Manchester Wine Tours

Anne-Marie Pattenden, Food & Drink Writer
Manchester Wine Tours

Manchester Wine Tours is a newly minted concern, run by Association of Wine Educators member Kelly Bishop, which takes in some of the city’s most notable statues and raved-about wine bars. Impressively, each tour covers a different selection of venues and wines practically every time, making for a very repeatable experience – and a smart idea for a two-person birthday or just a wow-worthy gift. 

Following a meet-up at our first not-to-be-disclosed statue (let’s just say the Temperance-era subject might not fully approve of our plans for the afternoon), the first stop is the ever-fabulous 10 Tib Lane, where we’re treated to an elegant glass of dry, golden Crémant de Loire Brut from De Chanceny with fresh Cumbrae oysters.

Kelly explains that although it is champagne style, it’s made with Chenin Blanc instead of Chardonnay, hence the lack of Champagne appellation. It’s still made using all the lengthy classic techniques, including one we’ve never heard of before: after the second fermentation, the bottle is dipped in frozen brine to create an ice plug which gathers up the dead yeast so the pressure of the bottle forces it out. (This is just one of many excellent factoids we learn. Want another? ‘Brut’ and ‘sec’ both mean dry, but ‘brut’ is the driest. Handy stuff for future wine shopping.)

Then, onto Maray, a restaurant admired as much for its avant-garde wine list as its Middle Eastern cuisine. We start with a Vitese Sicilian Zibbibo, a new one on us. It’s fresh, young and very clear looking with aromas of peach and lychee, and floral notes – or as Kelly memorably points out, “grandma’s knicker drawer”. 

Next up, a Turkish Kayra 2020 vintage Chardonnay makes for a delicious contrast – darker and muskier in smell. It’s oak-aged and has a more metallic, mineral taste. Our host describes the difference between the two using a clever play on musical pitch – just one of many “must-write-that-down” explanations throughout the day. Oh, and the already-delicious Kayra tastes even better after the fried chicken with fenugreek and ginger ketchup from Maray’s superb food menu. 

We take in more city sightseeing in St. Ann’s Square, on our way to Mackie Mayor, where we sample a Solara orange wine. It has a vinegary smell and a very orange colour and comes with the announcement, “Introducing tannins now!” Unlike rosé, in which the red grape skins are only fermented for 24 hours (Kelly describes this as “a one night stand wine” and so will you, from now on), orange wine uses white grape skins and leaves them in contact with the juice for longer. A Zweigeld Austrian red comes alive when served with the Honest’s Crust equally-good pizzas. 

Our final destination is Climat, one of the city’s most exclusive feeling restaurants to open in recent years. High above the rooftops, here’s where to go for an incredible view of Manchester’s night skyline. The staff are warm, un-uniformed and their ministrations feel like those of friends hosting an especially swish dinner party.

The first wine here is Artuke Rioja, which the waiter describes as having “concentrated fruit” flavours. It’s an unoaked, biodynamic wine from the high Rioja Alta region of northern Spain, whose high altitude brings freshness along with a beautiful aroma. With this, we are served the far-too-modestly named hash brown with taramasalata. Far from the full English staple, it’s a generous brick of crisp rosti with prettily piped, creamy topping that has a high-class fish and chips flavour. It matches excellently with the fruity notes of the wine, leaving an almost meaty aftertaste. We also sample a 2019 Vidente Tinto, a blended Tempranillo from Portugal’s mountainous Dão region with tasting notes of cinnamon, cacao, black plum and rosemary. 

It’s hard to imagine a better way of becoming pleasantly merry, plied with some of the best food and wine Manchester has to offer in the company of an effortlessly engaging host. Why limit yourself to one place when you can indulge in five top-class venues? Manchester Wine Tours has reinvented the bar crawl.  

Update: Kelly has kindly offered a discount code for our readers: Use CREATIVETOURIST for 10% off any tour in April.

Various locations in Manchester city centreManchester M1 View map
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