How could the Veeno Wine Cafe in Leeds have been open since July 2014 and me not know about it?! I love Italian wine and food, so the concept of an Italian wine cafe sounds just about perfect for me. Veeno is opposite Space / Nandos on Duncan Street in Leeds, easy to miss…but you really shouldn’t miss it. Why?
In one sentence: Their wine is fantastic and their food is really great.
Veeno very kindly invited us along to try their tasting wine experience. Six wines paired with Spuntini (‘nibbles’ to you and me). The wine all comes from Caruso & Minini in Sicily, Veeno’s family vineyard.
Wine & Sputini at Veeno Wine Cafe
With the wine tasting experience, they pick three white wines, two red wines and a dessert wine.
Sounds like a lot? Let me reassure you, I went on a Wednesday evening and I was meant to be in London for meetings the next day. Perhaps not my brightest idea. However, I woke up the next morning feeling more than fine. I drank lots of water throughout and, IMHO, I do believe that good quality wines are less likely to give you nasty hangovers. It seems to work like that with me anyway. I’m actually allergic to alcohol, well…the histamine in alcohol. I’m particularly sensitive to it and red wine has the most histamine in of all. It took me years to figure out the issue and now I take strong anti histamines so I can drink my beloved red wine. But, I digress, back to Veeno…
The first white wine was the Tasari Catarratto.
Straw yellow colour with green reflections. Notes of apricots and honey. On the palate, exotic fruit flavour, taste and softness unite.
Or in my words…it was a very drinkable white, lovely and soft – the ideal start to the experience. We were instructed by the notes to eat the bread and oil with this wine. The oil comes from the family farm and was very good quality.
The second white, the Inzolia, was next.
Characterised by intense and elegant fragrances, is a result of an ancient equilibrium between the strong and generous soil and the vine that seems to never suffer. Clean and graceful. Its intense bouquet expresses soft refinement and grace. The taste is fruity, crisp and soft.
A slightly deeper white wine that was still very easy to drink. Loved it. We had the olives with this wine…they weren’t the usual Italian olives I love (can never remember the name of them, the gorgeous buttery ones at Jamie Oliver’s and Salvo’s). I do prefer those ones if I’m honest to Veeno’s.
Onto the red wines. The Frappato Nerello Mascalese.
This blend reaches perfect equilibrium between the notable tannins of the Nerello Mascalese and the low tannins content of Frappato. Light refreshing wine with a full bouquet. Notes of spices and wild berries.
This was a great red wine, light and easy. We did as the notes told us and ate the olive tapenade with this wine. They matched perfectly.
Next up was the Nero D’Avola.
Only one third of the wine is aged in tonneaux for 4 months, just the needed time to build some structure without compromising the freshness. The wine strikes with its density and its violet tonalities. In one’s nose is rich of scents, deep and pure. Mature red fruits merged with herbs and prunes. Expresses excellent varietal character, and exhibits smooth, velvety tannins and incredibly harmonious balance.
A lovely rich red and maybe my favourite of them all, which we ate with the meat and what I call ‘music paper’ bread.
The Cusora Cabernet Sauvignon was full bodied and very tasty…
A wine that expresses, in an wide and complete way, all its special and unique characteristics of the ground from which arises. It is hard to believe how this wine can surprise you each time you sip it with new spicy fragrances, dancing together and trying to confuse you.
(aren’t wine notes amusing?!)
We ate the meats with this wine and it was a perfect end to the savoury section.
We also ordered a panini at this point because we hadn’t eaten our evening meal yet and we were both famished. The sputini nibbles were fab, but not quite enough to fill me and I was conscious I needed some more food if my head was going to be ok in the morning!
I have to say this was the BEST panini I’ve ever eaten. Seriously, the BEST. I’m not sure what it was about it, the meat was good and the bread was very fresh. Just lovely.
Last but not least, we had the dessert wine (I didn’t take a note of the name, sorry)…it was really tasty. Not too sweet, just right. They served us with a gorgeous slab of tiramisu with it. I’m not normally a fan of tiramisu at all, but this was like a slice of heaven. So so good.
The wine tasting experience is just under £20 each and I would say it’s totally worth it. The wine was excellent and the food was really good. Get yourself down there!
* Please note that our wine and food was complimentary for review purposes, but my opinions are very much my own.