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Tesco Christmas Wine Tasting with Gerard Basset.
Gerard Basset is one of the world's greatest wine experts and owner of the Hotel TerraVina. Recently Pierpaolo Petrassi and I were delighted to join him for a tasting where he selected 10 great wines for the perfect Christmas. Full details of Tesco wine tasting...
THE ONLY PERSON IN THE WORLD to hold the combined qualifications of Master Sommelier, Master of Wine and a Wine MBA, Gerard Basset knows more about wine than almost any other person I know. It's with a slight nervousness therefore that Pierpaolo and I arrive at the Hotel TerraVina in the New Forest on a cold, crisp morning. We both hope Gerard will like the wines we've chosen for him to taste, but at this stage we have absolutely no way of knowing what he'll make of them.
The front door of the hotel swings open and we're greeted very warmly by Gerard and his wife Nina. I'm delighted to see they are full of enthusiasm for the day ahead. Whisking us through a chic lobby lined with countless press cuttings, they bring us to a cosy dining room overlooking the garden where 50 odd bottles, all available from Tesco, have been lined up to try. Our aim is simple: we want Gerard to taste the wines and pick his top 10 for Christmas so Wine Club members can benefit from his renowned expertise.
With a lilting French accent and luxuriant moustache, it's easy to imagine that Gerard grew up with wine in his veins. But it's not the case; "It wasn't until I came to England that I became interested in wine. I first came over here in 1979, when I was 22, to see a football match. I came back in 1983 to get a job as a waiter in a restaurant; and because I was French they put me on the wine when in fact I knew almost nothing about it. So that's when I started studying."
Gerard approaches the tasting with a rigorous professionalism and it's not long before he picks his first favourite, the Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne Brut, "Now this would be a wonderful Champagne to celebrate Christmas", he says to the delight of Pierpaolo and myself, "It has a beautiful underlay of biscuit and just-baked bread."
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