Vine has been around the Cowley Road for a couple of years now, serving up some lovely wines by the glass and very good vegetarian (and non vegetarian) brunches. While I’d been in for a glass of wine now and again, I’d never tried one of their wine tastings before. I’d been to other tastings in Oxford and enjoyed them, but felt that they were a little stuffy, taking themselves very seriously and leaving me feeling a bit stupid. Vine provided something much fresher, more inclusive and closer to my taste.
We were offered seven wines throughout the evening, along with paired canapé nibbles, and talked through the selection by expert Emily Bonsor. Through the evening we were treated to some really delicious wines, some lovely canapés, and an array of trivia related to what we were drinking. Did you know that global warming is making English wines better? Or that champagne is made up of half chardonnay grapes?
Emily’s presentation was delightful, and the whole event felt very relaxed and friendly. Vine is a lovely venue, small enough to chat to people at fellow tables but big enough to not feel too crammed in. The break in the middle of the tasting also helped a lot with the atmosphere – I haven’t seen that done before but it’s a welcome gap in an otherwise quite intense sipping-and-concentrating evening. It also means you actually get to talk to whoever you came to the tasting with, which is a nice consideration for a Valentines themed event.
The wines offered were a well-balanced bunch in terms of style and budget. There were a couple that really stood out for me – the Birichino Petulant Natural Malvasia Bianco, a rustic sparking wine from Monteray which was rich and fruity, almost like cider. My friend referred to is as a “breakfast wine” as it almost tastes like it’s already been mixed into a Buck’s Fizz. I was also very taken with the Caviccholi & Figli Pignoletto, which was an affordable Prosecco alternative, but dryer and less acidic.
After the break, we went into the higher budget end of the tasting – including the real champagnes. My favourite of these was the Ridgeview Blanc de Blancs, a light and luxurious English wine and, I thought, the best of the evening against some very stiff competition.
Overall this was a really lovely evening, and definitely my favourite of the wine tastings I’ve been to in Oxford. I was particularly impressed by the friendliness and unpretentiousness of the evening, as well as the breadth of wines tasted and Emily’s performance. A very well put together evening, I’d recommend checking out whatever they do next!
Vine’s next tasting will be a fun informal tutored tasting looking into why certain wines have evolved and others declined. After an arrival drink, there will be six different wines to taste, while discussing their history, grape and region. A limited number of tickets are available for £25 each including canapes. Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2050737658355443/
Make sure you follow them on Facebook for more events.