Wine Tasting
with Virgin Wines at The Ivy

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A few days go, Mbosh and I attended the London Wine Awards in The Loft at The Ivy.

The London Wine Awards is the only wine competition where the most important wine judge in the world – the customer – casts the crucial vote.

The day brings together around 75 Virgin Wines customers who take part in blind taste tastings to choose their favourite wines and cast their votes – it promised tutored tastings, conversation and delicious food and drink, with the aim of crowning Virgin Wines’ starriest wines for 2014.

And it did not disappoint.

I should begin by saying that we each tasted 45 wines. FORTY FIVE. EACH. This is already hilarious, as I can’t drink very much wine without falling over.. and it should also go some way to explain why a number of my photographs are not quite in focus.. 

We arrived to a glass of sparkling Prosecco  and a selection of delicious breakfast canapés.. and drank and nibbled while we listened to Jay Wright, CEO of Virgin Wines, introduce the day and explain the proceedings. What a super duper lovely chap.

Jay Wright, CEO Virgin Wines

Jay Wright, CEO Virgin Wines

Virgin Wines Virgin Wines

We were told there would be five tutored blind tasting sessions (at this point I thought we’d all be wearing blindfolds.. and then I thought, well that’s silly because we’ll all bump into each other and fall over… and then I realised I was being an idiot) over the course of the day.

Each tasting contained 9 wines, with a competitor wine hidden among them. We would taste each wine, mark them out of 20 on our clipboards and at the end of the session, hand the scores back to our group leader, who was a member of the Virgin Wines’ team, including CEO Jay Wright, Buying Director Andrew Baker and some of their Senior Wine Advisers.

Mbosh and I were in Jay Wright’s team. I mean group. (Apparently, this wasn’t a competition, but I still think my team (sorry group) won.)

Virgin Wines Virgin Wines Virgin Wines Virgin Wines

Jay was amazing. He was utterly dynamic and funny and inclusive. I probably knew the least about wine in my group, but my opinion (“not sure about this one”) was always valid and there were no wrong answers. I learnt bucket loads.

I learnt how to look at the wine in the glass, swirl it to allow the oxygen into it, how to smell  it properly (get your nose in there!) and of course, how to actually taste it, making sure it hits all the tastebud hot spots in your mouth. It was fascinating. It was also very heady and I needed to sit down occasionally, despite spitting out most (umm..) of the mouthfuls of wine.  Luckily, there was a stonking shepherd’s pie for lunch, so that kept me going for round two. Be proud.

Virgin Wines

Pouring…

Virgin Wines

Swirling…

Virgin Wines

Sniffing…

Virgin Wines

Tasting!

Virgin Wines Virgin Wines Virgin Wines Virgin Wines Virgin Wines The whole event was enormous fun and we met all kinds of different and interesting people from all walks of life, including John Bicourt, who ran the 3000m for Great Britain in the 1972 and 1976 Olympics. Boom! He and his wife were lovely and we chatted a lot about London, how it’s changed and what makes a good Shepherd’s Pie.

Virgin Wines Virgin Wines Virgin Wines Virgin Wines

All the scores are now in and I look forward to hearing the results!

(And of course, my team won.)

 

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