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, 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.

  • Aug 2020

    £0.00Wine From The Republic Of Georgia – Webinar – No Charge • Thursday, 20th August, 19:00-20:15 in London

    Georgia, which has a wine-making tradition that dates back to the earliest of times, is starting to catch up.  Investment in new vineyards and wineries is already paying dividends and wines are beginning to earn places on the shelves of wine merchants in the UK.  This webinar will take you on a journey of discovery around the vineyards of this fascinating country, where wine making in amphorae continues alongside temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and all the latest bells and whistles.  You will also learn about the cultural heritage of the country and the warm and generous hospitality for which the Georgians are renowned.  And if all this sounds like an ad. from a wine tour operator, well it is, because our sister company, Good Wine Tours Limited, is running a tour to Georgia in October this year and we are keen to share our enthusiasm for the country with you.

    Tutor: Vivienne Franks with Malcolm Franks.

    Availability: Unrestricted

    £0.00Southern Rhone – Webinar – No Charge • Tuesday, 25th August, 19:00-20:15 in London

    While in the Northern Rhône, they can only ripen Syrah, down south, Grenache is king with Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault in supporting roles as well as ever improving white blends featuring Viognier, Marsanne and Rousanne. In short, there’s something for everyone in this dynamic region.

    Tutor: Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    Availability: Unrestricted

    Sep 2020

    £0.00Bordeaux & The Brits – Webinar – No Charge • Thursday, 3rd September, 19:00-20:15 in London

    in 1152, Henry Plantagenet married Eleanor of Acquitane.  Two years later, he became King of England and Acquitaine and Gascony became part of the English realm.  On his succession to the throne, Henry and Eleanor’s son John, granted Acquitaine numerous privileges, including exemption from the levy on ships sailing from Bordeaux to London.  This meant that wines from Bordeaux became much cheaper than other imported wines.  Until the middle of the 14th century, most French wine consumed in England came from south-west France. 25% of Bordeaux wine came here.  All was well until the 100 years war.  In 1453 Gascony reverted to French rule.

    Bordeaux wine still has a big following in the UK and the important thing is, as this webinar will demonstrate, you don’t have to pay a fortune to drink it.

    Tutor: Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    Availability: Unrestricted

    £0.00The New Spain – Webinar – No Charge • Tuesday, 8th September, 19:00-20:15 in London

    In every region of Spain. a younger generation of grape-growers and wine-makers is challenging the values and rules of their fathers and mothers
    and creating new styles of wine that have international appeal.

    Tutor – Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie

    Availability: Unrestricted

    £5.00How English Wines Came of Age – Webinar – £5 • Thursday, 17th September, 19:00-20:15 in London

    The Romans were growing grapes and making wine in England 2,000 years ago but the first commercial vineyard in the British Isles was only planted in 1952.  Fifty years on, there are over 500 and English and Welsh  sparkling wines have started to beat grande marque Champagnes to the medals in international competitions.. Top producers like Ridgeview, Nyetimber and Camel Valley are extending their vineyards.  A new, venture capital funded company has planted 100 ha of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier in Hampshire. And now, an application has been made to Brussels for the South Downs to be designated a Protected Denomination of Origin or PDO.   The Champenois, who have never taken kindly to challenges to their franchise, have their land agents tramping over the South Downs looking for suitable sites to buy.   Taittinger, indeed, already has vines in the ground.  It’s all happening here!  So, buy a bottle of good English (or Welsh) sparkling wine, pour a glass or two and settle down as Sandy Leckie tells you how it all came about.

    Tutor:  Sandy Leckie.

    Availability: Unrestricted,

    £5.00South African Gems – Webinar – £5 • Tuesday, 22nd September, 19:00-20:15 in London

    The historical heart of South African wine has been the area near the Cape Peninsula and modern-day Cape Town.  This area is still prominent  in the industry, being home to the major wine regions of Constantia, Stellenbosch and Paarl.  But today, wine is grown throughout the Western Cape and in parts of the Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape regions. The river regions along the Breede Valley, Olifants and Orange Rivers are among the warmest areas and are often the location of bulk wine production and distillation. The cooler climate regions east of Cape Town, such as Walker Bay and Elgin, have seen vast expansion and development in recent years as producers experiment with cool climate varietals and wine styles. In this webinar, Wine Education Service team members, Vivienne and Malcolm Franks, who visit South Africa regularly, will talk about the diversity of the country’s wine terroirs and some of its star producers.

    Tutor:  Vivienne Franks with Malcolm Franks.

    Availability:  No limit.

    Wine Suggestions:  A bottle or two of your favourite South African wines.

    Oct 2020

    £5.00Italy – The Veneto – Webinar – £5 • Thursday, 1st October, 19:00-20:15 in London

    There are two parts to the Veneto wine region in north eastern Italy, an eastern and a western part.  The eastern part, which is close to the Venice lagoon, between the hills of Treviso, the plain of the Piave river and the Adriatic coast, is where Prosecco comes from.  It also produces table wines from Merlot and Pinot Grigio as well as a range of traditional local varieties. The western part, close to Lake Garda and the town of Verona, is where the attractive, light white and red wines of Bardolino come from and more notably, Soave and Valpolicella in all its styles – Normale, Ripasso, Amarone and Recioto. In this webinar, we will explore the vineyards of the region and discuss the matching of its wines with food.

    Tutor: Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    Availability: No limit.

    Wine suggestions: A Soave and/or a Valpolocella Ripasso.

    £45.00Fine Swiss Wines – £45 • Tuesday, 6th October, 19:00-21:00 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.

    £40.00Viognier – Classic Grape Variety – £40 • Thursday, 15th October, 19:00-21:00 in London – Holborn

    Once close to extinction, this exotically aromatic white variety, is now very much back in fashion.  Examples from Australia, California, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, Southern France and, its home base, Condrieu!

    Tutor: Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    £50.00Chateau Musar – 8 Mature Reds From A Fabled Lebanese Estate – £50 • Tuesday, 20th October, 19:00-21:00 in London – Holborn

    Another chance to taste a range of mature wines from this world-famous Lebanese estate. This time, we will taste the 2013, 2012, 2011, 2006, 2002, 1998, 1995 and 1994 vintages of the Hochar family’s warm, spicy, Rhône-like red. All the wines will be carefully decanted before the tasting.

    Tutor – Sandy Leckie with Malcolm Franks.

    £45.00Californian Superstars – £45 • Thursday, 29th October, 19:00-21:00 in London – Holborn

    For this tasting, we have chosen wines from 8 of California’s top producers from our private cellars to share with you.  How’s this for a line-up?

    Carneros – Chardonnay, Cuvaison
    Napa – ‘Karia’ Chardonnay, Stags Leap
    Russian River – Pinot Noir, Rochioli
    Napa – Cabernet Sauvignon, Whitehall Lane
    Napa – Reserve Cabernet-Sauvignon, Robert Mondavi
    Monterey – ‘Le Mistral’, Phelps
    Amador County – Old Vine Zinfandel, Bogle
    San Joaquin – ‘Elysium’ Black Muscat, Quady

    Tutor: Malcolm Franks with Vivienne Franks.

    Nov 2020

    £40.00Sherry & Tapas – £40 • Tuesday, 3rd November, 19:00-21:00 in London – Holborn

    It’s ‘Sherry Week’ in the UK and to mark this, we are organising a tasting of Sherry in all its styles – Manzanilla, Fino, Amontilado, Oloroso, Palo Cortado – with olives, nuts, cheese and chorizo.

    Tutor: Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    £40.00New Zealand's Finest – £40 • Thursday, 12th November, 19:00-21:00 in London – Holborn

    The wines of New Zealand just get better and better. For purity of fruit and varietal expression they are hard to match. We will taste a selection from some of the country’s finest producers, including Ata Rangi, Cloudy Bay, Felton Road, Kumeu River, Pegasus Bay and Te Mata.

    Tutor: Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    £65.00Mature Red Bordeaux – £65 • Tuesday, 17th November, 19:00-21:00 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
    Batailley ’96 (Pictured)
    Cissac ’87

    Tutor: Vivienne Franks and Malcolm Franks.

    £40.00Italy – Piemonte – £40 • Thursday, 26th November, 19:00-21:00 in London – Holborn

    There are more DOCG’s in Piemonte than any other region of Italy.  We will taste 3 whites – a Gavi di Gavi, a Roero Arneis and a Moscato d’Asti – and 5 reds – a Barbera, a Dogliani, a Barbaresco and 2 Barolos, the region’s and Italy’s greatest wines.

    Tutor: Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    Dec 2020

    £35.00It's All Happening In Alsace – £35 • Tuesday, 1st December, 19:00-21:00 in London – Holborn

    It’s all happening in Alsace. A new generation of young, passionate and talented vignerons and vigneronnes is challenging tradition and pushing boundaries. Bland, off-dry whites are being replaced by pure, crisp, fruit and terroir-expressive wines, simple, deep-rosés by reds of almost Burgundian style and quality.

    £50.00Fine Red & White Burgundy – £50 • Thursday, 10th December, 19:00-21:00 in London – Holborn

    Another traditional end-of-year ‘special’, our Fine Burgundy event will, this time, feature four whites and four reds. The whites will be Chablis 1er Cru Mont de Milieu from Samuel Billaud, Meursault ‘Le Limozin’ from Vincent Giraud, St-Aubin 1er Cru ‘Les Murgers des Dents de Chien’ from Alex Gambal and Pouilly-Fuisse ‘Vers Pouilly’ from Chateau de Beauregard. The reds will include Nuits-St-Georges Vieilles Vignes from Domaine de Bellene, Gevrey-Chambertin from Lucien Jacob, Vosne Romanee ‘Aux Reas’ from Anne Gros. Tutor: Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    £45.00Traditional Rioja – £45 • Tuesday, 15th December, 19:00-21:00 in London – Holborn

    At this year’s festive-season Rioja event, you will be tasting–

    Contino, Reserva, ‘12
    Luis Cañas, Reserva ‘11
    Muga, Gran Reserva, ‘09
    Faustino, Gran Reserva, ’08
    La Rioja Alta, Viña Ardanza, Reserva, ‘08
    Lopez de Heredia, Viña Tondonia, Reserva ‘05
    Urbina, Gran Reserva, ‘04
    Conde de Valdemar, Gran Reserva, ‘94

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

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