Wine tasting with Bibendum: MM take the test and uncover Manchester’s love for sweet reds from Down Under

By Judith Hawkins & Patrick Christys

Fancy an Australian Shiraz? Like wine with your dessert? According to statistics Mancunians are most partial to red wines from Down Under, and a fifth have a sweet tooth.

And at a tasting held by Bibendum wine merchants, we found out that we do too!

The UK’s leading independent wine merchant, Bibendum, invited us to a wine tasting at Manchester235 to sample the most popular wine varieties in the city as well as the bottles to buy next year.

Bibendum supplies wines to hotels, bars and restaurants across the UK, and to 6000 customers in Manchester alone.

Through their Taste Test questionnaire in which they asked more than 10,000 people a few simple questions, they have been able to identify which wines get our taste buds tingling. Collecting the data by postcode revealed that in Manchester Pinot Grigio was the top choice white and Shiraz the favourite red.

Leading the tasting at Manchester235 was Gareth Groves from Bibendum’s Marketing and Events team.

He said: “The Taste Test is our big mission to encourage people to explore different wines. We want to take that person who always buys the same wine and get them excited about trying something new.”

We were certainly excited to see how the popular Pinot Grigio compared with the less known but just as aromatic Grecanico, which Bibendum believe will be the perfect complement to Manchester’s Italian dining scene.

At the tasting we also enjoyed an example of Manchester’s top country and second favourite grape, a 2011 Chateau Tanunda Shiraz from Barossa Valley in Australia. We finished with a 2008 Royal Tokaji dessert wine from up and coming wine producer Hungary, putting us firmly in the 19% of Mancunians who prefer sweeter styles of wine. 

As well as the Taste Test which has been taken up by Morrisons, and is available to complete online here, Bibendum launched their aptly titled app Plonk in May, all part of what Bill Roberts from the North-West Regional Sales Team explains makes Bibendum ‘cutting edge’.

Users of the app can search more than 70 grape varieties by country, food match or grape name, highlight their favourites and then share them via social media.

Founded in 1982 by a group of friends, Bibendum now import more than a 1,000 different wines from producers in 18 different countries.

However as Gareth explains they still focus primarily on the consumer.

“We recognise that a lot of people don’t care about wine in comparison with beer and spirits, but fine dining is really coming into Manchester so there is a thirst for it,” he said.

In terms of wines to look out for in the future, Bibendum expect a big push in the sales of Brazilian wines as we get closer to next year’s World Cup and the Olympics in 2016.

Perhaps the shouts of ‘Goal!’ will be accompanied by ‘Bonne Santé’ if we see English football fans swapping lager for a Sauvignon.

Bibendum’s next event is at the Museum of Science and Industry on Wednesday September 11 from 12-5pm where 80 wines again chosen to reflect Manchester’s drinking habits will be available to try. Cheers!

Picture courtesy of longhorndave, with thanks.

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