Happy New Year! Let’s have some wine.
Out with the old, in with the new, let’s all take up something exciting!
But Shed, you’ve had wine before! Shit loads of it, all the time!
Indeed. But I think it is time for drinking smarter, learning more and perhaps even consuming a tiny bit less (perhaps).
I can hold my own [spend loads] in a restaurant or wine shop. I generally know the styles and regions I’m likely to enjoy, and can communicate ably enough to get a bottle or glass of something I’ll love. I’ll get more excited about a farmy, chilly beauj than a four year old will going top bongos on a Cadbury’s selection box, but oh, how I want to learn more. I want to spot the natty, Franconian number on the list, really, really know my Fleurie from my Chiroubles, and – genuinely – I want to know exactly what people are talking about when they blether on about oxidation at length. I want to develop a greater oeno-specific lexicon, so that I may no longer fumble for the names of tried-and-liked vineyards and vintages. And I want to drink some wine. That too.
Working in the food industry is great and hard. Sometimes more hard than great, actually, but on balance it’s pretty brilliant. And although it doesn’t pay all that well for the most part, what it does provide is epicurean currency – and smashing camaraderie – with contemporaries and industry counterparts, a modern nod to bartering systems of old, except the barley is already a craft beer brewed in E9. What might be missing from your pay packet is accounted for in the exchange of staff discounts, dinners and favours – and the friendships are worth ten-fold what a few extra grand might do each year. Awwwh.
Anyway. This is basically a long-winded way of saying, you meet some properly whizz-bang people, and winemaker-grape-nerd Nayan Gowda is no exception (here’s what vino-supremo Jancis Robinson has to say about him). And as well as knowing loads about wine and grapes and stuff, and generally being a bloody excellent person, he’s also daft enough to agree to a [very] informal wine school of sorts – a monthly vertical tasting, getting to know a particular area, style or producer, under the learned guidance of someone who actually knows their shit. And I miss the old supper club lark, so we’ll be ending in a regionally appropriate, family-style dish too.
I can’t stress enough: neither Nayan or I will make any money from this. I essentially wanted personalised, affordable and enjoyable wine lessons, and when I floated the idea with Nayan we decided it would be nice to bring friends – and perhaps make new ones – along the way. We’re hoping to taste 6-8 wines and end with a simple, single hearty dish, sharing the costs of anything we have to buy amongst the group. If this sounds like your idea of fun, email email@example.com to get involved. We’ll be wangling our epicurean currency as hard as we can, so if you’re a wine importer or vintner happy to give us trade prices in return for the potential custom these [very] little events might bring, then we’d love to hear from you too – I’ll throw some steaks in if you get involved.
So there you go. My New Years Resolution is in motion – let’s have some wine. First destination: Rioja.