The SoGlos team are lovers of wine, there’s no doubt about that! But when it comes to quality, we, like many others are probably more likely to choose a bargain bottle over a costly carafe.
So, when the team at Woodchester Valley Vineyard and Winery invited us to enjoy one of their group tasting sessions on a sunny May afternoon, we weren’t sure if we had the skills needed to really appreciate the nuances of locally produced English Wine.
We needn’t have worried though. Warmly welcomed by Woodchester’s resident wine merchant, Simon Taylor, to the winery’s Woodchester-based tasting room, we took our seats to enjoy two hours of swirling and sipping that was educational, experimental, and most surprisingly, completely unpretentious.
After enjoying a welcome glass of Woodchester Valley’s multi award winning Bacchus – a 2017 white wine, we were taken on a guided tour around the vineyards and winery by our host, Simon.
Starting with some of the newly planted vines, we discovered how vines are encouraged to grow, how long it can take for fruit to yield any real quality grapes, and what an enormous undertaking it is to process all of those grapes every year.
Our group learned how different blends were fermented in both oak and stainless steel barrels, and we were privileged enough to meet the company’s winemaker Jeremy Mount, who was on hand to answer any questions about his role.
Most memorably though, were the incredible views enjoyed from atop Woodchester Valley’s prominent position in Stroud. Wraparound vistas veiled in sunshine, looked more like a scene from the gardens of a French chateaux – another reminder of how lucky we are to live in this part of the world.
Returning to our starting point, it was time for the exciting bit – the tasting! Each member of the group was given a generous glass of Pinot Rose, Rose, Culver Hill white wine, and a flute of the Blancs de Blancs sparkling English wine made from 100 per cent chardonnay.
Learning how to swirl our glasses to add oxygen, nose the wine and enjoy the rich smell and then of course tasting, we were blown away by both the quality of the wine, and the reasonable price tags.
Starting at £10.50 for a bottle with even more tasting room discounts available for those enjoying a tasting experience, this activity would make a fantastic gift for someone who loves great tasting wine, or those who’d like to learn more about their favourite tipple.
Incredibly, the experience (which left us a little squiffy!) was incredibly well priced. At just £15 per person, each guest in our group was given generous tasters, and couldn’t resist leaving with a bottle or two to share with family at home.
Welcoming, friendly and easy-going, we couldn’t fault our afternoon of wine tasting at Woodchester Valley. And with on-site accommodation also available, we might even be back to make the most of those incredible views, accompanied by a chilled glass of Rose, naturally!
Many of Woodchester Valley’s wines are actually vegan-friendly. During our tasting we learned how the vineyard changed from using a milk-based fining agent called casein to filter its wine, to a potato-based agent, instead.
This means that vegans, and those with milk intolerances or allergies can happily drink Woodchester Valley wine, safe in the knowledge that it contains no animal by-products.
By Melissa Hamblett
Friday 10 May 2019
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