Standing up to further inspection

Standing up to further inspection

Paul Champion, CEO of Profound Group, finds a better choice of dining wines with a little help from his friends.

No-one was more surprised and excited than I was when asked to contribute to BQ Magazine - the top business magazine in the region. Flattered and with a sense of achievement, I started to wonder which of my leadership skills they wanted me to write about.

Would it be around strategy, managing change or my evangelical belief in developing skills through apprenticeships? I was excited to find out more. Being in the midst of an Ofsted inspection, I didn’t immediately follow up the request. But every now and then it would cross my mind, and the sense of being published in some way was satisfying.

After a good first day of inspection, I was keen to see what our marketing team at Profound HQ had signed me up for. Approaching the beaming smiles of our marketers, I got even more excited about the prospect. But what did they have in their hands? Wine…what’s all that about? It’s only the first day of inspection, and to be fair it’s a bit premature to start the celebrations surely! Then it became clear. I was being asked to share my wisdom and knowledge through the medium of wine tasting.

I feel it would be unfair at this point not to make clear that “wine tasting” isn’t one of the strengths on my CV, nor is it even one of my hobbies. But what I do have on the CV is that “I like trying new things and socialising” so that’s close enough for me. Something else that does appear on my CV under hobbies and pastimes is technology. I’m a bit of a geek!

My first thoughts as I sat in my kitchen staring at the Tasca, Sicilian Regaleali Case Vecchie 2015 White, and the Les Yeuses Les Epices Syrah 2013 Red was “there must be an app for that.” A quick search showed, thankfully, there was. Vivino, available on both IOS and Android.

NE WineSo my strategy went something like this… Invite friends who do know something about wine to help taste both and share our thoughts, scan the label with the app and see if we could come to an agreement. We decided if we couldn’t agree, technology should win the day - as it seems to be doing in our everyday business lives these days.

We first sampled the white, a 2015 Tasca Regaleali Bianco Di Sicilia. We all agree this is crisp and refreshing. Made from local grape varieties such as Inzolia, Greciano, Catarratto and Chardonnay, on an estate owned by the noble Tasca family since the 1830s, it’s very delicate without being bland. And it has some complex flavours of apple, peach and, to one of the more educated pallets, pink grapefruit.

Vivino also agreed with our findings, getting five star ratings and some reviewers calling it “amazing and superb”. We all felt this would be a great wine with shellfish or vegetable dishes.

The next wine, a 2013 Domaine Les Yeuses Les Epices, made with Syrah grapes, was spicy, perfumed, but still quite soft on the palate. Produced not far from the Mediterranean, and near Meze in the Languedoc region by Jean-Paul and Michel Darade, it’s clearly enjoying the best of the local climate and soil. It has a roundness, marking it as a wine of quality. The finish is long, with a very intriguing bitter-sweet pepper note, making it the perfect companion for all manner of meat dishes. Again, we all managed to agree with Vivino, giving it five stars. Most of the online reviewers agreed they’d buy it again.

Thanks to BQ Magazine and as per my CV, I have tried new things, socialised and used technology. At first it seemed daunting being asked to do something new and, to be fair, out of my comfort zone. It felt a bit like the first day of my apprenticeship back in 1980.

I’ve carried those skills from my apprenticeship throughout my career, and hopefully I’ll use the skills picked up reviewing these wines to make better choices when dining.

Tasca, ‘Regaleali’ Bianco Di Sicilia 2015 £8.99 (mix six £7.99), and Les Yeuses “Les Epices” Syriah 2013 £8.99 (mix six £7.99). Wine supplied by Majestic Wine Warehouse, Gosforth