Paula’s Wines of the Week – 26th October 2020

Paula’s Wines of the Week – 26th October 2020

Bucks Fizz

I’m tutoring online wine appreciation courses tasting champagne and Prosecco, as well as helping you choose the right wines for Christmas, as part of the adult education courses offered by Buckinghamshire Adult Learning. Starting on 17th November, these hobby courses will allow you the opportunity to sip and learn online.

I started running popular wine tasting courses in 2002 through adult education evening classes and these courses were so popular they were regularly over-subscribed. These new online versions will offer the same chance to learn about wine in an informal way but have been specifically designed to use the online Google Meet system so that everyone can see and hear each other through a webcam in real-time and non-one gets left behind. You’ll open your wines at home and we’ll all have a go at tasting them together – tasting is a key part of learning.

Those new to online learning needn’t be afraid of not knowing how to get started as Buckinghamshire Adult Learning has a dedicated website explaining how to get online and what’s involved.

There’s an online afternoon Sparkling Wines masterclass on Saturday 5th December which explains why champagne is different to Prosecco and cava and a longer 5-week course running on Tuesday evenings that covers grape varieties and food and wine matching.

Wine Appreciation – Sparkling Wines Workshop
Saturday 5th December 2020
1.00pm to 4.00pm (GMT)
Cost £27

Wine Appreciation – Preparation for the Festive Season
Tuesday 17th November to 15th December 2020
7.30 – 9.00pm (GMT)
5 weeks
Cost £50

Paula’s Wine Reviews from

Altano 2019, Douro Portuguese red
Davy Wine £11.50, Tanners Wine £11.80
3 star rating
From an unfashionable wine region in a bottle with a very un-striking label, this wine is crying out to be over looked. But this blend of five indigenous Portuguese wine varieties is deeply fruity and tasty. Aromas of chocolate cake and earthy leather lead you into flavours of sweet cherry creaminess. It’s not a particularly sophisticated wine but it is enjoyable.

Barefoot Wine Selzer Strawberry and Guava flavoured
£1.80 Tesco
1 star rating
This new breed of “hard seltzer” is an import from the United States and is basically a rework of the wine spritzer – that is a long drink of wine with sparkling water but with added fruity flavourings and sometimes a touch of bicarbonate of soda (known as baking soda in your kitchen cupboard) to add the “hardness”. The result is a slightly fizzy sweet drink with an odd back flavour of indigestion tablets. This version tastes of very dilute sweet strawberry with the wine bit unnoticeable. Not nice.

Smirnoff Hard Seltzer orange and grapefruit
£1.80 Tesco, £1.85 Sainsbury’s
3 star rating
Not all hard seltzers are thoroughly unpleasant. This vodka-fruit mix would make a good aperitif with its light mandarin orange flavours and that bicarbonate of soda tang that is the “hard” bit of the seltzer. The grapefruit element only appears in the aroma, which is a shame as it’s quite pleasant. Surprisingly the drink is colourless despite having allusions to orangey-coloured fruits but on closer inspection it is “orange and grapefruit flavoured”. Hard seltzers it turns out are a hard sell.

The wine rating system uses a maximum of 5 stars:

5 star rating (outstanding – the top rating given by
4 star rating (very good wine)
3 star rating (good wine but over priced)
2 star rating (a disappointing wine)
1 star rating (little to offer)

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© Paula Goddard 2020