Veeno, just opposite Chester’s cathedral, is an Italian wine cafe and a foodie heaven, offering a great selection of fine wines and gorgeous Italian food.
Based on the concept of Italian Aperitivo, the ritual of drinking, nibbling and relaxing after work, Veeno was established in Manchester by two Italian guys Nino Caruso and Andrea Zecchino.
We were invited along to experience the Selezione Wine Tasting: a two hour feast for the senses which involved tasting six fabulous wines from the family’s own vineyard in Sicily, accompanied by a platter of meat, cheeses and appetisers, all from exceptional quality Italian producers.
We were guided through each wine selection by Anna, the restaurant manager, who explained the provenance of the wine, tasting notes, and guidance on which of the foods to sample with each of the wines.
I’m no wine expert so I won’t presume to give you my thoughts on each (after all you can taste them all yourself for £26.90) but in summary this is how it went:
We started with a classic Sicilian Grillo: a slightly oaky dry white to match with the light and fluffy buffalo mozzarella. Next up was a more floral and fruity Zibibbo which perfectly matched the sharp Pecorino cheese.
At no time did we feel under pressure to move onto the next wine too quickly. Anna was attentive and came back to our table with the next selection when she could see that we were ready. This made for a very relaxed experience.
Alongside the meats and cheeses, we had several breads – great for dipping in the excellent quality olive oil and balsamic.
The third wine was a Syrah rose. Light and fruity with notes of cherry, strawberry and pomegranate, this accompanied the speck (smoked ham). Speck is quite a spicy ham but it didn’t overpower the wine.
Moving along the spectrum, we then got to the reds. The first red, a Perricone had a definite taste of red fruits and was robust enough to live with the strong tasting Bresaola. The second red, my favourite of all, was a deep and rich Nero d’Avola Riserva with notes of cocoa. This was matched with a rich and creamy Gorgonzola with walnuts.
Of course, no Italian feast would be complete without tiramisu, which was served with a shot of Limoncello and a sweet and soft dessert wine, Tagos.
This made for a pretty perfect Friday night out. It works as a couples experience, but Veeno also offers group wine tasting sessions which would be great for after work, or a Saturday afternoon treat. They do gift cards too – just in case you are stuck for ideas for Christmas, birthdays or an anniversary treat.
Of course, it’s not just wine on offer here. There are oodles of cocktails to choose from and coffees too. While we were there, people were just popping in for a glass of wine and being just opposite Storyhouse I can see it as a great venue for a pre or post theatre drink and nibbles.
*I was invited to experience the Selezione Wine Tasting in exchange for my honest review. It was fabulous!