I’ll put my hands up and be completely honest with you. I don’t know the first thing about wines. I know what I like and that’s that. Obviously, that doesn’t mean that I’m not open to trying new wines, but… I’ve always shied away from all the complexities.
However, when the opportunity arose to attend a Spanish Wine Tasting night at The Library, I jumped at the chance. This was my chance to take on a new challenge and get out of my comfort zone. I was a little nervous as I’d never been to a wine tasting event before, but excited all the same. The Library was easy to find, situated at the lower end of Gloucester Rd, just ahead of the beautiful arches. The Spanish Wine Tasting evening was hosted by Diego and Bea of Iberian Drinks. In case you’re not familiar with the name, they’re UK wine and food importers specialising in wines from Spain and Portugal!
On arrival, everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming. I thought to myself, why had I ever been worried in the first place! The atmosphere was relaxed and inviting with genuine warmth from the staff! I was lucky to share my table and experience with a couple and two women who quickly put me at ease.
The evening took off with Diego and Bea giving a brief introduction whilst everyone enjoyed a welcoming glass of El Celleret Cava. The second glass of the evening was an Alvear Fino Sherry, served chilled along with tapas to accompany it. I enjoyed sampling their calamari with lemon aioli, bread & oils, and a tasty rosemary, caramelised onion & sea salt focaccia. Delicious!
The sherry was not too dry and fruity on the nose so I could definitely smell apples! Apparently, you should have it with olives or with shellfish!
The next wine we tasted was probably my favourite. A blend of Treixadura and Godello grapes. The 2013 Alter was light and fragrant with what I gathered was a peach and apricot taste. We were told by Diego that this was an exclusive wine! It comes from a small harvest with no more than 60,000 litres made every year. We then went on to taste an Albariño grape wine, which I found was quite dry for my taste. Named “7” as a subtle tribute to the 7 brothers that own and distribute the wine from the northwest of Spain. A silky white wine, that’s a perfect accompaniment to pasta, fish, seafood and white meats. A combination that I’d definitely indulge in in the future!
More delicious tapas followed with a delectable mix of chorizo, serrano ham, paté and chutney cubes. Paired with an oaky Tempranillo Rioja, the wine had a faint smell of blackberries and tasted of dry fruits. I’m not normally a fan of red wines, but this one was delicious! Not too heavy and definitely easy to drink!
Dangerously, was the introduction of a dessert wine. I do enjoy dessert wines, but I rarely order them, so a Wine Tasting was the perfect excuse to encourage my interest. We were presented with a beautiful pink coloured Alver Moscatel dessert wine. Deliciously sweet, but not overpowering. Everyone in the venue was terribly excited about the Moscatel, and I was soon to find out why! A dessert wine that (to me) tasted of strawberry ice cream with hints of vanilla. Now, who wouldn’t want to bottle that flavour and drink it?
Throughout the evening, I was able to talk to the owners Sarah and Louise about their Wine Bar. Two wonderfully enthusiastic ladies with a real passion for the industry and introducing different attitude to wines. Subtly coaxing customers out of their comfort zones by supplying The Library with a niché collection instead of your all too familiar Pinot Grigio’s and Merlot’s.
The beauty of wine is that you don’t really have to know all the details to taste the fantastically bottled flavours. You just have to open your mind to them, slowly straying away from the normality. With this in mind, I let go of all the cliché’s that came with Wine Tasting evenings. In so doing, I thoroughly enjoyed myself at The Library. Having only been living in Bristol 18 months, The Library was yet to cross my path and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back.