If you're like me, a glass of red wine might be accompanied by a large bar of chocolate and a rom-com, though one of the 'things to try before you die' is to have fish and chips with red wine.
Years ago it used to be a thing to have cheese and wine parties. I'm too young to have been to one and it seemed to become a bit cliche, however, as i get older, and I like to think more refined in my thinking, I can see why these were so popular, I mean cheese and wine are two of my favourite things. Ever noticed how when you break that wedge of cheese off from the fridge, when you have the wine munchies, it tastes so much better? Well its not just a happy coincidence.
The Founders of Veeno, Niño and Andrea, grew up in Italy and moved to Manchester to study and work. Drinking together after a football match, they found they had something in common – a passion for quality wine and authentic food.
Italy has the culture of Aperitivo, meaning nibbling and drinking in a relaxed and informal atmosphere with friends and family. The pair felt this experience was missing in the UK and so made it their mission to create and share the tradition. Drink, snack, enjoy is Veeno’s philosopy and a good one too. It's proven that wine can bring out the flavour in not just cheese, but lots of other food too. With that in mind, Veeno are offering a wine pairing menu, and I was invited along to try it.
Our host lines up in front of us the wines we will be trying throughout the evening and then brings over a large platter of food. Smoked curd cheese, smoked ham, Speck juniper and pepper smoked ham, bruschetta, focaccia and olives.
Our first taste of the night is the House white Tasari. They call it the House white to show how good their wine selection is. It has a flavour of apricots and honey and it’s a dry wine. The grape itself is catarratto, which is the most popular grape in the whole of Sicily, with 60% of what the vineyards produce being that grape. As it’s produced so much it tends to be used in blends, so with other grapes, and also tends to be used in dessert wine. This one is paired with Foccacia bread and olive oil and balsamic. The olive oil soaking up the dryness of the wine.
We are told it’s always best to give our wine a bit of a swirl before hand to get the air and oxygen into it which releases the scent. Wine tasting is as much about the scent as it is the taste. We also learn how the skin of the grape is used to make the different types, eg rosè and red.
We try a rosè. It’s quite a dry example for a rosè and is similar to a white wine in taste but still has the extra sugar of a rosè and has a Shiraz kind of sharpness to it. It is quite a light wine with a taste of strawberries and goes well with the speck, juniper and smoked ham because the smokiness of the meat goes really well with the sugar in the wine.
Why does red wine come in a bigger glass? Not just so I can drink more it seems, it’s actually to let it breath. Red wine typically has more components to it, so more flavour and more scent. This is because of the skins and the tannins. Red wine is usually aged for longer than white wine because the components need time to marry together.
Our next wine is the smoothest. Again it is a blend of grapes with a hint of herbs and strawberries with a cinnamon after taste which makes it a very unique wine. Overall it’s very soft and sweet which makes it the perfect start to any red wine tasting. This one goes well with the Salam’s Milano; the smoked ham because the dryness of the meat works well with the sweetness of the wine.
Next is the House Red, again it’s a blend of grapes. It’s naturally dry and acidic and a full bodied red wine. This one goes really well with the smoked curd cheese. The cheese is mild but when you have it with the wine it makes it fruitier.
We finish with a dessert wine, and of course dessert, a delicious tiramisù.
We had a fabulous evening. It was a great opportunity to sample some of the venues delicious food and learn about food pairing. It really is interesting to discover how the wine brings out the flavours of the food and the two work together. It's a lovely informal setting too with our host leaving us to enjoy the wine and food and have a good old natter– which is the very essence of Veeno.
Veeno Nottingham offer three different wine tasting sessions. We enjoyed the 'Family’ Wine Tasting experience you’ll enjoy five wines paired with our authentic spuntini (appetisers) to share on a delicious sharing platter. Finally, you will taste a sweet wine with our homemade Italian tiramisù.
From £24.90 per person
The Moroder Wine Tasting is the perfect choice to sample some family produced wines by winemakers Moroder from the Marche region. You'll enjoy four wines and a glass of sparkling rosé plus some of their most exclusive and authentic spuntini (appetisers) to complement each of the wines and a homemade tiramisu to share.
From £29.90 per person.
The 'Riserva' Wine Tasting experience features some of their more premium
wines. In this truly special experience you’ll enjoy four still wines and a glass of sparkling wine. On top of this, you’ll taste some of their most exclusive and authentic spuntini (appetisers) on a delicious sharing platter which complements each of the wines. Finally, you will taste a sweet wine with their homemade Italian tiramisù.
From £34.90 per person.