12th October 2021
David Cooper presented wines from Canada and illustrated his talk with presentation slides of maps of the Canadian wine-growing regions and pictures of the vineyards.
The Canadian wines we tasted were:
Pillitteri Gewürztraminer Riesling 2016
In 1948 Gary Pillitteri emigrated from Sicily and established a farm and fruit market in Niagara-on-the-lake. The topography is classified as lakeshore plains with the Niagara escarpment 10 miles south.1988. He produced a Vidal Icewine and won an amateur Gold award. Over the next 5 years the vineyard & winery estate were established. The 5th generation of the family now run the business with over 100 acres. Ontario has warm summer days and cool nights. The soil is a mixture of clay & loam on top of red shale & limestone. This unusual blend of wine is from a hot vintage with low rainfall.
Peller Ice Cuvée Sparkling NV
In 1927 Hungarian immigrant Peller established this winery in Niagara Peninsula and this is one of their most awarded wine. Traditional method wine is made with hand-picked Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. After 30 months on the lees a ‘dosage’ of Vidal Icewine is added. This off-dry sparkling wine should have a bouquet of apricot, yeast and ripe apple, with hints of honey, followed by tropical fruits on the palate and a refreshing pink grapefruit finish.
Culmina Unicus Gruner Veltliner 2017
Established by the Triggs family in 2007 this wine is 100% Gruner Veltliner. The vintage had Spring rains followed by almost drought conditions in July-September. The grapes were hand harvested 9-16 October in normal cooler conditions ensuring full ripening. Vineyard Margaret’s Bench has the highest elevation of three sites (600m) mainly loam, sand gravel soils. Fermented in 18% Concrete amphorae 25% Concrete egg 57% Stainless steel. Ageing potential to 2023. Aroma should be grapefruit and lemon with white pepper.
Haywire Gamay Rosé 2018
Founded in 2005 by Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie, “haywire” is an old Canadianism that refers to wires used for baling hay. Haywire tended to tangle and be unpredictable making it an apt description of the pair’s impromptu decision to forgo retirement and journey into farming and wine making. Alluvial soils are studded with course gravel, sandy loam & limestone. The grapes are hole bunch pressed then fermented in a mixture of stainless steel & concrete vats for 6 months on the lees.
Closson Chase Pinot Noir 2016
Established 1998 in Hillier, Prince Edward County on the north shore of Lake Ontario with south facing slopes on stony soils with marl and limestone bedrock. Only in 2012 were they allowed to sell globally! Vineyard experiences a fast start in the spring, with higher risk of spring frost, but full ripening before the shorter, cooler fall season. Vin Cognito “It’s one of those Pinot Noirs that, if given blind, you might think was from the Old World, thanks to its lightness of touch, but you could equally hit the nail on the head and identify it as a New World Pinot Noir thanks to the ripe succulence of the fruit”. JancisRobinson.com (Tamlyn Currin): “Such a delicate Pinot! Tastes as if it has been spun from red rose petals and sunrise”.
Haywire Pinot Noir 2017
This wine comes from the Secrest Mountain vineyard, Summerland. At 487m on a flat South West facing bench with alluvial soils consisting of gravel, loam and limestone. Cool air comes from the Okanagan Lake in summer and the warmer air in winter. Fermented in 2 lots: firstly, in small clay amphorae, rested on skins for 9 months then in 2 x large concrete vats with wild yeast. The amphorae wines are pressed and then blended with the wine from concrete vats & bottled unfiltered in July 2018. Should be bright, juicy with forward flavours.
Pillitteri Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2016
Harvest of the Icewine grapes occurs when temperatures have reached -8*C or colder for 3 days in late December or January and the grapes have been allowed to freeze and then thaw 8 to 10 times. Each time they freeze, new and more complex flavours are released into the juice from the grape. When pressed, these hand-picked, naturally frozen grapes yield a juice with an intense concentration of sugars, acids, flavours and aromas. The resulting wine is high in natural sugar, low in alcohol, has an amazing acidity level, and is intensely sweet and flavourful. A small amount of oak treatment during fermentation gives added complexity and depth. The nose should exhibit raspberries, cranberry cocktail and lime. The palate has flavours of raspberry, cherries, violets and vanilla bean.
Pillitteri Riesling Icewine 2016
This Riesling Icewine has notes of pineapple, apricot sorbet and lemon. The well-balanced acidity provides a clean finish. Riesling Icewine pairs well with salad, seafood, chocolate and just about any dessert you can think of. The Vidal Icewine is only produced in Canada and is available each year from Lidl and Laithwaites.
14th September 2021
New Chile Wines
Clive Woodhouse from Passion$ Wine presented a wonderful selection of wines from New Chile. Clive’s talk was both educational and entertaining, illustrated in map form to show the wide variety of grapes now grown in all parts of Chile.
The Chile wines we tasted were:
Errazuriz Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2020
With an ethos of minimum intervention and maximum attention, Errazuriz is one pf the biggest and oldest wine estates in Chile, having been founded in 1870. This wine typifies the modern approach to winemaking in Chile, as the grapes come from a single vineyard in the Escultura estate (Casablanca Valley) and the wine was cool fermented at a controlled temperature before being aged on its lees to add some complexity. The vineyard is located about 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean, so the warm summer days are tempered by cool ocean breezes and morning fog, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly and develop a natural acidity in the wine of 7.8 g/l. The style lies somewhere between France and New Zealand, with a nose dominated by a citrus character with subtle notes of asparagus and fresh herbs. The palate displays white peach and passion fruit flavours, with some lemon zest on the finish.
Grape Sauvignon Blanc
Purchased from Majestic @ £11.99
Altamana Grande Reserve Sémillon 2020
Sémillon is a key component in the great white wines of Bordeaux – and most notably Sauternes – where it is blended with Sauvignon Blanc, but it is rarely vinified as a single grape in its homeland. There is, however, some French influence in the production of this wine through owner Patrick d’Aulan and winemaker Matthieu Grassin. The vineyards are located in the southerly region of Itata and planted with old vines (up to 100 years old). The wine is fermented in concrete tanks and aged for 6 months in three-year-old barrels to give the wine additional texture without too much oak influence in the flavour. There is a slightly smoky note on the nose with pear and bruised apples, and the palate is smooth with a soft texture, gentle fruits and quiite a long finish with soft citrus notes. As with other wines from this grape, it will develop with ageing in the bottle.
Purchased from Wine Society @ £10.95
2020 Morandé One to One Gewurztraminer 2020
Morande was founded as recently as 1996, with the specific aims of showcasing the diversity of Chile’s wine regions and the range of grape varieties that they can support. Gewurztraminer has its spiritual home in Alsace, France, where the continental climate and long ripening season help to produce richly flavoured wines that range from off-dry to lusciously sweet. Here the grapes are grown in the Casablanca Valley, where the cool ocean-influenced climate produces a fresher – but still highly aromatic – expression of the grape variety that exhibits the characteristic flavours of lychees, rose water, orange blossom, jasmine flowers and a great persistence. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and bottled early to preserve the freshness of the fruit flavours, and residual sugar of 5.6 g/l gives a slightly off-dry feel.
Purchased from Majestic @ £8.99
Tabalí Barranco Río Hurtado Viognier 2018
Tabali is a family run company whose aim is to produce the finest wines from the Limari Valley at the northern end of Chile’s winemaking lands. They bought the first plot of land and started planting in 1992 and built the first modern winery in the Limari Valley in 2002. The Rio Hurtado vineyard – that provides the grapes for this wine – is planted on east-facing slopes at an altitude of 5000′ and was acquired in 2010. Although the landscape is different, the steepness of the slopes and the vertical training of the vines is very similar to Condrieu in the Rhône Valley where some of the finest Viognier wines are made. This wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks without any oak influence. The nose is elegant and subtly scented with floral notes, dry white fruits and spices with a mineral note, and the palate is creamy with a pleasant freshness.
Purchased from Wine Society @ £14.50
Morande Reserva One to One Pais 2015
Pais – known as Listán Prieto in Spain – is the grape that was brought to South America by the Spanish settlers in the sixteenth century, and was therefore responsible for the foundation of the wine industry across much of Central and South America. The current Chilean wine industry is based on mainly French varieties imported since the late 19th century, and Pais has rarely been seen outside the country until very recently. This wine is made from grapes grown in the Secano Interior – dry interior – in the Maule Valley, a warm location that is shielded from the Pacific by the Coastal Mountain range. The grapes are whole-bunch fermented in concrete eggs by carbonic maceration – the same technique used for Beaujolais – to produce a light bodied wine with intense red fruit flavours. A small amount of used French oak is deployed to give some structure.
Purchased from Majestic @ £9.99
Undurraga Candelabro Reserva Cinsault 2020
Undurraga, now one of Chile’s largest wine producers, was founded in 1870 by European emigrant Francisco Undurraga Vicuña at a time when phylloxera was devastating the European vineyards. Cinsault is a grape variety that is native to the south of France and is used mainly in blends in the southern Rhône Valley and Languedoc regions. Some New World countries – in particular South Africa and Chile – are now producing single variety wines from old vines; in this case they are 70 years old bush vibes planted in unirrigated vineyards in the Itata Valley. The wine is made in a similar manner to the Pais, but aged for 8 months in neutral oak. The nose shows red fruits with a gamey note, and the palate is vibrant with sweet red cherries and a refreshing acidity.
Purchased from Wine Society @ £8.50
Morande Reserva One to One Pais 2015
Elqui Valley is one of the most northerly vine growing locations, where the emphasis has mainly been on producing grapes to make the spirit Pisco. When Mayu – an Inca word meaning Milky Way – was founded in 2005 it was one of the first table wine making facilities in the Elqui Valley. The grapes come from the El Tambo vineyard in a warm location about 35 miles inland at an altitude of around 2000′. Carménère was once a prominent grape in Bordeaux but almost disappeared after phylloxera; initially thought to be a clone of Merlot, it was rediscovered in Chile almost by accident and has now become the country’s adopted grape. Appassimento is a technique widely used in Italy whereby grapes are left in a dry location after they have been picked to reduce the liquid content and add concentration to the wine. Fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in oak barrels for 8 months, this is an intense and complex wine with ripe blackberry and plum fruit with spice and hints of fresh herbs. Good length and uplifting acidity.
Purchased from Majestic @ £1.99
The Society’s Exhibition Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
The Wine Society’s Exhibition range features quality wines that are classics of a particular style, and this wine is made for them by Concha y Toro, one of Chile’s best traditional wine producers. The grapes are grown in two closely located high altitude vineyards just to the south-east of Santiago in the foothills of the Andes. This is a warm location with a continental climate that allows the grapes to ripen slowly and develop a refreshing natural acidity in the wine, which is aged for 16 months in French oak barrels. Deep in colour, the nose has deep and intense aromas of dark plums and blackcurrants with spice and complexity from the oak ageing. The palate is full bodied, complex and fresh with ripe dark fruits, clove spice and cedar, supported by ripe tannins and leading to a long fruity finish.
Purchased from Wine Society @ £17.00
10th August 2021
We resumed our regular meetings in August at Shenfield Parish Hall with a Social Tasting led by the committee with an impressive variety of international wines. To start the evening in celebratory style we had an aperatif of La Delfina Prosecco purchased from Shenfield Wine Company.
The wines we tasted were:
Graham Beck Brut Sparkling Wine, South Africa
Affectionately dubbed the “President’s Choice”, the Brut NV was served at both Nelson Mandela’s inauguration and Barack Obama’s presidential win. This delightful sparkling wine exudes light yeasty aromas, limey fresh fruit on the nose, and rich creamy complexity on the palate. This Brut NV is intended to cleanse the palate and stimulate the taste buds.
Grapes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Purchased from Shenfield Wine Company @ £17.99
Miolo Brut Rosé 2017, Brazil
A gorgeous rose pink hue from the Campanha region of Brazil, Miolo Cuvée Tradition Brut Rosé has a fine and persistent mousse with delicate strawberry and cherry fruit aromas and is creamy, with a balanced, fresh and lemony acidity.
Grape Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Purchased from Shenfield Wine Company @ £15.99
Carminucci Casta Passerina Marche 2020, Italy
Passerina is one of the indigenous varieties of the Offida region of the Marche, it normally plays very much second fiddle to the more famous Peccorino grape but for price, pleasure and pure fun this was a winner. Tenute Carminucci was founded in 1928 and is still run by, second generation, Piero Carminucci who oversaw the conversion to estate bottling in 1999. His vines sit at between 200-300m up on clay soil. The grapes are handpicked and given a 12 hour cold maceration before fermentation in stainless steel tanks to capture the floral white fruited nose and peachy notes to the fresh dry palate, a low 12% alc makes for several pleasurable glasses.
Purchased from Liquorice @ £13.99
Pazo do Mar, Spain
Pazo do Mar Expression is made from selected grapes from the Ribeiro Apellation of Origin with Albariño and Treixadura, a fruit of the wisdom accumulated in more than 30 years of experience. This is one of a limited production at 30,000 bottles. An aromatic and full-flavoured wine with pure aromas of white orchard fruit and lively citrus notes. Elegant, with a creamy, luscious texture and a lovely crisp, fruity finish.
Purchased from Liquorice @ £15.99
Yalumba Cigar Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Australia
Yalumba The Cigar Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon has a full nose with savoury blackcurrant fruit and on the palate, there are layers of plum and cherry fruit and a lengthy savoury textured finish. The palate surprises as it is not the brute the nose suggests. It is a medium bodied wine with deep fruit flavours of dark cherries and blackberries. The tannins are silky smooth and act in harmony with the fruit for a lingering finish.
Grape Cabernet Sauvignon
Purchased from Majestic @ £22.99 (Mix Six) Normally £25.99
St Hallett ‘Blackwell’ Shiraz 2018, Australia
With an ethos of minimum intervention and maximum attention, St Hallet has grown to be one of the most respected Australian wineries. They focus on high-quality parcels found in the Barossa Valley. This Shiraz is made up of a prized few. Expect notes of black forest fruit. Pair with roast lamb.
Purchased from Majestic @ £19.99 (Mix Six) Normally £31.99 @ Majestic
13th July 2021
Western Australia Wines Virtual Tasting
The 14th Virtual Zoom tasting was led by Natalia @ Majestic Wine Gidea Park and included the opportunity for all attendees to participate too. The bottles of 3 whites and 3 reds, all Australian, were purchased from Majestic then split by content and cost so that we all had a little of each to taste on the night.
The premium wines were:
Cape Mentell Sauv Sem £14.99
Petaluma Hanlin Hill Reisling £22.99
Howard Park Miamup Chardonnay £22.49
Howard Park Flint Rock Shiraz £9.99 (was £21.99)
Cape Mentelle Cabernet Merlot £14.99
Two Hands Charlie’s Garden £36
Prices are the ‘Mix Six’ discount.
15th June 2021
Italian Wines Virtual Tasting
The 13th Virtual Zoom tasting was led by Penny and Nish @ Shenfield Wine Company and included the opportunity for all attendees to participate too. The bottles of 3 whites and 3 reds, all Italian, were purchased from Shenfield wine then split by content and cost so that we all had a little of each to taste on the night.
420 Pecorino Torri Cantine 2019
Pecorino is an early ripening, thin-skinned grape, native to central Italy, mainly grown in the Marche region and Northern Abruzzo and in small amount in the surroundings regions. It is little known in the UK (or not as well- known as the cheese with the same name) but this is a delightful, Italian wine with plenty of style and character.
Wines made of Pecorino have a distinctive smell of roses, beautifully blended with aromas of apple, pear, banana and citrus. High acidity is very typical of Pecorino wines (the variety is especially rich in malic acid). It is a wine to enjoy as a fresh and soft Pinot Grigio but with extra flavour and elegance.
Gavi Del Comune di Gavi La Smilla 2020
Cortese is the grape behind the Gavi wine, and it is distinguished by its crisp, floral, peachy, aromatic qualities. This light and refreshing white is known as ‘The Chablis of Italy’ due to its mouth-zapping acidity. All Gavi must be 100% Cortese, a grape which is indigenous to the north of Italy. Only those vineyards planted within the borders of the town of Gavi can carry the prestigious name “Gavi di Gavi”. This wine is made from hand-picked Cortese grapes grown in a twenty-five-year vineyard at 280 metres above sea level on limestone-rich clay soil.
Taburno Masseria Frattasi 2019
Along with the red grape Aglianico, Falanghina is believed to be Campania’s oldest variety, reportedly of Greek origin and loved by the Romans. Falanghina Taburno is made with 100% grapes of forty-five old Falanghina grown in the village of Montesarchio on clay and calcareous soil of volcanic origin between 300 and 480 meters above sea level. The vines are still managed using the old pruning system “a raggiera” quite popular at the end of the 19th century in Campania where vines are trained overhead on wires like the spokes of a wheel.
420 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2019
Montepulciano is a grape exclusive to Italy which gives a deep coloured, soft, juicy, and approachable wine, even when drunk young.
The best Montepulciano come from the hills around the town of Teramo in Northern Abruzzo where the grape finds outstanding growing conditions to ripe. Montepulciano 4 20 from Torri Cantine is one of them. The grapes are picked on stony-loam soil at 300 meters above sea level from a 30-year-old vineyard with optimal exposure and low yields in Controguerra, a village north of Teramo on the border with the Marche region. An ideal microclimate and an optimal diurnal temperature variation, together with organic techniques of cultivation, enhances the typical flavours of Montepulciano grapes.
QVID Primitivo 2019
This dry Primitivo is made from varieties of berries grown in the Salento. The terroir is characterized by medium-clay soil, the vine has aged a minimum of 5 years. Removing the harvest is carried out during the first days of September. The grapes are pressed and fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks for 8-12 days. The wine is aged 4 months after bottling allowed to stand for a further 60 days. Thus obtained Tenuta Giustino Qvid Primitivo is characterized by a rich flavor with pleasant tannins and interesting berry-fruit aroma.
Amarone della Valpolicella Alpha Zeta 2017
Matured in oak (a mixture of large ‘botti’ and French oak barriques) for 18 months before bottling. This Amarone is deep and intense on the nose with aromas of dried cherries and blueberries and notes of spiced autumn fruit compote. On the palate, it is powerful, with a lovely balance of ripe tannins and spiced, concentrated savoury cherry fruit character. A touch of woodsmoke completes the long finish.
Grapes 85% Corvina/Corvinone, 15% Rondinella
11th May 2021
Zoom Virtual Tasting ‘Would I Lie to You’ wine quiz.
We held our twelfth Zoom Tasting at the regular time of 8pm. The tastings were led by the wine committee members and club members and included the opportunity for attending members and guests to participate too. The theme of the evening was ‘Would I Lie to You’ and for every wine tasted, there were three choices – whether you thought it was wine A, wine B or wine C. After all three descriptions, there was then an overview of the choices by wine number and then the great reveal to much entertainment and even surprise. The wines we tasted were revealed to be:
From the Famille Hugel Estate in Alsace comes this dashing, youthful pale green robe with dominant hints of green lime tree foliage, sparkling and crystalline with a nice shimmer and elegant thread like legs. A deliciously aromatic expression of fruitiness and youthful freshness of cool moss, white peach, lemongrass and pistachio. On the palate this is a nice reflection of the classic Riesling grape variety, dashing and dry without being too hard. It is thirst quenching, flavoursome, energetic and well structured with a strong personality combined with a full flavoured finale and that perfect touch of minerality.
Named after New Zealand’s prolific bedrock, Greywacke is the label of Kevin Judd, one of Marlborough’s pioneer winemakers. Grown in prime vineyard sites in the central Wairau and Southern Valleys, this is a deliciously aromatic, finely balanced Sauvignon Blanc. The palate is a vibrant combination of fresh basil and spicy tomato leaves with pear and mandarin, sprinkled with a little lemon zest. A mouth watering refreshing style, with a crisp yet luscious finish.
Louro do Bolo is a white wine from Valdeorras in Galicia, Northern Spain. The Godello vineyards are arranged in small plots, located in the Bibei Valley. The soil is granite with low yields but of optimal quality. Alcoholic fermentation occurs in French oak barrels where the wine is aged in contact with its lees for a period of four months. Rafael Palacios has once again succeeded in interpreting the wine of Valdeorras to perfection. With a distinguished nose, revealing white fruit notes, it displays creaminess on the palate with an elegant and very fresh finish.
This Domingo Molina wine comes from the family owned vineyard in Yacochuva North, in the Calchaquies Valleys, Salta province, Argentina. The vineyards lie between 1,600 and 2,300 meters above sea level and the microclimate of the region with more than 300 days of sun per year, little rainful and a great thermal amplitude, provides excellent conditions to fully develop the full potential of the grapes grown there. This Petit Verdot exhibits aromas of cassis, mulberry and blueberry with a faint hint of spice. The palate is full bodied with a dry finish, ideal with a good steak.
Aglianico is considered one of Italy’s three greatest red grapes along with Nebbiolo and Sangiovese. The Aglianico wines of Masseria Frattasi grow on the slopes of Mount Taburno, (north of Naples) on volcanic soil at an altitude between 400 and 500 meters. The wine exhibits savoury fruit aromas of blackberry, blueberries and red plum jam with balsamic and earthy notes. On the palate it is soft and pulpy with hints of tobacco, delicate herbs and soft tannins, ideal with a hearty beef casserole.
This Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon is a deep rich and complex wine with blackcurrant and fruit flavours, ripe fig, dark chocolate and hints of leather on the long finish. This wine suits red meat dishes like lamb shank and juicy steak. The grapes were grown in the Maipo Valley in Chile where temperatures vary greatly from warm days to cool nights which allows the grapes to ripen slowly and steadily to maintain natural acidity and develop complex flavours. The Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon was the first Chilean wine to obtain recognition in Europe winning a gold medal at the 1889 Exposition Universelle held in Paris.
13th April 2021
Zoom Virtual Tasting
We held our eleventh Zoom Tasting at the regular time of 8pm. The tastings were led by the wine committee members and club members and included the opportunity for attending members and guests to participate too. The theme of the evening was Sauvignon Blanc Whites and Bordeaux-style Reds which were:
Little Beauty Sauvignon Blanc 2020, New Zealand (Jane)
A limited edition Marlborough Sauvignon made by former Cloudy Bay winemaker Eveline Fraser, this aptly named “little beauty” is good enough to rival the wines of her previous employer, but is available for a fraction of the price Aromas of honeydew melon, lemon grass and capsicum with a smoky, mineral character. Refreshing and medium bodied on the palate with citrus notes beautifully balanced by flavours of pink grapefruit and basil.
Grapes Sauvignon Blanc
Purchased from Davy’s Wine @ £15.95
Gilvesy Bohem Balatoni Cuvée 2018, Hungary (David)
Robert Gilvesy moved back from Canada to his homeland in Hungary in order to establish his wine estate where he grows grapes on volcanic basalt/tufa and calcareous dolomite rich soil. Bone dry, this is light and fresh with an attractive lime, pineapple and jasmine nose and a zesty palate of green apple and citrus fruit. Unoaked.
Grape Olaszrizling, Sauvignon Blanc, Rajnai Rizling, Pinot Gris
Purchased from Davy’s Wine @ £13.95.
Montauto Gessaia 2019, Italy (Julie)
Owner Riccardo Lepri took over the estate after his grandfather Enos in 2001. Alongside winemaker Fabrizio Moltard, they decided to focus on producing mainly white wines, unusual for Tuscany’s up and coming Maremma region. Following an organic approach they make wines with concentrated flavours that started to generate interest amongst critics. The name ‘Gessaia’ refer to the chalky subsoil which gives some smoky minerality to this wine. Bright, with a straw-yellow colour and greenish shimmers. The nose is intense and long lasting and delivers elderberry and citrus notes as well as white pulp fruits and smoky minerality. Dry and fresh on the palate, this is a delicate medium-bodied with a good balance.
Grape Sauvignon Blanc
Purchased from Davy’s Wine @£16.95.
Vergelegen Premium Cabernet Sauvignon, South Africa (Ian)
Bright dark red in colour, on the nose there is striking cassis underlined with cedar & a fresh ripe fruit character. On the palate the freshness carries through with a sprightly lingering finish. Since 1700, Vergelegen (meaning “situated far away”) has been a historic estate in Somerset West, in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Extending over 3000 hectares, from the banks of the Lourens River to the rock faces of the Hottentots Holland Mountains, Vergelegen is one of South’s Africa’s most prominent wineries.
Grape Cabernet Sauvignon 50%, Merlot 30%, Cabernet Franc 13%, Petit Verdot 5%, Malbec 2%
Purchased from the Liquorice @£13.99
Château George 7 2018, France (Tom)
Wonderfully pleasing energy on the aromatic nose, floral notes, dark bramble-fruit and cherry and a wonderfully fresh mineral driven edge. Fine tannins and well-balanced acidity, pure and ripe fruit – blackberry and raspberry and just a touch of pepper spice and cedar on the finish. This has real verve and class.
Purchased from Davy’s Wine @ £23.95.
Chateau Musar, Lebanon (Bob)
Vines at Chateau Musar are managed with minimal human interference and the estate was the first in Lebanon to achieve organic certification. Most vines are located in the Bekaa Valley, cradled between two mountain ranges running along the Lebanon’s Mediterranean coastline where vines have been cultivated here for more than 6,000 years. Dense and richly textured with baked fruits flavours of plums, damsons, cherries and figs and hint of pepper and violet.
Grape Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault
Purchased from Davy’s Wine @ £29.95.
9th March 2021
Special Spanish Wines Virtual Tasting
The 10th Virtual Zoom tasting was led by Liquorice and included the opportunity for all attendees to participate too. As this was a special event, the format of the event was special too! The bottles of 3 whites and 3 reds were purchased from Liquorice then split by content and cost so that we all had a little of each to taste on the night.
The premium wines which were all Spanish were:
- Dominio de Fontana Sauvignon Verdejo – Ucles
- Gallina de Piel Ikigall – Penedes
- Godello Rafael Palacios – Galicia
- Vina de Montana Garnacha (blend) – Sierra de Gata
- Tandem ‘Ars Nova’ Tempranillo Cabernet – Navarra
- Time Waits for No One Black Skulls – Jumilla
9th February 2021
Zoom Virtual Tasting
We held our ninth Zoom Tasting at the regular time of 8pm. The tastings were led by the wine committee members and club members and included the opportunity for attending members and guests to participate too. The wines we tasted were:
Triade Bianco 2018, Italy (Carol & Michael)
Dry, with delicious almond and herbal complexity, this is an intriguing and delicious blend of three traditional Campania grapes: Greco, Fiano and Falanghina. There’s a subtle creamy vanilla complexity to the wine from partial aging in small oak barrels. The mix of grapes delivers ripe pear and citrus notes.
Grapes Greco, Fiano and Falanghina
Purchased from the Waitrose at £8.99.
CUNE White Rioja Reserva, Spain (Stuart)
Cune Barrel Fermented Rioja is produced by the fifth generation of CVNE from a careful selection of Viura grapes. This wine is fermented on its lees in new American oak casks for up to 4 months adding depth and complexity. It is then aged in bottle for some months prior to release. C.V.N.E, or to give it its full name Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España (The Northern Spanish Wine Company) was established in1879 in Haro, Rioja. Set up by two brothers, Eusebio and Raimundo Real de Asúa, their aim was to capitalise on the flourishing new trade in wine. C.V.N.E is still controlled by the direct descendants of the founding family. Now in its fifth generation, the company has been quoted on the Madrid stock exchange since 1997.
Purchased from the Coop at £9.50; also available at Sainsbury’s.
Wente Morning Fog 2018, Livermore Valley California (Nick)
Named after the mist that rolls into the California vineyard early in the morning, this is a product of a winery that can boast of being the godfather of the Californian wine industry. German immigrant C H Wente brought in a chardonnay clone from Burgundy in 1912 that is the source material for 80 per cent of American chardonnay plantings today. Still family run, this their latest chardonnay offering, delivers big time with vibrant green apple and tropical fruit flavours allied to a smidgeon of toasty oak.
Purchased from the Liquorice at £18.
Cave de Saint Desirat Saint Joseph 2018, France (Ian)
This classic red has warm raspberry and blackberry-fruit flavours streaked with hints of liquorice. Made with 100% Syrah grapes grown in Saint-Joseph, arguably the best value appellation in the northern Rhône valley. This rich wine lends itself perfectly to rich foods such as venison or steak. According to Phillip Schofield “There’s an elegance to this – it’s softer with more red fruit than black. It’s a great introduction to the French styles of this grape and this bottle is astoundingly good value. It makes a perfect partner for rich stews.”
Purchased from Waitrose at £15.99.
Faustino 1 Rioja Reserva 2008, Spain (Steve)
Well integrated hints of ripe fruit, vanilla and cinnamon, tobacco and cocoa. Elegant and structured and with good acidity. There is an aftertaste of the blend of very ripefruit, vanilla and roasted notes. The first bottle of Faustino I Reserva, Harvest 1964, went on the market in 1968. A winemaker born in a small Rioja village, and with a career of more than 35 years in the winery, has made Faustino I our best ambassador with time, wood, care and wisdom.
Grape Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo
Purchased from Costco at £14.16 (£84.99 for a case of six)
M&S Classics Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile (Tom)
A classic style of Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile’s renowned Maipo Valley, with aromas of savoury red berries. This full-bodied red wine was made by Diego Covarrubias who selected grapes from the best vineyards to make a wine brimming with ripe red fruits and hint of smokiness from ageing in French oak barrels. This smooth red wine pairs well with foods, particularly well with stews, risottos and cheese.
Grape Cabernet Sauvignon
Purchased from Ocado at £8.12th January 2021
12th January 2021
Zoom Virtual Tasting
We held our eighth Zoom Tasting at the regular time of 8pm. The tastings were led by the wine committee members and club members and included the opportunity for attending members and guests to participate too. The wines we tasted were:
Noble White 2019 – England (David)
The New Hall Noble White is an elegant, medium-style wine, with a slight ‘pettillience’ to lift the varietal aromas. Rich flavours of fleshy peach and apricot and subtle floral notes are complimented by a rounded mouthfeel and fresh acidity on the finish.
Grape Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc
Purchased from New Hall Vineyard, Essex at £11.50
Brancott Estate Classic Sauvignon Blanc (Jane)
Award Winning Premium white wine from Marlborough, New Zealand.
It has sweet ripe fruit characters with a delightful mix of citrus, floral, pear and tropical fruit and a crisp nettle highlight, making it perfect for dinner parties and BBQs. The Brancott Estate story began over 40 years ago with a bold idea to plant vines in Marlborough, New Zealand. At the time, the South Island was considered too cold to grow grapes, but they challenged this thinking and planted the very first Sauvignon Blanc vines in Marlborough.
Grape Sauvignon Blanc
Purchased from Ocado@ £7 or £2.50 for small bottle (18.75cl); widely available elsewhere
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Central Coast Chardonnay 2019 – California (Steve)
This deliciously ripe Chardonnay is packed full of vibrant peach and pear fruit flavours with exotic notes of lychees from the careful addition of a small amount of Viognier, Grenache and Picpoul. Brothers Jake and Josh Beckett started up Chronic Cellars to showcase what California has to offer and this beautiful and complex white wine is the result.
Grape Predominantly Chardonnay with small amounts of Viognier, Grenache and Picpoul
Purchased from Sainsburys at £10; £8.50 when on offer, with an extra 25% off when their mixed six offer is available
Saint Clair Family Estate Syrah Gimblett Gravels, Hawke’s Bay – New Zealand 2018 (Julie)
This wine of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. Saint Clair Family Estate is owned by viticulture pioneers Neal and Judy Ibbotson who planted their first grapes in 1978. The grapes for this Syrah have been sourced from their vineyard in Gimblett Gravels winegrowing district of Hawke’s Bay New Zealand. This region is unique with its nutritious alluvial soils that have been formed by sediments from millions of years ago. Earthy aromas with dark fruits and spice. The rich and luscious palate displays flavours of bright ripe plum, dried herbs and tobacco leaf. A fruit driven style with a long savoury finish. A great match with saffron and tomato braised beef ribs.
Grape 100% Syrah
Purchased from Waitrose £12.99
Les Hauts de Saint Martin2019, Saint-Chinian – France (Tom)
Matthew Jukes who writes articles in several publications was very enthusiastic about this wine, saying it was a steal at the price. The wine comes from the Roquebrun area in the South of France. The bottle label states that, Alain Rogier the winemaker was elected red winemaker of the year 2015 at the prestigious International Wine Challenge in London. It is rich garnet red colour, enticing aroma of red and blackcurrants with a hint of spice. Full bodied and generous with rich, baked blackberry flavours and a long finish.
Grape 45% Syrah, 30% Black Grenache, 15% Carignan and 10% Mourvedre
Purchased from the Co-op at £7.75
Baron De Ley Rioja Varietal Graciano – Spain (Bob)
Bright cherry-red colour with good depth and bluish hues at the rim. Intense redcurrant and red-berry fruit aromas with reminders of vanilla and mineral hints. A lively, vibrant attack with intense flavours and well-integrated tannins with a return of the red-berry fruit found on the nose. Long, refreshing finish with excellent balance and harmony.
Purchased from the Co-op £12.00
1st December 2020
Special Festive Virtual Tasting
The Festive season tasting was led by Shenfield Wine Company and included the opportunity for all attendees to participate too. As this was a special event, the format of the event was special too! The bottles of 3 whites and 3 reds were purchased from Shenfield Wine Company then split by content and cost so that we all had a little of each to taste on the night.
The wines we tasted were:
Monopole Rioja 2019 (a white Rioja) from Spain
Kleine Zalze Chenin Blanc 2018 from Stellenbosch, South Africa
Macon-Lugny Les Genievres from the Macon region in Burgundy, France
Robert Oatley, Pinot Noir 2018 from Yarra Valley, Australia
Coto De Imaz Reserva 2015 Rioja from Spain
Borgo dei Trulli Lucale Primativo Appassimento from Puglia, Italy
10th November 2020
Zoom Virtual Tasting
We held our sixth Zoom Tasting at the regular time of 8pm. The tastings were led by the wine committee members and club members and included the opportunity for attending members and guests to participate too. The wines we tasted were:
Spier Signature Sauvignon Blanc – South Africa (Jane)
The artistic Spier winery is located close to the South African town of Stellenbosch. The history of this beautiful and sprawling winery dates back to as early as 1692, which makes it one of the most ancient wineries in South Africa. Fully open fermenters, barrels made from French Oak and the usage of ceramic eggs make the wine-making process as organic as possible. This Sauvignon Blanc offer intense aromas of gooseberries and passion fruit with well-balanced acidity. Enjoy on its own or with food such as sushi or pasta.
Grape Sauvignon Blanc
Purchased online from VINVM London at £8.50
Ned Pinot Noir – New Zealand (Vera)
A crowd-pleasing Pinot Noir that delivers smoky toasty oak on the nose, balanced by red cherry fruits. It has a light body and smooth texture and the aromas are mirrored on the palate with wood influence and depth. One for light meats and even on its own.
Grape Pinot Noir
Available at Waitrose £13.49, Majestic £10.99 to £15.99 according to age, Laithwaites £11.99
Barossa Ink 2017 – Australia (Steve)
From the makers of the award winning Grant Burge Barossa Wines comes this palate buster of a Shiraz. Ink by name and ink by nature this wine is sure to make an impression on all. This intensely dark blockbuster is sourced from grapes grown across the Barossa, Australia’s premium Shiraz growing region.
Purchased from Tesco at £10; £9 when on offer, with an extra 25% off when their mix six offer is available.
Ned Noble Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Waihopai River, Marlborough, New Zealand (half bottle) (Julie)
Botrytised grapes have been specially selected from amongst the vines of the Waihopai River vineyard to make this sweet wine. The fermentation process takes a lengthy 6 months and extracts huge flavours from the shrivelled berries. Intensely sweet, yet balanced with a mixture of crisp citrus and fresh melon flavours, and as such, never cloys. Lingers long on the palate. An amazing match for gorgonzola or rich pâtés.
Grape 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Winemaker Brent Marris
Purchased from Majestic £11.99 (mixed 6) or £14.99 outside of this offer. Also available from Ocado £12.99
13th October 2020
Zoom Virtual Tasting
We held our fifth Zoom Tasting at the regular time of 8pm. The tastings were led by the wine committee members and club members and included the opportunity for attending members and guests to participate too. The wines we tasted were:
Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Walker Bay, Cape South Coast, South Africa (Julie)
Southern Right is a small Pinotage and Sauvignon blanc specialist situated in the beautiful Hemel-en-Aarde Valley behind the old fishing village of Hermanus, just 3km from the cold South Atlantic Ocean. This pale straw-coloured Sauvignon Blanc opens with a faint grapefruit bouquet with a hint of lime. On the palate, this wine is light bodied, acidic and juicy. The flavour profile is a mineral infused mild grapefruit with notes of lime. The finish is dry and refreshing.
Grape 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Purchased from Costco at £7.99
Waitrose Fairtrade Chenin Blanc – South Africa (Tom)
This wine is recommended by Phillip Schofield in the Waitrose weekend paper. He states that it punches way above its price and is something of a steal for the quality in the bottle. There is an attractive apple and barley sugar nose and the taste of crisp green apples and crushed stone minerality. The bottle states the wine is zesty and refreshing with flavours of green apple, fresh peach and bright citrus with a streak of stony minerality. The wine is produced in the Stellenbosch area of South Africa.
Grape Chenin Blanc
Purchased at Waitrose at £6.99.
Gabriel Meffre Saint Vincent Côtes du Rhône Blanc – France (Carol)
Fine and elegant with complex aromas of white flowers, jasmine and apricot. White Rhône is very distinctive and local varieties Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Roussanne create a full-bodied wine teeming with stone fruits. This is a dry white wine, but with lovely peach flavours – ideal for a party.
Grape Southern Rhone White Blend
Available at Waitrose at £9.99 (purchased for £7.49).
Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir – Chile
Ruby red colour; cherries, earth and berries with a touch of spice in both aroma and flavour; dry, light to medium-body, quite lively on the palate, with mild tannin and a rounded fruity finish. The Pinot grapes were picked from 4 year old vines on the Santa Elisa estate. The grapes were then carefully foot trodden to softly release the juice and fermented in stainless steel tanks giving an abundance of soft fruit. Wine of Chile, IWSC Trophy 2017 – International Wine & Spirit Competition Quality Award – Chilean Wine Producer.
Grape Pinot Noir
Widely available Majestic at £8.49, Ocado & Tesco £7.50.
Sterling Vintner’s Collection 2017 – California (Steve)
Built by the hand touch of our winemakers from select vineyards to create a wine of balance and elegance. Sip our Cabernet Sauvignon and savour the lush blackberry, cherry and blackcurrant aromas, underlined with notes of vanilla and spice.
Grape Cabernet Sauvignon
Purchased from Majestic at £15.99; £7.98 when on the mix six offer.
Hacienda Don Hernan Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 – Spain (Jane)
In Rioja, Gran Reserva reds like this are considered the best of the best. Rodolfo Bastido puts a lot of effort into his winemaking, especially his Gran Reservas. These are effectively his crown jewels, and he protects, nurtures and lavishes them with love. In Rioja, they don’t allow any old wine to be called Gran Reserva. Some of the strictest wine rules in the world ensure its consistent quality. Only a select list of grapes can go into it. The grapes have to be high quality, and the wine aged for a minimum period to earn the Gran Reserva classification. Rodolfo’s top drop has been aged in wood for years, you know it the moment you smell its smoky vanilla nose. But when the wine hits your tongue it’s all about the powerful, black cherry and raspberry fruits and the long lingering finish. Best before more than 15-16 years for sure. Food matches include red meats, cured cheeses, barbecues and game dishes.
Free from Naked Wines and currently out of stock but other Gran Reservas widely available including Rioja Gran Reserva 2013 Viña Alarde from Majestic at £9.99 for mix six.
8th September 2020
Zoom Virtual Tasting
We held our fourth Zoom Tasting at the regular time of 8pm. The tastings were led by the wine committee members and club members and included the opportunity for attending members and guests to participate too. The wines we tasted were:
Casa de Vila Verde 2019 – Portugal (Jane)
You won’t find a fresher tasting expression of this Portuguese classic white than this 2019 from Casa de Vila. One of the original producers of Vinho Verde, Casa de Vila remains a leading exponent of the style. Marrying tradition and state of the art techniques, this is a supremely fresh white with the gentle, natural spritz that hallmarks the best Vinho Verde. Tasting of lemon sorbet, green apple and mineral freshness with and floral notes. Enjoy with grilled seafood, sushi, tapas and dips, or simply on its own.
Grape Loureiro 50%, Trajadura 25%, Avesso 25%
Available from Laithwaites at £10.99 or £9.49 for mix 12.
Chatelain Pouilly-Fumé – France (Bob)
This delightful white wine made exclusively from Sauvignon Blanc grapes is produced by Jean-Claude Chatelain and originates from the Central Vineyards area of the Loire Valley. The grapes are grown on the unique flinty soils of Pouilly Fumé and the sloping vineyard overlooks the upper Loire & provides the perfect setting for the ripening of Sauvignon and enables the production of a classic, dry wine full of crisp, fresh fruit. Elegant and mineral led with tones of flint and gun smoke a Pouilly-Fumé such as this is increasingly hard to find. This is a great value wine with a lovely length of flavour that’s perfect with indulgent and delicious dishes featuring smoked salmon and white fish. Waitrose have been working with the Chatelain family for more than 25 years.
Grape Sauvignon Blanc
Purchased from Waitrose Cellar at £16.99
Sainsbury’s Languedoc Red (Nick)
Dark purple in colour, this wine is full of black fruit flavours and toasted spice aromas with layers of flavour and a complex intensity on the finish. Renowned winemaker Jean-Claude Mas has expertly blended 3 of the Languedoc’s key grape varieties to showcase the best that this beautiful region has to offer.
Grape Grenache, Syrah & Carignan
Purchased from Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range @ £6.50 reduced from £7.50 (additional 25% for mix 6)
Tesco Finest Fair Trade Malbec – Western Cape 2019 South Africa (Tom)
A deliciously rich, ripe Malbec from Fairtrade certified vineyards that stretch along the foothills of South Africa’s Western Cape. Bursting with dark fruit flavours of black cherry, plum and blackberry, this is a well-structured wine with an elegant hint of spice on the finish. Perfect with steak, pizza or dishes with rich tomato sauce.
Purchased from Tesco. The shelf price is £7 50 but currently it is on offer at £6 00 and with the 25% off 6 bottles, £4 50. The 25% offer ends on 31st August.
Pride of The Fleurieu Cabernet Sauvignon – Dandelion Vineyards 2017, McLaren Vale Australia (Julie)
Dandelion Vineyards is a combination of old vineyards, a young winemaker, and a couple of mates to help out in-between. This Cabernet Sauvignon has a dark purple colour with bright violet edges. On the nose, it has aromas of blueberries and cassis. The palate is rich, deep and intensely flavoured with blueberry and blackberry. It has soft powdery Cabernet tannins that are softened by smooth, mouth-filling fruit before an extended finish. Suitable for Vegans and Vegetarians. Winemaker Elena Brooks.
Grape 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Purchased from Shenfield Wines @ £15.00
Berton Vineyards Botrytis Semillon – Riverina Australia (Steve)
This dessert wine possesses intense fruit flavours with aromas of honey and baked apple.
Purchased from Aldi at £5.99 for a 37.5cl bottle – not currently available but is likely to be so for Christmas.
N.B. Having tried De Bortoli’s Botrytis Semillon at one of our tastings, Steve is convinced this is the same wine. Tesco has its own label offering at £6.00 which is produced for them by De Bortoli. The only difference he could find is the ABV at 10%.
11th August 2020
Zoom Virtual Tasting
We held our third Zoom Tasting at the regular time of 8pm. The tastings were led by the wine committee members and club members and included the opportunity for attending members and guests to participate too. The wines we tasted were:
Juve & Camps Gran Reserva 2015 – Spain (Julie)
This well-known cava is a Brute Nature made with free-run juice from grapes grown on the Espiells, Can Massana and La Cuscona estates. It has a typically pale golden colour, with a rich, elegant nose that begins with ripe white fruit and moves towards the notes that come from aging baked goods, toasted bread and spices. On the palate, it is extremely seductive with a fresh, pleasant texture and long finish that is once again reminiscent of white fruit.
Grape 55% Xarel-lo, 35% Macebeo, 10% Parellada
Purchased from Shenfield Wines (Nish) at £18.99.
Villemarin Picpoul de Pinet 2019 – France (Jane)
Picpoul’s zestiness and lip-smacking nature have thrust it into the wine-world spotlight. Kissed by Mediterranean breezes, the Villemarin’s grapes lock in every bit lemon-peel flavour and snappy acidity. It’s one of Majestic customers highest rated wines.
Purchased from Majestic at £9.99; £7.99 when on the Mix Six offer.
Le Grand Ballon Sauvignon Blanc – France (Carol & Michael)
Fresh Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley. Grown on the banks of the river Loire in the Touraine region, the Grand Ballon is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes on 25-year old vines. It’s zesty with notes of grass, herbs, lemon and lime. Delightful on its own or serve with a seafood starter.
Grape Sauvignon Blanc
Purchased from Waitrose at £8.99; currently on sale on Ocado/Waitrose at £6.74 (25% off)
Chiroubles Beaujolais Cru – France (David)
A beautiful label for a beautiful wine! Chiroubles is one of the top communes for Beaujolais with around 800 acres under wine. The cooler mesoclimate makes this and is one of the smallest of the 10 Beaujolais crus a lighter, fresher style of red wine with floral and red fruit characters and is often described as the most ‘Beaujolais-like’ of the crus. This silky 100% Gamay is bursting with fresh red cherry fruit. Try it lightly chilled – glorious!
Purchased at the Coop for a very reasonable £10 but best to check availability at your local shop as not widely available; link to stock:
St Clair Syrah– Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand (Tom)
Saint Clair family estate is owned by viticulture pioneers Neal and Judy Ibbotson who planted their first grapes in 1978. The grapes for this Syrah have been sourced from their vineyard in Gimblett Gravels winegrowing district of Hawke’s Bay. This region is unique with its nutritious alluvial soils that have been formed by sediments from millions of years ago. Earthy aromas with dark fruit and spice, the rich and luscious palate displays flavours of bright ripe plum, dried herbs and tobacco leaf. A fruit driven style with a long savoury finish, this is a great match with saffron and tomato braised beef ribs.
Purchased from Waitrose at £9.99; normally £12.99.
Rustenberg R M Nicholson 2015 – Stellenbosch, South Africa (Steve)
Named after a charismatic former owner/winemaker, this blend of Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon blackcurrant and pepper – spice characters complimented by a seamless tannin structure. Aged for 15 months in oak barrels, it can be enjoyed in its youth or after maturation under ideal cellar conditions.
Grape Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon
Purchased from Majestic at £14.99; £11.99 when on the Mix Six offer; they currently stock the 2017 vintage.
14th July 2020
Zoom Virtual Tasting
We held our second Zoom Tasting at the regular time of 8pm. The tastings were led by the wine committee members and club members and included the opportunity for attending members and guests to participate too. We also had an expert on hand, John from Liquorice in Shenfield, who presented the Yalumba and also answered our technical questions. The wines we tasted were:
Cuvée Royale Crémant De Limoux – France
Excellent, rich, dry and biscuity sparkling wine from the southwest of France with a refreshing citrus character. Sparkling wines from Limoux nestling in the foothills of the Pyrenees are said to pre-date champagne. The monks of St-Hilaire near Limoux were possibly the first to produce sparkling wine in 1531.In 1990 the term Crémant was introduced for non-Champagne sparkling wines in France, an AOC for more “modern” or internationally styled sparkling wines. AOC regulations dictate that the wine be aged for at least a year on the lees prior to disgorgement. Over 40 villages around the city of Limoux are permitted to make Crémant de Limoux. Crémant De Limoux may be enjoyed served chilled as a classy aperitif or served throughout a meal and at all celebrations.
Grape 70% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin Blanc and 10% Pinot Noir grapes
Exclusive to Waitrose/Ocado at £11.99 (Sometimes on promotion at £8.99).
Most Wanted Albariño 2019 – Galicia, Spain
This award-winning Albariño from Rias Baixas in Spain provides the classic peachy, grapefruit flavour common to that grape. It’s full of ripe white fruit with a refreshing zesty finish and is one to try if you like Sauvignon Blanc but want something a little less herby, a bit more peachy. It is lovely on its own, and also good with light food.
Grape Albariño 100%
Available from Sainsburys for £9.00 and also currently available on special offer at Co-op for £7.50.
Laurent Miquel Viognier – Languedoc, France
Laurent Miquel have their family vineyards high in the Languedoc Hills in Southern France. The grapes are harvested at night when it is cooler and to ensure that they are gathered in perfect conditions. They are pressed immediately to retain its characteristics. It is a very intense wine with the aromas of ripe peach, apricot, honeysuckle and citrus. Ideal served as an aperitif and with fish and oriental dishes.
Grape Viognier 100%
This wine was purchased at Waitrose for £9.38, where other Viognier wines can be found and they are widely available.
New Hall Vineyards Bacchus 2018 – Essex
This Bacchus is a Medium Dry White Wine produced from the oldest and largest Bacchus plantation in England. It is an internationally acclaimed wine showing intense aromas of elderflower, apple & conference pear. On the palate, tropical fruit flavours of melon and pineapple prevail leading to an elegant, crisp finish.
Grape Bacchus 100%
Available to purchase from the vineyard for £11.50.
Yalumba Bush Vine Grenache – Australia
Scattered across the Barossa Valley floor, a number of special old, bush vine Grenache vineyards contribute to this wine. A range of terroir, including climate and soil types, can be found at each site, helping to make this individual and intriguing style of Grenache. An unusually light wine compared with the typical Grenache. Saturated with aromas of cherries, perfumed berries and hints of cracked peppercorns, crunchy red apple and pomegranate flavours merge into velvety tannins.
Grape Grenache 100%
Available to purchase from Liquorice for £17.99.
Carnivor Zinfandel 2017 – Modesto, California
Much of the fruit for this wine came from premier vineyards in Lodi.
While this wine is a Zinfandel, it is also blended with both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine was aged in American and French oak, which comes through in the wine’s flavour. It is a boldly blended Zinfandel layered with notes of dark cherry, blackberry jam and perfectly toasted oak is a captivating compliment to red meat.
If you are going to try this wine have some dark chocolate available; minimum 70% cocoa solids.
Grape Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and MerlotThis wine was purchased from Sainsburys for £10 but is also available at Majestic at £11.99 and £9.99 when on the mix six offer.
Carles Priorat 2016 – Spain
Priorat is the DOQ for Catalan wine produced in Priorat county in the province of Tarragona in the south west of Catalonia. It’s a full-bodied warming red from a blend of Carignan and Grenache grapes. There are hues of Picota cherries and violets and a bouquet reminiscent of autumn fruit. It has a pleasingly spicy finish with notes of vanilla, derived from its ageing in French and American oak barrels. This dry smooth wine is perfect with grilled steak and game dishes.
Grape Carignan and Grenache
Available to purchase from Lidl for £7.99.
9th June 2020
Zoom Virtual Tasting
We held our first Zoom Tasting on Tuesday 9th June at the regular time of 8pm. The tastings were led by the wine committee members and included the opportunity for attending members and guests to participate too. The wines we tasted were:
Chandon Brut NV – Mendoza, Argentina
Following two years of exploration, Moët & Chandon identified a fine vineyard location in Mendoza’s Uco Valley, planting it in 1959. They have gone on to use their abundance of Champagne expertise to create this traditional-method sparkling wine. A fresh and elegant style of sparkling wine, with a nose centring on citrus, pineapple and white peach aroma with subtle brioche hints, and a palate with great accuracy and length. This wine was purchased from Ocado and cost £17.99 but it is widely available.
San Marzano Talo Puglia Verdeca 2019
A refreshing, dry Verdeca which shows a richness of aromatics – white flowers, crisp green apple and a hint of honey. Full flavoured, with a creamy texture and a thirst quenching finish
Grape Verdeca 100%
£10 a bottle when two or more are bought from Liquorice.
Caixas Godello 2018 – Monterrei Region of Galicia, Spain
This gorgeous white is from the top left-hand corner of Spain, from the Monterrei region of Galicia. The grape is Godello and its crisp and fresh with citrus and ripe pear fruit flavours. Has often been used in the past as a constituent for blends but has gained increasing recognition as a quality variety in its own right. Loves seafood but just as happy with a handful of salty snacks – just right for relaxing after a long, tiring day spent working in the garden.
Style Crisp White
Exclusive to Majestic £9.99 or as a mixed six £8.99
Astros Cotes de Provence Rose 2019
This domaine has been doing what it does best now for over 200 years which is to make great rosé that is typically Provence in style: pale and refreshing with cool, subtle red fruit flavours. Well balanced with a fresh finish.
Grape variety: Grenache
Available from Shenfield Wine Co. £13.99.
Edna Valley Pinot Noir 2017 – Central Coast, California
A cooling coastal influence extends the growing season creating concentrated, complex flavours of plum and pomegranate that are complemented by hints of spicy oak. This wine was purchased from Majestic and cost £15.99 but, having purchased a mixed case of six, cost £10.99.
Toro Loco Reserva 2015
From the Utiel – Requena region of Spain. It contains 60% Tempranillo and some Bobal, Merlot and Shiraz. The flavour exhibits plums, dark cherries and hints of vanilla. This wine will go well with beef, pasta and veal. This wine was purchased from Aldi for £5.49.
10th March 2020
Small Batch Wines
Stephen from Peter Watts Wines in Coggsehall led us through a lively tasting with an impressive variety of wines.
The four white wines were an English Tuffon Hall ’Amelie’ Bacchus 2018 from Castle Hedingham, very light in colour with a refreshing fruity taste and easy to drink with a low alcohol content; French three thirty three Viognier 2017 by Graham Gooch from Pays d’Oc, Viognier is Graham’s favourite white grape and this wine exudes a heady bouquet of apricot blossom and is bursting with exotic fruit flavours in the mouth; Les Garrigues de Pierrefeu Chateauneuf-Du-Pape 2016, unusually a white wine from this region of France made only in small quantities from local grapes Clairette and Grenache Blanc; and Domaine de la Feuillarde Pouilly-Fuissé Vieilles Vignes 2017 also French with complex aromas of strong ripe fruit with white flower and honey, and subtle vanilla undertones.
The four red wines were a Spanish Bodegas Santalba Maceración Carbónica Rioja 2018, an atypical Rioja, deep red in colour with purple tones and aromas of raspberry and thyme; French Cuvée 1710 2017 AOP Saint Georges d’Orques Languedoc, a blend of Syrah and Grenache grapes and named after the year when barrels were branded to prevent counterfeits; Argentinian Joffré e Hijas Premium Malbec 2016, Uco Valley Mendoza, a bold and structured typical Malbec; and finally Patritti Saperavi 2015 Barossa Valley from Australia, a rich intense wine flavoured with fruit and oak with plenty of tannins.
11th February 2020
AGM & Members Wine Quiz
The AGM took place this evening followed by a wine quiz ‘Would I Lie to You’.
For every wine there were three choices – whether you thought it was wine A, wine B or wine C. After all three descriptions, there was then an overview of the choices, by wine number.
The correct answers and prices were:
Wine 1 – B Sainsbury’s £11.00 Mlle Ladubay Crémant de Loire
Wine 2 – B Sainsbury’s £13.50 Ascheri Gavi
Wine 3 – A Liquorice £13.99 Bon Vallon
Wine 4 – A Sainsbury’s £11.00 Les Neuf Pierres Roulées
Wine 5 – B Liquorice £18.99 Lomas de Leyda Estate Pinot Noir
Wine 6 – C Sainsbury’s £9.50 Paso Robles Zinfandel
No one identified every one correctly!
Wine No. 1
This Crémant de Loire is a sparkling dry rosé made using the “method traditionnelle”, it is a delicious pink fizz produced from Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay grapes and bursting with vibrant redcurrant flavours and notes of melon. From the chalky soils of the beautiful Loire Valley, this elegant sparkling wine is made by Bouvet Ladubay, a winery founded in 1851. The soft, “tuffeau” stone of the region has been excavated to create miles of cellars, perfect for ageing this elegant wine. Great for celebrations – serve with smoked salmon or mini pavlovas.
Wine No. 2
This Italian Gavi is an elegant, crisp, dry white wine made from Cortese grapes that were grown on the hillsides of Italy’s famous Piedmont region. The wine is light and fresh with hints of lemon and grapefruit on the palate and a long mineral finish. Perfect when served chilled as an aperitif or as an ideal match for shellfish, chicken or pork dishes especially those with citrus based sauces.
Wine No. 3
One thing is clear, the De Wet family of the De Wetshof winery located in the Robertson Valley, South Africa produce some really fine full-bodied oaked Chardonnays and sublime un oaked Chardonnays. This Bon Vallon un oaked variety has a brisk and clean freshness leading into a wide spectrum of classic flavours including citrus, wild flowers and grilled nuts with a nuanced minerality on the aftertaste. Enjoy with oysters, cream-based pasta dishes or roast pork and veal.
Wine No. 4
The Terrasses du Larzac vineyards are located north west of Montpellier in the Coteaux du Languedoc region. This area is well known for the big, round stones, (pierres roulées) which soak up the Mediterranean sunshine and reflect it up into the vines at night. This traditional blend of Syrah, Grenache Noir and Mourvedre grapes pack rich, ripe and hearty fruit flavours, a perfect partner for roast meats, stews and hard cheeses.
Wine No. 5
This cool climate Pinot Noir is from the Lornas de Leyda Estate in the Leyda Valley, Chile. This is an elegant wine, ruby-coloured with medium intensity. The aromas are bursting with red fruit, morello cherries, strawberries and fresh herbs. On the palate it reveals morello cherries and pomegranate complemented by gentle tannings and fine oak. This wine pairs well with red and white meat, pasta, fish and cheese.
Wine No. 6
Zinfandel from the US is famed the world over and those from Paso Robles are particularly prized. Brothers Jake and Josh Beckett started up Chronic Cellars to showcase what the region has to offer and this beautiful and unique red is the result. Rich, ripe and fruity, this delicious Zinfandel ticks all the boxes for red wine lovers, velvety smooth, bags of plum and damson fruit and a vanilla spice kick. Pair with flame grilled burger or a juicy steak.
14th January 2020
Malcolm Brigg, one of our own members and an oenophile to boot, led an immersive tasting of premium wines from the Iberian Peninsula.
The four white wines were Casa de Vila Verde 2018 from Portugal with a faint fizz typical of vinho verde, almost clear in colour with a flavour of green apples; Porrais Reserva 2018 from the Douro region of Portugal, with a hint of Port flavour and taste of lemon curd; Baron de Barbon 2018 from the Rioja region of Spain, unusually not oaked and quite light, citrussy and racy; Altos Pigeage Chardonnay 2017 again from Rioja, but this time a classic oaked variety with a hint of resin, nuts, cloves and apple and surprisingly a hint of whisky.
The four red wines were Lobo e Falcao 2017 from Tejo in Portugal located north of Lisbon, unusually fermented in stone then stored in French oak for one year; the remaining reds were all from Spain, Torre Silo 2016, a Tempranillo although not from Rioja, with a fresh taste and oak flavour; Vina Ardanza Reserva 2009 from Rioja Alta, aged in oak for 3 years which provides a deep fruity flavour, rich and intense; and finally the highlight of the evening Marques de Riscal 2013 from Rioja Alta with a surprisingly light, black cherry taste, opulent smooth and silky.
8th October 2019
What people are drinking now!
At the October tasting Nish and Penny from Shenfield Wine Company led us through a contemporary tasting with an impressive variety of wines.
We started with an Estelado Sparkling Brut Rosé from Chile using the rare pais grape, the very first grape varietal brought to Chile in the 16th century; a refreshing start to the evening with the wine served chilled showing small bubbles followed by a lingering fresh peachy finish.
The three white wines were Eden Valley Viognier from South Australia with a particularly distinctive nose, lots of pear and citrus fruit, then a hint of more lush tropicality; Spanish Albariño Family Estate, a fresh and vibrant crisp wine with a salty, mineral flavour; and another wine from Spain, Monopole Rioja with a very smooth finish and blended with the kiura grape.
We then had another rosé wine, this time French Chase En Provence in a very unusual wine bottle with a glass stopper; flavours of redcurrant and red apple made this a very appropriate autumnal quaff.
The three red wines were Winzer Blauer Zweigelt from Austria, made from the zweigelt grape flavoured with a hint of cassis; Portuguese Dom Martinho, a rare blend of unusual grapes and one of the most popular reds in this region; and finally The Hedonist Shiraz from Australia, a biodynamic wine flavoured with pepper and liquorice with a toasty vanilla character and a wide array of ripe almost sweet berry fruit.
10th September 2019
Rugby World Cup Themed Wine Tasting
At the September tasting session , we had a foretaste of the upcoming Rugby World Cup by sampling wines from some of the countries taking part in this global event. Dave and Lucy Whittaker took us around the rugby world with an impressive variety of wines.
The four white wines were Château Mercian Koshu Gris de Gris from Japan with a faint reddish orange hue and subtle vanilla notes, aged in oak barrels; Italian Vite Bianca I.G.T. Veneto Chardonnay with a fresh bouquet and a creamy aroma; Australian Berton Vineyards Eden Valley Chardonnay, a rich, complex wine with generous aromas of white peach, beautifully balanced by spicy oak; and Sharpham Dart Valley Reserve from England with partial ageing in American oak and elderflower and meadow aromas.
The four red wines were Chateau Maine Vieil Fronsac from France- packed with intense black mulberry flavoured fruit and firm but smooth tannins; New Zealand Catalina Sounds Pinot Noir, with an appealing mix of red and dark berry fruits, spice and a gently persistent acidity; Argentinian Cadus Tupungato Appellation Malbec, intense purple in colour with great depth of black fruits, fresh herbal notes and spice; and Cline Old Vine Zinfandel from the USA with a toasty vanilla character and a wide array of ripe almost sweet berry fruit including black cherry and strawberry.
9th July 2019
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 Blanc.
Wine 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.