Christmas, Curiously


Organic Wine Tasting

AmphoraeSATURDAY 10th December


£20 in advance only

(places must be booked two days in advance)


If you’d like to go on the reserve list for this event, please email

@The Greenhouse

42-46 Bethel Street

Norwich NR2 1NR

Facebook: Organic Wine Norwich

The UK is the world’s biggest wine importer, with imports topping 1.5 billion bottles worth. Our fledgling wine industry onlu fuels our national thirst. We want wine! Wine from the New World and wine from the Old. The shelves of our wine shops are relatively cosmopolitan, quite different from in big producing nations like France or Italy.

This would seem to offer real diversity. And yet, how many different grape varieties do we see? When new wine regions are brought to our attention, often they export major international varieties (Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet Sauvignon) from young vineyards, rather than indigenous varieties.

And how many different wine styles do we see? The vogue for whites is for dry, young, unoaked wines, light bodied and high in acidity. If we were to take away Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Prosecco from most multiple retailer shelves, how many white wines would remain?

As for reds, the “international style” is for fruit flavours from warm climates, with long hang times for grapes to achieve maximum ripeness, before being matured in new oak, with some clever winemaking (micro-oxygenation or semi carbonic maceration) to make the tannins ripen, and the wines ready to drink quicker. This constitutes an “international” style, and the key varieties are “international” (or ubiquitous?) too: Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots and Syrah/Shiraz.

There’s nothing wrong with having more of what you like – as long as you really like it. Often, the fear of being disappointed leads one to play safe in the wine shop. Though if you go to independent shops, there should be staff available to suggest alternatives (“if you liked that, then you’ll probably like this…”); you’ll be unlikely to find that knowledge in the supermarket. If you’d like to branch out, a tasting is a good place to start. Particularly a tasting of curiosities.

Christmas, curiously. The six wines have been chosen to suit a variety of meals over the holiday period, and to offer stimulation to jaded palates, with a selection of styles, grape varieties and producer nations. Mineral-rich and delicate Weißburgunder (Pinot Blanc) or bold, nutty, textured Verdicchio for the whites; then a range of reds; an English Pinot Noir, full of juicy red fruit flavours; a fresh, medium-bodied Zweigelt from Burgenland in Austria, with notes of morello cherry and fennel. Then we leave these relatively cooler climates behind for the extreme warmth of Portugal’s Douro Valley, for a very full-bodied, heart-warming winter red.

We’ll leave you on a sweeter note, as we are wont to do at our tastings. We have one of the best range of sweet wines you’ll find in Norwich. The Muscat ‘Heaven on Earth’ is another curiosity – the grapes are dried on rooibos straw before pressing, making for a sumptuous sweet wine, bursting with apricot flavours, and perfect for accompanying the dried fruit cakes and puddings of Christmas.

So a journey for the palate. And as we head to the Christmas holidays, you may wish to plot your own journey along our shelves of organic wine. All year round we offer 5% off any six bottles, and 10% off any 12. We have put together themed selections, which you can view on the front page of our website.

Lunchtime Tippling with Tom, the abbreviated version of this tasting, will be on Friday 9th December, from noon till 1pm. You can taste three of the wines on the list for £6, with lunch available in the cafe Reserve your place via email or by visiting the Greenhouse shop.

The Evening’s Wines:

  1. Weißburgunder, Stefan Sander 2014

Rheinhessen, Germany. Grape variety: Pinot Blanc. 12.5%, bottle price £11.85

  1. Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Pievalta 2015

Le Marche, Italy. Grape variety: Verdicchio. 13%, £11.95

Served with Godminster Brie

  1. Pinot Noir ‘Diamond Fields’ 2014

Kent / Sussex, England. Grape variety: Pinot Noir. 12%, £19.95

Served with red beetroot & chestnut purée

  1. Zweigelt ‘Graupert (Wild Vine)’, Meinklang 2012

Burgenland, Austria. Grape variety: Zweigelt. 13%, £19.40

Served with roasted golden & chioggia beetroot

  1. Grande Reserva, Casal dos Jordões, 2010

Douro Valley, Portugal. Grape varieties: Touriga Nacional / Touriga Franca. 16%, £17.50

Served with Biona Goats’ cheese

  1. Muscat ‘Heaven on Earth’, Stellar Organics

Western Cape, South Africa. Grape variety: Muscat d’Alexandrie. 10%, £9.95 (half bottle)

Served with apricot kernels & medjool dates

All food organic

sourced from Folland Organics, row A Norwich Market,

& the Greenhouse shop. Vegan alternatives available on request.

Bread from the Timberhill Bakery

Feedback from our recent organic sparkling wine tasting:

‘Amazing range of tastes / aromas’

‘Very good – pleasantly informative & convivial’

‘Very relaxing environment, tasty wines with a knowledgeable host’