Given that for the foreseeable future we can’t visit bars and restaurants so have been forced to drink at home instead, what better way to use Zoom than to engage with the wine industry and learn about wine from experts who are getting creative about our new abnormal. Virtual wine tasting is taking off.
On Friday evening we experienced our first virtual wine tasting Zoom session. Through a friend, we were invited to join a session hosted by the extremely personable and engaging Elizabeth Hawthornthwaite, who runs the London consultancy and events company Elizabeth and Wine
In advance, the below two bottles of wine were sent over, along with notes on how chill the wines and what to pair them with in terms of food:-
Wine 1: Furmint, Hungary
Wine 2: Donnafugata, Sicily
It worked really well and was a much needed hour of fun and learning, without the dreaded mention of the virus who put us in front of our screens in the first place. It’s a really good way of getting friends and family together without having to do yet another dreaded quiz or a general chat. Frankly, it was the best Zoom meet-up that I’ve had so far and if we’re going to have to suffer from Zoom hangovers, why not do it properly. Learning about wine, their specific locations and the vineyards in the process is fascinating and of course you get to drink it in the process.
Elizabeth has a huge interest in female wine growers and organic wines, so for the white wine she had chosen a Hungarian wine she described as a “little splash of sunshine” and a “miracle wine with a beautiful complexity”. Why don’t we drink more Hungarian wine in general? I know very little about Hungarian wine so was delighted to find we all thought it was delicious. Furmint is a white Hungarian wine grape variety grown mostly in the Tokaj-Hegyalja wine region and this Dobogo is like a fresh chardonnay, with delicious flavours of fresh citrus, as well as pear and apple and as this one was aged in oak there is a creamy spiciness to the flavour too.
For the bottle of red, she took us to Italy and set the scene. Donnafugata cultivates its vineyards in Sicily. The Floramundi one we were tasting comes from the north side of Mount Etna. It is a light, delicious, exotically perfumed red, with black cherry and plum flavours, I could taste the black pepper spiciness too. She recommends it for a BBQ.
Here are her details if you are interested in a session – the wine she chose for us was in the region of £20 a bottle, so with the two bottles included in the price, it’s very reasonable:-