Taste Great Wines & Spirits From Around The World

Our tasting evenings are designed to appeal to people who appreciate fine wine and/or spirits.

They are relaxed and informal in style. The tutor will give some background information and then simply introduce each wine or spirit and encourage discussion. A tasting sheet and, where appropriate, maps will be provided but not detailed notes.

Unless otherwise indicated, tasting samples of 8 wines or 6 spirits will be tasted. There will be mineral water and water biscuits to refresh your palate between samples.

What else do I need?

You will need to bring 6 wine glasses to each session. If you really want to sharpen up your taste buds, a set of the International Standards Organisation (ISO) glasses used by the professionals is recommended (the tutor will have boxed sets of 6 crystal ISO tasting glasses for sale at £15).

Who are the principal course tutors?

The tastings will normally be introduced by Vivienne Franks, John Ducker, Pippa Hayward or Sandy Leckie. All have extensive lecturing experience, are members of The Association of Wine Educators and/or Circle of Wine Writers and travel widely to keep up-to-date.

Book Places

Here are details of the tastings we are organising in London over the next few months.  To book places at any of these, select the number you want from the little drop-down menu on the left, enter your personal details in the form at the foot of the page and click the submit button. A member of the Wine Education Service team will then send you confirmation and information about payment methods by email.

  • Jan 2020

    £35.00Bordeaux – Affordable Reds From The Excellent 2016 Vintage • Thursday, 30th January, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    2016 started badly in Bordeaux. After the warmest winter on record, budbreak occurred at the end of March, long before the danger of frost had passed.  A spell of cold and wet weather delayed flowering until the middle of June and although a good set was achieved, July and August were very hot and very dry, inhibiting the development of fruit. Good rainfall at the beginning of September  saved the day and then, miracle upon miracle, an unbroken ten-week spell of warm, dry weather enabled good crops of healthy grapes to be picked at the moment of optimum ripeness.  Wines of high quality were made across to whole of the Bordeaux region in 2016 but the best of all were made in the Medoc, where Cabernet Sauvignon is a major component of most assemblages. The Medoc wines are deep, dark purple in colour.  The have attractive aromas of ripe black fruit,  In the mouth, it is the balance of ripe but not jammy fruit, gentle acidity and fine tannins that impresses.  These are wines that will be attractive to drink young but will age beautifully in bottle.  The bad news is that the Crus Classes are now difficult to find and sell at a premium.  The good news is that the quality of ‘second’ wines and wines from petits chateaux, particularly those that have earned the seal of approval of the Cru Bourgeois Association of the Medoc, is exceptionally high in 2016.  And the prices of these are much more affordable.

    We have selected 8 Crus Bourgeois for this tasting.  Here is the line-up:-

    Châteaux Vieux Moulin, Lacour Jacquet, Peyredon La Gravette, Rollan de By, Moulin de Canhaut, Maison Blanche, Pierre de Montignac and Noillac.

    Tutor Vivienne Franks with Malcolm Franks.

    Feb 2020

    £35.00Classic Grape – Chardonnay • Monday, 3rd February, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    Although Chardonnay is responsible for the finest whites of Burgundy and a key contributor to Champagne, its reputation as one of the world’s greatest varieties was compromised in the 1990’s by the high alcohols and heavy oak of wines produced in the southern hemisphere.  Time for a re-appraisal we think.

    We plan to show a Blanc de Blancs from Le Mesnil, Chablis Vieille Vignes from Jean-Marc Brocard, Macon-Verze from Joseph Burrier, Saint-Aubin 1er Cru from Alex Gambal and top wines from Argentina, California New Zealand and South Africa.

    Tutor:  Sandy Leckie.

    Availability: Good.

    £40.00Australian Giants • Thursday, 13th February, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    For this tasting, we have chosen contrasting pairs of wines from 8 of Australia’s top producers from our private cellars to share with you:-

    Semillon, Amberley Estate
    Riesling, ‘Polish Hill’, O’Leary-Walker
    Riesling, ‘Polish Hill’, Grosset
    Cabernet/Merlot, Cape Mentelle
    Cabernet/Merlot, Cullen
    ‘Basket Pressed’ Shiraz, Reynella
    ‘Dead Arm’ Shiraz, d’Arenberg
    Noble 1′, Botrytis Semillon

    Tutor: Sandy Leckie

    £40.00Southern Rhône • Monday, 17th February, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    The southern part of the Rhône valley produces some of the most accessible and best value wines of France. We shall be tasting a representative selection of wines from top producers. Here is the line-up:-

    Lirac – ‘La Fermade’, Domaine Maby
    Grignan-lès-Adhémar – Viognier, Domaine de Montine
    Tavel – ‘Prima Donna’, Domaine Maby
    Côtes-du-Rhône – Château Courac
    Gigondas – ‘Le Pas de l’Aigle’, Pierre Amadieu
    Cairanne – Pierre Amadieu
    Châteauneuf-du-Pape – ‘Clos du Calvaire’
    Muscat-de-Beaumes-de-Venise – Domaine Des Bernadins

    Tutor: Sue Eames with Malcolm Franks.
    Availability: Good

    £35.00Rioja's Rising Stars • Tuesday, 25th February, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    This tasting focuses on recent changes within this much-loved region. Long prized for its beautiful oak – aged reds, new styles of wine have been developing in Rioja over the last decade. A younger generation of winemakers is putting more emphasis on terroir than mandatory ageing in barrel – and there is renewed interest in white and rosado Rioja. The Consejo itself has been updating the rules of production to encourage the development of new styles and to permit vineyard designations on bottles. Our tasting will bring you right up to date with all these changes.

    Tutor Pippa Hayward (Accredited Rioja Wine Educator) with Sandy Leckie.

    Mar 2020

    £40.00Fine Swiss Wines • Monday, 2nd March, 21:30 in London – Holborn

    At number 24 in the world league, Switzerland produces more than twice as much wine as New Zealand, but exports little. However, what it does export is of high quality. At this tasting, we will show wines made from Chasselas, aka Fendant (the most widely planted grape variety in Switzerland) and regional specialities like Petite Arvine as well as international varieties Pinot Noir and Merlot. Here is the complete wine list:-

    Chasselas Non-filtré, Montmollin, ‘17
    Fendant Grand Cru, Brunière, ‘17
    Bianco di Merlot, Contrada, ‘16
    Petite Arvine ‘Grande Année’, René Favre ‘10
    Pinot Noir, Montmollin, ‘15
    Merlot ‘Empreinte’, Cave de la Côte, ‘16
    Gamaret-Garanoir, Cave de la Côte, ‘16
    Piot Noir ‘Renommée’, René Favre

    Tutor: Vivienne Franks with Malcolm Franks.

    £35.00Mature German Riesling • Thursday, 12th March, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    The tastings we organised in 2016 and 2017 were so popular that whenever the opportunity arises to invest in more old vintages, we jump at it. Rieslings in a variety of styles from the Mosel, Nahe and Pfalz and vintages back to 1995. Here are the wines we have selected for you to taste:-

    Ruppertsberger Hoheburg Kabinett, Wnzerverein,‘03
    Burg-Layer Schlosskapelle Kabinett Schäfer,‘97
    Laubenheiemer Vogelsang Spätlese, Schäfer‘03
    Erdener Treppchen Spätlese, Beres,‘00
    Erdener Herrenberg Spätlese. Beres,‘95
    Munsterer Pittersberg Auslese, Gottelmann,‘06
    Burg-Layer Rothenberg Auslese, Schäfer,‘03
    Burg-Layer Schlosskapelle Auslese, Schäfer,‘99

    Tutor: Vivienne Franks with Malcolm Franks.

    Availability: Good.

    £35.00South America – The New Wave • Monday, 16th March, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    Over the last few years, pioneering grape growers and wine makers in Argentina and Chile have been busy seeking out new vineyard locations to take advantage of their countries’ special geography and climate.  We are now seeing the results of their work and very impressive they are too.  We shall be showing 4 white and 4 red wines from some of the most innovative wine makers of the southern hemisphere.

    Tutor – Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie

    £40.00South African Gems • Thursday, 26th March, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    A selection of wines from leading South African producers such as Boekenhoutskloof, Bouchard-Finlayson, Meerlust, Kanonkop, Morgenhof, Rustenberg, and Vergelegen.

    Tutor: Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie

    £65.00Mature Red Bordeaux • Monday, 30th March, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    Eight mature red wines from Bordeaux:-

    Haut-Bages-Libéral ’03
    La Tour-Haut-Brion ’03
    Les Fiefs-de-Lagrange ’00
    Certan-Marzelle ’00
    Labegorce Zédé ’00
    Grand-Corbin ’99
    Haut-Batailley ’95 (Pictured)
    Cissac ’87

    Tutor: Vivienne Franks and Malcolm Franks.














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Jan 2020

  • Classic Wines of France – The South in London – Holborn

    Monday, 27th January – Monday, 24th February

    £165.00

    Five-session intermediate course on the classic wines of Southern France

    Full details and booking >

  • The World of Wine in London – Holborn

    Tuesday, 28th January – Tuesday, 17th March

    £219.00

    Eight-session introductory course on Tuesday evenings

    Full details and booking >

  • Essential Wine Tasting in London – Bishopsgate

    Wednesday, 29th January – Wednesday, 26th February

    £150.00

    Five-week Introductory Course on Wednesday evenings

    Full details and booking >

  • Bordeaux – Affordable Reds From The Excellent 2016 Vintage in London – Holborn

    Thursday, 30th January

    £35.00

    2016 started badly in Bordeaux. After the warmest winter on record, budbreak occurred at the end of March, long before the danger of frost had passed.  A spell of cold and wet weather delayed flowering until the middle of June and although a good set was achieved, July and August were very hot and very dry, inhibiting the development of fruit. Good rainfall at the beginning of September  saved the day and then, miracle upon miracle, an unbroken ten-week spell of warm, dry weather enabled good crops of healthy grapes to be picked at the moment of optimum ripeness.  Wines of high quality were made across to whole of the Bordeaux region in 2016 but the best of all were made in the Medoc, where Cabernet Sauvignon is a major component of most assemblages. The Medoc wines are deep, dark purple in colour.  The have attractive aromas of ripe black fruit,  In the mouth, it is the balance of ripe but not jammy fruit, gentle acidity and fine tannins that impresses.  These are wines that will be attractive to drink young but will age beautifully in bottle.  The bad news is that the Crus Classes are now difficult to find and sell at a premium.  The good news is that the quality of ‘second’ wines and wines from petits chateaux, particularly those that have earned the seal of approval of the Cru Bourgeois Association of the Medoc, is exceptionally high in 2016.  And the prices of these are much more affordable.

    We have selected 8 Crus Bourgeois for this tasting.  Here is the line-up:-

    Châteaux Vieux Moulin, Lacour Jacquet, Peyredon La Gravette, Rollan de By, Moulin de Canhaut, Maison Blanche, Pierre de Montignac and Noillac.

    Tutor Vivienne Franks with Malcolm Franks.

    Full details and booking >

Feb 2020

  • From Grape to Glass in Aberdeen

    Saturday, 1st February

    £95.00

    One-day Introductory Wine Tasting Course with lunch included.

    Full details and booking >

  • The Wines of France in Belfast

    Saturday, 1st February

    £90.00

    One-day course focussed on the wines of France with lunch included.

    Full details and booking >

  • Classic Grape – Chardonnay in London – Holborn

    Monday, 3rd February

    £35.00

    Although Chardonnay is responsible for the finest whites of Burgundy and a key contributor to Champagne, its reputation as one of the world’s greatest varieties was compromised in the 1990’s by the high alcohols and heavy oak of wines produced in the southern hemisphere.  Time for a re-appraisal we think.

    We plan to show a Blanc de Blancs from Le Mesnil, Chablis Vieille Vignes from Jean-Marc Brocard, Macon-Verze from Joseph Burrier, Saint-Aubin 1er Cru from Alex Gambal and top wines from Argentina, California New Zealand and South Africa.

    Tutor:  Sandy Leckie.

    Availability: Good.

    Full details and booking >

  • From Grape to Glass in London

    Saturday, 8th February

    £95.00

    One-day Introductory Wine Tasting Course with lunch included.

    Full details and booking >

  • Australian Giants in London – Holborn

    Thursday, 13th February

    £40.00

    For this tasting, we have chosen contrasting pairs of wines from 8 of Australia’s top producers from our private cellars to share with you:-

    Semillon, Amberley Estate
    Riesling, ‘Polish Hill’, O’Leary-Walker
    Riesling, ‘Polish Hill’, Grosset
    Cabernet/Merlot, Cape Mentelle
    Cabernet/Merlot, Cullen
    ‘Basket Pressed’ Shiraz, Reynella
    ‘Dead Arm’ Shiraz, d’Arenberg
    Noble 1′, Botrytis Semillon

    Tutor: Sandy Leckie

    Full details and booking >

  • Southern Rhône in London – Holborn

    Monday, 17th February

    £40.00

    The southern part of the Rhône valley produces some of the most accessible and best value wines of France. We shall be tasting a representative selection of wines from top producers. Here is the line-up:-

    Lirac – ‘La Fermade’, Domaine Maby
    Grignan-lès-Adhémar – Viognier, Domaine de Montine
    Tavel – ‘Prima Donna’, Domaine Maby
    Côtes-du-Rhône – Château Courac
    Gigondas – ‘Le Pas de l’Aigle’, Pierre Amadieu
    Cairanne – Pierre Amadieu
    Châteauneuf-du-Pape – ‘Clos du Calvaire’
    Muscat-de-Beaumes-de-Venise – Domaine Des Bernadins

    Tutor: Sue Eames with Malcolm Franks.
    Availability: Good

    Full details and booking >

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