tongueAt a wine tasting event expect to sniff and taste up to six wines. Your host will encourage everyone to describe the wines for themselves, with perhaps a little prompting. So when the inevitable “so what do think this wine smells of?”, what’s the ‘correct’ thing to say? Expressing your thoughts to a group of strangers is nerve wracking, but you’ve got to say something it’s expected. Just say what the wine aromas smell like, you won’t be wrong.

wine swirling in glassMost of the rest of the event attendees will nod in agreement and then go on to express their own different, and often contradictory, sentiments. By the end of the tasting you’ll find there are as many opinions of what a wine ‘should’ smell like as there are tickets for the event.

Next you’ll be asked to take a large sip of wine and swoosh it around your mouth a bit. This is a good way of allowing taste buds to register a wine’s many flavours. But what does the wine taste off?

Hopefully something fruity (don’t be afraid to say grape). Often red wines taste like darker coloured fruits (blackberries, blackcurrants, plums, cherries) and white wines of lighter coloured fruits (lemons, bananas, melons and apples).

The great benefit of attending wine tastings is that each event gives you the chance to try many different wines without having to buy them yourself, and they’re often wines you wouldn’t have been brave enough to try at home.

Marsannay winePG Wine Reviews

Taste these wines in the order they appear in so you'll go from the lightest tasting wine to the most insistent – that way your taste buds won't be overwhelmed with the first sip of the evening.

Silver Mine Bulgarian Sauvignon Blanc 2017
£6 Co-op
Bulgarian wines are making a slow comeback after their initial flurry and disappearance in the 1990s. This lightly-flavoured example has lime, almonds and apple.

Tesco Finest German Riesling 2017
£7 Tesco
Baked apple sweetness with a pebble-sucking edge.

Rabo de Galo Portuguese Red
£5.95 Iceland
Wine lovers go to Iceland to get this smooth and fruity wine that tastes of brambles and cherries.

Tesco Finest PX Pedro Ximenez sherry
£6 Tesco (half bottle)
Sweetest of the sherries and the hardest to pour as it's so thick! Smooth, rich, fruitcake, cough mixture and black treacle.

This article also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on

EUFlagsmallSo Brexit day is looming but are our wine supplies assured? Wine retailers have been stocking up on extra bottles since last year, with Majestic getting in an extra 1.5 million bottles of EU wine as part of its emergency planning, while Direct Wines (the company behind Laithwaites and The Sunday Times Wine Club) has an extra 2 million bottles planned. But is this enough to keep up with what is sure to be a tricky time for imports?

It's good to be green, unless that involves consuming large quantities of E142 that is. This readily available green food colouring, known invitingly as Green S, puts the colour back into canned peas and also dyes the gallons of beer and lemonade drunk in honour of Saint Patrick during his day of festivities on March 17th. But being Irish for the day needn't involve pushing a chemical banned in Scandinavia through your system - why not pour out some naturally green refreshment instead?

As you squeeze the lemon juice over your pancakes will you be contemplating an accompanying glass of wine or a nice cup of tea?