Wednesday 2nd May 2021
(online, via Zoom)
"Rosés for the Summer"
A presentation by our treasurer, Roy King-Underwood
A slightly smaller attendance this month - 17 members attended in 10 Zoom windows. There would have been 26, however there were polite apologies received from 9 members who were unable to make it.
Roy's presentation comprehensively described all aspects of the harvesting, production & marketing and tasting of rose wines.
Roy's notes are reproduced below:
Members' choice of wines included:
Austrian Zweigelt rosé, Waitrose £10 approx. Dry, nice finish, but not much fruit. OK, but not very impressive.
Muga Rioja rosé. Tempranillo,Grenache, Viura blend
M&S 'Cruz' rosé. Spanish, £6
Luis Felipe Edwards Cab.Sauv rosé, Chile. Not recommended/
Balfour "English Rose". Hush Heath, Kent. Redcurrant & sage notes. M&S £13
Mas Gabriel rosé, 2019. V.pale pink, Carignan-Cinsault-Grenache Gris. Citrous, strawberry, v.dry but full-bodied.
Bride Valley Dorset Pinot Noir rosé. Dry & floral. Direct from vineyard, approx £20
Denbies Dry rosé (Surrey) P.noir, Chardonnay, Seyval Blc. £12
Finally, let us now look forward with eager anticipation to our July meeting, which will be our first physical meeting since March 2020, to be held as a
Picnic by Pamphill Village Hall at 7 pm on Wednesday 7th July.
Members will all be notified by EMail with details of what we will be doing; note that the standard meeting attendance fee of £5 will be used to provide celebratory bubbly - bring your own picnic and any other refreshments you feel appropriate!
We look forward to seeing everyone again!
Wednesday 5th May 2021
(online, via Zoom)
"Champagne to Sparkling"
A presentation by Dennis & Pam Wright
Again we had a reasonable turnout, with a total of 21 members ‘attending’, in 14 Zoom windows.
This was a fascinating presentation, with a nice mix of technical data and personal recollection. Dennis and Pam talked about methods of Champagne’s production, marketing, ageing, and so on, and talked about not only Grand Marques but also the multiplicity of small producers. These can be a perfect introduction to quality champagnes without the huge prices for the Grand Marques. We saw some evocative photographs of visits to various champagne houses (and watched a demonstration of Sabrage!).
We also heard a number of pertinent quotes relating to champagne, notably from Winston Churchill and Mme.Bollinger.
Dennis and Pam spoke of their early experiences of sparkling wines other than champagne, too (notably Saumur, Crémant de Bourgogne, and Simonsig from near Stellenbosch in South Africa).
They also stressed the suitability of Champagne to accompany Fish & Chips!
Thanks to them both for an entertaining evening, and we look forward to welcoming them as members when they move to Dorset in the near future.
Overall the presentation was interesting and fun, and was followed by a group discussion in which we all spoke about what we were drinking and why, and a number of members were forthright in their condemnation of cheap Prosecco, which had rather devalued people’s perception of it, (though admitting that top-quality versions were available, but less widely).
Top-quality Cava was also praised, and also recent very positive developments in production of quality English Sparkling Wine.
A brief summary of our wines on the evening:
Stuart & Sue: Nicholas Feuillatte n.v.
Beryl: White Burgundy
Trevor & Kim: Taittinger grand cru.
Geoff & Lynne: Prosecco Conte Priuli
Peter H: Bride Valley Sparkling Rosé Bella
David H: Crémant de Bourgogne
Kate: Lanson Black Label in ½-btl
Georgi: Laurent Perrier n.v.
Dennis & Pam: Tesco 1er Cru
Roger: Tesco 1er Cru
Mike & June: Bride Valley Brut Reserve
Janet Maul: Shiraz (NOT sparkling!)
So a very pleasant time was had by all. We eagerly anticipate Roy King-Underwood’s June 2nd presentation on the theme of ‘Rosé for Summer’.
And of course, all being well, we will have our first physical gathering at Pamphill Village Hall on Wednesday 7th July. Watch this space for updates.
PGH May 2021
Wednesday 7th April 2021
(online, via Zoom)
"Wines of Chablis – connections with Dorset"
A presentation by Geoff Jones.
The rocks and distinctive fossils that comprise the Kimmeridgian were first described at the village of Kimmeridge, approx. 20 miles from Wimborne, which apparently is the northern edge of what we now call the Paris Basin. It was named the Kimmeridgian Clay because the clay component is primary there. The happy result for wine drinkers was a rock sequence yielding soils with a composition and water retention capacity that certain vines love.
This was a fun evening, with a a good turnout - there were 25 ‘attendees’ in 15 Zoom windows. After Chairman Geoff Jones had introduced the presentation, John & Tracie B-B hosted the meeting, in which they presented their suggestions for perfect food/wine pairings for a complete meal. Between courses we were treated to a variety of challenges (where the Zoom screen-sharing functionality came to the fore!), ranging from ‘first to show an interesting glass’ to dramatic representations of literary quotations! (Trevor seemed to excel at this, but there were a lot of interesting submissions all round!)
Once John & Tracie had finished their food & wine pairing presentations, Geoff Jones asked for submissions from other attendees, and a number of interesting ideas came forth.
John and Tracie’s pairings are shown below (including John’s recipe for home-made Poire Williams Liqueur!) followed by submissions from Geoff & Lynne Jones and Peter Hampton. (No other submissions have been received for inclusion in this report - feel free to forward your recommendations!)
Details of the recipes can be found by clicking on the hyperlink in the text (coloured orange and underlined).
John & Tracie recommend:
Picpoul de Pinet, Duc de Morny (Around £9). Ideal with shellfish, especially mussels, preferably cooked very simply in either white wine or dry cider.
Saumur – Domaine Langlois Chateau Saumur (£13). No pain when matched with a crab sandwich or a prawn cocktail.
Chateau Musset Lalande de Pomerol 2012. (A tad pricey at around £25) - with Boeuf Bourguignonne or even jugged hare.
Borsao Garnacha 2018 (Around £9) – with Rustic food, spaghetti bolognaise, meat balls – recipe HERE.
Beaujolais with Stilton on Toast. Recipe HERE.
Elizabeth David’s Chocolate and Almond cake. Recipe HERE.
Antique Pedro Ximenez from Fernando de Castilla makes a sublime cake even more special. (Around £25 for 50cl. A little goes a long way.)
Geoff and Lynne’s submission:
Macon Lugny AC Les Charmes (Waitrose £9.99)
With Pancetta-wrapped Salmon, recipe HERE
Peter & Fran’s submission:
We always annotate receipes in cookery books when we cook them, recording when we did it, who it was for, and so on.
On the first occasion we made this dish I wrote down what wine we had had with it and added: “a sublime combination of food and wine”.
So this seemed like a good candidate for presenting at the WWS ‘Perfect Pair’ meeting!
The slightly creamy citrous notes of the white Burgundy perfectly complemented the sauce.
Meal first cooked: 4th July 2010, just for Fran & I. (6 or 8 times since)
Chicken Breast baked with lemon & garlic, with lemon & sage sauce.
Recipe HERE. (From 'Good Housekeeping' Cookbook).
Olivier Leflaive, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru “Les Garennes” 2006
(so 4 years old at the time).
100% Chardonnay (obviously), 12½% abv. Purchased ‘En Primeur’ in 2007, from Lay & Wheeler, price after duty paid, about £25.
N O T E
Any other submissions from members will be welcome – send to Peter H. and this report can be updated with your recommended pairing!
PGH, March 2021
Wednesday 3rd February 2021
(online, via Zoom)
"As You Like It: Wines of the Languedoc"
A presentation by Mike & June Webber
Mike and June provided us with an excellent overview of the region, its grapes, and its wines, supplemented with some photographs from their holiday in the region. Their presentation notes are included below:
Languedoc is the area in SW France, west of the river Rhone, so called because at one time they spoke Occitane where the word for yes is “Oc”.
Languedoc & Roussillon cover a very large area (150 mile across) between the Mediterranean and the mountains of the Massif Centrale which provides shelter from northerly winds, and slopes for growing grapes at altitude. The Languedoc enjoys lots of sunshine to ripen the grapes, and growing at altitude prevents heat stress.
Famous wines include Picpoul de Pinet, Minervois and Corbières. For our presentation we brought a Minervois and an excellent wine from Pézenas which, like so many of Languedoc wine areas, is little known in UK
Traditionally the Languedoc was a bulk supplier of cheap and cheerful wine. Growers were paid by tonnage for grapes supplied to the local co-op, so there was no incentive to improve quality. As recently as our 2018 visit we found workers harvesting grapes in the heat of afternoon.
There is a growing band of younger wine makers who aim for quality. They cherish old vines where yield is lower but quality higher, and they pick in the cool of early morning,
Mas Gabriel in Pézenas is run by English couple Deborah and Peter Core who worked previously in New Zealand and Bordeaux. They bought the Pézenas vineyards and winery in 2006 and converted to organic. They have exceptional "terroir”. The soil has large quantities of volcanic basalt which is very unusual for the Languedoc. The vines grow on hillside slopes at 350 feet above sea-level. Old vines are cherished: they produce less fruit but with greater complexity. Grapes are picked at first light, brought to the winery and the wine-making process begins immediately with each parcel of grapes being vinified separately. Dry ice and a cooling radiator are used in the fermentation tank.
This evening we are drinking Mas Gabriel’s Les Trois Terraces 2018. It’s made from 70%, old vine Carignan, Grenache Noir and Syrah. Typically, Languedoc wines are a blend of at least three varieties. The wine has 14% alcohol and is available from Vinceremos (Leeds) at £13.99. Aroma and flavours include black fruit, vanilla, dark chocolate, pepper, and the tannins are so silky you hardly know they’re there. The 2015 Trois Terraces won a Gold Medal at the Challenge Millésime Bio (Global competition for organic wine).
For our second wine this evening we go to Chateau Eulalie in La Lavinière, the best region of the Minervois. Eulalie’s terraced vineyards lie on south-facing slopes at between 200-250m altitude, protected from the cold winds by the mountains to the north. There are 34 hectares of vines, – planted on pebbly soils with a high proportion of chalk, clay and manganese. This evening’s wine, La Cantilène 2017, is produced with grapes for from old vines, sorted by hand to ensure only the best fruit is used. The blend is Syrah 36%, Carignan 27%, Grenache noir 28% and cinsault 9%. Alcohol is 14.5%. The wine is full bodied, polished, with dark brambly fruit combined with herbs, and smooth tannins. It’s available from the Wine Society at £13.50.
Mike & June
Mike and June had enjoyed a picnic in these very convivial surroundings...
This very well-received presentation was 'attended' online by 27 members and guests in 17 windows!
After thanking Mike and June for their presentation, into which they had clearly put considerable thought, to the extent of including (via Zoom screen-share functionality)
a number of maps and photographs, Chairman Geoff Jones went on to ask attendees in turn what Langudoc wines thay had been tasting this evening.
There were a variety of price-points covered; a majority had tasted red wines; several members told how it had not been easy to find a wide choice. A selection follows:
Stuart & Sue. A Paul Mas blend from Morrisons (Carignan, Grenache) at £6.50
Peter H. A Laurent Miquel Viognier, 2019, 13%abv, from Waitrose. £9.95
Ken & Mabs were drinking port!
Beryl was drinking Rioja!
John & Tracie BB. Picpoul de Pinet & Ch.de Capitol(?) £8 from the Co-Op.
Mike & June. [See their notes above]
Trevor & Kim. Dom La Borie £6.50
Liz & Derek. Rasteau from the S.Rhone. £14
Geoff & Lynne. ?
David H. "Born to be Wine" 100% Carignan £9.95
Georgi. M&S unoaked Viognier.
Roy & Amanda. Les jamelles Reserve Mourvedre. 13.5% Ripe & Spicy. Co-Op. £8
Dennis & Pam. Ch.Ollieux Romanis, Prestige Cuvee, Corbieres. Carignan/Grenache/Mourvedre/Syrah. Wine Society £15.25
Roger & Jacqui. Ch.Eulalie. 14%. Carignan/Grenache. Wine Society £8.50
Claire. Lost her internet connection before Geoff got to her!
Geraldine. A 100% Merlot from Languedoc but it was not at all good.
Janet. A Languedoc red at £6.50.
We now look forward to our March presentation from John & Tracie Barrington-Bailey on Wednesday 3rd March; again members are encouraged to invite guests to join us - a policy which we hope will continue to attract new members.
Peter H. Feb.2021
Wednesday 2nd December 2020
(online, via Zoom)
"As You Like It: Any Port in a Storm"
A presentation by Peter Hampton
There was a good virtual attendance at this meeting, with a total of 25 people in 15 Zoom windows.
The presentation was intended to be informative and interesting but without being too long-winded! An outline of the types of port available was covered (Peter has stored his presentation notes here,in case anyone would like to see them).
Members were then encouraged to tell us all about what they had chosen to drink, and why.
A summary of who drank what, with their comments, follows, in the order they were asked:-
As apparent from the above we covered a wide variety of ports in our own selections!
Wednesday 4th November 2020
(online, via Zoom)
"As You Like It: Chardonnay"
A presentation by Claire Hillyard.
The 'Zoom' meeting was attended by 13 people, about 25% of membership.
Claire's notes are shown below, and these are followed by details of the wines tasted by attending members, together with their comments. Thanks to all who supplied this information.
The evening was All About Chardonnay. (AAC not ABC!!) and it was great to have an opportunity for us all to discuss our favourite/chosen wine.
Chardonnay is of course most famous as the grape of white wines from Burgundy and these are my wines of choice. (As well as Champagne of course!)
They tick all the boxes:
• There is a wine for all occasions - from the elegance of Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault, reserved for special days to the wines of the Maconnais for that every day tipple.
• There is a wine to suit each and everyone’s pocket too. You can enjoy a lovely Burgundy for under £10 but spend a lot more and not be disappointed.
• There is a wine for most, if not all, palates - from steely Chablis to citrusy Macons to the more complicated nutty overtones of the fine wines of the Cote de Beaune - a plethora of flavours!
This evening I have chosen a couple of wines from the Maconnais, as I think they taste good and are reasonably priced.
But before I go on to talk about them, I thought this was as good a time as any to look back at the mixed fortunes of the chardonnay grape: "the rise, fall and rise again of Chardonnay"!!
Round about the beginning of the 80s, when varietal labels began appearing on bottles and pubs starting serving wine by the glass, chardonnay was all the rage. However, with its success came the Australian over oaked stuff which flooded the market and gave rise to its naff reputation in the 90s and beyond. And what made matters worse, Bridget Jones declared it to be her favourite wine and one of the wives in the TV programme Footballers Wives was actually called Chardonnay! So the writing was on the wall - it became decidedly uncool with many of wine drinking public, who incidentally seemed unaware that Chablis was 100% Chardonnay!!
Also, during this time, Sauvignon Blanc, especially from NZ, became the new kid on the block and many switched to this supposedly more sophisticated wine along with another little upstart enjoying rocketing sales - Pino Grigio!
However, as one wine connoisseur said ‘people will get bored with the
overpowering flavours of Sauvignon Blanc and come back to the ubiquitous subtleties of Chardonnay.’ Too true!
And that’s exactly what’s happening - now, after years in the wilderness, the wine is finding favour again – Chardonnay is back, thanks in part to an Australian-led charge and a tweak to the wine’s taste to suit palates seeking a less oaky flavour. Thank goodness for that! One of my sons lives in Western Australia and there in Margaret River we have enjoyed some very nice Chardonnays - quite delicate and a far cry from that ‘in your face’ Jacobs Creek! Also chardonnays from Chile, notably Santa Rita Medalla Real, are achieving high praise - less oak seems to be the way forward. Wines from both countries have the quintessential characteristics of the chardonnay grape - but in my opinion, are not quite Burgundy!!
My recommendations are:
Macon Villages from Majestic (£13.99/9.99 for 6 mixed case) and Saint Veran again from Majestic (£16.99/£14.99 for 6 mixed case)
Mâcon-Villages 'Les Roches Blanches' 2019, Louis Jadot
Origin: Louis Jadot is considered by many to have one of the finest winemaking reputations in Burgundy. To retain the fruity character of grapes picked from some of the best Mâcon villages, this Chardonnay is completely unoaked. It's a fresh, clean white with bright notes of green apple, pear and slightly pastry-like complexity finished by a swooping mineral finish.
Saint Véran 'Haute Cuvée' 2018 Rijckaert F. Rouve, Burgundy
Origin: Jean Rijckaert is renowned for creating fantastic white Burgundy.
Under his guidance, Florent Rouve, who began making wine in Jura at just 16 years old, has created this exceptional Saint-Véran. Aged for up to 15 months in small oak barrels, it's rich and round with gentle oak influence and a fine, succulent texture.
Claire Hillyard, Nov.2020
The wine we drank at this month’s meeting was the
Maycas del Limari Chardonnay Reserva Especial 2018.
It’s from the Wine Society and costs £12.95 a bottle.
The grapes are raised on limestone soils and are fermented briefly in 228-litre and 600 litre barrels, only 20% new, “leaving a tiny hint of oak” according to the Wine Society, though we didn’t detect it at all.
We like Chilean wines, but this promises more than it delivers. In the glass it looks delightful, clear, bright, light golden. On the nose there is plenty of citrus fruit. so one has high hopes as the glass approaches the lips only to be disappointed. Yes, there are some lemony citrus notes, but the predominant impression is of green apples. The finish is either "refreshing" or more simply "sharp" as there is too much acid to balance the fruit and the hint of minerality; and it's short. There's really not much to recommend this wine and for a pound or two more one could have a decent Macon, lifting chardonnay to a whole different class.
Mike Webber, Nov.2020
Trevor is not keen on Chardonnay so tasted:
Hardys Crest Shiraz, 2017, 14%. £7 from Tesco.
Deep ruby/purple in colour with a bright crimson rim.
A bouquet of intense, ripe raspberries and black cherries with overtones of vanilla and spice. Perfect for lamb shanks.
Trevor Henry, Nov.2020
My chardonnay was:
Louis Latour Macon-Lugny 2018, 13% abv, Majestic, £10.99 (mix-6 price, down from £14.99)
The village of Lugny is quite high up and with a mild climate. Grapes are from 30-year-old vines grown on clay & limestone soil.
Yield is 50 hectolitres per hectare, mechanically harvested. Fermented in stainless steel vats, with malolactic fermentation allowed. 8 to 10 months aging in stainless steel. (So no oaking).
Pale gold colour, notes of honey & white fruit on the nose. Apples, lemon curd, toasted citrus in the palate, with rich dryness and rounded mouthfeel. Beautiful balance of fruit, acid and alcohol, with good length.
A lovely example of very reasonably priced white Burgundy - a lot of character, and a distinctive and typical French Chardonnay which should prove a perfect introduction to those who think that they don't like white wine in general and chardonnay in particular…!
Peter Hampton, Nov.2020
On the coast south of Adelaide is McLaren Vale. The climate is warm enough to guarantee lush, chocolatey reds from shiraz, grenache and cabernet, while its strong maritime influence invests elegance in chardonnay, viognier and marsanne.
McLaren Vale (South Australia) known mainly for Shiraz, Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, and of the whites Chardonnay. The Adelaide Hills area east of the city are cool and provide the perfect ingredients for lemony sauvignon blanc and chardonnay.
VICTORY HOTEL CHARDONAY SEMILLON RESERVE 2019
WS notes. Apple and peach-scented, dry, rounded, unoaked and crisp, adding up to a great-value white and a classic Australian blend.
Notes on the bottle. A famous watering hole in the heart of Australia’s premium grape-growing area is the inspiration behind these easy-drinking expertly made wines, (also shiraz,cab-sauv) which embody fruit-focussed characterful Australian winemaking at its best. This juicy white fused Chardonnays appley bounce with the palate filling softness of Semillon, rounded off by a lovely citrusy zing. Enjoy lightly chilled.
£6.50 The Wine Society 13%
I bought this wine from the Wine Society last week particularly for the Wednesday evening and it accompanied a baked Dover for dinner.
Nose/aroma was medium intensity fresh citrus and delicate fruit.
Lemon, not harsh citrus, apple, melon and honey that continued and as the lemon being a high note mellowed slightly, the dry and predominantly chardonnay with its flintiness became more prominent blended with the fruitiness of the Semillon’s citrus and tropical fruits. The lack of oakiness in the taste was refreshing. This was a very pleasant and easy drinking wine, going well with delicate fish or just a late afternoon aperitif.
Overall. Unpretentious and pleasant.
The blend of chardonnay and semillon works well and the wine will last for a couple of days easily. It is rare for The Wine Society to come up with a wine under £10.00 that is of lesser quality. At £6.50 & 13% abv, extremely good value and although I tend not to go for Aussie wines any more, would not hesitate to restock. Remember it for the next summer.
Julia Cornborough Oct 30th 2020
The wine we drank was not unfamiliar to us as its one we enjoy and that is the Macon -Villages 2018. The wine from Waitrose was on special offer at £9.99 a bottle against the normal price of £11.99.
The wine is made from chardonnay grapes, grown in the Maconnais region in south of Burgundy. This wine is unoaked and is an excellent example of modern white, Burgundy.
It is crisp and dry with fresh citrus and peach flavours, displaying a hint of minerality true to its origin.
We normally drink the wine slightly chilled with fish, seafood chicken or white meat. Whilst we recommend this wine we also enjoy a Chablis Premier Cru or a nice Montrachet!
Geoff & Lynne Jones, Nov.2020
There was convivial chat at the end of the meeting - We hope that there will be even more attendees at the next few meetings in order to maintain contact between WWS members whilst we are still unable to gather together physically!
Note - the next meeting will be via Zoom on Wednesday 2nd December at 19:30, "Any Port in a Storm". Notifications will be sent by EMail.
If any members have suggestions to broaden the appeal of meetings, either in subject matter or meeting format, the committee would be pleased to receive these.
Peter Hampton, 14th November 2020
This was the first of several online events planned at the end of 2020 and start of 2021 to keep us all entertained learning about and enjoying wine whilst we are not able to meet physically. The first was presented by Trevor Henry, “As you like it Merlot/Merlot blend”, with members asked to also present on the wine that they had chosen on the night. Everyone enjoyed the night and I think enjoyed being able to participate in the conversation.
A special night was had by Georgina Gillet who had a “rush” of family and friends (within the rule of 6) over to enjoy dinner and the wine.
There was a good ‘turnout’ for this event – many attendees have passed on their notes, and these are shown below (in no particular order):
Trevor Henry: Artusi Merlot: 12% £6.75 from the co-op. A modern, fruity style of Merlot from Italy’s Veneto region – Features mellow body and oodles of ripe fruit. I found myself tasting red fruit, plum and blackberry. Good with, beef, pasta, lamb, game. Occasion: BBQ, Sunday lunch
Mike Webber: Chateau Moncets from Lalande de Pomerol 2010, bought en primeur from the Wine Society in 2011 and laid down until quite recently, though the Society’s drinking window
is 2015-2022. The vineyard is on the border with Pomerol proper. It is 70% merlot, 20% cabernet franc and 10% cabernet sauvignon. 20% of it was aged in new oak barrels before
blending. Alcohol is 13.5%. Great depth and complexity of flavour with lovely soft tannins. Still plenty of fruit – all the flavours one associates with the three grapes in the blend and
overlaid with notes of vanilla. I am happy to say that I still have two bottles!
David Hopkins: Triade from Puglia Italy, from Waitrose price unknown as it was a gift but I'm guessing at least £10/12. A blend of Primitivo, Negroanaro and Nero di Troia grapes. Full bodied soft and supple. Most enjoyable on its own but no doubt a great accompaniment to red meats and Italian food.
Claire Hillyard: Chile - Montes single vineyard selection - Merlot 2018 (14.5 % ) Majestic Wines price £9.99. Intense favours of ripe red fruit such as strawberry, plum and cherry abound. Twelve months in oak barrels adds a spicy note and provides the structure that allows the wine to develop in bottle. This will be perfect with nice pink roast lamb.
Roy King-Underwood: Domaine du Grand Mayne 2017 Merlot Cabernet List price £10.65. There is a UK shop in Hampshire that organises delivery
Stuart Warnock: Esprit de Puisseguin 2018
Peter Hampton: Chateau Pey La Tour, 2015. Appellation Bordeaux Controlee, part of the Dourthe estate. 14.5% abv. 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Purchased in 2018 from Waitrose at £7.50 per bottle (after 25% 6-bottle discount). Vineyard lies a few miles East of Bordeaux, between the Dordogne & Garonne rivers. Ripe & Fruity. Gentle tannins, Plum & red-fruit aroma. Nice long finish. Very good value, good with simple meat or cheese dishes.
Georgina Gillet: 2018 Chateau Pey La Tour (same as Peters but different vintage)at 15 % vol I thought would be much too robust for me but the fact that I tasted my first glass whilst eating (I very often sample wine whilst preparing food) I enjoyed the dense full fruit flavour and found the wine rich and smooth. In fact have been back to Waitrose to replenish stocks at special offer price!
Julia Cornborough: Wine Society’s Portuguese Old Vines in Young Hands 2017 red priced at £5.95. it is comparable with a merlot although slightly lighter, thus going well with light meat, fish and cheese, the latter being evidenced during the meeting munching on my Devon goat cheese. The wine comes from the Douro Valley and the WS notes are as follows
Formed in 1955, this revitalised co-op is in the town of Vila Real in Portugal’s Douro valley, situated in the north-east of the country.
It sources its grapes from 1100 growers across the region, using native Douro grape varieties like malvasia fina for whites and tinta roriz (tempranillo), touriga franca and touriga nacional for the reds.
The grapes for the Old Vines in Young Hands wines we buy come from gnarly old vines grown on ancient terraces. By contrast, the winemaking team is the youthful, dynamic and talented Rui Madeira and Luis Cortinhas, part of a generation of winemakers who have been revolutionising Douro wines since the beginning of the 21st century.
They use these traditional grape varieties to make fresh, balanced and easy-drinking wines, and this modern approach has clearly paid off – they’ve already won a plethora of awards from across the world.
I had the red a few months ago as a one-off to sample and I am happy to have half a case in the garage! My en-primeur days have long gone of cases of Claret, hoping I will reach the age to enjoy it as Mike said last evening. I can really recommend these for everyday drinking at a good price.
Trevor Henry, Oct.2020
Saturday 18th July 2020
(online, via Zoom)
"Table in the Garden"
Usually in July members and guests are able to enjoy the delights of an evening cheese and wine party at Pamphill Village Hall but sadly this year due to Covid19 restrictions this had to be cancelled. The committee decided that to try and fill this void they would organise a “table in the garden” ZOOM event for members and guests to meet up in a “host's” garden (subject to restrictions). On a beautiful sunny afternoon in July approx. 30 members and guests sat down to enjoy a glass of wine and chat about the wines consumed. The table hosts included Peter Holguette, Trevor Knott, Trevor Henry, Chris Holding, Roy King-Underwood and Geoff Jones.
A variety of interesting wines were shared and discussed.
For example, at Roy's table, a reserva Cava, a Chilean Païs and a superb white Burgundy were among the wines shared by socially-distanced Roy & Amanda King Underwood, Stuart & Sue Warnock, Claire Hillyard, and Peter Hampton.
If any hosts would like the attendees at their table and the wines they tasted added to this report (if you can remember them - I have to admit I couldn't remember all those we had) then please let me know - thanks!
Peter Hampton, Aug.2020
Wednesday 3rd June 2020
(online, via Zoom)
"Sauvignon Blanc - Why Pay More?"
In a change to our published programme, where our meetings in April and May have both been cancelled due to the Covid-19 restrictions, the WWS committee decided that for June we could try an ‘online’ meeting, using ‘Zoom’ technology, where members could join in on-screen.
Accordingly, members were invited to purchase any, all, or none of three different Sauvignon Blanc wines at three price points. The Co-Op was selected as a supplier as there are numereous Co-Op stores in the Wimborne area and this would make it easier for members to source the wine for tasting.
Members were then invited to sample the wine(s) and make any comments they felt appropriate.
The time approached – 19:30 on Wednesday 3rd June, when we would normally have been meeting physically at the Allendale Centre – and I awaited the ‘join meeting’ requests on my Zoom screen in the comfort of my own home!
In the end, most of the committee and some members ‘attended’ on-screen, but turnout was not really very good – 10, in fact. Thank you very much for your support to those that did ‘attend’.
It actually went pretty well … we all had something to say.
The wines, plus our comments, were as follows:-
(1) ‘Lime Tree’ Sauvignon Blanc, S.E. Australia, 12.5%, Co-Op, £5.35
This was a simple and basic wine as you might expect given the price. Very pale lemony colour, the nose had certain typical Sauvignon Blanc characteristics, such as the slightly leafy, lime and gooseberry notes, which were reflected in the taste, but it was very short-lived, fading quite quickly from the palate. It could be described as ‘balanced’ but this was largely because there was not much of anything! It was generally felt to be very much a ‘glug and forget’ style, which might suit a barbecue on a hot afternoon, but by no means memorable. I scored it about 6/10.
(2) Yealand’s Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand, 12.5%, Co-Op, £9.50*
Quite a similar colour, with a slight greenish tinge. A much more intense NZ Sauvignon Blanc nose, with citrous, green pepper and gooseberry aroma to the fore.
This again was typical for what it was – an up-front grassy acidity, with the gooseberries prevailing. It seemed a tad acidic for the amount of fruit but did at least have a decent length. I scored it 7/10 on the first pass – though see later comment!
*Though Andrew Skinner said he’d seen it for £7 in Sainsbury’s, which is perhaps significant…
The above two wines were both shipped to the UK in tanks and bottled here (like many of the wines imported from the new world).
(3) ‘Les Côtes’ Sancerre, Eastern Loire, France, 12.5%, Co-Op, £15
A whole different ball-game. You can spend quite a bit more than £15 on Sancerre so this is actually at the lower-end of Sancerre prices, but nevertheless it had so much more going for it than the previous wines. A similar pale-lemony colour, with light fragrant nose. In the taste we found that, along with the grassy, gooseberry tones there were pleasant lemon-peel notes, and minerality - a kind of stony flintiness which reflects the terroir and gives the wines loads more character, in my opinion. Lovely fruit-acid balance and good length. I scored it 8/10.
This was definitely everyone’s favourite. (It’s a bit of a pity we didn’t have more NZ Sauv.Blanc fans attending as this might have engendered some lively differences of opinion…!)
So, the answer to the (not rhetorical) “Why Pay More?” question at the top was – You pay more to get a much more interesting quality wine! I guess this is sort of self-evident but at least we were able to experience it directly and discuss our reasoning!
And now, something we’ve not done in a report before …
Having kept some wine in the glass from the first two tasted, we went back and re-tasted these:
(2) Yealand’s Marlborough Sauv.Blanc.
After the quality and character of the Sancerre, this wine tasted completely different from earlier. Now, it seemed hugely unbalanced, with massive acidity swamping any fruit character – in fact, it has to be said, it was almost undrinkable. This was quite a revelation, and suffice it to say that I would not recommend that anyone ever taste these wines in this order! So only 4/10 on tasting this 2nd time around!
(1) Lime Tree Australian Sauv.Blanc.
This virtually disappeared. Nothing really to say here, other than it was … wine.
[Fran & I used it in a marinade for some barbecue meat subsequently and it did OK for that…!]
As we had also used the meeting for social chat we ran out of the first tranche of Zoom-time (limited to 40 minutes) but restarted another session before finally calling at a night!
Geoff & Lynne did a draw for those participating this evening - thank you! - Winners were Sue Warnock, Marion Eldrett, and yours truly.
Prizes will be distributed in due course!
A very pleasant time was had by all.
We may try something similar again, but I’m not entirely sure how we can present it to encourage more members to participate.
I’ll keep the WWS website updated with any news and proposals.
Looking forward to seeing everyone 'for real' as soon as possible.
Report by Peter Hampton, June 2020
Wednesday 4th March 2020
"The Wines of New Zealand"
Nigel Gilling, Liberty Wines
Geoff Jones welcomed Andrew Skinner to the Committee, then Nigel Gilling of Liberty Wines presented 'New Zealand' to the 35 attendees. The country today has around 700 wineries and 1,800 wines.
[Liberty Wines own presentation notes document can be found HERE]
Wine 1 – Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (Tinpot Hut) 2019 (NZ). Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Crisp apple and grapefruit. Light minerality, dry. Ripe rather than sweet. Score: 8
ABV 13%, Liberty Wines, £13.99
Wine 2 – Marlborough Pinot Gris (Framingham) 2018 (NZ). Grapes: Pinot gris. Alsace style. Bramley. Light, sweet, smooth. Score: 7
ABV 14%, Liberty Wines, £15.99
Wine 3 – Hawkes Bay Chardonnay (Trinity Hill) 2016 (NZ). Grapes: Chardonnay. Flinty mineral. Creamy pineapple. Score: 6
ABV 12.5%, Liberty Wines, £16.99
Wine 4 – Marlborough Pinot Noir (Ribbonwood) 2016 (NZ). Grapes: Pinot noir. Dark red berry nose. Relatively smooth, but a bit thin and skinny. Score: 6
ABV 13%, Liberty Wines, £17.99
Wine 5 – RUA Central Otago Pinot Noir (Akarua) 2018 (NZ). Grapes: Pinot noir. Richer red, more balanced. Sirop. Score: 7
ABV 14%, Liberty Wines, £19.99
Wine 6 – Hawkes Bay Syrah (Trinity Hill) 2017 (NZ). Grape: Syrah. Deep red. Dark fruit nose. Score: 7
ABV 12.5%, Liberty Wines, £16.99
Note, Liberty Wines are merchants for trade only; their offerings are available through New Forest Wines in Ringwood.
Geoff Jones presented a ‘bottle of thanks’ to former Chairman Peter Eldrett at the start of the evening. Four prospective members were also welcomed. Then impresario (and recently-joined member) John Billington-Beardsley presented “Tastings on the theme of love (very loosely)” to the 45 attendees. In his presentation John linked each wine to a romantic event in his descriptions & narrative.
The general wine report (1 fizz, 2 rose, 3 white, 4-5 red, 6 Madeira) follows:
Wine 1 – Cremant du Jura (Jura,France). Chardonnay grapes. Mid-pale lemon colour. Apple, pleasant fizz. Score: 6
ABV 12%, Aldi, £8.49
Wine 2 – La Terrasse (Pays D’Oc) (Paul Mas). Grapes: Grenache / Syrah / Cinsault. Pale, peachy hints. Light, modest and dry. Long; not much fruit. Score: 5
ABV 13%, Sainsbury’s, £10.00
Wine 3 – Doudet-Naudin (France). Grapes: Chardonnay. Mid lemon hue; citrous nose; Sweetish, hint of rhubarb, oily. Score: 5
ABV 13%, Co-op, £7.25
Wine 4 – Dogajolo 2017 (Carpineto, Italy). Grapes: 70% Sangiovese / Cabernet, others. Deep red, chewable, good first impression, dark red-fruit. A little thin. Score: 6.5
ABV 13%, The Jolly Vintner Too, £13.50
Wine 5 – Burlesque (USA). Grapes: Zinfandel from old vines. Mid-dark red. Good dark-fruit nose, a bit leafy; fruity, spicy, hints of sloe & damson. Blackcurrant sirop. Soft tannins, Good finish. Score: 8
ABV 14.5%, The Jolly Vintner Too, £10.00
Wine 6 – Madeira (Henriques & Henriques, Portugal). Grape: Malmsey + many others. Treacle and prunes; hints of honey & caramel. Very pleasant. Quite smooth. Score: 8
ABV 19%, The Jolly Vintner Too, £12
The raffle winners this month were Roy King-Underwood, Marion Eldrett and Andrew Skinner.
Report & notes by Chris Holding
Peter Hampton presented “Lost your bottle?” to the 39 attendees, in which he asked “Must good wine only come in a bottle?”
The statistics are that the glass production and wine-related transportation areas account for around 68 percent of the overall carbon footprint of the wine industry in its current form. New methods of wine packaging are becoming more visible in the market, so who better than our illustrious crew to road-test a few of them.
Note, a majority of wine is purchased for "immediate consumption" (i.e. from 'now' up to about a week ahead), so these alternative methods of packaging wine are significant in the marketplace. For wines for longer-term keeping (i.e. from a few months up to several years), due to the way they mature, glass bottles (with cork closure) would probably be more appropriate.
The general wine report (1-2 white, 3 rose, 4-5-6 red) follows:
Wine 1 – Abtei Himmerod (Abbey) 2018 (Berncastel-Wittlich). Riesling grapes. Fruity and penetrating; a fine mineral note and a long final acidity. Score: 4
ABV 12%, Amazon, £24.99 (3 litre Traditional Bag-in-Box) (= £6.25/btl)
Wine 2 – Pheasant Gully 2018 (S.E. Australia). Grapes: 55% Semillon / 45% Chardonnay. Crisp with modest acidity and sweetness. Score: 6
ABV 12.5%, M&S, £12.50 (1.5 litre Foil Pouch = 6-month shelf life)
A fresh and zesty Australian white wine with fruity flavours of lemon and oranges with a crisp dry finish.
Wine 3 – Mirabeau Classic Rosé 2018 (Provence). Grapes: 60% Syrah / 40% Grenache. Summer fruits on the nose. Mouthfeel is light and turns to raspberry. Score: 7
ABV 12.9%, Waitrose, £3.49 (250 ml Aluminium Can) (= £10.50/btl)
Many of us thought that this was good enough to take on a summer picnic.
[Also available in glass bottle from Waitrose].
Wine 4 – Cotes du Rhone Villages 2018 (Southern Rhone). Grapes: 60% Grenache / 40% Syrah. Cigars and vanilla. Smooth. Thin but satisfying. Score: 7.5
ABV 13.5%, M&S, £17.00 (1.5 litre Pouch) (= £8.50/btl)
Also available from M&S in glass bottles.
Wine 5 – Francis Ford Coppola ‘Diamond Collection’ 2017 (California). Grapes: Pinot Noir. Vanilla with a hint of aluminium*! A good finish, as above. Score: 7.5
ABV 13.5%, Amazon, £22.49 (4 x 250 ml Cans) (= £16.87/btl)
Fruit-forward and nicely textured. Quite expensive but very good!
Available in bottle in the USA, but only in cans from Amazon UK.
Wine 6 – Brisa Tempranillo 2018 (Carinena). Grape: Tempranillo. More vanilla. A darker red. A bit of fizz. Score: 8
ABV 13.5%, Inspiring Wines, £13.50/btl (Flat Pack postable ‘letterbottle’)
An imaginative new concept - a full 75cl bottle flat enough to go in a cardboard box and through a letterbox. I'm not sure if it was really worth £13.50 a bottle but if they can expand on the idea and try it with a wider variety of wines from around the world this could take off!]
The raffle winners this month included Trevor Knott and Georgina Gillett.
* Notes & report by
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