Wow, Wednesday in Didsbury was the wino’s equivalent of a Chinese Jigsaw. If you like wine, you live nearby and you were not busy elsewhere – watching stupid TV does not count – West Didsbury was the place to be. You could choose between three events, all of the utmost interest.
In reverse order of announcement, or rather when I heard of it:
1. You could go sample some fantastic modern British food in one of the best restaurants of Manchester and drink a carefully selected range of Portugese wines to match each dishes, no doubt ending with a classic Douro Port. The place to be was The Rose Garden. I also heard that Simon Woods, was in attendance. I’d love to know what he thought.
2. If you fancied some more relaxed tuition and cheese is your friend, then the Didsbury Wine Club gang (already introduced here) were offering you the chance to match cheese & wine for the evening – can you believe I was not there??
3. Finally, the event that gathered the highest numbers of winos by far, the Reserve Wine Christmas Fair.
Whilst I would love to tell you more about the first two, I would selfishly have preferred to have attended them in the first place so I will leave it to those who were there to tell us the tale (if you are reading this post please get in touch, I would love to know how it went).
Reserve Wines for those who are not familiar with south Manchester is, to my knowledge, the best independent wine shop around. They’re tucked in a little place on Burton Road, West Didsbury, next to Frankie’s Fish Bar, another great local outlet. Reserve are a small shop but still manage to skilfully stock a great collection of bottles from anywhere wine is made. Kate is the busy but enthusiastic owner and Marc is the Frenchy, and very knowledgeable manager. They are helped by newly recruited James who shows great promise.
Every 6 months or so, the team puts on a showcase of their updated collection, namely the summer and the winter wine fairs. Well over a hundred people regularly look forward to and attend this event as it is characteristic of the Reserve style… it delivers! No matter what you are looking for, the level of your knowledge, they will dig out the bottle that works. It definitely never failed for me. It’s worth pointing out that they are a small, independant shop and cannot really afford to practice the sort of prices you will get from bigger players. It is unlikely however that you will find their wines in a supermarket. But great wines under £7 can easily be found and no matter the category, quality is always great. I think it’s fair to say they would not sell a wine they don’t like, and they do like their wines.
There were ten tables at the fair, all displaying a variety of wines from fizz, white, rose, red, fortified, sweets… the event is on for 3 hours and there are just about a hundred wines to taste so the aim is not to try them all but to go towards those that you’ll either be keen on buying in the near future, those that you may have never heard of before and those that have a price tag high enough so that you’re unlikely to drink them everyday.
Miss Mash and I went around, tasted far too many as usual, and enjoyed most of them, some more than others obviously. I don’t think there is much point in attempting to talk about all the wines we’ve tasted. We all have different tastes, some will prefer an oaky Rioja or Chilean Cabernet others are all about the fizz or the fruity rose.
Our personal star of the night was the Fixin – Crais de Chene 2009 from Rene Bouvier. Fixin is an appelation from Burgundy and we are therefore talking about Pinot Noir. Miss Mash and I are both fond lovers of Pinot and Burgundy offers a complexity of terroirs and a history of winemaking experience that can deliver the most delicate and complex wines. This is a crafty example, it’s soft and fruity and fresh but if you close your eyes and keep the wine in your mouth for a little longer you get these musty flavours coming through… like if you were going chestnut picking in the forest on a wet Sunday morning. It comes at £29 but it’s one of those that are worth every penny.Reserve Wines – 176 Burton Road, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 1LH www.reservewines.co.uk