Our instore tastings happen every week and are designed to be relaxed, informal and accessible for everyone, whether you are exploring wine for the first time, broadening your horizons, or delving deeper into your favourite regions and styles.
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Our upcoming programme of tastings is listed below. We also regularly host winemakers in our Meet the Winemaker series, with winemakers from Australia, France, Hungary and Austria joining us in recent months.
Please note that our tastings start at 7.30pm. Unless otherwise noted, tastings take place on the same day in each of our stores. We typically taste ten wines, accompanied by quality charcuterie and cheese, and the tastings last for around two hours. We regret that due to limited facilities we are unable to cater for dietary requirements.
All places must be booked and paid for in advance. Reservations will not be confirmed without a working contact number and cancellations made with less than 48 hours notice will not be refunded. Due to the popularity and long reserve lists for many of our tastings, it is our policy that reservations made but not confirmed with payment more than two weeks after your reservation is made may be released without notice, although we will try to contact you by phone or email first of all.
To book, please contact your local store for availability.
Upcoming Tastings in 2017
Barcelona: Its Vines and Wines - £29.00
Thursday 17th August
At one time the Catalan princes ruled Roussillon on the other side of the Pyrenees and the Balearic islands of the Mediterranean. Little wonder then that Catalans remain fiercely independent. The richness and independence of Catalan culture is reflected in a varied wine tradition also. The ancient vines of the monastery of Scala Dei on the volcanic slopes inland of Tarragona in Monsant were the inspiration for the modern blockbuster wines of Priorat. The rugged hills of Penedes have become a hotspot for those in search of rich reds. The crisp, dry bubbles of cava, especially when made with the characterful local grape Xarel-lo, make the perfect foil. Together with some of the spicy local meats and tapas these are wines that recall you summers past and, hopefully, summers to come.
Carnal Pleasures: Charcuterie and Wine Pairing - £27.00
Thursday 24th August
Once upon a time us Brits were a brutish bunch when it came to food, thrilled by the exoticism of bright pink slice of Danish salami or a greying tranche of garlic sausage. How times change. Not only is the best of the world's produce on our doorstep, but our artisans have embraced the challenge of curing, smoking and ageing meat. A recent trip to Croatia highlighted the outstanding local produce enjoying a renaissance far and wide. We will be seeking out the best of what's available in London, and matching it with wines that sing with salted, herb infused, smoky, dense or spicy meats. There's nothing like an Alsace wine with sausage, or a tart sparkling red with Parma ham, so join us for classic and unusual pairings in this carnivore's carnival.
Indian Summer: Matching Wine with Spice - £28.00
Thursday 31st August
From traditional curries to new wave Vietnamese and Korean food, the heady thrill of chilli and the bassy richness of ground spices is now part of our everyday kitchen. While there's no denying the appeal of a hoppy pale ale with these dishes, tonight we'll be looking at how to pair wines with the complex spicing and exotic flavours of these cuisines. From zesty riesling to perfumed gewurztraminer, via velvetty pinot gris, chilled Beaujolais, tropical petit manseng and even Provencale rose, this evening is all about finding new ways of pairing wine with the heat and spice of Asian food.
Back to School: Bang for your Buck - £20.00
Thursday 7th September
Well, kids, summer is on the way out, the holidays have been and gone, and we're back in Blighty, strapped for cash and yet still quite thirsty. It all sounds a bit glum, but tonight we'll be bringing the cheerfulness by uncorking some of the great value wines we work so hard to find that come into their own on a grey Monday. We'll be diving into our comforting selection of great value whites and reds from classic European regions, up-and-coming southern hemisphere wineries and some glamorous contenders from further afield. A perfect antidote to lean bank balances and post-holiday blues!
Equinox: Mature Reds for Autumn Nights - £29.00
Thursday 14th September
Perhaps it's just us, but as the nights draw in and our finger hovers over the central heating switch, there's a certain seasonal pleasure in switching to the deeper, fireside flavours of riper new world reds, mature, cedar-tinged Bordeaux and spicy Spanish Reservas aged in cinnamon-spiked American oak. In exchange for frivolous sunshine, sunburn and flip flops, we turn to the refined aromas of mature wines, so suited to the twilight pleasures of the autumn harvest, with the abundance of good things from field and pasture perfectly complemented by their flavours of truffles, leather, earth and mushroom.
Meet The Brewer: Signature Brew - £10.00
Sunday 17th September – 2pm start - LEYTONSTONE ONLY
With reports showing that three breweries are opening every week in Britain, we are completely spoilt for choice. And while we've seen many examples of breweries collaborating, we had not – until now! - heard of a band and a brewery coming together to make great beer. Tom Bott and Sam McGregor are two Leyton-based cousins who were tired of going to gigs and seeing only mediocre beer and so they decided to do something about it. Founded in 2011, Signature Brew initially established a core range designed for festival drinking, but now they have taken it a step further, working closely with bands to create collaborative brews with the creative licence handed over to artists who decide on the recipe and labelling. Having collaborated with artists from Professor Green to The Slaves, you can be guaranteed that this afternoon will show off an eclectic range of beers along with loads of good music!
Cote Rotie to Chateauneuf: Wines of the Rhone Valley - £28.00
Thursday 21st September
The valley cut by the Rhone river has been a source of top quality wine since the Romans entered Gaul. From the narrow, granitic ravines of the northern vineyards, heavily planted with meaty syrah and perfumed viognier, to the wide delta that flows out into the Mediterranean, host to powerful grenache-based wine like Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the Rhone offers an irresistable array of wine. Whether it's an everyday Cotes du Rhone or a glossy Crozes Hermitage, a mature Cote Rotie or a lush, textured white from viognier, roussanne or marsanne, the Rhone is a great-value source for some of France's most tasty wines. With a rejuvenated interest in its wines in recent years, there's never been a better time to discover what this varied valley has to offer.
In Praise of Oak: Toasty Whites, Hedonistic Reds - £32.00
Thursday 28th September
In these austere days, oak has acquired a bit of a bad reputation. In winemaking, the fashion is now for stainless steel or cement tanks, but there's something about a bit of barrel maturation that no number of concrete vats can replace; indeed, the world's most sought after wines, from Champagne to California, all rely on top quality wood, often from the ancient forests of Nevers, Alliers and Troncais in France. Tonight, we're talking about those gorgeously rich Napa reds with their sheen of vanilla and chocolate, of red Burgundy, tinged with the sapid earthiness of fine French oak. We'll see how a little bit of a wood transforms flirtatious chardonnay into something toasty and spicy while at the other end of the spectrum it tames the shrillness of sauvignon blanc by transmuting lemon into grapefruit and grass into sage. While it may not suit the modern fetish for purity, at its best, oak ageing gives us richness, complexity and nuance - the name of the game this evening.
Exploring Piedmont & Tuscany with Seasonal Game - £34.00
Thursday 5th October
The game season is well and truly underway by this point in October, and tonight's tasting is all about understanding what wines pair well with this diverse range of flavours. At the bottom of the Alps in north-west Italy lies Piedmont, one of the greatest winemaking regions in the world, sometimes referred to as the Burgundy of Italy. The quality here is unsurpassed but even more interesting is the great diversity, where prestigious Barolo rubs shoulders with Gavi, and tangy barbera grows alongside characterful timorasso. Further south, centered around the Renaissance cities of Florence and Siena, Tuscany rivals Piedmont as Italy's greatest wine region. Here the focus is on red wines: earthy, moreish Chianti, mushroomy Brunello and well-heeled Super Tuscans that blend French and Tuscan varieties. Tonight we pit these two against each other in a gastronomic clash of the titans alongside some delicious seasonal game.
Truth in Terroir: Discovering Riesling - £29.00
Thursday 12th October
It's no secret that we love our riesling at Theatre of Wine, and yet, like the pleasures of modern jazz and the importance of really nicely polished wine glasses, most people Just Don't Get It. Well, you know what they say you should do if at first you don't succeed... Tonight our tasting takes in the bracingly mineral, battery-licking thrill of bone dry riesling from Alsace and Austria as well as the juicy charms of fruitier styles from Germany. Just like pinot noir, this grape beguiles winemakers the world over, so we will have a look at how uniquely it expresses itself in Portugal, Kazakhstan and New Zealand too. As well as discovering how transparently this grape communicates the soils and growing conditions of its vineyards, we'll also be opening some fully mature examples at show how fantastic these wines are with age. We're not going to pretend that everyone should like riesling: it's way too interesting for that. But if you want incredible flavour, great value for money and a little less alcohol in your wines, then this could be your chance to discover something beautiful.
Orient Express: Sake, Fine Tea & Japanese Whisky - £33.00
Thursday 19th October
Although wine will always be our main obsession, we can admit that there are other things out there that, like wine, offer the possibility of complex flavour, regional distinctiveness and even expression of site and vintage. Among recent discoveries have been a range of superb new sakes that really opened our eyes to the quality and excitement in Japan at the moment, as well as unbelievably good single-estate teas from Lalani & Co and the deeply delicious whiskies from Japan's Nikka distillery. Tonight we'll be exploring these exciting new flavours and matching them with a range of eastern delights: cakes from Yauatcha, matcha ice cream, sushi, smoked eel and much more.
Sundowners: Discovering Handmade Rums - £30.00
Friday 20th October - 8pm start
We can't tell you how exciting rum is right now, so we decided to show you. While whisky continues to dominate the headlines with ever-rising prices and new releases on an almost weekly basis, we think rum is inexplicably overlooked for those who want something aged and matured with lots of flavour and personality. Just like the Highlands differ from Ireland, and Bourbon from Japan, so Jamaica, Venezuela, Barbados and Guyana all have their own distilleries with distinct personalities. Our tasting this evening showcases smaller distilleries and regional styles, a world away from generic Bacardi or the strangely anodyne blends of the big rum brands. If you like flavour in your spirits, rum is not to be missed and we'll be offering a range of neat serves and simple cocktails to prove it!
Monster Wines for Hallowe'en - £25.00
Thursday 26th October
As we move into the darkness of winter, it seems only appropriate to cue up some diabolically rich reds to see us through Hallowe'en and beyond. With the increasing emphasis on indigenous grapes, experimental varieties and more creative winemaking, tonight we'll focus on reds that offer lashings of flavour without breaking the bank. That means uncorking Mexican petite sirah, peppery mavrud from Bulgaria, richly spicy reds from the Douro valley, heady monastrell from the Levante and many more besides. With their deep colours and over the top concentration of flavours, these generously rich, ripe reds bring warmth and succour for the days ahead.
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