Kelli Gould- The Grape Crusader from The Wine Tasting Co .based in Churchill is on a mission to bring her knowledge and expertise to a wider audience. She arranges corporate and private tastings, social networking evenings, wine tasting weekends and even hen parties. She started the company in 2009 driven by a passion and love for wine and a desire to share this with other people. While she was in New Zealand in 2006 she visited a handful of wineries and became hooked. Back in the UK she was employed by a London wine company and gained her advanced qualification with The Wine and Spirit Education Trust.
I met her at the Riverside Inn Cheddar for a wine tasting and networking evening. There were about 30 local business people ready to sample 6 wines in a Supermarket v Independent wine tasting. Kelli talked briefly about the wines and how to smell them, look at the colour and then taste the wine, and try to pick out certain characteristics.
The first two wines were Sauvignon Blancs priced at £8. The participants agreed that the Independent wine from Chile a Caliterra Reserve was far superior with a good acidity which lingered in the mouth and produced a lot of saliva! That is a sign of a good wine.
Next up were two Merlots, again the Independent came from Chile and had lots of tannin and a fruity aroma which improved greatly as it came to room temperature, while the Supermarket Redwood Creek was too acidic.
The final wines, again reds, were Shiraz but as I was driving I didn't taste them (spittoons are provided on the table).
I asked Kelli to recommend some wines that would go with iconic Somerset foods, strawberries and cheddar cheese.
"The wine I would recommend for strawberries is a bottle of Italian Prosecco called Rustico, by producer called Nino Franco, crisp, light, fresh and fruity with floral notes. £13.99 bottle.
For good cheddar cheese, I would suggest a wine by Talmard, Macon chardonnay, it has gone through a process called the malolactic fermentation which softens the wine and gives it a creamy buttery texture which will match the creamy texture of the cheese. It works well with any cream sauce based dish too and is priced at £11.50 "
Kelli was also keen to point out that there are several vineyards in Somerset, she works at the Oatley vineyard near Bridgwater which is open to the public from April. They produce wine from grape varieties Kernling and Madeleine Angevine planted in 1986.
Food & Wine Specialist