Is there a middle way ? Some way of picking out more interesting and enjoyable wines having to travel too far. Search the Internet and you will find specialists such as Laithwaites (who also supply the wines for the Sunday Times Wine Club), who provide lots of glossy photos of beautiful hillside vineyards which can feel almost as good as being there yourself.
However, for those who prefer the personal touch and want to support local businesses, Cambridge and its surrounding areas have many independent wine merchants, educators and even its own Master of Wine and vineyard owners.
|King's College - CWM|
is just behind you
With branches on either side of the river, Bacchanalia was set up in 1997 by Paul Bowes with the philosophy of sourcing the very best drinks the staff could find and selling them at a fair price. Regularly voted amongst the top ten shops in Cambridge, it's clear that this approach has proved very popular indeed.
South of the city in Trumpington, Noel Young has been in business since 1991 and won many awards over the years and also has a vineyard in Australia.
|Chilford Hall vineyard|
All of these offer wine-tastings of one sort or another which is a good way to get introduced to wines of different types and see what you like; the Cambridge Food and Wine Society, a not-for-profit organisation, uses a mixture of outside experts (both specialist educators and vineyard owners) and committee members (who are all experts in different areas from Spain and Austria to the International Wine Challenge) to present its monthly events.
Tickets for a wine tasting usually cost around the same price as two good bottles of wine and for that you should get to sample around 8 wines, pose questions and discuss opinions, possibly with some accompanying food.
This article first appeared in the Histon Impington Courier (September print edition p5 - http://hicourier.com/print-editions/)
Histon Impington Courier - http://hicourier.com/
Laithwaites - http://www.laithwaites.co.uk/
Cambridge Food and Wine Society - http://www.cambridgefoodandwinesociety.org.uk/
Cambridge Wine Merchants - http://www.cambridgewine.com/index.asp
Bacchanalia - http://www.winegod.co.uk/
Noel Young Wines - http://www.nywines.co.uk/
HS Fine Wines - no website, firstname.lastname@example.org
GrapeSense - http://www.grapesense.com/
The Old Bridge - http://www.huntsbridge.com/theoldbridgehotel.php
Chilford Hall vineyard - http://www.chilfordhall.co.uk/cgi-bin/ch/info.html?domain=info&name=Vineyard