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Wine tasting at Portrait Winery in Soho – not your average wine bar

UPDATE: Portrait Winery is now closed.

There are not many things that excite us Sassy girls more than the prospect of a wine tasting, so when Portrait Winery offered to host a gaggle of us on a school night, there was no chance we were passing it up… did they know what they were getting themselves in for?!

Portrait Winery is not your average wine bar. Nestled along bustling Staunton Street, it is a unique boutique winery and distiller, producing handcrafted award-winning wines selected from their family estate vineyards and orchards, whilst also bringing personality to the table through their fab bottles. To reflect the notes and aromas of the wine, an in-house designer produces bespoke labels, each with their own pin-up girl illustration – these ladies give a whole new meaning to the word ‘full-bodied’!

Despite their individual wines and designs, there are some things these guys do by the book; offering us a spit bucket (Team Sassy response: as if!) and serving each taster in special Plumm wine glasses. Apparently, different shapes of wine glass suit different grape varietals and maximise its aromas and flavours… you learn something new every day!

After a full day at work there is sometimes nothing better than a chilled glass of wine to relax and unwind, and this was exactly how owners Steve and Jackie greeted us! The Débutante was the first handcrafted wine we sampled. A tasty blend of Pinot Gris, Semillion, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc, this was one of the tastiest whites I’ve had in a long time. It may seem unusual to have so many grape varieties in a wine; however, Steve and Jackie explained that this creates a beautifully complex wine with crisp acidity and fruit characters. A truly sophisticated entertainer!

Next up was The Librarian; despite being 100% Pinot Gris, this wine showed a variety of layers. After the delicious range of fruit flavours (peach and pear mainly, I think!) there was a lovely smooth texture and splash of vanilla. You’ll want to read up on this one!

The Farm Girl Rosé was up next, boasting a seductive pink colour produced from the syrah (aka shiraz) grape skins being left to ‘flirt’ with the grape juice. The wine was full-bodied (like the girl on the label!) with distinct red berry and strawberry flavours – almost one of your five-a-day!

Finally, The Aviator was our red wine of the evening. An oak-aged New World Bordeaux-style blend with notes of black fruit and a cheeky touch of spice, this would be the perfect pairing to a meat dish. You won’t want to miss this flight! You can keep up to date on all Portrait’s latest wines on their Facebook Page too.

It didn’t take long for us to sniff out the cheese and meat platter courtesy of Classified! This spread was a perfect complement to the wine tasting and was nothing short of incredible, boasting a selection of English and French cheeses plus an assortment of scrummy cold-cut cured meats too. The Ticklemore goat’s cheese and creamy Wigmore were particular favourites… and within minutes, not a bite remained of all five cheeses!

If you’re looking for a scrummy after-dinner platter, some nibbles to go alongside Portrait’s wines or are just having a cheesy craving (it happens to the best of us!), Classified also does home delivery. The package includes a selection of five gourmet European cheeses chosen by their team of affinieurs (cheesy people), with a different theme each month. We sampled the seasonal selection of summer favourites, which definitely got the Sassy seal of approval! We then rounded off the night than with a selection of homemade, freshly baked cookies from Honey Pie – check out Rach’s article about them here.

Wine can sometimes be a daunting subject with the pressure to pick out flamboyant notes and aromas however, but Portrait’s owners Steve and Jackie were easygoing and approachable. Creating a relaxing atmosphere and décor that makes you feel like you’re tucked away in a Californian wine cellar, Portrait is the perfect escape from frantic Soho. With the chance to also sample homemade Votka Primi Ananans (pineapple vodka to us common folk) and delicious award-winning Pear Brandy (Poire Royal), there really is something for everyone. Cheers!

SASSY DEAL: Portrait are exclusively offering 40% off purchases of three or more bottles of their wines (excluding Grand Reserves) to Sassy girls! Simply mention SASSY to get your discount, which is valid until August 26.

Portrait Winemakers & Distillers G/F, 31 Staunton Street, Soho, Central
2526 8858 www.portraitwinery.com

www.portraitwinery.com, www.facebook.com/portraitwinery

Classified cheese boxes cost $275 plus $50 for delivery; order online here

Photos by Sabrina Sikora Photography

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