Wine Masterclasses at The Olive Branch, Clipsham.

The Olive Branch at Clipsham is an idyllic looking pub and restaurant in the gorgeous county of  Rutland. I’ve been there before for dinner and loved it (but strangely enough, not blogged it). Recently, I was invited to attend a trial wine tasting masterclass with owner and wine expert of over 30 years, Pedro Torres. I joined Matt from the Great Food Club and we even managed to secure lifts each way! What a perfect Saturday afternoon!
Discover Grenache at The Olive Branch, Clipsham
Blue skies over The Olive Branch at Clipsham
The theme of the class was ‘Grenache‘. Over the course of a leisurely few hours, we tried 6 wines, covering white, red and even dessert wine. Grenache is a very common grape which grows best in hot dry climates and usually the best wines made with it come from Spain and the South of France, places like Rioja, Priorat & the Rhone. However, as we learned, they are now grown elsewhere, most notably the USA and Australia.
Wine in buckets ready for wine tasting class
Wine tasting at the olive branch clipsham
Pedro Torres wine masterclass
Throughout the experience, Pedro taught us everything we needed to know, from how the grapes are grown and harvested through to what we should (in theory) be tasting with each wine. All done in an informal fashion, whilst feeding us deliciously paired canapés.  Perfection!
My wine of the day was the Birichino Grenache Vielles Vignes pictured below. A surprise choice for me as it’s actually Californian and I don’t usually go for American wines. This wine was 100% Grenache which we were told is quite unusual and made using old vines in the traditional Italian method (where grapes are sun-dried before being processed). The Birichino website calls it a Brilliant red with a bright rim. Spice- and mineral-accented raspberry and cherry scents show very good clarity and a sexy floral topknot’. I would definitely agree with that! In fact, I loved it so much I bought a bottle home. We are saving it for something special. 
Birichino wine at the Olive Branch in Clipsham

Although the masterclass was all about the wine, the paired nibbles were a delight and well worth mentioning here. We tried numerous canapés including goats cheese and red onion marmalade tarts, a deliciously salty brandade and beetroot and chorizo bites. The food was excellent and perfectly paired to the wines on the day. My personal favourite was the shallot and Cropwell bishop tart tatin which paired perfectly with the Vinferno Bonny Doon (another Californian!) pudding wine – almost malty in taste with hints of apricot and honey, it was perfect twitch the salty blue cheese. Yum!

Canapés at the olive branch, clipsham

Fancy attending a masterclass? Check out the Olive Branch website here for more details. Priced at £55 per person, they run every other month on Saturday early afternoons and from chatting with Pedro, he has plenty of ideas up his sleeves when it comes to class topics, from different types of wine through to regions and grape varieties.

I would recommend the Olive Branch ANYWAY as a great place for a special dinner. They are in the Great Food Club too so if you’re a member, don’t forget to flash your card for special offers!

Leave a comment

  1. 28th February 2016 / 9:50 am

    Flashbacks of my stint as Art Editor of Wine Magazine… Even though I was usually on the periphery sneaking sips of wine I loved the process. This looks like a perfect combination of wine and food and evening well spent 🙂

  2. 28th February 2016 / 11:24 am

    Looks like a really fun way to spend an afternoon. I'd love to do something like this. I love to drink wine but I know so little about it!!

  3. 29th February 2016 / 8:43 pm

    Never mind other half, I want to do it again for myself! 🙂

  4. 12th March 2016 / 10:16 am

    Wine tasting is something me and the other half want to get into. I have done a few whilst abroad but none in the UK.. maybe we could have a wine tasting adventure ourselves?!

  5. 12th March 2016 / 2:44 pm

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. 12th March 2016 / 2:45 pm

    We definitely should Anna! It was so much fun 🙂

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