Himself, Chic Girl, The Wizz Kid and I went to an Averys wine tasting at Bristol Grammar school on Saturday evening. Oooh how innocent that sounds! I didn't know what to expect...
Firstly we went through two, thick, oak, double height doors, we were following everyone else up a sweeping staircase, which then opened into a big hall. There we saw huge oak beams with lots of carvings, wooden dark oak panelling and built in seating half way up the walls with lots of heraldic shields above the panelling. It was as if we had stepped straight into a Harry Potter film! (Oh how I wish I had taken my camera.) Before us were tables laden with polished, empty, wine glasses. We were invited to take a glass each, enjoy ourselves and sample the wines. We were then given a small goody bag with pen and notes. I must admit my bag got discarded pretty quickly.
Around the room were at least twenty five long tables, each with a snowy white tablecloth, a jug of water, a plate of water biscuits and anything from six to ten bottles of wine on each from all the different wine regions. An eager member of staff stood behind each table, keen both to pour us a glass and talk about their wines. Readers, we (and quite a few other people) went for it! It was busy and buzzing, but never overcrowded. We also noticed big black bins by each table with sawdust in the base, where people could rinse out their glasses and dotted around the rooms were a few waist high stainless steel 'spittoons', although we observed most people swallowed!
We spotted a cheese counter in one corner offering tastings of some delicious locally made cheeses and promptly bought some both to eat now and some to take home. My own favourites were a creamy goats cheese and a Caerphilly that was a revelation - The stuff from Sainsburys will just not taste the same anymore.
Himself and Chic Girl then paired up and went off with purpose, notes in hand and were clearly 'going to do this properly'. The Whizz Kid and I were, erm, not. I spotted the champagne tables almost immediately, but though I might peak too soon if I started the evening with a glass of Bollinger, so with huge (and almost unheard of) restraint and a small sigh, I turned away and we went over to one of the other tables. We asked for something white and 'fruity' to start. Mmmmm, it was lovely. So just in case it was a flash in the pan, I had another glass. Mmmmm - yes, still lovely. But with so many more to try, we had to move on. Turns out the Whizz Kid and I liked the same wines throughout the evening.
We met up with the other two every now and again and discussed our findings. After a while the Whizz Kid suggested the champagne tables might need our presence, so it would be rude to ignore them wouldn't it? We admitted to each other that we were feeling more than a little squiffy, but a drop or three of champagne would buck us up. It would have done too, had we stopped at one glass, but as we liked the white, we were encouraged to try a rose champagne - mmm that was very nice too, "well in that case try these" and so on, well, it would have been churlish to refuse wouldn't it? Mmmm, also all very nice. The Whizz Kid then spotted a bottle of white liquid with a very intricate and pretty design etched on to the glass and pointed it out to me, where upon I quoted "I've been told one should never buy a wine because it had a pretty label" a beaming chap in a white pinny agreed with me and said "it was a good maxim, but this was a premium vodka, so it didn't count - and would we like to try some?" Now it'll come as no shock to anyone who knows either of us, but we do like to try different things, so we said "yes please". I normally couldn't drink neat Smirnoff, thinking it akin to swallowing petrol (although vodka with a taming, tonic water, is lovely) but this vodka was delicious, goodness knows what it was called, but I could happily drink more. I didn't, because we were then offered a glass of Cognac, the Whizz Kid said "it was very, very smooth and slipped down a treat". I didn't dare touch it, because I knew I was at the point of slipping down a treat myself and figured I might not get invited out again if I collapsed in a heap on the floor. After a reviving glass of water, we moved on.
Himself and Chic Girl had discovered a table with Beaujolais and a very knowledgable and chatty wine pourer who was very gently flirting with Chic Girl, although once she made it known that the Whizz Kid was her beau, the wine pourer all but stopped the flirting, but carried on chatting. Sadly the wine evening eventually came to an end and after placing an order for some of our favourite wine*, we collected our coats and headed off into the rain in search of some food - which we found in the shape of a lovely South Indian (I know, I know. What a cliche, but at least it wasn't a kebab from a van, eh?) restaurant called Krishna's Inn . The food was very different to the usual fayre. Lots of fish and vegetables, much 'lighter' sauces and very sparse with the oil and ghee. I especially loved the dosas we had as a starter, mmmm, feeling peckish just thinking about them:-) It was a really delicious meal and I was surprised at just how hungry I was, although after eating a such good supper, even my 'pudding' tummy was so full up, that I couldn't manage a kulfi or even a cup of chai. We will have to go back there and eat again.
I slept like a baby that night and no hangover on Sunday morning either, so that's a Brucie bonus:-)
* No, no - despite what you are thinking, I promise I wasn't so pickled that I couldn't decide which wine I liked best.
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