As I was scrolling through my emails today I saw a competition via the Jancis Robinson site encouraging people to share how they got into wine – be that through an experience or a particular bottle. Mine was both.
I’ve submitted my entry. It would be quite simply amazing if she thought it was good enough to share wider but in the meantime I thought I would share with you so you can see where my love of wine started. So here we go…
They says that lions are king of the jungle and I say Tiger is the king of Pinot Noir – well it certainly was back in 2007 when I discovered my taste for red wine.
Prior to that I can safely say I was not in any way shape or form a wine connoisseur – nor indeed a particular fan of wine – the odd rose or white wine at dinner, a bottle if I was out with friends on a summer’s day but in my early 30s I didn’t particularly eat out in places where a good bottle of wine was de riguer.
In 2007 I went on my first long haul holiday – you couldn’t really get much further, it was to the South Island in New Zealand. My friends lived in Invercargill and for three weeks we toured the island and had a few days in beautiful Central Otago.
It was there that I did my first ever wine tour. I’m afraid I don’t remember the name of the tour company but I do absolutely remember the guide. As we drove around a number of vineyards she started to get a feel for my white wine palette. And as we approached Chard Farm she was convinced that their ‘Tiger’ Pinot Noir would tickle my tastebuds – so much so she said that if she hadn’t got that right she would refund my tour money!
And quite simply – she was right. It was stunningly delicious – I can’t remember the vintage but would assume around 2005. It was light, fruity, acidic – the perfect introduction to red wine.
We ordered two cases of the Tiger to be shipped back to the UK and upon our return we drank them with glee – either as an aperitif or finding food to go with it. And as I drank this wine my palette started to change and I became a little more adventurous with my choices. So much so that I quickly progressed to Chard Farm’s ‘Viper’ which at the time was too full bodied for my taste.
What was probably most fascinating to me about that whole experience was the knowledge of the guide – what an art to be able to help someone with their palette! As the years have gone by I’ve developed my wine skills – through drinking it and through training via the WSET – I’ve found that the more I learn about the geography, the climate, the vineyard and winery techniques the more my appreciation of wine has been enhanced. And I can safely say that it’s because of that wine tour and that delicious, majestic Tiger.