ALISTAIR GIBSON: Treat your palate with the best local wines and spirits

Are you stuck in a wine rut, choosing the same bottle or at least the same grape variety every time?

Thursday, 21st September 2017, 8:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st September 2017, 8:22 pm
Twisted Nose Winchester Dry Gin

There is absolutely no doubt the best way to experience new wines is 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 30 is a great opportunity to do just that.

Part of Emsworth British Food Fortnight, which starts today, the Emsworth Wine Fair is 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.

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As you can imagine, during British Food Fortnight the focus is very much on award-winning English wines.

Making an appearance will be Hambledon Vineyard, Sixteen Ridges, Albourne Estate and Ridgeview.

But there will also be wines from other regions to taste – from Uruguay (yes they make wine as well) to Australia, as well as some local and regional UK spirits.

Fancy yourself as a bit of wine expert? Or just wish to test your palate?

There is going to be a blind wine tasting competition to test your knowledge.

You never know, you may even win a prize.

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

Hambledon Vineyard is recognised as one of England’s premier sparkling wine producers and their first Sparkling Rose has won numerous awards since its release, including trophy winner at the prestigious International Wine Challenge.

Believe me, this is terrific wine, worth the price of admission alone.

A lot has been written about the quality of English sparkling wines, quite rightly in my opinion.

But don’t forget still wines.

Albourne Estate Bacchus 2016 is a lovely example of just what can be achieved.

Made on this up-and-coming West Sussex estate, think 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?

You can taste both unpeated and heavily peated versions.

The popularity of gin seems to have no limit and one of the great local success stories is the Winchester Distillery.

Their Twisted Nose Gin is made in small batches using Hampshire watercress in Old Alresford.

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

n Emsworth Wine Fair takes place Saturday, September 30 from 11am until 4pm at Hewitts, in South Street.

Tickets are £5 and are available on the door.

Entry includes tastings of more than 40 wines and spirits and a souvenir limited edition tasting glass to take home.

There will also be a chocolate and wine tasting experience, a blind wine tasting competition and the opportunity to stock up on your favourite bottles – many at Emsworth British Food Fortnight prices.

Alistair Gibson is proprietor of Hermitage Cellars, Emsworth. Call (01243) 431002 or e-mail [email protected]