FAMILY VINEYARD WINE TASTING AT VEENO, LEICESTER
Veeno was our latest sunny Sunday, date-afternoon jaunt to supplement our knowledge on wine tasting and food pairings!
We have visited the vineyards of Chianti many times and even had a photo shoot there however never actually tried a wine tasting experience closer to home and we both loved the idea of the Family Wine Tasting experience at Leicester’s Veeno branch.
The wine bar located in the very desirable St Martin’s Square is rustic yet contemporary and as well as having an international list of bottled alcoholic beverages, also pays homage to an array of house wines from their own Vineyards in Sicily.
Veeno’s wines are labelled under Caruso (a third generation wine-maker) and Minini (owner of a marketing company and together built the foundations of Caruso and Minini, a winery in Marsala, on the most Western point of Sicily.
THE FAMILY WINES PAIRING EXPERIENCE
We started our date afternoon with an aperitif of limoncello spritz, which geared us up ready for an afternoon of concentration on the pairing process.
Our wine aficionado for the experience, was the very knowledgeable, Celso Plácido, who also is general manager at Veeno Leicester.
Following swift introductions, a platter containing meats, cheeses, olives and an assortment of breads was presented before us. Each food item was to be eaten with a different wine and the Family wine tasting experience comprises five wines ( two glasses of white, a rosé and two glasses of red).
The idea is to sip the wine, try the recommended food item from the platter and continue to sample the wine to experience how the food pairing changes the flavours of the wine.
All the wines in this experience are house wines and come from the owners Sicilian Vineyard, Caruso Minini in Marsala. Additionally, the pairing platters contain imported cheeses and meats form Sicily and are all certificated.
WINE 1: TASARI
This is a wine that can be compared with a classic Pinot Grigio, albeit a lot drier and smoother. It’s a wine that’s perfect for a summer’s day with accents of fruits such as apricots and works perfectly as a starter wine. We paired this with the bread and olive oil with a balsamic glaze from our sharing platter.
WINE 2: GIUMARA INZOLIA
Undertones of Pear and apples, the Inzolia white grapes provide a flavour that is richer and fruitier. It’s a white wine, fermented at 15 degrees, which fits perfectly with the British weather, reminiscent of a cosy comforting feel. I’d call it a hug in a bottle. Due to the richness, Celso explained that we would be pairing it with olives and olive paté to compensate with the salty flavours of these foods.
This wine was most definitely a drier white so no sweetness but the fruitiness most definitely coming through with the pairing of olives.
If you’re familiar with the locality of taste buds on the palette, you’ll be aware that salty tastes are detected at the tip and middle of the tongue and sweet is prominent on the back and sides of the tongue. This is an interesting wine in terms of its salty to sweet adjustment post food.
WINE 3: ROSA DI MORODER
GRAPE: blend of local red-berry grapes.
An organic Rosé wine is basically red grapes, which in this case have been fermented for about a month in order to preserve the red colour from the grape skin. Usually a red wine is fermented for about a month however for this particular Rose, the wine is fermented for 20 hours, after which the skin is removed and tannins exposed. Thus, providing an end-product, packed with tones of cherry and strawberry. This wine, while smelt as sweet as strawberries on a summer’s day, had all the dryness of a dry white wine.
An organic wine much like this will always come with an earthy, mineral like texture due to the omission of no fertilisers or chemicals. The almost bitter notes at the back of the palette will keep you wanting to sip more.
Dr C paired this Rosé with Smoked Prosciuttos as the saltiness balances well with the flavour and I had the Bruscetta con Pomodori.
WINE 4: TERRE DI GIUMARA
GRAPE: NERO D’AVOLA
This is a wine that both Dr C and I are familiar with and is most definitely fruity, crisp and full-bodied. It’s of a beautiful ruby red colour and serves as a good summer wine.
Celso explained that Caruso Minini has five different Nero D’avola’s in their winery, however this particular one has 30% placed in a wooden barrel to give it the light woody flavour. The aim of this kind of wine is to pair it with something that can smooth it down providing a gentler sensation on the palate, such as Bruscetta con peperoni and Bruscetta alle Melanzale. Their lack of acidity worked very well with this wine.
WINE 5: TASARI
GRAPE: NERO D’AVOLA, MERLOT
A more restored, full-bodied and smoother red wine than the Nero D’avola. This particular wine undergoes a maturing process in wooden barrels for four – five months, which gives it the smoothness and woody, even spicy flavour. This is a great everyday red that can literally be paired with everything. Veeno actually sell this as their house red label and goes very well with some smoked cows milk cheese.
Our experience ended with a slice of Sicilian lemon tart (this is usually Tiramisu) with cream. The Marsala is aged in an oak barrel for five years to give it the sweet, fruity, almond, almost marzipan flavour, which marries with Italian desserts so well.
The wood maturation process brings out the colour, thickness and a raisin sweet taste. A stunning fortified dessert wine to round off a fabulous experience.
If you’ve visited Veeno, you will be aware that no outing here comes without one last shot of limoncello, the wine bars signature digestif.
Having done a number of wine tastings, this hands down has to be one of my favourites. I have dined at numerous fine dining and Michelin starred restaurants, where the Sommeliers did pair the wines with our food well but didn’t quite explain the reasoning behind this. Celso was patient, extremely knowledgeable and used language and terminology that we could relate to easily. There was plenty of time for questions and the experience was very interactive.
SHEER UNADULTERATED PERFECTION FOR
Most definitely over 18s, Date Nights, Special occasions, Group jaunts
Just to note, this post isn’t sponsored in any way however, Veeno is somewhere I frequent due to the quality of the wines, platters and service.
Units 19 & 20
9 St Martins
Tel. 0116 262 8719
More information available at https://www.theveenocompany.com.
The Family Vineyard wine tasting experience is priced at £24.99 per person.
Wines can also be purchased online through their website as well as more Veeno location in the UK.
Have you ever experienced a wine tasting or pairing? If not then I’d recommend Veeno as a great educational introduction.
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