Our launch event for this year's Wine Relief (the wine-related fundraising initiative allied to Comic Relief) takes place on the evening of Feb 8 at the Institute of Directors, Pall Mall, London SW1.
It's targeted at those of you who enjoy blind tasting and don't mind letting your hair down, at the same time as making a major contribution to Comic Relief's admirable and carefully-monitored projects in Africa and the UK. Tickets are being sold by the table of 10 and cost £1,000. (May I remind you that you can easily spend more than £100 a head in a London restaurant and have no fun at all…?)
The deal is that it will all be exceedingly light hearted. No-one should imagine this evening will count as serious revision for the Master of Wine exam. Instead, Willie Lebus of Bibendum Wine (who are kindly supplying much of the wine) and I will lead a series of blind tastings and questions on which each table will vote and there will be a prize of inordinate value (a kiss from Willie perhaps) for the winning team.
There will also be a very limited auction of a few exceptional handpicked lots, including
- a magnum of Esprit du Siècle, the super-special Moët champagne released in extremely limited quantity at the turn of the millennium in which are blended great wines from each decade in the 20th century
- a chance to play against the celebrity cricket team Lashings World Lashings World XI who are currently boasting talent from the likes of Richie Richardson, Sachin Tendulkar, Aravinda De Silva, Alvin Kallicharran, Phil De-Freitas and England's Women's Captain Clare Connor (reserve price £15,000)
- a wine consultation session with me (reserve price £3.50)
And you will have the chance to sample some of Patricia Michaelson of La Fromagerie's great cheeses in perfect condition.
All in all it promises to be a seriously good evening and tables are going fast. Book yours, or find out more, at www.iod.com/comicrelief