A couple of weekends back, the streets of Birmingham were awash with vino, as Birmingham Wine Weekend rolled into town. Organised by the lovely folk behind Birmingham Cocktail Weekend, this was the first outing of the wine version.
£10 gets you a magical wristband, and a handy guidebook. With your wristband, you can spend the weekend staggering between dozens of venues across the city to try fabulous wines (most venues offer a red and a white) for just £4 a glass. I joined the fabulous Bite Your Brum and her husband, and set about trying all the wines around Colmore Row. I know very little about wine except that I like it, so brace for yourselves for highly vague flavour descriptions incoming…
Our first stop was Gaucho, for a Bressia Crytal Malbec. I’ve never actually made into Gaucho before, but it’s truly fabulous inside, and I spent most of our visit eyeing the delicious looking food I could see in the restaurant. Perched in the bar area, we had a quick chat with Gaucho’s Director of Wine, Phil Crozier, and enjoyed the Malbec, which was rich and smooth, with deep spicy notes. An excellent start!
Over the road to Hotel du Vin, where we settled in the Bubble Bar for a glass of Passori. The bar was full of people, making it the ideal buzzy venue to enjoy this Italian red we all agreed was ‘quaffable’.
From there, we strolled up the road to Gusto. Gusto was packed out with revellers, but we managed to grab a glass of Spanish Rioja, Gran Dominio. It was well balanced and enjoyable, but I think the least interesting of the day’s wines.
Next stop, fizz! The beautiful Edwardian Tearooms were serving bubbles in the form of Champagne from Piper-Hiedsieck. With live music, and the gorgeous surroundings, this was easily my favourite stop of the weekend. The Champagne is crisp and delicious, and we stayed here to enjoy a couple more glasses. On Sunday, I actually went back with my mum, and we managed to bag a booth with a Press for Champagne button (I wrote about the launch of these here), and enjoyed yet another.
Eventually we dragged ourselves away and headed to Chung Ying Central. I swapped to a rosé, The Emily, which was a beautiful pale pink, and very light. It was an excellent refresher after all the red wine, and arrived accompanied by a bowl of Prawn Crackers, which we made short work of.
Finally, we hit Amantia, where I took truly appalling photos of a Tramez Joven, which deserved better treatment. This was an easy drinking red with lots of fruit notes. We enjoyed this accompanied by fabulous live Flamenco.
Finally, we drifted back to Hotel du Vin before calling it a night, fuzzy headed but happy. Wine Weekend is a fabulous way to discover both new wines and venues you might not normally visit. Lots of the venues on the list were new to me, and most of the wines (and I only visited a small fraction of the list!), making this a brilliant way to discover new things. I really hope this becomes an annual thing! Speaking of…I’ll see you at Cocktail Weekend in July…
My wristband was complementary, courtesy of East Village, but all wine was paid for in full by myself. All images, words and opinions are my own.