Thursday, 5 October 2017

Wine Tasting at Veeno Edinburgh.*

veeno edinburgh rose street

If there are two things in life that I love, they are wine and cheese - so I think you can see why I was absolutely delighted to be invited along to Veeno - the Italian Wine Café. I was asked to review one of their wine tasting options, and I don't think I've ever accepted an invite so enthusiastically before in my life!

veeno edinburgh rose street

Veeno was launched by Nino Caruso and Andrea Zecchino in 2013 after they met in Manchester. These two 20-something Italians decided to create a place where people could enjoy the custom of the aperitivo - a chance to catch up, have a drink and a light meal at the end of the workday. Their cafés serve wine from Caruso & Minini vineyards in Sicily, which Nino's great-grandfather first planted vines on in the 19th century. Alongside their family's wines, they serve and sell a small number of other carefully selected Italian wines and food. Veeno currently has 15 cafés across 13 cities with a new location opening in London later this month.

veeno edinburgh rose street
veeno edinburgh rose street

We headed to the Edinburgh Rose Street venue (Edinburgh, like Leeds, is lucky enough to have two Veeno's to choose from!) The café itself immediately felt warm, inviting and almost cosy; it is small enough to feel intimate but doesn't come close to being crowded or cramped. Although the produce is extremely high-quality wine and food, it has a relaxed, informal vibe that is what makes this venue feel more like a café than a bar. There was background music playing but it was low-level enough that you could hold a conversation easily - having to shout over a song is my absolute pet hate when dining out! The decor was a fresh, modern take on an Italian wine bar - I particularly liked the large, exposed lightbulbs around the bar area and the logo made from corks.

veeno edinburgh rose street
veeno edinburgh rose street

If I could sum up Veeno in one word, it would be 'authentic'. I'm far from an expert, but I've visited Italy four times and have always marvelled at the food and drink there. I think Veeno is probably as close to the real Italian experience as you'll get. There are no cheap imitations here, it's proper Sicilian wines and actually Italian food.

veeno edinburgh rose street
veeno edinburgh rose street

I was treated to the Selezione wine tasting experience which features six of Veeno's more premium wines. All the wines featured in this tasting experience were from Veeno's own family vineyards in Sicily. I loved this fact - it felt much more personal to be drinking wines that had a history and meaning to the company's owners, rather than what had been cheap to stock as can sometimes be the case.

veeno edinburgh rose street
veeno edinburgh rose street

Salvo, our waiter, presented me with a (huge!) board of meats, cheeses and bread. My husband, who wasn't having the wine tasting due to having to drive, had his own board that looked equally delicious - but didn't stop him pinching from mine. Salvo was so helpful, giving us loads of information about each wine such as how it was produced, what notes were present in it, and which of the foods on the board it was best paired with (stopping me from scoffing the whole lot early doors - thanks, Salvo!). He let me take my time over each wine, really enjoying each flavour, and only presented me with the next when my glass was empty.

veeno edinburgh rose street

The first wine I tried was Veeno's 'mid-dry' white wine, the Terre di Giumara Grecanico. This was so drinkable I could've happily had a whole bottle. It was smooth but rich with a note of orange blossom. This crisp, fruity wine paired perfectly with my favourite cheese in the whole world - buffalo mozzarella. Honestly, the tasting could've ended there and I'd have been happy as larry.

Next up was the delicious 'wine of love', the Sicani Zibibbo. I can see why it's called that as I most certainly loved it. This had a really strong floral aroma and taste, with elderflower notes. I don't think I've ever had a wine quite like it, but it was gorgeous, especially paired with the strong taste of the pecorino in grotta (sheep's milk cheese, seasoned in caves in Tuscany).


I often find rosé wine too sweet for my tastes, but the Tasari Syrah Rosato served at Veeno is an absolute delight. It has a delicate soft red fruit flavour - think strawberries, cherry and pomegranate. This was paired with speck, a smoked, cured ham with juniper and pepper flavours. I can picture this wine being gorgeous on a hot summer's day.

Onto the reds, which I was a little nervous about. I'm not the biggest red wine fan and I was worried I wouldn't get on with these at all. Thankfully it turns out I just have expensive taste...

veeno edinburgh rose street

The first red I tried was actually an organic wine, the Caruso & Minini Naturalmente Bio Nero D'Avola. This wine has an entirely sustainable production process, even down to the label on the bottle being made from sugarcane instead of paper. This is a vibrant, fruity and strong wine that tasted beautiful. The flavours in this really lingered in my mouth, particularly complemented by the bresaola, a salted beef that is air-dried for three months. 

Strangely, despite my usual hesitancy around red wine, the second red I tried was by far my favourite of the entire lot. It was the Selezioni Syrah "Delia" and it was heavenly. It's listed on the menu as 'the finest' and I can completely understand that assessment. This very full-bodied, powerful and smooth wine has a hint of floral, a tiny hint of oak, and feels totally luxurious. It's a real treat to drink and I absolutely loved it paired with scamorza affumicata - a smoked cow's milk cheese.

veeno edinburgh rose street

Having finished the board of food by this point, I was in heaven. Amazing wines and the most delectable food - but it wasn't over yet. The last wine I was served was the Marsala dessert wine, which was a delicious sweet (and strong - 18%!) treat, similar in taste to port or sherry. It was the perfect accompaniment to the unbelievable tiramisu we were served. Again, this is something that I'm not usually a huge fan of as I don't tend to like coffee flavours, but I can hand-on-heart say this is the thing I would be most likely to order to eat next time I visit Veeno. It was unreal; soft but not soggy, full of flavour and sweet without being sickly. I am actually able to taste it as I write and I am so keen for more - anyone fancy a trip for some tiramisu...?

veeno edinburgh rose street
veeno edinburgh rose street

Just to point out, all the wines are subject to availability. I believe that they didn't have the wine that is supposed to be the second red, so don't be worried if you go and are served something different - their range is extensive and I'm confident they are all absolutely delicious.


Overall, the wine and the food we were served was absolutely exquisite; all unique, varied, and flavoursome. The concept of having a board of food that pairs with each individual wine flavour was great. I really loved the combination of flavours and finally understood the point in finding the perfect food complement for your wine (and vice versa) - it definitely makes a difference! I saw a few other orders being prepared for other tables and they also looked divine, so I will definitely be back to try more.

veeno edinburgh rose street
veeno edinburgh rose street

The thing that really stood out above everything else, though, was the service. Salvo was wonderful; he fully explained every wine I tasted, giving me a much better understanding of the processes involved in making them. He was incredibly knowledgeable, friendly and dedicated a good amount of time to our experience, ensuring that it was unhurried and relaxed even when there were lots of other people in the café. It genuinely felt like a learning experience as well as a delicious tasting one, which made it so much more enjoyable for me. 

veeno edinburgh rose street

I feel like I've rambled on about Veeno for a long, long time but I really, truly, absolutely loved it. I was trying so hard to come up with some kind of negative about this place but even days later, I am unable to. If I were you, I'd get yourself down to your nearest Veeno to try it yourself - you won't regret it!
*I was invited to try the Selezione wine tasting experience in exchange for an honest review, and this is exactly that. All opinions are my own - I bloomin' loved it! 


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11 comments

  1. This place looks gorgeous! It's so modern. I don't drink at all so I'm afraid the wine side would be completely lost on me but the meat and cheeee board looks AMAZING! I'd definitely get my teeth into that, twice over!

    Jenny
    http://www.jennyinneverland.com

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    Replies
    1. I cannot even express to you how nice it is Jenny! You need to check if there's one near you! x

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  2. Okay this looks amazing when are you taking meeeee??

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    1. ASAP! I need more of that tiramisu for a start...

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  3. Wine and cheese is a match made in heaven for me, so this looks like the best evening out! I love your descriptions of the wine and the accompanying platters, I can almost taste them myself. And your photographs are fabulous. I really enjoyed reading this, I will have to see if there's a Veeno near me, I think it would make a perfect pre-Christmas treat! X

    Lisa | www.lisasnotebook.com

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  4. I get the impression from your review that you liked it? Hehehe. Honestly though it sounds amazing. And I love that it's a cafe format - I rarely get to drink wine like a grown up out in a bar as I am autistic and they are far too noisy and crowded. This looks so cosy and much less overwhelming in a sensory way. This is another item towards my really long list I keep about why I should move to Edinburgh as well!

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  5. This sounds so dreamy! That cheese board looks incredible, will have to get myself to the Leeds one. Loving your photos too!

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  6. Beth, your photographs are absolutely INCREDIBLE! You've shown off this place so perfectly and I'm in awe of how professional the whole thing is! So glad that the service was so good and that you found the experience so authentic, a real taste of Italy! We're definitely going to this place when I come to visit you! 😉

    Abbey 💓 http://www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

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  7. I'm headed to Veeno for the same tasting in a couple of weeks! I'll be visiting the Quartermile one instead, though. This looks fantastic, and you're totally making me excited to go! Also, your photos are ON POINT!

    xo Leda

    littlegirlbiggerworld.blogspot.co.uk

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  8. Such amazing photographs!
    I might have to visit with a few of my wine-loving friends next time I'm up in Edinburgh.
    Imogen’s Typewriter. <3

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  9. This sounds utterly amazing. The food boards look delicious!
    There's isn't a Veeno's near me, but I'm half way between Edinburgh and York so I think a day trip is in order.
    Cora ❤ http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/

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