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"Care to taste the wine, sir?"

"Care to taste the wine, sir?"

A Planeta/Carluccio's wine tasting

A Planeta/Carluccio's wine tasting

On the very rare occasions that I go to a posh pub or restaurant and someone else orders the wine, for some reason I am invariably asked if I’d like to taste the wine. To which I usually wait while the waiter pours a little into the glass, I sniff, swallow and generally nod my approval. If he’d poured blood, vinegar or urine into the glass instead, I probably couldn’t tell the difference.

Hell, there was one night back in my single Cardiff days, when I invited some young filly back to my flat after a drunken night out, and she asked if I had any wine in the house. I only had a bottle of white wine which had been opened a while ago, which I poured into a glass. She drank the glass, made a face, and left shortly afterwards. When I tasted the wine (waste not, want not), I was a little perturbed to find that it tasted more of vinegar than wine. Even I know that’s not the effect you want – and I hate the smell of vinegar anyway.

Plus I still have about six bottles of wine which have followed me from Cardiff to Llandudno to Manchester and London. Woe betide the next six people who invite me to a house party and tell me to “bring a bottle”. Because that’s what they’ll probably get…

So when an invite from Qype emerged for a wine tasting from the wide range of Sicillian wines by Planeta I thought I’d give it a go, and take the taste buds out for a spin. See if they could actually TASTE anything.

The location turned out to be a private room in Carluccio’s in Covent Garden, with plenty of sunlight and opportunities for passer-by gawping. The perfect place and ambience to hold a private function – or a wine tasting while an expert rattled through about twelve wines for us all to taste.

I generally seemed to prefer the lighter rose/white wines at the beginning of the evening – towards the end, all the reds seemed to merge into one another. Whether that’s because I don’t like red wines or because I was gradually getting more and more sozzled (and generally annoyed with one of my companions, who declared that the Internet should be regulated because it stopped her making money out of her specialist knowledge of London film locations) I’m not too sure. I’ve always had a suspicion that rose/white wines are more suited to my palate, but would generally not win favour with any wine fashionistas I was fortunate enough to share a table with.

Still, of all the ones that I tasted that evening – all twelve of them – I think I preferred the Cometa best of all. Which is, of course, a white wine. Given that a fortnight later, two glasses of red wine rendered me nearly incomprehensible at the pub quiz, I think I’ll stick to white wines from now on.

But a fun time was had, and the next time I have to choose a quality wine to impress someone, I’ll look for the Planeta label.

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