made telling them apart rather confusing! You can tell that they have such an incredible knowledge of wine and their passion and zeal really shines through.
They work with several large companies such as Marks and Spencers and I could see why, since they are both knowledgeable and approachable The guys had already told me that we would be eating cheese by a company called Orsom. They are a fairly new cheese company based in Cheshire and they specialise in handmade and artisan cheeses and they often work in partnership with the wine school. At the moment they make four different cheeses, mild, blue, strong cheddar and smoked and I would definitely recommend it!
The set up of the evening was so enticing, with a huge conference table set out with numbered glasses so that we would know which wine was which as we tasted each of them. Mark and Richard had set up an overhead projector too, so that they could share detailed information with us about the wine as we went through each one. It was so interactive and I soon found myself getting lost in the world of wine (not that I needed much convincing!)
We were told all about how best to taste and smell the wine in order to draw out the maximum amount of flavour from it. It was so much fun to learn these techniques! It is best to hold the glass by the stem at a 45 degree angle and to really swirl the wine around the glass before tasting. To bring out the aroma, you should really get your nose right into the glass in order to smell it. We learned that smaller glasses are best for wine tasting as they concentrate the flavour of the wine more.
We began with a crisp South African Chenin Blanc, which was had deliciously sharp notes of apple, citrus and guava. The format of the evening was that we tasted the wine on its own at first and then later we tasted it again paired with a cheese. This gave us the opportunity to enjoy the flavour of the wine both alone and with the enhancement of the cheese. The Chenin Blanc was paired with 'Grace' Cheese, a fresh and subtle English white cheese. These two went so well together and made for a delicious combination. Mark and Richard talked us through each wine and we found out lots of interesting facts such as that there are 10,000 grape varieties permitted for the making of wine, that the colour of wine all comes from the skin of the grape and that Tannins are what makes a wine dry.
The second wine was Argentinian Torrontes, a fragrant white wine with floral notes and peach and apricot fruit. This went well with the Orsom Blue Cheese it was paired with. We learned all about the variance in the colour of wines and that all white wines have different depths of colour, as do reds. The guys explained that holding the wine glass against a white background, such as a sheet of paper really helps you to see the colour.
After two delicious white wines, it was time to get serious and move on to the reds! The first of which was an excellent Gamay 'Fleurie' from the Beaujolais region of France. It was not oaked and it had lots of delicious notes of red fruit and raspberry. It is a wine that is best to be drunk 'young' to enjoy its light and fruity flavour. This also paired well with the Grace cheese, which is easily the perfect cheese to devour with crackers during a lazy night watching a movie! Everybody was really enjoying themselves and getting into the swing of the evening, and there was a lot of laughter about how much wine we all drink at home! The next wine of the evening was a delicious Brazilian Teroldego which went amazingly well with the 'Winston' mature cheddar. The guys explained that Brazilian wine is only just starting to become popular in the UK and I can see why from the full-bodied flavour. The Orsom 'Winston' cheddar was one of the most delicious cheeses I have ever tried and I was blown away by how perfectly it went with the Brazilian wine.
The next wine of the evening was something of a 'curve ball' and none of us were expecting it which made it all the more enjoyable. It was an Indian wine called The Jewel of Nasik, a delicious Tempranillo and Shiraz blend produced in a vineyard high in the hills northeast of Mumbai. Surprisingly, it goes very well with curry according to Mark and Richard. I could definitely imagine sipping it alongside a delicious chicken Jalfrezi and plenty of poppadoms...but that is another story!
It is a rich and smoky red wine which partnered amazingly well with the Orsom smoked 'Woodew' cheese we were sampling alongside it. I would definitely purchase this wine to drink at home, as it has super intensity which goes so well with cheese. It was exciting to try a wine from India, where wine production is in its infancy. I have to say trying an Indian wine was a first for me, and it was truly exceptional! Finally, we also tried a port wine, which again was a first for me and I was surprised to find that I did like it. It is known for going very well with cheese, so it went down a treat with the 'Winston' cheddar! The sweetness, intensity and strength of port really offsets the flavour of cheese extremely well. It goes straight to your head, so pairing it with cheese is good advice, as if I need another excuse to find myself on the cheese aisle when I visit the supermarket!
Richard (or was it Mark..?!) with all of that lovely Orsom cheese.
Waiting for the guests to arrive, I was busy with my camera as always!
At the end of the evening, Mark and Richard told everyone to help themselves to the remaining cheese and wine which was so kind of them! It was such a fun way to spend a few hours and I would definitely recommend this to anybody who is looking for something different to do for a special occasion or even just a fun evening out. It was so informative and fun, and we were encouraged to ask any questions which crossed our minds during proceedings! By the end of the night I think a few of us were feeling a tiny bit worse for wear after all of the delicious wine we had sampled, and we all agreed that we would love to go to another of the Cheshire Mersey Wine School events soon. I teetered off into the night to find myself some coffee and some more food, having had an incredible time. Thank you so much to Mark and Richard for inviting me and for giving me such a lovely and memorable evening to share with all my wonderful readers here on Coco Cami.
What do you all think, have you ever been to a wine tasting or would you like to go to one? I hope that you are all having a great week so far. You can read all about the upcoming events of Cheshire Mersey Wine School on their website, and check out the delicious Orsom cheeses too! I wish Mark and Richard every success because they are so genuine and friendly, not to mention passionate about what they do. Orsom cheese deserves every success too, I cannot wait to order my own supply and store it under lock and key in my fridge...just kidding...sort of!
Cheshire Mersey Wine School
I got snap happy on the way home, taking a few more shots of the stunning architecture around the Albert Dock. I was so disappointed that the ice cream van I saw was closed, what is a girl to do?!
Thank you for reading this post everyone! Until next time,
I was kindly invited to this event as a guest of Cheshire Mersey Wine School. The evening was therefore complimentary for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and honest.