A slightly different social took place on the evening of November 13th; a wine tasting evening. 17 of us met at the visitor centre at
St. Austell Brewery, where Mike Voyzey had arranged a session for us. We were greeted by him and the “wine” expert Stuart Douglas. Just to get
the evening off to a friendly start there was a quiz, which involved smelling 12 different aromas from little bottles and writing the answers
down on a sheet of paper. To me most smelt the
same but they actually were all different. A bottle of wine was the prize and this was won by Charlotte Trevithick-Ryall who correctly spotted 7 of them.
We were then into the wine tasting session for real. The first wine was Champagne, which incidentally would normally sell at around £23.00.
Firstly Stuart showed us the correct way to take the cork out of the bottle, something not many of us knew. Stuart gave a short history of how Champagne
originated, invented by an English Monk. He explained why the glasses are tall flutes and explained that the better the quality, the finer
the bubbles would be. Next we were on to a Chardonnay, from Australia. This again was a fairly expensive wine. Now I’m normally a 3 bottles
for £10 man at ASDA, but I could taste the finer quality of this wine. Stuart explained how the grapes are grown and what sort of
temperature the wines should be served at. Next was another white wine, which again was very nice. There was a large spittoon for
those who wished to taste wine correctly but I, like the majority preferred to down it all and savour them all the more. Waste not want not!!
Next came a couple of red wines, a Merlot from Chile and something else which I can’t remember, maybe I should have used the spittoon after
all. We finished the tasting off with a pudding wine which was a very sweet wine, and then we tasted it again after eating some dark
chocolate, to see the difference that the chocolate made to the wine taste. Stuart explained what sort of wines should be drunk with
what sort of meals plus answering lots of questions from us all. Stuart thought that the custom of capping wines with screw caps was a
positive step as it did prevent “corking” which can be as bad as 10% over a crate. Plastic corks were anathema and a good tip for
spotting a good wine is that if sealed with a cork then the cork would be quite a long length. As he said “No body bothers wasting good
corks on cheap wine”.
The evening finished with a tour of the brewery, our guide for this was one of the staff, Natasha, who impressed us all with her depth of
knowledge about the history and the beer making methods.
It was very remiss of me but I neglected to take my camera with me, which would have given this account more depth, but at £5 per head it
was a very good, entertaining and interesting evening.