I never appreciated quite how much the people in my life like cheese until I mentioned that I was going to a cheese tasting event. My colleagues’ eyes lit up, my friends sent me text messages of jealousy, and this was before I had even mentioned the wine part. I like cheese, but my tastes are simple – melted between two thick slices of white bread, on top of pizza, or some of the softer variety smushed onto a cracker – send any of those my way and I’m a happy girl.
When I explained this to anyone who cared enough to listen, it was met with mutterings about how the cheese would be wasted on me… When I went on to say the cheese was Comté and the wines were from the Jura region, I swear some people shot me daggers. As a cheese novice, I had never even heard of Comté until earlier this year and as for Jura? Let’s not embarrass each other by asking me to locate it on the map. But given the popularity of both amongst those in the know, I knew I was in for a treat even before I stepped into the beautiful Chandos House!
Normally, I would answer, ‘yes’. I think it suits my complexion quite nicely, so much so I’ve just bought a coat in that colour. But normally, I wouldn’t be standing in the beautiful dining room of 28°-50° Wine Workshop and Kitchen on Fetter Lane with a lot of people who are very familiar with Burgundy, as in the region of France and the wine… not the colour. So I played it safe, and stuck with a sheepish ‘not really’ and reached out for another salt cod canapé.
I like to consider myself a wine enthusiast. I’m very enthusiastic about drinking it and learning about it (especially after my trip to Bordeaux) but the people in this room were the true enthusiasts and connoisseurs, they actually knew a thing or two about the tipple. We had only been served the first wine of the evening, a glass of Chablis, Le Basde Chapelot, Vocoret 2013 and the room was already abuzz with excitement. There were still three more Burgundy wines to come, each paired with a dish, and all punctuated with expert food and wine commentary… Bottoms up!
What happens when you combine a Kiwi bloke, a van, and a thirst for wine? A potentially dangerous situation not to be tried at home, or also perhaps the beginning of a very bad joke? In this case, it’s neither. Phew. Instead, pop those three things in France and you get the creation of Rustic Vines, a company running wine tours in Bordeaux. A Kiwi running a tour about French wines in France? Now that sounds a little risky, but clearly the candid Kiwi charm (yes, I’m a little biased) has won people over as it’s the most popular tour in town!
It may have started with a man and a van, but these days Rustic Vines now has a team of five guides who run tours around the surrounding wine regions and bike tours around Bordeaux city itself. On our recent girls getaway, we decided to forgo the bikes and head straight for the wine which pleased me immensely… not only would I not get very far on two wheels, but when given a choice, wine always wins.