Screw Brexit: I like European wine

If you have been keeping pace with the blog recently, you’ll see I’ve already got a lot of mileage out of the Birmingham Foodie Festival. As well as extolling the virtues of a nice Spam fajita and reflecting on one of the best beer tasting sessions I’ve experienced for a while, we’ve also been introduced to Joie De Vin and taken an indepth look at New Zealand wine. I think it’s time we wrapped this one up and looking at the notes I have left over it seems like a great time to say whatever is happening with our place in Europe, my love affair with European wine will continue. And I will continue to include English wine in that definition, because whatever happens politically we are pretty firmly rooted in Europe when it comes to geography – hooray!

First up, we met Tasca Dali – importers of fine Spanish produce, and top Warwick restaurateurs – and got to sample their specially selected La Malkerida 2014. This 100% Bobal wine from Valencia is produced biodynamically and best served slightly chilled. It is unoaked so the fruit is able to really sing out – the black fruit flavours are fresh and full of sunshine, but the wine is beautifully balanced so that it is smooth and rounded in the mouth and gives a delicate hit of spice on the finish. At under £11 a bottle I think this represents brilliant value for a wine that ranks as a solid 7.5 out of 10 for me (I can never commit to that points out of 10 system).

Continuing our tour of Europe, it would be wrong of me not to mention the Chapel Down Reserve we were given in the VIP tent. Expressively bubbly, this straw coloured wine showed some biscuity notes, was beautifully dry and all in represented lovely, easy drinking bubbles which were absolutely perfect on a hot summer’s day. An easy 7 out of 10.

Finally, our tour takes us to the big bundle of fun that was the Wines of Germany stall. They became my favourite people in the world by giving me a pair of green plastic sunglasses and a temporary tattoo. Yep, that’s all it takes. 

They also had a great range of wines that they were very happy to take us through. This was the point of the day where I was feeling anti-tasting notes, and just wanted to enjoy the experience so I’ll run you through some of my highlights. Conveniently, they provided a little crib sheet which told you where you can buy the wines and now I can pass that information on to you!

Yes, I know I’m holding a beer in this shot.

Devil’s Rock Riesling 2015 – £5.99 at the Co-op and Peter & Peter Riesling 2015, £7.99 at Booths were my favourite Rieslings on offer. Less impressed with the Kendermanns to be honest, which was a bit pricier! 

In the red section we enjoyed the Palatia Pinot Noir 2014 which is £10.50 at M&S, while the Hans Lang Rheingau Barrique Pinot Noir 2012 got a ‘big tick’ (and I quote) from both myself and The Boy. Typically this was practically the most expensive wine on the list. But at £15.99 from Virgin Wines it’s certainly not unobtainably priced. Worth every penny I would say.


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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