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miniTASTING review by Experience Card

Tastour Monthly Mini-Tasting Review

By Experience Card


We attended Tatsour’s mini-tasting this month, which focused on dessert wines, or as Tastour called them, ‘stickies’. I very much enjoy sweet wines more so than their regular red and white counterparts, so was looking forward to trying some new ones and learning how they are produced.

The whole downstairs brassiere area at The Red Herring in the city was reserved for the event. Kelly, Tastour’s founder and host for the night, made everyone feel very welcome as they entered and signed in. We were handed tasting sheets and chose our seats, leaving about quarter of an hour for socialising before the tasting began.

In total there were about 50 people, mainly professionals still in work attire, enjoying winding down their week with good company and alcohol. Kelly informed us there are a number of regulars who attend for the social side as much as the learning. Already placed on the tables were crackers, Stilton, Cashel Blue, dark chocolate drops and walnuts, which formed part of the tasting later on.

The session started off by discussing with our neighbours how we prefer the sweetness of our wines, as an ice-breaker. A surprising number for people at a dessert wine tasting said they preferred dry wines, but we were to find out that not all dessert wines are very sweet.

We were then handed two wine samples from the Tastour assistants, and were told that these wines were the last available in the World as Kelly buys wines and ages them to share with Tastourians.  We were asked to decide which was sweeter without tasting them. The second one smelt more sugary and had a darker amber colour to it, which we were told was an indication of sweetness. As we swirled the wines, Kelly explained that the more pronounced the legs of the wine (the lines the wine makes when rolling back into the glass), the higher the viscosity and thickness and therefor the sweeter the flavour. Kelly was an amusing tutor, telling jokes as she explained the wine tasting techniques, and made the evening entertaining as well as interesting.

The first wine we tasted was a Henri Ehrhart 2009 from Alsace, which was was not very sweet for a dessert wine. It it had a nice flavour with tones of peach, and I felt I could have drank with a meal. It was interesting that this wine paired well with the Stilton, however, when we tried it with cashel blue cheese, the combination made the cheese turn sour and they did not go together at all. The second wine was also a Henri Ehrhart, but from 2007. Whilst this wine was fruity as well, it was much sweeter and better accompanied both the strong Cashel Blue and creamy Stilton cheeses.

Kelly explained to the group the main factors that affect the sweetness of the wine. She was a very knowledgeable host, whose enthusiasm for her topic was infections. She told us the first is how long the grapes are left on the vine – the longer it is, the sweeter the produce. The second is the presence of ‘noble rot’, a grey fungus that can grow on the grapes and helps produce particularly sweet wine. The third is the temperature the grapes, as the colder it is the less liquid is produced and the more sugary and concentrated the juice is.

Then the final taster for the evening was handed out, the rarest wine style Eiswine. To be classified as such, the grapes must be -7 degrees in Germany and -8 degrees in Canada, and if temperatures don’t reach the minimum required there is no production that year. Also, as the grapes are frozen it takes 40 times more grapes than normal wine to produce. I was expecting something quite special after this, and was not disappointed. The Kendermann’s Rheinhessen 2005 honey taste exploded it the mouth with just one sip. It was amazingly sweet, but not sickly and there were fruit aromas making it taste surprisingly light. It went very well with the walnuts and the dark chocolate drops, in fact I could have gone back for seconds!

Kelly asked if there was anyone who wasn’t sure about sweet wines at the beginning but had changed their mind after the tasting, and a few hands went up. It was interesting that there were a mix of favourites, as the Eiswine was a clear favourite for me, but some found it too sweet and preferred the first or second taster wines.

After wrapping up the tasting, the bar was opened and people mingled and networked for the rest of the evening. The event made a great end to the week, and we recommend trying one (or more) of  Tastour’s monthly mini-tastings in the city.

Upcoming events:

  • Wine Mini-Tasting and Social Drinks (monthly)
  • Foodie Trends & History of London Walks (monthly)
  • Secret Wine & Cheese Tasting in English Rose Garden (1st June 2013)
  • Royal Ascot& Nino Franco Prosecco (22nd June 2013)
  • Ice Cream & Liqueur Pairing: A Walk & Garden Party Lunch (20th July 2013)

Fan Mail

Don’t listen to us, listen to our members… here is a bit of kudos we have received lately.
We even received a thanks from the Brazilian Embassy! hubba hubba

 “ If you like trying new food/wine but would also like to know a bit about what you are eating/drinking (without the teaching being intrusive or snobby) these events are a good bet. ”

“ Really great way to sample food and wine from around the world without breaking the bank. ”
“ Really great night, I was going initially going to learn about wine, but the social aspect was a real bonus. Kelly was a fantastic host and I look forward to attending more of her events. ”

“ Kelly is incredibly organized, and plans great events. She brings together fun and interesting people for a high quality evening.  And she is a wonderful hostess, making everyone feel welcome and keeping us entertained. I also learned a thing or 2 about wine! ”

“ I’ve been to other introduction wine tastings over the years, but I found this one more structured and I learned some new things about wine tasting. ”

“ Excellent value, a well catered venue, enough yummy food and a few snippets of knowledge to impress others with. Definitely will be doing one of these again soon. ”

“ Great venue, excellent organization, lots of good beer! ”

“ Superb! I really enjoyed it. Nice beers from Czech, Germany and Belgium. Unfortunately English beers weren’t my taste, but that’s part of an education that this seminar offered me. Met some really nice people and food was great. And such a nice organiser! ”

“ Good beer, lovely company…will definitely attend more events! ”

“ I had to leave early but enjoyed the tasting very much. I certainly know more about olive oil than before. A very enjoyable evening. Kelly was friendly, approachable and knowledgeable. She didn’t make one feel silly as I know very little about wine and olive oil – just that it tastes good. ”

“ It was a really fun, unusual, and informative evening. ”

“ Very good idea. Simple and entertaining. A great way to learn a bit more about the wine and how cheese is cut in a very relaxed atmosphere. The location was good as well; near to the tube so very easy to get back from and helpful friendly staff. Good turn out as well. Keep it up! ”

“ Very organized and interesting trivia! ”

“ Excellent value, a well catered venue, enough yummy food and a few snippets of knowledge to impress others with. Definitely will be doing one of these again soon. ”

“ Absolutely fantastic. Terrific idea and very well presented. Lots of great and interesting people. ”


So what are you waiting for? Invite your friends and experience for yourself what everyone is raving about…..

Events & Membership

Award-winning Tastour brings a truly unique experience to your social events. We make fine food and wine tastings fun, sociable, engaging, and accessible to all!

With Tastour, you not only learn to appreciate the finer tastes in life, but you can do so in a fun and relaxed social environment whilst rubbing elbows with other like-minded and interesting ‘taste adventurers’ like yourself.

Want to find out more? Visit our events listing (or browse the calendar above) read our 10 ten reasons to join and check out Bon Vivant membership for all the exclusive deals our registered members receive.  Come join the party!

Private Events

Tastour prides itself on its flexibility and originality in presentation, and nowhere is this more apparent than in our intimate and personalized events that take place in the comfort of your home, office, or favourite venue.

We cater to almost any occasion, from team building & development, to hen’s or stag parties, to birthday celebrations, or even simply the spontaneous desire to hold a wine or food tasting party at home for good friends…

Would you like to find our more about hiring us for a private event?  See our Overview or Email us


We review London restaurants, exciting and unique food and drink, and all sorts of culinary gadgets.  If it has anything to do with taste sensations… we’ll share it with you!

Featured Reviews:

Criterion Restaurant
Originally opened in 1874, the Grade II listed lavish space, steeped in history, romance and opulence, was voted ‘Best London Restaurant, 2011’.

Tour de Belfort
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Featured Photo, Quotes & Competitions

“What is better adapted than the festive use of wine in the first place to test and in the second place to train the character of a man, if care be taken in the use of it? What is there cheaper or more innocent?” — Plato

Click here to enter to win a magnum of Nino Franco Prosecco! 

(ends 25th June)
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