Recently a few friends and I found some vouchers for a £5/pp wine tasting at your home. Excited at the prospect of guided boozing without even leaving the house, we coughed up the money between us and awaited our visit.
So, cue entrance of Mr Wine (as we will call him), complete with 12 bottles to taste. What ensued was a delightful journey through the making of some of the finer wines we had previously not taken much notice of, as well as some rather enlightening tales of what additives might be in that £5 bottle you usually quaff down with your Bolognese. Milk, for one, had me surprised.
Not bad for £5 each, right? However, to offer my overarching thoughts on the process, while the knowledge boost was excellent, Mr Wine was less than impressive overall, firstly because he morphed into a real snotty bastard after we didn’t immediately buy case after case of wine from him. More importantly, however, was the fact he spent the whole time with his fly open, and none of us could pluck up the courage to inform him that he was taking the ‘make yourself comfortable’ notion a little far. Just like the sun, it was hard to not look straight at, and had similar potential for eye damage.
After that experience, I was left feeling like I wanted to learn more about wine, but preferably without the visible genitals of an angry person. Thus I was incredibly pleased when My Vitibox came a knockin’ – a try it-yourself wine delivery that packs a great deal of information in to boot.
My delivery arrived impeccably packaged, with a light wooden box containing one white, one red, an information pack and some smelling bottles. The information is shared between general wine tasting skills, and specifics to the wine you are sampling, including some recipes to try that should match the wines perfectly (alas, I didn’t try).
‘Put your nose into the glass at least four times after having shaked it carefully and you will easily identify the different aromas that compose this cuvee,’ my wine booklet reads, as I try to match the jasmine, Muscat, rose petal, lychee and apricot flavours bottled in the fantastic Côté Floral blanc 2013 (Domaine Lafage, Languedoc Roussillon).
With your accompanying aroma bottles, you can have a festival du conk if you get your nose stuck in, and my better half and I enjoyed trying to guess the aromas before we then checked the booklet. Yes, we are rock ‘n’ roll.
The red Piloums 2011 (Domaine du Mas Blanc, Collioure) was also a cracker, and another festival of both taste and information, with notes on when to drink (or how long to store), as well as serving temperatures, food pairings, palette profile, terroir and a little opinion piece from Alain, your resident cartoon sommelier. I love Alain.
Throw in some ‘Myths to debunk’, a general wine tip and some quiz-like questions and facts, and for me there is little to criticise with My Vitibox. I would like to see how the tasting notes, facts etc. change with each different package, but if we assume they do so in an appropriate manner, if you want to learn a little more about wine, have some fun tasting them, and enjoy some really good wine to boot, this is a no-brainer. At around £26 for a monthly box, I think it’s good value for what you get.
… And you won’t have to endure the harrowing fleshy imagery that I did.
Tel: 0203 287 3077