by chrislucas on 14 April, 2014
Last Friday (11 April) I helped organise a celebration of European wines held by the Bathwick & Widcombe Liberal Democrats. I arranged for my friend and neighbour Angela Mount, Bath’s foremost wine expert, to host a wine tasting evening for members and their guests in a lovely guest house in Widcombe. It was a brilliant night! I don’t profess to possess a great knowledge of wine beyond the basics so it was a real eye opener for me. Angela hand picked some of her own favourite ‘entry level’ (sub £10) bottles and asked us to guess the origin and to try it with different cheeses or cold meat. There were some real surprises in there (well, for me anyway!) I’m usually a red wine man – I don’t normally have that much to do with with white wine, however I was surprised by some of Angela’s choices. Not only did some of them come from off the beaten track, but they tasted great AND were priced to suit even my meagre budget! My particular favourite white wine was the Riesling Reichsrat von Buhl (Germany) and my favourite red was the Camillo de Lellis (Italy). They will definitely feature in my “cellar” (the falling apart wooden wine rack bought 200 years ago from Ikea that sits behind the microwave) at some point in the future.
I was also shocked to learn that for a £5 bottle of wine under 15% abv, over half of the retail price is tax and duty. Once you factor in production, bottling, transport and retailer margin, there really isn’t that much left for the producer at all. Angela explained that she and many of her wine industry colleagues lobbied the coalition government really hard about this and was pleased that the duty escalator had been scrapped in the 2014 budget.
Jay Rusbridger, one of the Lib Dem European Parliament candidates for the South West, took the opportunity to explain to those of us assembled just how important it was for the UK to remain in Europe – not just for cheap wine imports, but for jobs, security and clout on the world stage.
So overall, it was a really informal and informative evening spent with friends, members and some new members who signed up also. My thanks to Angela Mount for making learning fun and to Nicole & Anthony for the use of their wonderful home. My thanks also to First Western Wine for making the wine/glasses collection so straightforward.
For more information on Angela Mount, please follow her on Twitter (@angelatalkswine) and read her article in the Bath Chronicle.