For an evening of exquisite wine, education and excitement, head to the Victorian railway arches of Vinopolis.
Perfect for taking friends, a date, or a more refined hen or stag-do, the wine tasting ‘experience’ stimulates mind, body and Sauvignon-seeking soul.
It kicks off with a ‘how to taste wine’ session, where the visitor is equipped with a glass and guided through the three stages of looking, ‘nosing’, and tasting your tipple.
Knowledgeable and friendly staff teach you about the science behind features including a wine’s opacity, body, grape varieties and aging processes.
I was taught how to glean the grape’s more mysterious, hidden flavours by sucking in a most unladylike, but oh-so-satisfying, way across the liquid.
As well as how to unlock a veritable vine-induced poetry in describing that magical moment, be it with notes of ‘honeysuckle’, ‘acacia’, ‘violet’ or ‘stone fruits’.
My tongue and senses came alive and I found myself thirsty to learn more.
After the briefing, you are let loose – armed with your glass – into Vinopolis’ eight tasting zones packed with more than 100 wines, spirits and Champagne.
There are interactive screens where you can discover your own taste profile – did you know a Marmite lover might prefer a different wine to a Marmite hater?
But the main attraction is the tasting machines ordered into themes such as ‘ones to watch’ as well as countries, climates, and complementing grape varieties.
You are equipped with tokens, adding to the sense of entertainment of the visit, and must choose carefully where to dispense your wine currency to maximise your experience.
We had attempted to plan our wine odyssey before we started, but were tempted by new discoveries, as well as finding ourselves lingering in the classy champagne bar, where I particularly enjoyed the Pinot Noir-dominated blend of Champagne Canard-Duchêne Authentic Vintage Brut 2005.
Picture by Jonas Abbott
Two of my favourite wine samples were the Picpoul de Pinet, produced by Domaine de Roquemoliere, vintage 2012, with aromas of warm spiced apple pie and almonds; as well as the more floral Colome Torrontes, produced by Hess Family Latin, 2013.
There are different packages to choose from – suitable for the novice to expert – and regular nights pairing wine with comedy, or live music, as well as masterclasses.
For more information visit vinopolis.co.uk