You'll find The Pip Stop in the countryside of County Durham, selling wine and beer from their beautifully converted 1950's car garage. Stocking a wide range of wines to suit every budget it's quite a shopping experience browsing the bottles in such a unique location.
The quirky decor shows off the building's heritage and we particularly loved the real Mini Coopers embedded in the wall - I know you're all thinking it's my awful parking but I promise you they are supposed to be there!
We were invited to the Christmas Wine Walk, preparing us for the festive season with a little introduction to what wines are best to pair with our Turkey, Cheese Board and Mince Pies. In the running for husband of the year, Simon was "Designated Dave" for the evening as I happily skipped about the Pip Stop browsing all the bottles - if you like your wine this really is the ultimate shopping destination.
Tickets to the Christmas Wine Tasting cost £10 which included all of the food samples and 12 tokens which are exchanged for a glass of wine from the selection at the tasting counter. The event offers great value for money with generous glasses of wine served for your tokens.
The event was really relaxed which the amateur in me was thankful for. I don't know about you but I've found there's often a certain amount of snobbery attached to wine and there have been times where I've felt pretty embarrassed that I quite like a nice sweet bottle of Zinfandel. There was no pretentious swishing about of glasses at the Pip Stop, instead we were left to enjoy our night with the staff on hand to explain what wine pairs well with festive treats and give recommendations.
At the Pip Stop you are encouraged to enjoy wine with friends and form your own opinion on each wine because, at the end of the day, everyone has different tastes. I really loved this attitude towards the tasting and it made me feel really comfortable.
There was a good variety of white, red and rose wines at the tasting table to try - each one paired with traditional Christmas foods.
I eased myself in with a glass of Chateau Gairoird, a beautiful light pink rose with notes of white peach, strawberry and grapefruit. As it's light it's perfect with seafood canapés so I enjoyed my glass with some prawns from the tasting table. At only £10.99 a bottle I could definitely see me enjoying this one with my Starter on Christmas Day.
Next up I went for a white, the Silver Creek Viognier had notes of peaches, pears and apricots and we were recommended to try it with Turkey as a great alternative for those that don't fancy a red. Changing wines throughout your courses isn't a must and this wine is so beautifully light and fruity that it works well with multiple courses. At only £6.49 a bottle this is a great addition to your Christmas wine selection.
I'm not usually a fan of dessert wines but I gave the Deen Vat 5 a go, just so I could justify helping myself to some of the mince pies on offer. A sweet wine with apricot and citrus - it was enjoyable but a little too much for me. I think I'll stick to having a cup of tea with my mince pies!
I will admit things got a little fuzzy at this point as I was having such a lovely time chatting to people in the shop and swiping greedy amounts of cheese from the Cheese Board. I know there was definitely a beautiful glass of Riesling involved as Simon I strolled around the store picking out Christmas gifts for family and friends.
I really loved the relaxed and friendly atmosphere at the Pip Stop and their Tasting Evenings make a great night out. If you fancy trying out one of the Pip Stop Tasting Evenings for yourself here's what you can expect in the New Year:
January 26th - Gin Tasting
February 9th - Beer Tasting
February 23rd - Wine Tasting
For more information on the the Pip Stop including their Tasting Events check out their website here.
We enjoyed a complimentary evening of wine tasting - we will definitely be returning!