When I was invited to Cru – London’s first urban winery, I was all over it. Mainly because..
A) It involved wine tasting
B) It involved wine tasting
Personally I’m usually happy to order anything ‘house’ and I’m very well acquainted with a £3.50 bottle of Portuguese rose. I can’t tell you anything about carbonic maceration or the weight and body of a wine, but I can tell you that I am considerably funnier after a couple glasses of the good stuff.
Cru is the first of its kind. There are no other urban wineries in London, making it truly unique and an excellent stop for any wine connoisseur.
They run two different tours at the winery and they invited me to tag along on their ‘Meet the cru’ tour. Who better to take along than my very own Mother who knows just as much about wine making as I do.
The tour is lead by one of the wineries staff who lives and breathes wine making. We joined a diverse crowd to hear all about how the winery came to be and what their mission is at Cru.
The founder has worked with top wine production companies which has made him a master of his craft, he wanted to try something a little different and had the idea of setting up our city’s first winery. The buzz and excitement surrounding these guys setting up their own company which they are clearly so passionate about is infectious and I felt inspired by the way they had tackled seemingly impossible challenges, they’ve done really well to pull it off.
We learnt all about how their unconventional wine is made. I stood there wondering if I could pull off something similar with Sainsburys entire stock of grapes, my bath and snow boots for pummelling…. It could work?!
They explained how each piece of their sparkling new equipment works, down to how the materials the containers are made from can effect the flavour of the finished wine. It seems that every little thing in the making process needs to be continuously thought over as any little mishap can ruin the finished product. I never consider this as I’m knocking back several hundred glasses of it on the weekends. I feel a deep respect for these guys and what they do, it’s heavy stuff!
After the initial tour we got to the good stuff….WINE TASTING.
Our guide lead us to barrels. We all gathered around, glasses in hand eager to try what we’d learned so much about. I looked around to realise that I was the only one with my hand wrapped around the bowl of my glass. Apparently it’s etiquette to hold it by the stem…who knew?….everyone apparently.
We dove into the tasting and experienced the differing flavours depending on the age of the barrel it had been living in and the amount of time spent in there. The wines are fairly young as they only started barrelling them last October so they aren’t ready to start selling yet, but it was interesting to have a taste before they had really settled.
My Mother and I couldn’t help but giggle and elbow each other every time the wine masters of the room gurgled on their wine and gobbed it into the spittoon. I only went as far as shoving my nose into my glass and inhaling the enticing scents of each glass.
“Which scents are you picking up from this wine?” Our guide asked
“IT SMELLS LIKE BEER!” An Essex las blurted out, sending my Mum into fits of laughter. Suddenly I didn’t feel like the most clueless person in the room.
Mmm that heady beer scent…
Overall I would say that this tour is great if you are a lover of wine, I occasionally got lost in the terminology. I certainly learned a lot and may think twice when choosing a bottle from the shelves in M&S…although Portuguese rose will always be my first love. It’s also inspired me to make a stop at a traditional winery on my travels.
The tour was an hour long and cost £15 to learn about the equipment and how they’ve managed to establish London’s first urban winery. They also give visitors the opportunity to be a wine maker for the day for £125 which would be a great gift for any connoisseur – Or a good gift for Mothers Day! Their wines go on sale from the warehouse later this year.
To book a tour visit the events page of London Cru’s website.