Loki Wine Introduction to wine level 1 course
Every modern gentleman enjoys a glass of wine from time to time, but being able to drink wine and being able to really appreciate wine are two very different things. For those of you who like me, want to really want to be better equipped when talking about, selecting, pairing with food or simply enjoying wine, you might want to take a dedicated wine course. I did at Loki Wine, situated in the fantastic Great Western Arcade in Birmingham.
I have been an infrequent visitor to Loki for some time and have got to know director Phil as a charming host who is completely knowledgeable when it comes to wine, and he always manages to get me to have just one more glass of something exceptional before I leave. Having already collected 11 major national awards in the past two years, Loki Wine has the credentials to put on an expert event and the Introduction to wine level 1 course surpassed all expectations.
Situated upstairs in the comfortable and well appointed lounge area of Loki, which I hasten to add has been improved since my last visit by one of Loki’s amazing wine vending machines, but more of those later. We were greeted by the equally charming and knowledgeable Paul who was taking the course. It wouldn’t be right for me to divulge the details of the course, or there would be no need for you to go for yourself, but I will give you an overview so you know what to expect.
The course focused on seven grape varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah (Shiraz) and Cabinet Sauvignon. For each of these wines we were shown what to expect from them, how they fit in the spectrum of wines and how to identify the different tastes on your pallet.
For a couple of the wines, some accompanying food was provided to show food can either complement or even enhance the experience of the wines. I suspect the food was provided by the excellent Anderson and Hill situated directly opposite in the Great Western Arcade as Loki offer delicious meat or cheese plates that are sourced from the excellent delicatessen. I know from personal experience that these are quite delicious and with expert advice on hand, you will always get the perfect combination of wine and food. Enough about food, back to the wine course!
Paul also managed to weave in some wonderful anecdotes and plenty of other useful tips from identifying a corked bottle of wine, determining the quality of wine and a delightfully graphic representation of how to interpret just how well balanced a wine was. This doesn’t really do the course justice, as the longer I reflect, the more I realise I have learned and it has certainly whetted my appetite to learn more about the wonders of wine. Even the basic understanding of the differences between old world (France, Spain & Italy) and the new world wines (America, Australia, etc) will be invaluable when looking though restaurant wine lists.
Before I knew it our time was over and we had drunk our way through all seven delicious bottles. It was time to head downstairs where we had the opportunity to buy from the dazzling display of excellent wines. I struggle to not come away with something when I visit, and this was no exception. It was also an opportunity to top up my tasting card, think of it as a fine wine debit card that works in the wonderful vending machines. Simply choose your wine, select your glass size and hey presto, a glass of what ever takes your fancy. The great thing about buying wine in this manner is you get to sample some very expensive wines, without the burden of buying the whole bottle.
It was a great introduction to wine, with further, more advanced courses on specific types of wine or regional wines are all available as you would expect. What has not only surprised me, but also delighted me is Loki have also branched out into courses on cocktails and spirits. Truly something for everyone, and for a modern gentleman like myself, an endless supply of fine drinks and social learning.
For more on Loki wine courses, pop over to the Loki Wine website.
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