Maiyango Thirty Fifty wine tasting

Leicester restaurant and hotel Maiyango is well known for its cocktails (GFC members can get a free one when taking the tasting menu!) and offers popular mixology classes. It has also been running a range of tasting and education events to help people learn more about wine. Late last year it put on a dinner and tasting with Ralph Hochar, a member of the Lebanese dynasty behind the legendary Chateau Musar. This year it’s hosting a series of smaller-scale events run by the nationwide wine education group Thirty Fifty – named after the latitudes within which vines can flourish.


GFC went along to the March event, a fun, friendly, two-hour affair run by Rob Golding, a former Leicester Mercury journalist who became a wine grower, wine educator and, as highlighted on his business card, wine taster.

Rob took the class of a dozen or so through the basics of wine tasting – emphasising the importance of the olfactory nerve in our sense of smell and taste – before embarking on a tasting of seven wines. These included a fresh English rosé from Chapel Down, an Old Vine Zinfandel from Cailfornia and a late harvest sticky from Chile.

Two of the wines were tasted blind and, with the help of a grape-by-grape crib sheet and a few clues from the tutor, the group successfully identified an utterly delightful Gewurztraminer from New Zealand, redolent of rose petals and lychees, and a Rioja. With the help of platefuls of ham, chorizo, olives, bread and cheese from Maiyango, there were plenty of opportunities to point out good food-matching tips, such as the way high-protein food can come to the aid of those who might struggle a bit with more tannic wines.

There was, nominally, a quiz running throughout the evening but the aim here was very definitely to provide a light-hearted but useful introduction for anyone keen to start raising their understanding. There are more events coming up at Maiyango on Tuesday evenings in May, July and November. Thirty Fifty also runs full-day tasting events every month at Bosworth Hall Hotel in Market Bosworth. For further details and to book visit the Thirty Fifty website.

* More news from Maiyango with the arrival of new head chef Salvatore (Sav) Tassari. Recruited with involvement of predecessor Nick Wilson, Sav joins after spells in Spain, Italy and a fine dining hotel in Chester. His first menu retains Maiyango’s signature style of modern European cooking with round-the-world influences. Dishes catching the eye in March might include a starter of steamed mackerel with fennel ceviche, cauliflower puree and lemon crumb, and mains of wild sea bass fillet with spiced coconut laska and mint relish or pork belly with king scallops and XO sauce.

The author:

Leicestershire editor Tim lives in Leicester has been a journalist for 30 years, and over the last 12 years he has been restaurant critic for Metro, Great Food Club and the Leicester Mercury. He is also author of 2016 publication The Leicestershire and Rutland Cookbook.