I’ve always wanted to go to a wine tasting evening, but seen it as something for the middle-aged and middle-class; and as a 20-something student felt that I would be out of place. Thankfully this is not the case at the Albert Dock’s Vinea, which is a wonderful little wine shop and eatery in the scenic Dockland area.
My boyfriend and I were sent a Groupon deal, which, for £11 entitled us to an evening of wine tasting with a complimentary cheeseboard. Having never attended anything like this before, neither of us knew what to expect, and were delighted with our evening. Upon arrival, we approached the bar, which is very modern and minimalist, surrounded by comfy leather couches and a separate area consisting of high-tables and bar stools for their tasting events. The venue specialises in wine, but other beverages are available, and they also serve Illy coffee.
We explained to the bar tender that we were here for the tasting, but as we were a little early, decided to buy a glass to enjoy before we started, with a round costing about £8 for two large glasses. Vinea is a lovely place to sit and relax with a drink even if you aren’t attending an event, and there were a lot of people there just for that reason. The location is brilliant, as you can look out over the docks, and we chose to investigate the wine racks inside the venue before the tasting began.
We were the youngest couple there, however, this made little difference as everyone was really friendly and there was a great atmosphere: most of the people there were beginners just like us, so the experience was a shared learning and drinking curve. We were given the option to choose to taste red or white (we opted for red) and were given three (very full) glasses of wine to sample, which was a great surprise, as we had expected much smaller servings.
The evening lasted about three hours in total, as our host (who’s name escapes me, but he was very knowledgeable and patiently answered all of our questions) introduced each wine to us, with a bit of history, details about the area and vineyard it came from, how to taste it and what cuisine it compliments. We learnt about the fermenting process, as well as the classes of wine and how age/vintage can affect the taste, which I had always wondered about. The atmosphere was light hearted all evening, and everything our host related to us was really interesting and accessible to beginners. The evening was in no way pretentious as we had feared, and we thoroughly enjoyed the variety of wine on offer, as well as the opportunity to learn about our favourite beverage.
The wine tasting was followed by a cheeseboard, featuring three wonderful cheeses including a smoked applewood, a storng blue stilton and some brie. This was accompanied by wonderful crusty bread with oils to share, and this part of the evening was a great opportunity to mingle with the other couples and discuss what we had enjoyed the most.
Although we managed to get a voucher for the event, the usual price for a couple is £22 which is amazing value considering the amount and variety of wines included, as well as the nibbles at the end. The wine is all fantastic quality, and from all over the world, bringing a great sense of discovery to the event. I would strongly recommend Vinea to wine lovers and tasters alike, whether you choose to attend an event like this one, go for a relaxed drink, or just go to purchase some cheese and wine from the deli – the choice is unparalleled. The venue is also available to hire for events, and would make a brilliant party venue. At Vinea, wine is the star, but you can also attend whiskey, sherry, gin and many other tasting sessions – there is something for everyone.
Vinea, Albert Dock, Liverpool 0151 7078962