Veeno shows us there’s a whole lot more to drinking wine than knocking it back
The world of wine can be a little intimidating with experts confidently waxing lyrically about ‘grassy noses’, ‘aromas of petrol and lychee’ and ‘long finishes’. All that continuous swirling, sniffing and, perish the thought, spitting, can have people heading for the safety of the nearest supermarket wine aisle instead.
But wine tasting, like anything, isn’t as tricky or formal as it might first seem – especially when you’re in the company of people who are happy to guide you through vintages, grape varieties and tasting notes at your own pace. First you need to find a friendly environment, where you feel comfortable, such as Veeno.
Taste 'at your leisure, for your pleasure'
Veeno specialise in Italian wines produced from their own family run vineyards - which is why they know so much about it. They have now opened eighteen casual Italian Wine Cafes across the UK, where they offer a range of personalised tutored tasting for groups of any size from two to, well, however many they can fit comfortably
They offer an opportunity to taste a range of their award winning wines ‘at your leisure, for your pleasure’ in an informative and informal tasting. Your ‘barista’ will take care of you; offering a brief history of their winery and talking through the various labels you are going to try. Then, at your own pace, they’ll bring you a 70ml glass of each wine, before leaving you to enjoy the experience – just give them the nod when you’re ready to move on to the next glass of wine.
What’s wine without food to match? So every Veeno wine-tasting session comes accompanied with a matching sharing platter of ‘spuntini’, or authentic Italian style nibbles (Italian tapas) designed to compliment each of the six wines you’ll taste. They recommend that a Veeno Wine Tasting experience can take anywhere between 90 – 120 minutes, depending on the size of your group, but it really is up to you (they refer to not watching the clock as ‘Sicilian time’).
Veeno offer three levels of wine tasting experience:
As part of the ‘Classic’ Wine Tasting experience (from £19.90 per person) you’ll enjoy a selection of two white wines and three red wines from their Sicilian vineyard paired with matching appetisers. To finish, they will bring over a glass of the famous Sicilian sweet wine, Marsala, and some of their homemade Italian tiramisù.
The ‘Blind’ Wine Tasting (from £28.90 per person - minimum of 6 people) is more of an interactive experience, designed more for people who have more than a basic knowledge. There’s an element of competition to this one, as your party will be divided into two and you’ll score points for your team by correctly identifying each of the 6 wines. First your Barista will explain which wines you’ll taste and you’ll learn about some of the key characteristics of the wines, which should help you later on. A platter of spuntini appetisers will accompany each wine you’ll taste.
Veeno’s ‘Selezione’ Wine Tasting (from £26.90 per person) experience features some of their more premium wines including two whites, a rosé and two red wines with a selection of exclusive spuntini to complement each of the wines, rounded off with a glass of sweet wine and homemade Italian tiramisù.
Understanding wine can be an enjoyable process, but complicated. A visit to Veeno can offer a slightly deeper understanding on what to look for in a wine, some grape varieties and a brief introduction to the wine making process. What’s more, as Veeno is also a wine shop, you’re welcome to purchase a wine to take away and do your ‘homework.’
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