This is a review of Theo's Tasty Tuesday's on 28th July at the Oxford Wine Café.
I've never been to a wine tasting before. It seemed a bit intimidating - terminology I don't understand, etiquette I don't know, spitting the wine out after tasting it - what's the point of that? But Theo's Tasty Tuesdays are not like that at all. They are fun, informal and accessible nights, each exploring a type of wine, with tasters, information and heaps of charm.
Theo Sloot, who runs the evenings, is a natural host. He is full of anecdotes about the wine world - a romantic and mysterious place, full of intrigue and risks. He showed us pictures of the suppliers as we sipped their wines, and told us how many acres their vineyards had and the ages of their vines. A vine lives for as long as a man, Theo says, and though it produces more in its early life, the fruit gets better every year. Never has been getting gently sloshed seemed so exciting.
Over the course of the evening we tried four wines, all using the Cabernet Franc grape variety. We heard about how the different conditions in the vineyards, as well as the processes used by the suppliers ("they harvest the grapes at night, you know, to keep them cool and fresh"), affects the taste and feel. We're asked our thoughts after every wine, and it was made clear that all opinions were valid - I left feeling not just that I'd learnt a lot about wine, but also that I already knew more than I thought.
At £5, this event is an absolute steal. You get four little glasses of wine and two hours entertainment for that! All the wines tasted are available to buy, but there's no hard sell. This night is clearly run out of love, and a desire to share the enthusiasm and knowledge the company has for their wines.
I don't know a lot about wine, but I know that I like it, and I like stories. This night combined the two absolutely beautifully. Wholeheartedly recommended.