What better way to escape a wet and wintry October night than inside the Royal Cambridge Hotel sipping on good wine, in cheerful company. On Tuesday, my Mum and I did exactly that when we attended the Cambridgeshire Wine School‘s “World of Wine; Chile & Argentina” evening. While, before Tuesday, I only knew the word ‘legs’ to refer to a limb and “vintage” to describe antique clothing, my Mum has a keen interest in wine and has several spent summers exploring wine regions abroad. (N.B. Legs in reference to wine is an indication of alcohol content and a vintage describes wine made in a particular year.)
There were couples, colleagues and neighbours who had come together for the evening and, as we were chattering, laughing discussing the wines, the room resembled a good dinner party, full of old friends. We sniffed, swilled and swallowed six different wines, as former journalist Mark Anstead transported us to Chile and Argentina with vivid descriptions of distant vineyards and breathtaking images of their wine-making regions.
I was listening intently to Mark’s instructions on how to observe, smell and taste the wine (he has a great analogy which compares the body of the wine to skimmed, semi-skimmed or full-fat milk) while my Mum was totally absorbed by the different grape varieties and Mark’s impeccable geographical knowledge. We are living proof that the evening promises to be enjoyable and informative whether you are a wine tasting novice or a wine connoisseur. As well as evening tasters like this one, the school run eight week courses and you can find out more about the different courses here.
Inspired to take an interest in the wine I drink, I set myself a challenge to cook a dinner and serve it with one that would compliment the flavours of the food. My Mum’s favourite wine of the evening was a Chilean red wine called Carménère so, applying my newly acquired knowledge thanks to the Cambridgeshire Wine School, I cooked a spicy beef chilli, serving it with a glass of Carménère. They did, indeed, work amazingly well together as a warming winter supper.
My favourite wine of the evening was a white “Torrontes” from Argentina. That is next week’s challenge…