ALISTAIR GIBSON: Roll up for all the fun of the Emsworth wine fair

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As I always tell people when asked which wine should be drunk with a certain dish, the answer is to drink what you enjoy.

But how do you know what else you may enjoy if you always stick to the same wine?

Albourne Estate Bacchus 2015

Albourne Estate Bacchus 2015

The best way to experience new wines is without doubt to taste them, preferably with the person who made them or, at the very least, with wine merchants who represent their wine.

The Emsworth Wine Fair on Saturday, September 24, which is part of this year’s Emsworth British Food Fortnight, is just such an opportunity for the budding wine enthusiast.

It’s organised by four local independent wine merchants – Bush Vines, Portal Dingwall and Norris, VIN Wine Merchants and Hermitage Cellars – with more than 40 wines and spirits to taste, together with some local cheeses and artisan foods.

The focus is very much on award-winning English wines which will include among others Hambledon Vineyard, Chapel Down, Albourne Estate and Wickham Wines. But there will also be wines from other regions from Rioja to Stellenbosch to taste, as well as some local and regional spirits.

There will be a blind wine tasting competition to test people’s knowledge, as well as, in conjunction with Montezumas, a chocolate and wine tasting stand for tasters to discover just how many wines really do work with chocolate – and believe me there are many more than you may think.

Emsworth Delicatessen will be showing some English cheeses and Jake’s Artisan Foods will be there with their home-made pork pies, another opportunity to pair food and wine.

To whet your taste buds here are a few wines and spirits not to miss.

Hambledon Vineyards are recognised as one of England’s premier sparkling wine producers and they are just about to release their first rosé , which has caused much excitement in the wine press. Believe me this is terrific wine, worth the price of admission alone.

Albourne Estate Bacchus 2015 is one of the best still white English wines I’ve tasted this year, made on this up-and-coming West Sussex estate – an English take on sauvignon blanc but without all that passion fruit that so often gets too much with New Zealand sauvignons.

How about an English whisky from the English Whisky Co. intriguingly called Chapter 15, or Twisted Nose Gin made in small batches using Hampshire watercress in old Alresford?

The Emsworth Wine Fair promises to be great fun with great wines and local foods, and some interesting personalities. And of course it’s a great way to taste some new wines as well.

n Emsworth Wine Fair, is on Saturday, September 24,from 11am until 3pm at Hewitts, South Street.

Tickets, £2 on the door, include more than 40 wines and spirits to taste; the chocolate and wine-tasting experience with Montezumas; cheese tasting with Emsworth Deli; a taste of Jake’s pork pies, and the blind wine tasting competition.

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