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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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Learning the basics of wine tasting with Paul Quinn

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EDUCATION: Wine expert Paul Quinn sharing his expertise with Daniel Counsell and Rachel Hermolle during a wine tasting session JOE RILEY REF: 50033751B001

By Rachel Hermolle

ENGLISH wines are taking centre stage this week, as local wine merchants, farm shops, pubs, hotels and restaurants get involved in English Wine Week. And with home-grown wines consistently scoring top marks in both national and international competitions, RACHEL HERMOLLE decided to use the opportunity to sample what Britain has to offer.

WHEN it comes to wine, although I enjoy the odd glass, I am no expert as to what constitutes a good vintage.

So, realising I would need some advice, I arranged to meet Barrow wine connoisseur Paul Quinn, for an afternoon wine tasting and learning about the best of British grape vines.

After a busy day at work, I arrived at Paul’s home ready to relax and enjoy a glass of cool wine.

But as a complete novice, I had to learn what to look for, before I was trusted to try any of them.

Beginning with Denbies Surrey Gold, English Regional Wine, Paul talked me through the basics.

“The first and most important thing when wine tasting is the smell,” explained Paul.

“As this wine is a blend of Müller-Thurgau, Ortega and Bacchus grapes, you should be looking for rich fruit and floral aromas with subtle hints of spice.”

Luckily my feeble guess of Bramley apples was not too far off.

Next we checked the wine’s clarity and colour, before finally getting the chance to try the best selling white wine.

“Sip a small amount of wine and move it over your entire tongue so that all your taste buds come in contact with it,” coached Paul.

“Then check for length, by counting how long the flavours remain in your mouth after you’ve swallowed it.

“English wine seems to be a little sourer than some others so you should feel a tingling on the sides of your tongue.”

Finishing the glass, we moved on to a brand new sparkling wine, Tesco Broadwood’s Folly.

Sparkling wine has become the most widely produced wine style in England, and now regularly appears on supermarket shelves and restaurant wine lists.

Trying the Denbies produced cuvee for myself, I could see why.

Offering a creamy texture, the wine offered fresh citrus and toasty brioche notes on the nose with a crisp, dry and refreshing palate.

Following the same principals for the sparkling wine, Paul then challenged me to test an English dessert wine and a chalk ridge rose.

I may still have a way to go until I can correctly identify a wine by taste or smell alone, but after my session with Paul I will definitely be flying the flag for English wines.

For advice on wine evenings, small wine tours, team building or staff training call Paul on 07773269564.

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