An Exelent wine tasting night

I was again invited by the good folks at Exel Wines, to a tasting night, this time, no whiskies but grand wines, I had no hesitation in accepting. The usual suspects arrived and the glamour girls (staff) Denise and Keron were on hand as our hosts.  I do enjoy a wine and the evening looked good as it started – spotted wee snacks and lots of bottles, this would be good. My taste buds were tingling.

The first drink was an English wine; Gusbourne 2014, this was a white sparkly job, not unlike champagne. Definitely not a prosecco, it was interesting, easy drinking – my thoughts drifted to a sunny day, outdoors with some cheeses, strawberries – and this bottle, chilled.  Aye, a grand start. The next one along was from Austria, now I don’t think I have had too many from this country, in fact, havnee had one. This was Macherndl 2017, now I’m no a big fan of white wines, and I found this boring. Apparently 60% or so of Austrian wines are white, this one I found citrus, sweet, not to my taste. Followed by another white Garzon 2016, Uruguay @14.5%, I could actually drink this! Keron was doing all the talking on these white wines, how does she know so much about them?  I asked her in the break did they flip a coin for who spoke about white and red, aye they did but then again, Denise knows her reds.

A wee break, lovely food came around so we indulged, there were 12 or so people at the tasting, a nice easy number, good conversation.  AND NOW THE REDS – what I had been waiting for. A Spanish bottle  first; Navajas Crianza 2015 Rioja.  Now we’re talking, it’s all about age in cask and bottle, a nice fruity job, best so far. All grapes are hand picked for this wine, nae machines, I could drink this all night. At under £11 a bottle, phew. Next came an Italian, Ziggurat Montefalco Rosso 2016. This had a nose like the Duke of Wellington, my first though upon a taste; est est est. This was even better than the previous red, at £13.55, you get what you pay for, in this bottle, greatness! You dinnae glug this down, you savour every mouthful. The final drink of the evening; all the way from South Africa, Ken Forrester Gypsy 2014. The most expensive  but certainly a grand wine. This Gypsy Ganache was a real red wine, forget your Tesco cheap stuff, this is REAL. I said to Denise, it’s witchcraft in a bottle, well – it is a gypsy, I have relatives who are travellers, wonder if they drink this down in Wales? Denise also knows her stuff, she was very animated tonight!

My favourite of the night, surprise surprise was number 5 the Italian. Why do Italians give such long names to wine? I was asking my usual dumb questions; do you think a cork is better than a twist cap? Doesnee really matter, both have plus and negatives, the only thing we agreed on, plastic corks are nae use. Here’s something I learned tonight, wine in a screw top/cap CAN be corked! So at the end, it was a good night, a change from drams, the whites were ok, the reds were for me, liked em all. Ended up buying 3 x Spanish and 3 x Italian. Something you do not see regularly – the girls had opened the reds earlier in the day to let them breath, decanted into jugs, this sure helped. My advice, living anywhere near Perth, or on a tour with MCLEANSCOTLAND and in town, go to Exel for excellent drinkipoo’s, they know lots about everything, wine, whisky and gin etc etc. My wee case of 6 is resting at home, just waiting for the right occasion to open them – I think young Liz will be sharing a few.    PAUL MCLEAN, Perth, Scotland