Christian Aid

Burning throats, tingling cheeks, lots of long legs…all at the Wine Tasting Dinner to support Christian Aid!
This was the second year that Chris and Rosemarie Jones have been generous in opening up their home to a throng of keen enthusiasts for a wine tasting dinner where you learn more about wine whilst making money to support the crucial work of Christian Aid. Having heard such good reports from last year’s event – which was also during Christian Aid week - I was already looking forward to the evening. So hearing the level of happy chatter and excitement already generated inside as I approached the Jones’s house only served to further increase my sense of anticipation.  And I wasn’t disappointed, what a great evening it was! 
About 40 of us sat at different tables to form teams to compete for best blind tasting and also a written quiz all about wine. The evening was kicked off by Mother Ruth who shared examples of how tangibly Christian Aid makes a difference to people’s lives with the money that is raised. I think that was probably the only time during the evening that everyone was quiet and listened..! We were then introduced to our wine tasting host, Colin Baxter of Mayfair Wines who explained how we would go about the tasting using our various senses. He described how we needed to analyse each wine to determine grape variety, country of origin and age etc by looking for clues such as, burning in our throats, the number and length of legs (in the wine glass), the tingling in our cheeks, furriness on our tongues and the all important nose… After doing two non-blind tastings with Chris’s assistance, the competition kicked off – comprising overall 6 blind wine tastings along with pretty tricky quiz questions on wine general knowledge. The level of noise in the room increased with each new bottle brought out - even though we were advised to stick to only an inch of wine per tasting and use the spittoon! 
The wines were varied, red, white and rose…and certainly put my team through its paces in terms of determining what they were each time… At one point we seemed set on every white we tried being a Chardonnay…and were wrong each time! After tasting all the wines Chris gave us the answers to the quiz questions and with much debate (and perhaps just a tiny bit of cheating..) each team somehow allocated themselves a total score. I really don’t know if anyone knew which table actually won and more importantly I’m not sure that anybody actually cared! We had all tasted some interesting wines and learned something new and had thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in the process.
Almost exhausted by our enthusiasm during the tasting and quiz, we were all then happy to tuck into the most delicious dinner that Chris and Rosemarie had kindly prepared for everyone.   In fact the choice of puddings was so wonderful it could almost have been a pudding tasting!
Overall a wonderful, fun evening, where new and old friends met creating a real warm neighbourhood feeling whilst at the same time doing something to support the crucial work of Christian Aid.