The subject for this month’s presentation at the Brentwood Wine Society was English wines, which was given by Julie Livsey who is a member of the society. Julie chose wines from three vineyards, Chapel Down in Kent, Denbies in Surrey and Sixteen Ridges in Herefordshire. Wine number 1 was a classic English sparkling wine made using the Traditional method from 60% Chardonnay, 32% Pinot Noir and 8% Pinot Meunier grapes. A very small portion, (usually between 3-5%) of this wine is from reserve stocks which has been stored in barrel and adds complexity and depth to the palate. The taste is of aromas of baked apple, fresh strawberry and shortcrust pastry which are followed by a rich palate with a fine, smooth mousse. Ideal as an aperitif or an accompaniment to grilled fish or risotto.Wine number 2 was another sparkling wine which was produced from 100% Bacchus grapes. The wine was fresh and aromatic with intense aromas of pineapple, grapefruit and elderflower. The clean, refreshing palate has an abundance of tropical fruit with bright acidity and a touch of sparkle. Enjoy as an aperitif or with a crisp salad and BBQs.Wine number 3 was the first still wine which was produced from 100% Bacchus grapes. The wine is aromatic and fresh in style. It has aromas of melon and peach with background floral notes, an ideal pairing to seafood, summer salads or Thai cuisine. Suggested as an alternative to a Marlborough Sauvignon BlancWine number 4 was also produced from 100% Bacchus grapes. The grapes sourced from the Kit’s Coty vineyard in the North Downs of Kent where the free draining chalk soils and good sunshine result in well balanced intensely flavoured fruit. After maturing in French oak barrels for 9 months the wine exhibits a very ripe style with guava, melon and peach aromas which would an ideal pairing to white crab meat salad, asparagus risotto and lightly smoked fish.Wine number 5 was the final 100% Bacchus wine which was left to wild ferment for 3 weeks in contact with the skins in stainless steel tanks with regular push downs which is the same way red wine is made. After maturing in French oak barrels the wine exhibits aromas of smoky stewed apple together with hints of citrus rind and an almond like bitterness, an ideal pairing with weightier foods, especially smoked meat or oily fish.Wine number 6 was the first from Denbies produced from 100% Pinot Gris grapes. The wine is aged for 10 months in old French oak barrels which produces a light golden hue to match its rich nose of honeysuckle, apricot and melon, with hints of beeswax and toasted oak. Serve with roast chicken and creamy pasta dishes.Wine number 7 was the second from Denbies produced from Muller-Thurgau, Ortega and Bacchus grapes. Harvesting tales place in September and October which ensures that the fruit benefits from early autumn sun. A honeysuckle and peach infused nose leads to a well-balanced pallet, with citrus and stone fruits. A good aperitif wine or serve with spicy food particularly Asian/Chinese.Wine number 8 was a Sixteen Ridges Pinot Noir early red. The fruit was sourced from Ledbury, Herefordshire which produced a medium bodied wine exhibiting ripe cherries, fresh herbs, vanilla and raspberry with a soft oak finish. Serve with lamb chops, cured meats or falafel wraps.
11th June 2019
At the recent tasting session of the Brentwood Wine Society, we sampled Organic wines presented by wine expert Mark Soudah. Organic wines are increasing popular, accounting for around 5% of the UK market and growing fast. Organic grape growing does not rely upon synthetic forms of pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers and only wine from certified, organically produced grapes can claim to be organic on the label and this requires certifying by an external body such as The Soil Association.
The first tasting was a French sparkling wine, Crémant d’Alsace, made using the same techniques as in the making of Champagne, which was a gorgeous, stylish fizz with aromas of citrus and flavours of apples with hints of brioche.
The three white wines were El Renegado from Valencia and was aromatic yet fresh with tropical fruit flavours and aromas; Alaun from a small family-owned winery in Austria with wonderful hints of minerals and citrus fruits of the Grüner Veltliner grape; and South African Pekin White from Jonty’s Ducks which famously use Pekin Ducks to find and eat snails to prevent damage to their grapes.
The four red wines were El Renagado which was soft oak aged, juicy red, and velvety smooth; El Abuelo, also from Spain, with dark berry flavours, juicy tannins and a touch of spice; Argentinian Piedra Negra, a classic Malbec, with soft rich, brambly flavours; and finally Pekin Red from Jonty’s Ducks with an explosion of blackcurrant flavours and hints of dark chocolate.
14th May 2019
At the May tasting session of the Brentwood Wine Society, we had a variety of wines presented by our own Members who did an excellent job in showcasing their own personal favourites accompanied by vivid descriptions of the wines and their provenances.
We tasted four white and four reds. The first white was Graham Beck Brut NV from South Africa which got the evening off to a sparkling start. Next up were two contrasting wines from Spain, Nisia Verdejo and Raimat Saira Albarino which were contrasting yet complementing in a good way. The last white was Italian Passimento Bianco Pasqua, a ‘Juliet’ to the red presented later.
The first red was 2014 Cote de Duras from France followed by a very powerful showstopper, Barossa Ink Shiraz from Australia. The ‘Romeo’ Italian Passimento Pasqua was then presented, proving a worthwhile partner to the white ‘Juliet’. Lastly the Elysium Black Muscat was tasted with accompanying extremely dark chocolate which brought out the delicate sweetness of the wine.
9th April 2019
At the April tasting session of the Brentwood Wine Society, we had a “Blind Bubbles” tasting presented by wine expert Alison Moller.
We tasted four groups of paired sparkling wines and after each pairing we were asked, using a show of hands, which one of the pair of wines that were tasted blind, we preferred. In most cases there was pretty much a 50:50 split which means that there is nothing right or wrong about choosing the best wine, it is just a matter of taste.
The first pair was Crémant de Jura 2016 which was very pale and refreshing and Comte de Senneval, slightly darker and toasty. Both wines were French.
The second pair was Hunter’s Miru Miru from New Zealand which was quite complex and Vilmart & Cie Grand Cellier from France with a long-lasting finish.
Third pairing was Bird in Hand Sparkling Pinot Noir from Australia which was pale pink with a subtle fruitiness and Flint Valley Charmat Rose 2017 from Norfolk, dark pink and quite sweet. The Flint Valley vineyard was recommended by Alison as a good place to visit.
Last pair was Ridgeview Bloomsbury from Sussex which was beautifully intense and Laurent Perrier 2007 Millésimé Brut, slightly sharp but a superb French classic champagne and judged the best of the evening.
12th March 2019
At the March tasting session of the Brentwood Wine Society, we sampled the wines of Hungary presented by wine expert Richard Bost. Hungary has been producing wine since Roman times and by the 5th century AD, there are records of extensive vineyards. Hungary is well-known for Bull’s Blood and also for Tokaji dessert wine, famously christened by Louis XIV of France as the “Wine of Kings, King of Wines”.
We tasted four white wines followed up with three reds, the final being the sweet Tokaji dessert wine.
The white wines were Majestic Loves Gruner Veltliner 2017 which was very pale with a slight nose though dry and refreshing with a long finish; Beres Tokaji Dry Furmint 2016 which was quite pale with a slight plastic nose which gave way to a slightly musty finish, with a mixed response from the tasters; Nyakas Irsai Oliver 2018 which was very pale with fragrant nose and sharp with floral hints; and Tokaji Nobilis Hars 2015 which was golden yellow with a Riesling-like nose and tasted dry and honeyed with brilliant balance.
The red wines were Takler Kekfrankos 2017 which was dark red with a virtually non-existent nose and slight fruit taste; Kadarka Blau 2017 which was a light red with very little nose and a slight finish; and Bock Porta Geza 2016 which was a very dark, intense red with good fruit.
The sweet white wine to finish was Royal Tokaji 5 Puttonyos 2013 which was golden yellow with slight sweetness and was an excellent top-notch dessert wine.