Today and tomorrow we are in Norwich at the Norfolk showground for the Festive Gift and Food show there. Then to Sandringham next week from 17-19 Nov. In between then we will be busily making the November Taster Box, our second wine Taster Box after we launched in October with our first box of six different wines in 125ml taster bottles. We have sold quite a lot of boxes over the past month and have learnt a lot over the past six weeks (is it really only six weeks?!)
Last week we went to the Ipswich Xmas fair and the weather was distinctly chilly. The show was in the Old Cattle Barn at Trinity Park and I wondered if someone had an ironic sense of humour - there we were in a manger, selling Christmas gifts.
We learnt a number of things in Ipswich. Notably, the red wines tasted very different at 8 degrees C to how they do at proper room temperature. The Appassimento is a big rich fruity quite sweet wine normally, but in the cold the tannins overwhelmed the fruit as I realised when those tasting it said it was dry. The other reds also suffered a bit but not as much as the Appassimento. The whites, on the other hand, tasted very well. Interestingly up until now in the show tastings we've done so far, the Guarda Rios Branco has usually come out as the most liked of the October white wines (perhaps helped by the £8/bottle price too) but Ipswich's preference was for the Cuvée de Silex chenin blanc.
For the Norwich show we worried about being in the unheated Annexe lest the reds struggle again in the cold, but James had a brilliant idea - hot water bottles! For the wine, not us... I spent most of yesterday gift-wrapping Taster Boxes as it is a Festive show. I have NEVER done Christmas wrapping in early November before and I was wondering if this normal and I am not, or vice versa.
Next week sees a busy four days as we make up the November Taster Boxes. This month's collection has some interesting compare and contrast wines. For example the Garnatxa Negra Altés is quite similar to, but less spicy than, the Appassimento as may be seen from their tasting profiles in the links above.
Other comparisons to look out for include the two reds from Languedoc - the Bergerie l'Hortus (October) and slightly more herby Saint-Chinian tradition Viranel (November), and in the whites see what you think of the Les Granges (November) compared to October's Loup y es-tu? The Bergerie and Viranel use a fairly similar blend of grapes but all the others have different grapes and yet share a number of characteristics, amazing how similar and also how different. The other November wines are all very different from the October ones we think.
Now a question for those of you who are red-only or white-only wine drinkers...
As we are in our second month, we now have 6 red wines and 6 white wines and so can do an all-red and an all-white Taster Box. We are debating what format such a box should take:
- either, one taster bottle of each of the red (or white) wines of the month and three red (or white) bottles from previous months (as we grow),
- or, two taster bottles of each of the three reds (or whites) of the current month.
If you have a view or any other suggestions, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last but not least, Congratulations to Rosina from Ipswich who won the prize draw for a Taster Box; we hope you enjoy one of our first November boxes we have sent out.
If you would like to be entered for this month's prize draw, please e-mail email@example.com with subject 'Prize Draw' and giving us your first name and e-mail. Rest assured we will not pass your details onto any third party.
Keep warm, keep well, happy November!