As many of you know, I’m a huge lover of wine. Coming from Australia, I have grown up learning how to appreciate wine, and I have to admit, I like to think of myself as a bit of an amateur wine connoisseur.
I love tasting wine (who doesn’t?), and I have a real passion for simply learning more about wine – where it comes from, the different notes, the various tastes. I’d love to do a wine tasting course one day, and it’s my dream to go on a wine tour around Italy/France/Spain – how amazing would that be?!
That’s why I was thrilled to be invited to Wine Tasting in the Dark with Laithwaites at the Vintage Festival in London. I’ve been wine tasting several times at various wineries in both Australia and Italy (I’ve been having winery withdrawals since living in the UK!), but I’ve never tried wine tasting in the dark before, so I had no idea what to expect.
I’m so excited to tell you, it was such a fun experience and a complete sensorial challenge! We sat around a table in a pitch-black room, and the presenters (wearing infra-red night vision goggles) popped wine glasses in our hands, and we were then ready to taste away.
For the first tasting we had to work out the difference between red and white wine – first by smelling, and then by tasting. For me, as a seasoned wine lover, it was easy to tell the difference between the two. However, I still found it so interesting that red and white smell so different, and despite the grapes originating from the same pinot family (the wines were pinot grigio and pinot noir), it’s amazing how dissimilar they taste.
The second challenge involved drinking one glass of wine while listening to two completely different music tracks. Bet you wouldn’t think the type of music you listen to changes the taste of your wine. Well incredibly it does! The happy music made the wine taste delicious, and the hard (not too easy to listen to) music made the SAME wine taste awful. Honestly, we were all thinking what on EARTH?!
The third challenge was all about touch. We had to drink one glass of wine while touching a piece of velvet, and then drink the same glass of wine while touching sandpaper. You’re probably thinking – simply touching a certain material can’t change the taste of your wine. Amazingly, it actually does! The wine tasted absolutely delicious when we were feeling the velvet, and completely turned a 360 when felt the sandpaper – it was horrible.
Our brains are wonderful, crazy things, that’s for sure! It was such an eye-opening experiment. Laithwaites mentioned the experience would change the way we drink and the way we approach wine, and for me, it totally has. I’m planning to be so much more aware of my surroundings and environment when I drink wine now. No more wine in front of the TV.. and more drinking while listening to smooth jazz.
After the Taste in the Dark experience, we spent a few hours wondering around the Vintage Festival, where we tasted wine from all over the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Spain, South Africa, the list goes on. Never have I been to such a wonderful event filled with hundreds of wines to taste, and so many growers and fellow wine lovers to talk to. Everyone I chatted to was so lovely and so incredibly knowledgeable about wine.
Can you name any other event where you’re encouraged to taste hundreds of wines in one location?! I know I’ve never heard of anything of the kind before, so to say I was impressed is an understatement. The festival is a definite must-go for anyone who wants to learn more about wine, taste all types of wine, and even to stock up your cellar.
Wine lovers…the Vintage Festival is for you, and I’ll see you there next year! In the meantime, I’ll be heading to Laithwaites, to purchase some delicious wine for the summer… hmmm rosé, pinot grigio or sparkling?! Decisions, decisions!
E’s key take outs
1. Watch out what kind of music you pop on for your dinner party… You could buy the finest / most expensive wine, it could potentially not taste great simply because of the music you’re playing.
2. When buying a cheaper wine for your dinner party – have a table cloth that’s made of a soft material. Your guests will be tricked into thinking you’re serving very fine wine, just because the table cloth is soft (let’s hope they actually touch it!).
Editor’s note: This was a sponsored post in collaboration with Laithwaites, however all opinions, words and creative direction are my own.
The event photography was done by both Ben Kapur Photography and The Emasphere.
Want more wine? Read our wine series!