Liverpool Food and Drink Festival has been growing with each year it pitches up at Sefton Park, with more local food and drink producers, more restaurants and more punters present time. The two day Festival itself signals the beginning of a week of events in the city which have included some independent supper clubs and pudding clubs held in the city, a pop up restaurant in the Palm House courtesy of Amber Lounge and a wine tasting in the same venue a few days earlier.
Despite a rather rainy start to September, the Food and Drink Festival was still in rude health across the weekend, especially during the downpours from the scouse skies on Sunday. Despite a grey ceiling, the visitors were not put off, simply electing to find cover and a stall to grab something hot and tasty. Wednesday was no different with its weather, but the Palm House is a more than adequate shelter, providing lovely tropical floral surroundings in which there were six companies exhibiting typical wines from their selections; Roberts & Henry Fine Wines, Vinea, Origin Wines, Wine Time at Scatchards, Belpasso, Cultural Wines.
The wines each of the stalls had to offer ranged from fizz such as Fragolino, Prosecco and an Australian pink Moscato through many styles of white into Beaujolais and then to full on chewy reds from around both New and Old World. Pleasingly, there were a few dessert wines on show at 3 of the exhibitor tables and each was very different but high in quality. There was also the opportunity to have a more formal tasting session at the venue, with a separate area set out to allowed for structured instruction in a variety of wines that the exhibitors were selling and allowing for tasting. These structured sessions were available on a first come first served basis at the event for no extra cost.
The event provided an excellent opportunity to interact with Liverpool’s (and indeed, slightly further afield) most prominent wine merchants outside the comfort of their shops. Sadly, many people are put off by the thought of going into any wine shop and searching the shelves for something to enjoy for a Saturday night in with a film and a few nibbles, or for a dinner party gift or indeed to just compliment Sunday lunch or midweek dinner. This event happily showed that with an inquisitive demenour and a willingness to indulge in conversation, there is much to learn and the world of wine is simply not as daunting as many suspect it to be.
All the stalls were headed by knowledgeable and friendly people, keen to share their wines with the visitors to the Palm House and engage in depth if necessary. Should you ever find yourself in R&H Fine Wines, Vinea, Belpasso, Scatchards or Origin, you should (on this evidence) be made to feel most welcome and provided with some excellent opinions for all occasions calling for a drop of wine.
There were simply too many wines at the event to comment on here, but there were a few stars of the show. Vying for top spot were the Dominio Del Bendito El Primer Paso (using Tempranillo grapes, 2011) from R&H Fine Wines, Nativa Terra Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon (2009) from Vinea and the Ottavia Rube Rosso (using Dolcetto and Croatina grapes, 2012 vintage) from Origin Wines. Each of these was a fantastic full bodied red in their own way and worthy of pairing with red meat, deep stews or cured meat if not simply on their own. The dessert vines briefly touched upon earlier were also outstanding and often overlooked by many, but paired with a fantastic dessert (remember, the rule of thumb is that the wine should be sweeter than the dessert) they get a chance to shine. One such wine was the ‘Chocolate Shop’, a non-vintage chocolate wine blended in the UK which sounds less than promising; paired with a baked chocolate and beetroot gateau this sang brilliantly with lovely chocolate and cherry overtones and a mellow earthiness which complimented the beetroot.
This event was thoroughly enjoyable and a superb chance to interact with the wine community, showing that despite TV experts best efforts to give the impression it’s all affected gesturing, precocious language and pretentiousness, wine really is something that can be enjoyed in a simple way.
Happy drinking guys, catch you next time!!
You can find each of the merchants online or otherwise here:
R & H Fine Wines
Address: 12 Queen Avenue, Queens Insurance Building (off Castle St/Dale St), Liverpool. L2 4TZ
Telephone: 0151 345 0306
Dan Harwood Twitter: https://twitter.com/danharwoodwine
Address: Vinea, Unit B7, Britannia Pavilion, Albert Dock, Liverpool. L3 4AD
Telephone: 0151 707 8962
Address: Origin Wines & Spirits Ltd, Unit A2, Enterprise Court, Wigan Enterprise Park, Seaman Way, Ince, Wigan, Lancashire. WN2 2AG
Telephone: +44 7816 162687
Wine Time @ Scatchards
Address: Unit 1, 209 Great Howard Street, Liverpool. L5 9ZH
Telephone: 0151 2071134
Belpasso Oil and Wines
Address: Unit 4, Malthouse Business Centre, Ormskirk. L39 1QR
Telephone: 01695 581 176
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: 07841 248758 or 07747 052890