ou’re incredibly knowledgeable, it’s amazing,” says a guest at the Thursday night event in Theatre of Wine in E11, referring to one of our hosts, Sarah.
Together with Seb, the duo are guiding our group of seventeen on a journey through a vineyard-laden European tour.
We sit at a long wooden table in the middle of the candlelit store: burgundy-hued walls are lined with shelves housing an eclectic range of bottles ranging from classics to emerging regions – but tonight, it’s all about Italia.
“Their whites have a bad rep for being bland,” says Sarah. Historically, this may have been on the money, but these days an increase in smaller producers has seen a corresponding rise in quality and greater emphasis on trying to make food and vino really complement each other.
We can certainly vouch for that, supping on a drop of creamy 2017 Vallarom Chardonnay from Trento and nibbling on a slither of piquant Vezzena cheese from the same province.
Next up is the 2016 Inama Vulcaia Fume from Veneto: one of our faves, this Sauvignon has roasted coffee notes on the nose, yet is tropical and refreshing in flavour.
Moving on to reds, we transition with a surprisingly enjoyable Lambrusco rosso. “This doesn’t resemble the horrible, sweet, sparkly drink from the 80s,” says Sarah. Hailing from Emilia Romagna, the Medici Grasparossa di Castelvetro is dry, full of red berries, has a pleasingly slight fizz, and at £12.30, is a real steal.
Working our way through a number more territories, we sip on a quaffable Montepulciano from Abruzzo and a cherry-filled Sangiovese from Tuscany, whilst munching on magically refilling baskets of bread and devouring slices of peppery charcuterie.
It’s a leisurely evening: 10 samples later we’re slightly tipsy, but have also learnt a ton of interesting facts from the passionate organisers and are keen to return and do it all again.
Each week, their events centre on different wine-producing areas or a certain type of grape, with forthcoming dates featuring new wave South Africa and sparkling varieties.
Whatever the focus, be sure to purchase a bottle or two to take home with you. And don’t forget, there are outposts in Tufnell Park and Greenwich too.