Last night, a friend and I were treated to a wine tasting event at Didsbury Lounge, a relatively new and already popular bar and restaurant on Barlow Moor Road in Didsbury.
The evening was dedicated to sampling a selection of wines – some existing favourites and some potential new gems – alongside a few tasters from their food menu.
I’ve been to Didsbury Lounge a few times for drinks and am always impressed with the warm, quietly ambient atmosphere – and the fact that I can usually sit down at a table (I’m too old to stand up, let’s face it).
Our expert of the evening was Noel Reid of Robinson’s Brewery based in Stockport, which holds a selection of two hundred wines from around the world, from small, independent suppliers.As the evening progressed, I realised that not only does this guy know his way around a bottle of wine, but he is incredibly passionate about it. As he spoke, it was like the wines were some of his best friends. It’s rare to see such passion in someone who really enjoys their vocation.
So there we were, tasting notes and pen at the ready. Here’s how we got on.
Our tasting notes were organised by appearance, nose, palate and score (which we did out of ten).
Noel explained that we were tasting a selection of wines already on the menu, and also those which are potentially new for the Christmas market and going forward.
We were helping to assess which wines work, which don’t, and which of the higher price bracket wines could potentially be sold by the glass, to give customers a chance to try a higher quality wine without paying for the entire bottle.
I like the latter idea. Of an evening, I would generally buy a bottle, but I would like the chance to sample a high end wine with lunch, for example.
I would post a photo here of our wine tasting notes. However, as the evening progressed, for some reason which I can’t fathom the notes became increasingly messy, hard to read, and wine-splattered (!).
So I have summarised my friend and I’s thoughts below. I add a disclaimer here that we are not experts – we just simply wrote what we thought.
- FREDERICO PINOT GRIGIO COLLEZIONE – Pinot Grigio used to be my usual choice, yet recently I seem to be more partial to Sauvignon Blanc. This wine was very light in appearance, had lots of apple and citrus on the nose and had a tart aftertaste which would probably be better with food – especially fish or shellfish. We gave this a 6.
- FINCA LOS ALIJARES VIOGNIER – We totally loved this wine which is currently being considered for the wine list. I hope it gets on there – we gave it a 9 for its soft, peachy, orangey taste. I think this would retail at about £20 in the restaurant – I would pay that.
- VERDICCHIO DEI CASTELLO DI JESI MANCIANO BONCI – Another new wine, this was quite strong and viscous in appearance. We could taste pepper and lemon. We gave it a 6 (harsh markers!).
- SANCERRE BLANC SERGE LALOUE – Our favourite of the whites. We could have happily drunk this wine all evening. We wrote a whole range of notes for this, including spicy, gooseberry, flowery and asparagus. It was really pleasant and easy to drink – its pricier at £30 but if it was offered by the glass I’d definitely buy it! We gave it a 9 but on reflection 10 all the way!
- DURIUS RESERVE SYRAH 07 – This was the reds winner. Another 9. This is £24.50 on the menu – warm, spicy and very Christmassy! One of us wrote the word “beautiful!” in huge letters (obviously quite merry already by this point).
- ROLLING CABERNET SAUVIGNON MERLOT – A new contender for the wine list, we gave this a 7. It was very tannic and dry on the palate which would be great with some foods. It depends what you’re in the mood for at the time. We wrote that it had spice, dark fruits, cinnamon and orange on the nose.
- TIASTA MALBEC RESERVE – This Argentinian Malbec is currently on the menu at £21.95 per bottle . We scored this 8 out of 10 – it was quite bitter, but in a pleasant way? Very earthy with lots of dark fruit.
- CASARENA SINGLE VINEYARD PERDRIEL MALBEC- This is a new Malbec which was very viscous. I wrote ‘nutmeg’ and ‘quite acidic’ so we obviously preferred the previous Malbec. We gave this a 6 – the lowest we scored anything that evening.
- MONTELVINI ASOLO PROSECCO MILLESIMATO EX DRY – The start of the evening! As you can see from the photo above, Noel and Jenna posed with this great bottle earlier in the evening and we couldn’t wait to try it. It was so soft, easy to drink and really warm and fruity at the same time. I hope this makes its way onto the menu as I’d visit the Lounge again just to taste more of this!
To aid us on our wine tasting journey, we were presented with a platter of their food from the ‘Grazing’ menu. We tasted sticky rice balls, salmon mousse, falafel,aubergine dip, hummus and a bread basket.
All the food was lovely – the favourite most definitely being the sticky rice balls. I always like to have the option to buy grazers or nibbles when I’m having a few drinks with friends – it’s a good alternative to a full meal when you’re not massively hungry (and just want to get on with a few drinks and some serious gossip, let’s face it).
We had such a great evening that we didn’t want to leave and ended it by ordering more food…
and enjoying more wine!
Disclaimer: I was invited to a complimentary wine tasting by Didsbury Lounge and wrote this review in return. We had an excellent evening, I’ve visited of my own accord previously and I’m sure I shall return again very soon!