Reviews

Just a reminder to visitors to our pages that we score out of 7,  so 5’s and 6’s are really rather good!!

September 2018 – English Wines with Christine Austin

A welcome return for Christine who, as co-founder and Life President of the Lincoln Wine Society, wouldn’t dare offer us a bad tasting!  Our topic was ‘English Wines’, and the first thing that we learnt was that we should now be calling them ‘Wines GB’, given that wine is also produced in Wales (and, given the pace of global warming, it probably won’t be too long before we include Scotland as well).  But regardless of subject name, Christine presented us with an excellent selection of wines, mainly sparklers but including a still white, a red and a ‘sweetie’.

The still white certainly deserves a mention in despatches; the Halfpenny Green Tom Hill 2016 from Staffordshire (yes, Staffordshire!) was refreshingly different, floral with lime on the nose, crisply dry and flavoursome in the mouth, and very popular on the night.  Made from the Huxelrebe grape, a bargain at just £9.99 from Waitrose Cellar.  Huxelrebe cropped up again in the Denbies Noble Harvest 2015, with botrytis helping to produce a luscious dessert wine.  And again, very well received on the night.

It was no real surprise that most of the wines in our tasting were bubbly, with sparkling wine now accounting for 70% of all UK wine production, and with some of these wines able to compete with the very best on the world stage.  From the multitude of riches on offer, the highest scoring wine on the night was the Nyetimber Classic Cuvée Brut NV – which I felt was a particularly good example of this widely available wine.  It’s made from a blend of classic Champagne grapes, based on the 2014 vintage but including reserve wines from as far back as 2008.  Just behind the Nyetimber on the scorecard was the very select ‘The Trouble with Dreams’, made by Dermot Sugrue, former winemaker at Nyetimber – certainly one to keep your eyes open for in the future.

English wines, whoops, I mean Wines GB, are no longer something to drink just for their novelty value; there are some seriously good wines out there.  A big thank you to Christine for showing us some of them.

August 2018 – Committee Challenge

Well the best turnout of the year to-date reflected the membership’s resounding vote of confidence in their Committee’s ability to choose some excellent wines for them to judge.  Or perhaps, on reflection, it just shows a touching naivety.  Either way, we were presented with some lovely wines on the evening – six wines in the ‘under £10’ category and six in the ‘over £10’ category (and yes you’re right, wines costing exactly £10 are apparently not allowed).  Members then voted for their favourite wine in each category.  We also had a mystery wine for those who just can’t pack too much excitement into one evening.

For the first time at this event, we didn’t know which Committee member had chosen each wine (we’d each chosen one wine for each category), so members were voting for the wine and not the person who chose it – I expect it was just a coincidence that this was also the first time I’ve not won.  Anyway, hard-earned reputations were on the line!

After a marathon tasting the votes were cast and counted.  Then, in an atmosphere so tense it could have been cut with a butter-knife, the winners were announced.  They were:

Best wine under £10
Zebro Vinho Regional Alentejano 2010, a Portugese red chosen by Peter
(£5.99 from Sandhams, Caistor)

Best wine over £10
Clos Floridene 2015, Bordeaux, a French white chosen by Ira and Steve
(£19.00 from the Co-op)

Very well done to Peter (who counted the votes) and Ira and Steve (who held the spare voting cards).  Hang on a minute …

July 2018 – barbecue

A departure from our normal format – a barbecue in the lovely grounds at Lindum House, something we haven’t done for many years.  Nice venue and good food (organised by Eddy), good wines (organised by Mark and Peter) and good weather (organised by Paul). And a big thank you to Steve for his classical guitar accompaniment to the welcome wine.

The wines we had were:
Graham Beck Brut N.V.
Martin Codax Albarino, 2016
Guigal Cotes du Rhone Blanc, 2016
Villa Cafaggio Chianti Classico, 2014?
Brazin Zinfandel, 2014

Peter’s novel idea of freezing some of the Cote du Rhone was a big surprise, well received on a warm evening.

June 2018 – Southern Italy with Ben Robson

The welcome return of Ben Robson, Bat and Bottle Wines, Oakham.  Ben presented a selection of wines from southern Italy, from the rolling hills of Tuscany (well they’re south of Milan aren’t they?) down to slopes of Mount Etna on Sicily.  Ben’s enthusiasm for his wines shines through (he only sells wines that he likes to drink himself!), so you can always guarantee an entertaining and informative evening with him.

We had a wide selection of wines; starting with a spumante, followed by 3 whites, a rosato (sounds better than pink) and 4 reds.  Favourite wines on the night?  Difficult to say as there were too many wines scoring 6/7 to list them all …  My own favourites were the Cantina di Marzo Greco di Tufo ‘Palazzo’ 2015 – a rich, minerally white from Campania, described as ‘a white wine for red wine drinkers’.  And the Paolo Petrilli ‘Agramante’ 2015, a blend of Nero di Troia, Sangiovese and Montepulciano from Puglia, rich fruit and fine tannins.  A bit like me after a couple of glasses of wine, i.e. gorgeous.

More details of Ben’s wines can be seen on his website: https://batwine.uk

May 2018 – Australia: Robert Oatley Wines, with Anthony Flack

A good presentation of wines from one producer but different regions of Australia, with a wide range of grape varieties and blends.

The whites included Riesling and Chardonnay, but the most popular on the evening was the clean, fresh Hancock & Hancock Fiano from the McLaren Vale. Originally from southern Italy, the Fiano grape was new to many, and this example had enough complexity to make it interesting as well as refreshing; it will certainly go very nicely with food when dining al fresco over the coming summer months …

A strong selection of reds included 3 wines vying for best of the night: the Hancock & Hancock Cabernet Sauvignon/Touriga, the Signature GSM and the Finisterre Syrah all scoring very highly.  My vote went to the GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre), a sumptuous Rhone blend that is also very good value for money.

Our local stockist for Robert Oatley Wines is Ann et Vin in Newark
www.annetvin.com

April 2018 – Leon Stolarski, New Classic Wines from Regional France

Leon re-visited us with another selection of interesting SW France wines. We were able to taste some grapes unfamiliar to most; Aramon, Courbu, for example, and others that we don’t get to taste every day; Grenache Blanc, Mourvedre, Carignan, etc.

Leon’s style is to let the wines speak for themselves, and this they most certainly did, and whilst the whites were a bit too specialist for most, the reds scored very well, with my wines of the night being the Mas Foulaquier Les Tonillieres – a 50/50 Carignan and Syrah blend, and the 2011 Montesquiou Jurancon sweetie, made from 100% Petit Manseng and harvested really late. Extremely luscious. www.lsfinewines.co.uk for more on Leon’s wines.

March 2018 – Fortified Wines, with Chris Mooney and Sandhams of Caistor

An excellent selection of fortified wines, presented by Chris Mooney of Fells – one of the leading wine importers in the UK.

We sampled Sherry (a Manzanilla and an Amontillado), Madeira (a Sercial, and a Bual & Malmsey blend), a Marsala (plus an unfortified wine from the same producer) and Port (a Tawny and a vintage).  All-in-all, some serious – and seriously good – wines that were very well received on the night, with five gaining average scores of 6/7.
My personal favourites were the Pellegrino Oro Marsala and the Dows 1977 Vintage Port, although at £90 per bottle I might have to restrict myself to just a half case of the latter.

All of the wines are available from Sandhams Wine Merchants, Caistor https://www.sandhamswine.co.uk

February 2018 – German Wines, with Ben Straw

A good selection of German wines from Ben Straw of The Straw Collection.

January 2018 – ‘Burgundy and Beyond’, with Liam Smith of Majestic Wines

An excellent evening, with Liam Smith (manager at Majestic’s Lincoln store on Wragby Road) presenting a selection of Burgundy and Burgundy look-alikes. We were impressed by the quality and affordability of the wines on offer.    https://www.majestic.co.uk

December 2017 – Christmas Party

An opportunity to let our hair down, well those of us who have it, whilst gorging on imbibing some good wines and enjoying a sumptuous buffet.  A great evening to socialise.

November 2017 – Wig and Mitre Dinner

Such was the success of last year’s Wig & Mitre dinner, we decided to come back for more! This time the theme was Spain, pairing wines from the Wig & Mitre’s wine list with Spanish food.
Once again, hosted very ably by the Wig’s Dani Longhi, we tasted wines that were not always an obvious choice, but were delicious nonetheless  – Dani had obviously put a lot of thought into choosing wines that would appeal to this fussy audience.  A great evening.

October 2017 – ‘A Festive Selection’ with James Long of Corney and Barrow

James is in danger of becoming an ‘institution’ with Lincoln wine Society, having presented wines to us on many occasions over the last 25 (?) years.  But he is certainly not getting stale.  He excelled himself this year with his choice of wines, and his stand-up routine (sorry, I mean presentation) seems to get better each year.

With little constraint on choice of wines, he gave us a wide-ranging selection of Italian, Spanish and French wines.  Scoring was high, with 4 wines averaging a score of 6/7 (a Soave, a white Burgundy, a Rioja and a Ribero del Duero) and a further 3 a score of 5/7 – a reflection of how much the wines were enjoyed on the night.

September 2017 – ‘Ones to Watch’, with Neil Courtier

August 2017 – Wines from Portugal, with Nicola Ladwiniec

Nicky is a member of the Association of Wine Educators, and she chose an interesting selection of Portuguese wines for this evening’s tasting.  They certainly divided the room … with another evening of mixed opinions but a great opportunity to taste wines that we haven’t necessarily tried before.

Portuguese wine, like Italian, is often better paired with food and although some of these wines are drinkable on their own the flavours are certainly brought out and complimented by the likes of cheese, creamy chicken dishes and seafood.

One of the wines tasted during the evening scored an overall score of 3 from guests and members. A score not seen at The Wine Society for a long while. This was Luis Pato Vinha Formal White 2014 12% from Portugal Vineyards Ltd costing £22. The grape variety was 100% Bical. It was a wine that had an unusual nose but creamy on the palate.

It certainly was not a disappointing evening though and most of the wines scored a 5 or 6.

The two wines that scored the highest were Quinta do Carmo Red 2013 14.5% from Portugal Vineyards. A mix of 4 grape varieties including the well-known Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine had been aged in French oak for 1 year and was a fabulous accompaniment to cheese. It was priced at £15.70.

The last wine of the evening was also popular. This was a 10-year-old Madeira Malvasia by Henriques & Henriques. This can be found at Majestic Wines and was priced at £22 for a 50cl bottle.

It would be interesting to know how many of you enjoy a Portuguese wine and what is your favourite?   Please do let us know it’s always great to try wines recommended by others.

See you next month!

June 2017 – Committee Challenge 2017

Six of the committee members had the opportunity to share with us the wines they rated highly from two categories. These were under £10 and over £10. The idea of the evening was for all of the attendees to try all of the wines. What could be better? 12 wines…oh yes! An hour and a half to do so and then be sober enough to vote for the wines…….a difficult task on a school night but manageable!

We had a real eclectic mix of grape varieties and it just goes to show how individual a person’s taste buds really are. Listening to the conversations around the room there were some clear favourites and some not so but a great talking point, enabling people to mix well during the very informal but thoroughly enjoyable evening.

So the winners? 

Under £10 was a wine chosen by Peter – Scotto Old Vine Zinfandel 2013 USA. This scored an overall 5 and had 9 votes. The cost of this wine is £9.49 and can be purchased from Sandhams wine merchants in Caistor.

Over £10 was a wine selected by Paul – Muga Seleccion Especial Reserva Rioja 2011 Spain. This scored an overall 6 and had 8 votes. The cost of this wine is £24.99 and can be purchased from Waitrose.

The other wines scored an average of 5-6 so did extremely well in both categories. Votes were 3-4 for each. Not sure if this was down to taste, time, pressure, drunkenness or a combination of all of the above!

A very enjoyable evening with some definite wines to try. A list of the other wines can be found below with cost and location to purchase. Enjoy!!

Under £10

Biferno Rosso Riserva 2012, Italy – £7.99 The Wine Society

Porta 6 2015, Portugal – £8,99 -Majestic

Tim Adams Semillon 2014, Australia – £9.00 Tesco

Compte de Senneval Brut Champagne NV, France – £9.95 Lidl

Kumeu Village Hand Harvested Chardonnay 2016, New Zealand – £9.95 The Wine Society

Over £10

Cayetano Del Pino Palo Cortado NV, Spain – £11.49 Waitrose

May 2017 – Wines from Bordeaux presented by Anthony Stockbridge

This tasting was particularly informative with a well-balanced presentation of knowledge and wines. Anthony is a Bordeaux-accredited tutor and delivers WSET courses throughout the world. He is certainly a man who knows his subject which was a delight for us as we were guaranteed some cracking wines to try. The scores were very favourable for the majority of the wines sampled and so was the price which was a pleasant surprise indeed. We would generally associate Bordeaux quality wines with a price tag to match but not this time. The quality was however not compromised.

The most expensive wine tasted was a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot, a 2001 grand cru Classe priced at £50. This achieved a score of 6 out of 7 but so did the last wine of the evening which was a 2012 Sauternes with a 95% Semillon and 5% Sauvignon blanc blend. A sweet wine with honey, apricot and orange aromas. I would definitely recommend you try this one. Especially as it is readily available from M&S – L’Or du Ciron 2012.

We had an interesting variety of crisp, fresh, sweet, fruity and full bodied wines all packed with flavour.

This was an educational evening delivered by Anthony which taught us how to appreciate wine by tasting and not just drinking. A great refresher for some, and newfound knowledge for others on how to distinguish primary, secondary and tertiary aromas from wine and the type of oak barrels and grains of the oaks that determine some of the aromas delivered.

Bordeaux currently has 1.5% of the world’s vineyards with 118900 hectares which is the largest French region. This itself houses 60 different appellations with a staggering 10,000 wine estates.

In essence when pairing wine with food going by these simple guidelines you’ll have a perfect match…….

Light food with light wine

Strong flavoured food with strong wine

Simple food with simple wine

Complex flavoured food with complex wine.

At the end of the day it is all down to personal preference. Tasting many different wines is a great way to determine whether you like it or not!!

The most expensive wine does not necessarily mean you or your guests will like it.

The Wine Society based in Stevenage retail several of the wines we tasted throughout this evening with bottle prices varying from £6.25 through to £10-12 and the most expensive from them being £31.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the wines we have tasted check out the picture gallery which will tell you the names and blends of the wine.

Visit www.thewinesociety.com

See you next month! x

April 2017 – ‘Chile and Argentina’ with Chris Mooney and Sandhams Wines

Another well attended evening for the Chile and Argentinian tasting. We had a whopping 11 wines to try this evening. The most we’ve had in one tasting apart from the supermarket challenge. And in 2 hours too!   Thank you to Jeremy Sandham from Sandhams Wine Merchants, Caistor for supplying the wines and accompanying our speaker Chris from Fells and Co. Both whom are very knowledgeable about the wines selected for us to sample. The welcome wine for the evening was a sparkling pinot noir – Torres Chile Cordillera Brut 2013. A dry but fresh and flavoursome bubbly served mainly as an aperitif. A great start to the evening and scoring 5 out of 7. The cost of this wine is £13.99.

A few facts from the evening …

  • Argentina has been producing wine longer than all other New World producers
  • 2% of the UK wine market is from Argentina which has become re-popularised in the last few years
  • Argentinians are big consumers of their own wines, unlike Chile
  • Chilean wine sold in the UK is mostly house wine level
  • In Argentina the grape Torrontes is the most widely planted with the 2nd most popular being Pinot Gris
  • Every day of the year is dedicated to a grape variety
  • 80% of wine bought in UK is consumed within 6 hours of purchase.

(every day is a school day……even when tipsy I still manage to learn a thing or two)!!

There were certainly some interesting wines tasted and once again there was a divide. Two wines brought to us this evening scored an impressive 6 out of 7. These were Torres Chile Manso de Valasco Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 costing £29.99 and Torres Chile Nectaria Vendimia Tardia Riesling 2010 at £10.69 for 37.5cl

To find out about any of the wines tasted throughout this evening or to purchase….. Contact Sandham’s wine merchants om 01472 852118 or visit www.sandhamswine.co.uk

If you would like to know which grape today is dedicated to …                 http://www.mattwalls.co.uk/the-grape-day-calendar

March 2017 – ‘Off the Beaten Track’ with Leon Stolarski Fine Wines

An excellent evening with Leon Stolarski.  A change to our published Events Calendar, Leon was a last-minute replacement for Neil Courtier, who had to withdraw for personal reasons.  We wish Neil well and hope to see him in the near future.

Leon is a Nottingham-based wine importer and enthusiast who has first-hand knowledge of the vineyards and growers he buys from – this was reflected in his in-depth knowledge of the wines he presented.  He specialises in wines from small growers in southern and central France and, other than a gorgeous Jurançon ’sweetie’, tonight’s wines were all from the Languedoc area.  In line with the evening’s theme, Leon succeeded in showing us wines that weren’t just “the same old …”.

For example, we tried Grenache Gris (no, me neither) blended with Maccabeu (aka Viura in Rioja) and then oak-aged – absolutely lovely.  We had a rosé that was so deep and dark that it might more accurately be described as a clairet, a delicious Grenache and Syrah blend.  Traditional Rhône grapes predominated in the reds we tried, although Merlot and Petit Verdot made an appearance, as did Tempranillo!  Brief history lesson: during the Spanish civil war, many Spaniards fled to southern France, so perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised to see Spanish grape varieties popping up …  Suffice to say that all Leon’s reds were popular on the night, with high scores awarded.  And his relaxed and informative presentation style meant that we learned stuff too!

A big thank you to Leon for an interesting and enjoyable evening, I’m sure that we will be inviting him again.

For those interested in seeing Leon’s wine list, this can be viewed on his website at

www.lsfinewines.co.uk  – a mine of information

February 2017 – Majestic’s Definition Range, with Gerry Baker.

Gerry Baker, Manager at Majestic Wine in Lincoln kindly came along and presented their ‘Definition Range’ of wines.  These were:

Blanc de Blanc Champagne as the welcome wine £19.99
Definition Gavi £8.99
Definition Sancerre £14.99
Definition Chardonnay £9.99
Definition Provence Rose £8.99
Definition Pinot Noir £12.99
Definition Rioja £10.99
Definition Cotes du Rhone £8.99

Prices based on 6+ bottles purchased.

It was an evening of mixed reviews, some members and guests scoring the wines reasonably high and some not so.  The average score of the wines was 4-5.  It was great to have a local merchant presenting for us and certainly gave us a great flavour of what Majestic have to offer.  If you are interested in trying any of these wines for yourself then Majestic can be found on Wragby Road in Lincoln.

January 2017 – ‘Wines from Verona’ with Ben Robson

An excellent turnout for an enjoyable evening, presented by the enthusiastic Ben Robson of Bat & Bottle Wine Merchants. Funny name for a wine merchants? Well Ben used to sell bats as well as bottles – the bats were of the cricket variety, not the squeaky, flying type. He has been a specialist importer of Italian wines for over 20 years, so has first-hand knowledge of the evening’s topic, wines from the Verona region.

The region is perhaps best known for Prosecco (this is where the original came from), for Soave and Valpolicella. We tried examples of each, comparing different classifications and their levels of complexity. So with Valpolicella, for example, we started with the lighter, fruity Valpolicella Classico, working through the richer Ripasso style, up to seriously heavyweight Amarone wines. Backed by Ben’s knowledge and his anecdotes of the region and its vineyards, and the foibles of Italian regulations and the producers themselves, this proved to be an educational as well as entertaining evening.

The wines went down well on the night, with this being the highest scoring evening since … well since Ben’s Chianti evening last January! And we had the chance to buy the wines at discounted prices on the night. What more could you ask for?

Bat & Bottle Wine Merchants, Oakham   01572 759 735     http://batwine.uk

December 2016 – Society Christmas Party

Lots of good wine and food, and fun!

November 2016 – ‘Wines for the Festive Season’ with James Long

Another great evening tasting wines, picked for the festive period by James Long from Corney & Barrow.  Good wine and good anecdotes – but then we’d expect no less from James!

September 2016 – Wig & Mitre Dinner

An Italian themed evening, pairing wine and food. A new venture for the Lincoln Wine Society, and a great success.

Comparing recommended wines from across the supermarkets.

The winners were:-

Under £6 – Waitrose Hilltop Estate

£6-£10 – Asda Sauvignon Blanc

Over £10 – Waitrose Barossa Shiraz

July  2016 – Champagne with Henry Speer

Henry used to work in the Champagne trade and entertained us with a great selection of Champagnes and stories!

June 2016 – ‘Riesling Around the World’ with Ben Straw

May 2016 – ‘Classic France’ with Anne Berry

Our good friend Anne Berry came especially from her home in the Isle of Man to deliver this month’s wines and talk. Classic France at Reasonable Prices was her theme, and she certainly delivered, showing wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux, Alsace, the Loire and the Rhone, with not one bottle over £18.50, and all of excellent quality. The scores on the night reflected just how good the wines were with four 6’s, three 5’s and just one 4. Wine of the night was the Cotes du Rhone Seguret Coteaux Schisteaux 2013 at just £13.50. Star of the night, however, was undoubtedly Anne herself, whose friendly and easy delivery style belies the depth of knowledge she can draw upon. We look forward to seeing her again shortly.

April 2016

Australian wine with Newark wine merchant Ann et Vin, and Raj Solanki of Fat Finch Wines.

March 2016

Rioja, with  Jeremy Sandham from Sandhams Wine Merchants of Caistor and Loren Hardwick from Richmond Wine Agencies.

February 2016

The Wine Society’s Exhibition Range, with Mark Baker and Peter Adams

January 2016

Chianti, with Ben Robson from The Bat and Bottle, Oakham.

 

 

 

 

Comments are closed.