As time has gone by I have been really missing going for my usual social events and so when an invitation popped in my inbox to take part in a lockdown live-stream virtual wine tasting over Zoom with wine expert and Master of Wines, Alistair Cooper organised by Wine Trust 100, it was a straight yes! I love wine and especially love learning about it and with an upcoming Wine Diploma that I wanted to do being delayed this was a great chance to fuel up on knowledge for me!
Ahead of the tasting I received a timely delivery of six different wines which he had personally selected, each accompanied by an educational and interesting story and explanation. The wines were from New Zealand, Italy, South Africa, France, Australia and Argentina.
🍷Soave Classico Superiore Vigneto Montegrande⠀⠀
🍷Amalaya Torrontes-Riesling ⠀⠀
🍷Greywacke Wild Sauvignon ⠀⠀
🍷Chakalaka Spice Route ⠀⠀
🍷Cotes de Provence Rose, Chateau Miraval⠀⠀
🍷Giant Steps Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley⠀⠀
On the day of the tasting, I chilled them and opened them up to let them aerate a little and then settled down, in the comfort of my home, for 45 minutes of learning all about each wine with Alistair.
Alistair kicked off the session with the Amalaya Calchaquí Valley Torrontés/Riesling 2019, which costs £10.50 per bottle. Amalaya means ‘hope for a miracle’ in the indigenous language of the now extinct tribe, the Calchaquí and the winery is situated in Cafayate, Calchaquí Valley in Salta in the far north of Argentina.
It is really aromatic with tasting notes of citrus, grapefruit and pineapple.
Continuing with the white wines, we tried Cantina di Monteforte, Vigneto Montegrande Soave Classico Superiore 2017 next, which costs £9.50. Pale gold in colour, the scent was fresh with hints of peaches and stone fruit, and had the characteristic nutty and almond-y notes of a top quality Soave.
The final white wine that we tasted was the Greywacke Marlborough Wild Sauvignon 2017, which costs £23. Greywacke was created in 2009 by Kevin Judd, chief winemaker at Cloudy Bay – the name was adopted in recognition of the high prevalence of rounded greywacke river stones in the soils of the vineyard, a sedimentary rock which is widely found in Marlborough. The wine is aged in old French oak barriques for 12-14 months. Tasting notes included fruit, tea, as well as some herbal notes of dill/tarragon. The different textures and smokey character adds complexity to the wine.
Moving on to Rosé we enjoyed the pretty Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé 2019, which retails at £19. Located in the Provence village of Correns, Château Miraval is the first 100% organic village in France. The wine is produced as a partnership between winemaking family, Famille Perrin, and well known celebrities Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.
In Provence, 90% of the wines are made to be rosé. Tasting notes include raspberries, melons, peaches and white flowers. This is a perfect one for hot, summery days!
Reds were next with Giant Steps Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2018 first up. Alistair explained how even overnight the flavours could develop in this wine once opened and result in some lovely secondary flavours. This had earthy tones, with scents and characteristics of mushrooms and tobacco coming through.
Leaving the best to last was my personal favourite of the evening – Spice Route’s ‘Chakalaka’ 2016, a full bodied red made from a blend of six different grape varieties Mourvèdre, Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Petite Sirah, and Tannat, selected for their suitability to the Swartland growing conditions. Chakalaka, a Zulu word that implies togetherness, is derived from a spicy South African relish, which is similarly a fusion of different flavours.
This pairs so well with spicy dishes and tasting notes include clove, white pepper, plum and hints of spice.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would definitely recommend it for something fun to do at home whilst also learning nuggets about wine!
If you’d like to take part in their next Virtual Wine Tasting which is ‘New Zealand’s Finest’ live on May 1st, 8pm, register here, and tune in and taste along live from the comfort of your own home as Master of Wine, Nick Adams conjours the stories that lie behind six incredible wines from leading New Zealand producer, Lawson’s Dry Hills.