I use to be a red wine drinker. I loved the deep rich ruby colours of red wine and the way some of the wines leave a thick trail on the glass as you swirl it around. But in the last couple of months I’ve switch to white. White to me was always one dimensional and you never drank a white wine if you were even the slightest bit sophisticated (or at least thought you were). Like anything though, the more knowledge you acquire the more you understand and for me there is a whole new world of white wines to discover.
I have a love of wine but I am far away from being an expert and truly understanding the complexities, tastes and growing process of wines; so when Veeno, Quartermile asked me to come over and review their Selezione Wine Tasting for £26.90pp how could I refuse. This tasting allows you to try out two whites, one rosé, two reds. Their best bottles for a special experience and a fantastic chance to try the most authentic and exclusive spuntini.
Sat in one of their booths, Dale our lovely and knowledgeable barista looked after us.
The five bottles we would sample were brought to the table and cleverly placed to allow the light to shine through and make the bottles glisten like pretty jewels that you cant wait to get your hands on. The wines are all from the family wine range which are grown in the family owned vineyard in Sicily – Caruso and Minini.
Next to arrive at the table was a massive platter of Italian delights. Some of the ingredients are essential to the pairings such as the mozzarella and the ham and the remaining appetizers are there just because they taste delicious and compliment your experience.
You’ll find combined dishes on your platter such as the Pane e olio of four different breads all served with their family produced olive oil and balsamic glaze; sun-dried tomatoes with taralli and Olive Taggiasche – unique juicy olives from Liguria with taralli.
You’ll also indulge in Mozzarella di Bufala from water buffalo milk, this cheese is soft, creamy and mild in flavour; Gorgonzola made with cow’s milk, a creamy blue cheese from Lombardy and served with walnuts; and the Pecorino in Grotta from Tuscany, a semi-hard sheep milk cheese seasoned in natural caves.
Both meats are essential to the wine pairing. The Bresaola which is air dried for three months; a salted beef that is lean and tender; and Prosciutto de Parma, the very best prosciutto from Italy, 18 month aged.
So lets start the wine tasting….
The first wine is the white wine and one of Veeno’s driest, the Grillo Timpune Caruso Minini.
Timpune means ‘top of the hill’ where the grapes used for this wine are grown. For this wine they have chosen the highest hill in order to exalt its freshness and flavour. It gives off delicate notes of oak and acacia and is quite delicate. It is aged for 2 months in the bottle.
This wine is great paired with creamy pasta and lemon flavours. Here the wine was paired with the mozzarella which really enhanced the creaminess of both the cheese and the wine.
On it’s own I could taste the citrus and minerals. It’s quite acidic giving it a crisp clean finish.
Wine number two was the Corte Ferro Zibibbo Caruso Minini or the wine of love.
It’s smooth to the palate and this wine offers a wide shade of profumes that range from spices to floral and fruits. Sipping this wine will feel like a caress to all your senses. It was certainly my favourite of them all. It’s aged for 3 months in tanks and then 2 months in the bottle.
This was paired with the Pecorino cheese. I tasted Elderflower for sure and you can smell the floral notes. It’s certainly the sweeter of the two whites and very easy to drink.
Wine number 3 was the Tasari Syrah Rosato Caruso Minini.
Cherry-colored with an intense fruity bouquet that comes from our best Syrah. Notes of strawberry, cherry, raspberry and pomegranate. The wine is fresh with a good acidity and balanced tannins. It’s certainly not a wine for undecided palates. It is aged for 4 months in a tank and then 2 months in the bottle.This was paired with the Prosciutto di Parma ham and would be ideally paired with grill based dinners or BBQ.
For me this was summer in a bottle, not only could you smell the strawberries and raspberries but you could taste them too. A little acidic but very pleasant to drink.
Now onto the reds… wine number four was the Sachia Perricone Caruso Minini.
For decades the Perricone, or the so-called pignatello, had been the undisputed leader of the red grapes in western Sicily. Rich with red fruits, mixed with notes of liquorice, a typical expression of the relationship between the variety and its land. Wine of great power and harmony while expressing, at the same time, a fresh and lively character. It is aged 6 months in the tanks and a further 3-6 months in the bottle.
This was paired with the Bresaola, a salted beef that is lean and tender and air dried for three months. When paired with this beef the liquorice is enhanced and for me quite a dominant flavour. Truly delicious though.
Wine number five was the Cutaja Nero d’Avola Riserva Caruso Minini.
Their vineyards are situated in the deepest part of a gravel river bank and here you’ll find water-rounded stones called “Cuti”. Thus, the name of this wine derives from the originality of its soil. It’s complex and intense. You’ll taste mature red fruits like currant and prune merging perfectly with herbs and scents of cocoa. It’s spicy, silky and persistent. Aged in total for approx 14 months.
This wine is paired with the strong gorgonzola cheese. Both are big bold and powerful that somehow compliment each other rather than fighting against each other. This wine is strong and half a glass was enough for me, but a lovely wine to end on.
Or so I thought….. I forgot that there was a sixth wine so it was a delightful surprise when this gorgeous golden goblet of liquid was placed in front of me with a plate of what can only be described as the best tiramisu I’ve ever had. The dessert wine was the Tagos Grillo Vendemmia Tardiva Caruso Minini.
Veeno Quartermile has only been open a few months but it’s location is superb. It’s tucked away in the Quartermile courtyard with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. On entry into the wine bar, the bar is the dominant feature but there are two lovely drinking areas in the ‘turret’ sections one with poser tables and high stools, the other with sofas. They also have the a private tasting room for wine tasting parties.
Veeno is great. I love the concept and the fact that you can tailor the menu to suit you. You’d feel comfortable and most welcome if you went in on your own, ordered a glass of wine, a small platter and sat and read a book; or went in with a group of mates for a wine tasting night. The atmosphere is wonderfully relaxed and laid back; and the experience is all about you and of course the wine. I highly recommend Veeno.
Veeno, 11 Lister Square, Quartermile, Edinburgh Tel : 0131 229 5620 www.theveenocompany.com
My Spoon Award : Gold