Like all of us, I haven’t had much to look forward to on Friday nights over the last year. So I was really excited to have a reason to dress up recently, for a virtual wine tasting with The Oxford Wine Company.
It turned out no on-screen audience participation was required – phew! But regardless, dressing up like I was actually out at a wine bar for an evening did get into the spirit (😄) of things.
The tasting evening was all about German wines. Specifically, as the team of five experts enthused, Rieslings, the church to which they were keen to convert us all. Having all of us try six separate 50ml bottles of their carefully curated selection was quite the sneaky conversion technique.
We were taken very thoughtfully through the wines one at a time. Each represented something different – region, technique, sweetness or value. Within 90 minutes, we’d experienced some of the best wines Germany had to offer.
Half a bottle of delicious wines in, I’d challenge anyone to not have been converted.
Eager to begin and having not done a wine tasting before, I listened carefully to the team kicking off with the explanation of wine No. 1. First where it’s from, then, how it’s made, followed by who makes it, and what it tastes like. The Oliver Zeter Sauvignon Blanc Fumé was first up, and was described as smooth and perfectly balanced.
Yes, I thought, so interesting, but when can I dig in and find out for myself?!
‘If you’re not already tasting the wine, please do’ were the golden words I had been waiting to hear all day. Maybe it was the initial excitement of it, or the unbeatable taste of that first drink on a Friday night, but this first wine did end up being my (and most other attendees’) favourite. It was indeed smooth and balanced, nothing sharp or too dry or sweet about it – unlike the Sauvignon Blancs I am used to. I learned my first important lesson of the evening – these wine experts know what they’re talking about.
The chatbox allowed us to ask questions and put forward our own thoughts on the wines if we wished, and gauge how popular each one was with the tasters. I stayed quiet on the flavour guessing department since I’m less confident on the sophistication of my palate. I suspected it wouldn’t be on top form with my pairing the wine with Walkers Prawn Cocktail crisps (I’d skipped lunch). But I could use it to incorporate and consider the ideas of others into my own tasting.
But the best part of it was hearing the experts’ views and learning what my own taste and preferences were.
Each wine got progressively sweeter, all the way through to the last wine, Oliver Zeter Goldschatz Trockenbeerenauslese. This one inspired a miriad of dessert suggestions with which it could be paired, including brownies and vanilla ice cream – sold!
Turns out I’m a Riesling disciple, The Oxford Wine Company, my teacher. And I am very open to the concept that German wines are worth considering next time I’m in a wine aisle. I know at least six I can get started with.
If all of their wine tasting sessions are like this, take me to church.
For the virtual wine tasting, we tried…
1. Oliver Zeter Sauvignon Blanc Fumé 750ml £23.95
Great with seared scallops. It undergoes wild yeast fermentation and maturation in oak barrels.
2. Villa Wolf Pinot Gris 750ml £10.99
White peach and grapefruit freshness with richness and structure. A new wave German style with slight Burgundian touches.
3. S.A. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 750ml £25.99
Great with Sushi. Fresh minerality layered with notes of lemon, lime and peach. The blue slate soils of The Sonnenuhr vineyard help the grapes ripen.
4. Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 750ml £24.99
Great with spicy food. Honeycomb, pineapple and hints of complex tropical fruit.
5. Fürst Tradition Pinot Noir 750ml £22.99
Great with roast pork. Fruity with pure, elegant, bright dark cherry fruit.
6. Oliver Zeter Goldschatz Trockenbeerenauslese 750ml £29.95
Great with warm chocolate brownies and vanilla ice cream.
The Oxford Wine Company have sites on Little Clarendon Street, Turl Street, Botley Road and in Standlake, as well as a concession at Millets Farm; you can also order through their webshop AND they deliver. Free delivery is available on orders over £40 for all Oxfordshire postcodes and a few bordering ones. They also offer free nationwide delivery on all orders over £75.
For more tasting events – follow them on socials (see below) or check out the tasting events page on their website: oxfordwine.co.uk/tasting-events. They also offer WSET courses for connoisseurs keen to take their wine, spirits or sake knowledge to the next level
Their next virtual tasting: Focus on Italy, 7:30pm, 30th April
£25 per sample pack (we recommend one per person)
Details here: oxfordwine.co.uk/events/focus-on-italy
We attended as guests of Oxford Wine Company, all views remain our own.