Ten Green Bottles: Unpretentious wine tastings showcasing little-known wines
There was a time when Catherine and I would spend at least three hours getting ready before heading out to a bar (no coat, obviously, because back then we were
hardcore fools). We’d have one or two cocktails (plus lots of shots) in a bar and then realise it was gone 1am and hotfoot to our favourite club to wiggle the night away. Thankfully, just like a fine bottle of wine, as we’ve aged we’ve become more refined. Now, our catch-ups are planned around delicious meals, great wine and if we’re not too broke, a cab home safely before the gong of midnight.
Part wine shop, part wine bar
One of our well-loved spots for a rendezvous is Ten Green Bottles, on Jubilee Street. It’s part wine shop, part wine bar, which can be dangerous if you’ve had a wee bit too much to drink and decide it’s time to go shopping.
Pop in on a Friday or Saturday evening and you’re likely to find it ram packed, so it’s best to book a wine tasting in advance and reserve a table. Wine tastings can be booked in pairs or groups (with groups of 4+ charged at £5 less per person).
The tastings aren’t exclusively for wine experts as you may think. They are more suited to the wine enthusiast who enjoys wine but is keen to learn more and find new wines they’ll enjoy drinking. Courses can also be tailored depending on what you like and don’t like. So, love English wine, there’s a tasting for that. Love cheese and wine together, you guessed it, there’s a tasting for that too.
Little known wines
Led by one of the ten green bottle’s wine experts, a wine tasting will last roughly two hours. Although, there’s certainly no rushing you along – with the opportunity to stop and ask questions along the way and continue drinking in the bar afterwards. You’ll be introduced to six wines and to ensure you go steady there are plenty of appetisers to graze on along the way included. Charcuterie and cheese boards are also available for an extra cost.
As specialists in little-known wines, you’re very likely to try something here that you’ve never heard of before (and enjoy it). During our visit, Catherine fell in love with distinctive white – Herdade do Rocim Branco 2013, from Alentejo, Portugal (£17). The wine came from a blend of grapes and had notes of almonds and honey. But just as with men, we’ve always had completely different tastes and this wine didn’t excite me in the same way it did for her.
Our very first tasting was the highlight for me – a white sparkling called Domaine Breton, Vouvray Brut (£20). Simon, our guide and the co-owner, explained that this wine was from a small family run organic vineyard in the Loire Valley area of France. It’s a wine that’s made in the same traditional method as Champagne – but just not as serious. It was very pale, almost like water, with citrus, tangy flavours and all too easy to drink.
An education in wine
As we worked our way through the wines Simon knowledgeably dropped in little educations for us to take away, like how most English wine is made with red and white grapes and that the skin of the grape is what gives red wine its colour. We also learnt that the reason red wine goes so well with meat is because the tannins in the wine soften out the proteins in the meat.
RATING: Must Go | Worth A Try | Give It A Miss
PRICE: £30pp for a wine tasting for 2
I’m a big fan of anywhere that offers something a little bit different and supports small producers. Add to that the unpretentious and friendly team and it gets my vote. Pop in for a date, catch up with a group of friends or sit up at the bar solo and treat yourself.
Where are your favourite wine bars or places to drink? Leave me a comment and let me and others know.