Following a very successful wine-tasting event in aid of UKFTSH in 2017, the Anglican parish of Saint Andrew and Saint Mark, Surbiton, decided to see if they could do even better in 2018. On 27 January some 80 people gathered in St. Mark’s Hall to sample wines made from unfamiliar grape varieties.
Everyone was given a glass of prosecco on arrival – and later had their knowledge tested by a quiz question asking them to identify the grape from which prosecco is made. Despite the fact that the vicar and master of ceremonies, the Revd. Robert Stanier, had given them the answer in his introduction, only a few people correctly identified the grape*.
The other grape varieties represented (out of several thousand from which wine can be made) were Verdejo and Falanghina for white wine, Fer for rosé, and Negroamaro and Feteascӑ Neagrӑ for red.
Of these the Feteascӑ Neagrӑ was a clear favourite among the tasters, most of who had never heard of it before – although one person told us that he had recently visited a vineyard in Moldova where the grape is grown. It is an old variety that survived the phylloxera epidemic of the nineteenth century. It produces wine of a deep red colour with a hint of blackcurrant in the flavour.
The event was a success on three counts – all those attending clearly enjoyed themselves; the eyes and taste buds of many were opened to wines beyond those on the standard restaurant lists; and (with other donations, and before taking account of Gift Aid) a total of £1,385 was raised for UKFTSH.
*- Prosecco is made from a grape that used to be called prosecco, but which is now known as Glera.