Tales of a City Girl

Dionysius Wine and Cheese tasting reviewed

Wine and cheese tasting is one of life’s great pairings – like toasted cheese and Worcestershire sauce, gin and tonic, chips and ketchup, it’s just meant to be. But it can be expensive for little return (let’s not forget the upsetting Cheese and Wine Festival). Can Dionysius do it better?

The tasting itself was in one of those strangely dilapidated but super expensive hotels in Paddington. The kind where the leather sofas look like they’ve been taken to with a penknife and the last stylistic update was 1972, but they can still charge you over £100 for a night’s stay.

We were led downstairs into their basement restaurant where long tables were set out with place names and a cheese board set out for each pair of people.

There was strange rodeo music playing as we sat down but apart from that, so far, so good – it’s much better to be able to sit down and see what you’re going to be served rather than jostle for slivers of cheese around a table with everyone else in the group.

The tasting pairs five Italian wines with five pairing cheeses. The tasting was run by three Italians – and the daughter of the man who runs the vineyard over in Italy. This helped feel you were getting a more authentic experience. We were talked through the history of the wine (like the heathen I am, I didn’t really focus on this bit – there was a cheeseboard in front of me and the promise of wine) and shown how to properly taste wine, from the initial swilling it around the glass right up to how to hold it in your mouth to test the quality. This was really interesting and felt like it was coming from someone who really knew what they were talking about.

Then it was just all about chatting while sampling wines and eating the cheeses they recommended for you. Some of the cheeses I doubted whether they were really going for that sophisticated palate (Philadelphia cheese with olives, anyone?) but  to me they tasted pretty damn good and were generously portioned – you didn’t feel like you were getting a thumbnail’s worth of cheese for your troubles.

The wine was an interesting mix. Wine, unless you really know what you’re talking about, I find a bit of a subjective opinion – one person’s Prosecco is another person’s bargain bin Chardonnay, taste wise. The wine consisted of one sparkling white, three reds and one bizarre sparkling red wine served in a champagne flute. Some of them were delicious and some of them strange, but they all had their own charm. I certainly wasn’t disappointed by them.

Overall, it was 2 hours of fun and light-hearted tasting that a real wine buff may not adore, but my friend and I really enjoyed.

Dionysius wine and cheese tasting for 2, £24.00 on Groupon