Which white Burgundy would help cut through the barbed wit of Oscar Wilde? Which of Shakespeare’s comedies would bring out the best in a glass of crisp English sparkling wine? And which famous British humourist would complement a modern, peppery Super Tuscan?
I discovered the answer to these questions and more thanks to a wonderful evening of wine and theatre hosted by Honest Grapes and theatre company Revels in Hand. An online wine tasting with a difference, the evening is hosted by Honest Grapes co-founder, wine expert and raconteur Tom Harrow, who introduces the evening’s acts – Twelfth Night by Shakespeare, The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, My Battle With Drink by P G Wodehouse, The Provoked Wife by John Vanbrugh and folk song The Parting Glass – and speaks at length in deliciously florid prose about each of the accompanying wines, touching on history, grape variety and tasting notes, as well as diverting across numerous pleasant tangents.
The conceit of pairing wines with the theatrical vignettes isn’t overly laboured, with the well acted segments, each based around famous boozy passages, serving as entertainment in between Harrow’s expert analysis rather than being sincerely matched with a specific grape.
The four half bottles, which are delivered prior to the event, consisted of an Exton Park Brut Reserve, NV; Domaine Durup Chablis ‘Eglantiere’, 2018; Chateau Haut Rian Rouge Vieilles Vignes, 2016; and Niepoort Tawny Dee Port, 2012. Among the sage advise dolled out by Harrow were thewise words “Buy as much Chablis as you can”, referencing the devastating frost damage suffered by French winemakers this season which is sure to lead to shortages in the coming years.
Harrow also advises on whether to drink or age your wines; they are, of course, all available at Honest Grapes.
“We are always looking to innovate with our events,” says Harrow. “We were delighted to team up with Revels in Hand to enjoy theatre as well as fine wines across the screen. Even with lockdown easing, we are sure there will be continued interest in the concept as groups can get together remotely and be entertained wherever they are individually nationwide.”
For more information on Honest Grapes season of online events, or to stock up on wine, visit their website here. To learn more about theatre group Revels in Hand, or to book your own performance, go to their website here.