I bought the DVDs for the first two series of Oz Clarke and James May’s Great Wine Adventure and watched them pretty much back to back. As a result I am now something more of a wine expert than I was before. I know now that you need to swirl it first to look at the colour. Then sniff it to get a hint of the grape variety and the underlying flavours infused into the grape from the surrounding soils and vegetation. Then of course taste it and then start making comments about body, notes, hints an nuances. Afterall that you spit it out – although I have to say I am usually tempted to swallow it and enjoy it to the full.
With this newly found experience I attended a wine tasting evening held at Smith’s of Smithfield (owned by that chef John Torode – the one on Masterchef who shouts at all the contestants when talking in a normal voice should suffice). Of course the reality is that there is much more to wine tasting than simply swirling sniffing and tasting. It takes years to build an appreciation for the wines and how they are put together. So I don’t really know much about wine tasting – but I do know what I like.
James May wanted to find a Californian wine that represented the best of what the new world had to offer for less than a tenner.
He revealed his choice – a Zinfandel called Ravenswood Lodi.
Imagine how surprised I was. This is actually my favourite reasonably priced wine – so I don’t know whether that is a good or a bad coincidence! “This wine is soft, round, spicy and jammy with voluptuous overtones of plums and blueberries, this wine lives large — and irresistible — in the here and now” (that’s what the marketing blurb says).
What do I think? I just think it tastes fantastic.