What are they talking about?


What are they talking about?

A Comparative Organic Wine Tasting

Friday 7th July


£22 in advance only

(early booking advised)


Facebook: Organic Wine Norwich

We are becoming a nation of wine drinkers. More of us are drinking wine, more often. And yet, there’s a curious duality, where people feel excluded even as they partake. “I don’t really know much about it,” people mumble embarrassedly, or “I like it, but I don’t know if it’s good’. People feel bashful of their tastes in front of someone who ‘knows their wines’, and feel intimidated by those who know a few technical winemaking terms.

But fear not – a little knowledge goes a long way. Our next wine tasting is a comparative one. You can learn the impact three core winemaking decisions have on a finished wine – and you can see, smell and taste the difference in the glass in front of you. This exercise will enable you to stand up to wine bores, and allow you to make more assertive and proactive choices when you buy a wine – rather than grabbing whatever is being aggressively marketed.

Why does Champagne and English sparkling wine cost so much more than Prosecco? The answer is fairly simple – it’s a lot quicker, and cheaper, to produce. Come and discover the difference between tank and bottle fermented sparkling wines. Both are wonderful beverages – but they are quite distinct.

Nothing is more likely to panic the casual drinker than the term ‘malo-lactic fermentation’. This somewhat imprecise technical term (it isn’t a fermentation) is worth learning – and worth tasting. It is part of the difference between zesty, aromatic and high acid wines (most Sauvignon Blanc), and rich, full-bodied and aged Chardonnay. Unusually, we have two Verdejos from the same Spanish winery, one that has gone through MLF and one that hasn’t – with the two in glasses in front of you, you can appreciate the difference.

The final couple is two Soaves, alike in dignity, but different in style, to highlight the difference oak barrel ageing makes to a wine. A lot of people say they don’t like oaked wines, but that’s often a response to the cut price oaking regimes of the 80s and 90s, when tea bags or oak chips were used to give wines a sweet oaky edge of vanilla and coconut, often overwhelming the otherwise lacklustre nature of the fruit.

A consumer backlash against oaked wines was the inevitable response to this cut-priced technique, and more judicious and sympathetic use of oak has resulted. The Soave we will taste is aged in the kind of small oak barrique (see the front cover) made famous by winemakers in Burgundy, and only occasionally employed in white wines from Italy’s Veneto region, by more ambitious producers. Most white wines we see imported from Italy are made in a crisp, fruity style, intended for quick consumption; our first Soave falls into that category, whilst our second is a style rarely seen on these shores: a rich and full-bodied affair, with cellaring potential of up to 10 years.

If you’re a novice, our evenings offer a chance to learn the basics of wine tasting whilst enjoying yourself, in a sociable and informal atmosphere. If you’re an experienced taster, this one will offer you a few vinous rarities to enjoy.

We will also run an abbreviated version of this tasting at lunchtime, between noon and 1pm on the same day. This session of Lunchtime Tippling with Tom will feature four wines for £8, allowing you to taste the two Verdejos and two Soaves side by side. With lunch available to buy in the cafe afterwards, these sessions are ideal for those who struggle for affordable transport home in the evenings. They are intimate and dialogic affairs, and allow you to taste wine when your palate is cleaner. Reserve your place in the shop or by email.

The Evening’s Wines:

Prosecco Extra Dry, Era NV

Veneto, Italy. 11% abv. Shop price: £11.95

Quality Sparkling Wine, ‘Limney Estate’, Davenport 2011 Sussex, England. 12%. £28.50

Served with buttered popcorn & roasted cashew nuts

Verdejo, Menade 2016

Rueda, Spain. 13%. £12.95

Verdejo Natural ‘Nosso’, Menade 2015

Rueda, Spain. 12.5%. £15.95

Served with tomato, caper, parsley & mozzarella salad

Soave ‘Borgoletto’, Fasoli Gino 2015

Veneto, Italy. 12.5%. £10.95

Soave, Pieve Vecchia, Fasoli Gino 2013

Veneto, Italy. 14.5%. £18.50

Served with seasonal pesto

All food organic

Sourced from Folland Organics, row A Norwich Market, & the Greenhouse shop. Bread from Timberhill Bakery.

Menu may vary depending on seasonal availability. Vegan alternatives available on request. PLEASE advise when booking.

Feedback from recent organic wine tastings:

‘Wonderful blend of knowledge & fun’

‘Casual, informative, enjoyable’

‘A fabulous evening – look forward to the next one!’