Posted: 02 December '09 by Niall
There are times when I think that there is simply nothing to do in Belfast and then something new presents itself..
On Friday 13th of November I went along to the “Walkabout Wine Tasting” at Direct Wine Shipments accompanied by Linda, one of the Chilli and Chocolate members (Kelly was working and very distraught at missing the night). I only discovered that DWS was open to the public and held these sorts of events quite recently – apparently these evenings have been going on for some time, so why had I never heard of these wine-tastings before? Who knows, but I was determined to make up for lost time.
And what a fantastic night it turned out to be! At £10 a ticket the event certainly didn’t break the bank and I’m happy to report that it was more than value for money – which rarely seems to be the case where events in Belfast are concerned.
We were greeted at reception by the event staff and taken into the tasting room armed with the tasting notes, a map showing the layout of the wines, and a glass of chilled prosecco. There were 26 wines in all, from Old World to New World, red to white – and even a toffee-sweet Sauterne – a fantastic mix of flavours and aromas. The wines at DWS are from smaller, artisan producers, the vast majority of which you won’t have seen in the bigger off-licences and online stores – the sorts of people that produce wine because they love it, and have been making wine for generations. My particular favourites were the Chateau L’Escart Prestige 2007 (a delicious and darkly concentrated Bordeaux Superieur, with red berries, prunes, and cherries on the nose and a mouth-watering long finish) and the Crisita Collection Vacqueyras 2007 (a powerful but silky-smooth wine from the Rhone Valley that has plenty of ripe dark fruit). There were also some carafes of chilled water and nibbles on hand (cheese, focaccia, and some fantastic delicious Castilian olive oil) to help clear your palate between wines.
The fact that the tickets were only £10 did mean that there was a good mix of people, from those that clearly knew their wine to those just starting on the path to enlightenment, all of which made the event far less formal than you might have previously imagined. It should be said that the staff were also fantastic – visiting wine-tastings and dedicated wine stores can be a bit unnerving, but the event staff were very approachable, happily mingling and casually chatting about the wines on show, which clearly put everyone at ease.
The “walkabout” ran from 4.30pm to 7.30pm, with people coming and going when they needed to. We made in down by about 6pm, but it was still more than enough time to try all of the wines and chat to some of the other lucky attendees. I say “lucky” because the wine-tasting was limited to 100 participants, and the tickets were sold out before the night of the tasting. Infact, that night we heard that there is another wine-tasting planned for Saturday 5th December, “The Wines of Christmas”, but all of the tickets had already been snapped up!
Another big “plus” from the evening was that the wines at the tasting were all reduced – the Cristia Vacqueyras down from £13.50 to £11.48, for example – making your new favourite wine that much more appealing.
We had a great night out at Direct Wine Shipments: we met some nice people, tried some superb wines (several of which have already made an appearance in our wine cellar), learned more about some producers and wines that we hadn’t come across before, and made some savings on buying our favourite bottles.
You should give these wine-tastings a go – a “different” night out in Belfast – highly recommended.
There are some other events that you might be interested in:
- Thursday 3rd December: Masterchef Dinner at Jeffers Bar & Grill. You can read more about this event
- Wednesday 10th February 2010: Eldredge Vineyards Wine Tasting & Supper at 8pm – £25. You can read more about this event