Even wine professionals such as me find horizontals and verticals of top-quality wines useful and worth paying money for. Clive Coates MW runs regular fine wine tastings in his Chiswick home, global headquarters of his newletter The Vine. The deal is that 32 tasters squeeze into a room dedicated to the purpose on his ground floor and enjoy about 10 top-quality wines poured around a theme on a Wednesday evening, generally by aspiring Masters of Wine.
Clive descends from on high at 6.45 sharp, opines on the theme in general and the wines in particular, takes a few questions and then everyone is free to meander home at around 8.30 (ideally, surely, via a 9pm booking at the nearby wine-minded restaurant La Trompette (tel 020 8747 1836). Tasting sheets are provided and there is plenty of room to take notes. Monsieur Coates is congenitally against blind tasting however, so do not expect such useful exercises here.
There are still places left for the following:
- 28 May - Nine vintages of Ch Grand Puy Lacoste 1998-1982 £80
- 9 July - Nine vintages of Griotte-Chambertin, Joseph Drouhin 1999-1976 £90
- 17 September - Ten vintages of Ch Cos d'Estournel 2000-1982 £90
- 24 September - Ten vintages of Nuits-St-Georges, Les St-Georges, Henri Gouges 1999-1988 £80
- 5 November - Twelve vintages of Ch Magdelaine 2000-1959 £90
- 10 December - Eleven vintages of Vosne Romanée, Clos des Réas, Michel Gros 1999-1985 £80
Apply to Clive Coates MW, 76 Woodstock Road, London W4 1EQ (tel 020 8995 8962, email firstname.lastname@example.org). Parking is free here from 6pm and Turnham Green tube station is less than 10 minutes' walk away.
A much younger Master of Wine Rose Murray Brown MW is currently signing up wine enthusiasts for her Spring Series of Masterclass Wine Tastings. Her sales pitch includes the feedback 'Very enjoyable, relaxed and informative', as this picture suggests. A course of four weekly tastings will be held in each of Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews.
The Glasgow and Edinburgh courses are the same, with themes being Old World v New World Whites then Red, Cults v Lesser Knowns, and finally Champagne v Sparkling Wine. The four St Andrews classes constitute an introduction to wine, with the promise of identifying best value and hottest producers.
Edinburgh - Thursdays 6-27 March £120, or £32 per individual session
Glasgow - Wednesdays 2-23 April £120, or £32 per individual session
St Andrews - Wednesdays 5-26 March £95, or £25 per individual session
Apply to Rose Murray Brown MW, Wester Craigfoodie House (great address), Cupar, Fife KY15 4RU (tel 01334 870730/1, email email@example.com).