Carluccio’s Sicilian Wine Festival

carluccios london wine tasting food

Another day, another wine festival. I’ve recently written about the South African Wine Festival that I went to, but this one popped into my inbox just after I got back from Sicily and I thought that a Sicilian Wine Festival was the perfect excuse for a girls night out and to learn more about the wines that I had enjoyed on holiday.

The evening didn’t start out well. Due to the roadworks at Notting Hill Gate station, we took a while to find each other and then as a result were late to the event, but as it turned out, it was a pretty intimate setting and the expert didn’t seem to mind too much when we snuck in a few minutes late. Also, major result for us: three of us sat on a table for 4, meaning that we had a few extra glasses in the table – should we have really liked one of the wines or maybe felt a second glass was necessary in order to ensure that we really were fans. Teehee. This worked out pretty well actually because we ended up ordering 2 bottles from the store too! Then we opened one when another friend popped in… Oh well!

The tasting itself was fantastic! The food was marvellous value. We paid £10 per person for 4 different wines and a platter between 2, or 2 platters between 3 if you were sitting on the lucky table… The guy presenting knew so much about wines and Sicily and have us some amazing tips and pieces of info about the wines and about ordering wines in general.

This is what we learnt:

  • Most wine is close to organic, unless they had to save the crop with some sprays and save a lot of money. So most of the time, it isn’t necessarily worth spending money on organic wine as the difference in terms of clean eating is relatively negligible, especially if you buy a good wine anyway.
  • How do you know if a wine is good? Well, whether you like it or not is a good place to start!
  • In the UK, we have the highest importation tax on wine, much lower than anywhere else in Europe – which is why any wine less than £5 is usually very bad here. Imagine how they are making a profit on that once they have paid for the bottle, the delivery and the tax?! There’s nothing left to account for the wine, meaning it must be cheap. However, pay a little bit more and you’ll find a massive difference in quality. That’s because the tax on every bottle is the same – whether it’s £5 or £55.
  • White wine is better chilled – but take it out about 15-30mins before you serve it in order for the flavours to come out properly.

Another sparkling gem for you? Not many people know this, but Carluccio’s charge £5 corkage if you buy a wine from their deli to drink at the table. You pay less than a bottle of house wine would cost at the table and the quality is so much higher because you pay retail plus £5 and not the marked-up restaurant prices. Do this every time you go to Carluccio’s!