Just a reminder to visitors to our pages that we score out of 7, so 5’s and 6’s are really rather good!!
Unfortunately, cancelled due to Covid-19 virus control measures.
A different and fun evening, with Andrew Bennett (formerly of 3D Wines) presenting a ‘tutored blind tasting’.
Andrew plied us with a variety of mystery wines and then led us, step by step, through the process of identifying them. Easy. Or then again, perhaps not so easy … because we still had to make the final decisions ourselves and it would be fair to say that conclusions varied widely. It certainly gave rise to lots of lively discussion and there were a few surprised faces when the wines’ true identities were revealed. A further surprise came in the shape of Riedel tasting glasses, generously donated by Andrew, as prizes for those with the most correct answers.
Although there were a few wines tying on score for the best wine of the night, my casting votes go to a savoury Chianti Classico from Castello di Bossi (2015 vintage, Waitrose) and a luscious dessert wine from the Loire – the Château de Fesles Bonnezeaux (2010, Majestic).
A big thank you to Andrew for an educational and entertaining evening.
A welcome return for Ben Robson of Bat & Bottle Wines, Oakham, who is becoming an annual fixture with his Italian wines at Lincoln Wine Society. Ben was his usual ebullient self, full of information and anecdotes about his wines, as well as advice on how to avoid shoe-shopping when touring Italy with wife and daughters.
We expect Ben to provide us with good wines and he didn’t disappoint, starting with a ‘Metodo Classico’ (i.e. méthode champenoise) sparkler made from the Greco grape in Tufo, Campania. We then moved on to wines from the Abruzzo region, with lovely examples of Cococciola (a first for everyone), Trebbiano and Pecorino. All scored well with the bubbly coming out as favourite.
We then tried four Montepulciano D’Abruzzo wines, i.e. four wines made from the Montepulciano grape in the Abruzzo region, but all quite different to each other. The youngest was a 2016 which had never seen oak, the others were aged in oak (or chestnut) for varying periods, with the oldest vintage a 2010 that still had at least another five years in it. With three of the reds scoring 6 out of 7, it is difficult to pick the favourite red of the night; on my score sheet honours were even between the Cantina di Frentana Riserva ‘Panarda’ 2013 and the Camillo Montori ‘Fonte Cupa’ Riserva 2010 – you will need to try them for yourself.
For more information on Ben’s wines, go to bat.wine
December 2019 – Christmas Social
November 2019 – Spain
This evening could easily have been entitled “Spain, but not as you know it”, as our own Mark Baker presented us with an excellent and original selection of wines that many hadn’t heard of before.
We started with a Hiruzta Txakoli wine. Those who have travelled in the Basque Country of northern Spain will recognize Txakoli (pronounced Chackolee) as the slightly sparkling, dry white wine served in many eateries in the region; unfortunately, very little is exported and so it was new treat for most of us. Whilst it would probably be better suited to drinking on a warm summer’s evening it was, nevertheless, greatly enjoyed on this cold November night.
After trying lovely Godello and Verdejo wines, we had a white Rioja – the Capellania 2015 from Marqués de Murrieta – which was the highest scoring white wine of the evening. This wine is from a single Rioja estate planted to the viura grape. Aged in French oak barrels, this is a smoky and stylish wine with a rich, creamy finish. A classy example of a rich white Rioja.
Our red wines included the L’Alegria 2016, made from 100% Bobal. Although this grape variety was new to most of us it is, in fact, the second most planted vine in Spain (after Tempranillo). Opinions were divided on this rather ‘robust’ wine but, as nearly all Bobal production disappears into blends, this was a rare opportunity to try the unadulterated product.
The undisputed highlight of the evening (other than Mark’s presentation of course) was the Bodegas Alion 2009, from Ribera del Duero. Although we try not to be influenced (unduly) by the price of a wine, this tasted expensively good – sorry, I meant to say seriously good. Lay & Wheeler’s description is perhaps slightly more useful than my own notes, reading as follows. ‘Produced using grapes once destined for the 3-year-old version of the Vega-Sicilia, Alión is made to a more modern, earlier-drinking recipe than its older sibling. Wonderful lifted notes on the nose of wild strawberries and pepper spice with gentle sweet oak. There’s ripe, balancing grip on the palate and silky freshness’. At just £70 per bottle it has, unfortunately, now sold out. So I can’t ask for a case for Christmas …
Where do you go after scaling the peaks of perfection? Well to Malaga of course, to try one of their naturally sweet pudding wines. The MR Mountain Wine (2015), made from the Muscat of Alexandria grape, was gorgeous yet fresh with honey and bitter oranges, meaning that the evening certainly didn’t end on an anti-climax.
A big thank you to Mark for giving us an informative and enjoyable evening with some superb, and different, wines.
October 2019 – Saint-Émilion
Many members of the society have a fondness for Saint-Emilion, whether it be from having joined The Jurade when they last visited Lincoln, visiting the area or simply drinking the wine. So this was a much anticipated tasting with an initial waiting list for the limited places. Luckily, all who wanted to come were eventually able to, and the evening is likely to have increased the level of fondness! We are very grateful to The Jurade for donating some of the wine for our evening.
Our welcome wine (not Saint-Emilion!) was an organic chillo available from Aldi. Comments were very positive with people being pleasantly surprised at the intensity of flavour. I will definitely be getting some to enjoy again at home!
Our speaker, Tim Hartley, then commenced the main proceedings with a Chateau de Puisseguin Curat 2011 which has 7 to 8 months in oak. It is 70% merlot, 25% cabernet franc and 5% cabernet sauvignon and a gold medal winner. It was also my personal favourite of the evening.
An exception to the merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon blend was the second wine which was 85% merlot and 15% pressac (otherwise known as Malbec). We were informed that the vines for this Yon St. Christophe 2000 have to work very hard as there is only a few inches of clay on top of the limestone.
Third to taste was Chateau Pipeau Grande Cru 2013, a blend of 80% merlot, and 10% each of cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon. Our speaker explained how the terroir soil types vary greatly within a small area of Saint-Emilion thus producing the widely tasting wines.
Competition for the wine scoring the highest from the group was rife, with three scoring equally. These were the Chateau Frombrauge Grande Cru 2002, the Chateau Grand Corbin Grande Cru Classe 2010 and the Chateau Laniote Grande Cru Classe 2009.
The remaining two wines were the Chateau Mondorion Grande Cru 2014 and the Chateau Bernateau Grande Cru 2004. We were very privileged to be able to taste the eight quality wines presented to us. Tim Hartley is obviously passionate about both the area of Saint-Emilion and its wines, with a wealth of knowledge and some beautiful photographs shared by slide. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening so long may the relationship of the Jurade with Lincoln continue!
September 2019 – Wines from Brazil
Our meeting gave us some different and interesting wines to taste. Apart from one member who actually comes from Brazil, the majority of us had not tried Brazilian wines before (or had no recollection of doing so!). For those of you who know the play Charley’s Aunt by Brandon Thomas, Brazil is where the nuts come from, but in this case we were partaking of their wine.
Our speaker Nicholas Corfe, of Go Brazil Wines & Spirits, shared interesting details of the wine producers and their wines, showing how most of them are from the very south of Brazil on his map.
The welcome sparkler, Familia Geisse Terroir Nature 2012 obtained a mid-range score from the group but did improve as it warmed slightly to give more taste. It was described as having a honeyed palate with plenty of toasty yeastiness, but until it warmed up those of us at my table found it fairly neutral. A blend of equal amounts of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it is renowned for being chosen for the launch party of Jancis Robinson’s latest Wine Atlas this month.
We then tasted three whites from the same family business Don Guerino, starting with Sinais Italico Riesling 2019. My personal favourite of the whites was the Reserva Chardonnay 2018 but the ‘Vintage’ Torrentes 2019 was also a delight and both scored well from the group. Nicholas shared that 2018 was a very good vintage when ‘all the stars aligned’.
We then moved on to the reds starting with ‘Vintage’ Malbec 2017 from the same Don Guerino producer. The two ‘Vintage’ wines had distinct labels including a vintage car which led to debate at the table – some loved the labels, others not so sure. The Malbec smelt delicious with notes of blackcurrant. The second red, Campos de Cima Tres Brocas 2016 (three mouths) from a tiny family run business was an intriguing blend of Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon and Ruby Cabernet. This was followed by another wine from Don Guerino – the Reserva Teroldego 2017 which elicited comments on its lovely colour, a bright and deep purple-red.
The highest scoring wine of the evening was the last one, Pizzato DNA’99 Merlot 2008. This was also the most expensive at £40 per bottle but we had scored it before the prices to avoid being influenced. This is an award winning Merlot single grape which has been aged for 9 months in new French oak.
In summary, this was a great tasting giving us something different to try, and lots to learn about a region many of us had not thought to try before.
For more information about Go Brazil and their wines, go to https://www.gobrazilwines.com/
August 2019 – Barbecue
After the success of last year’s barbecue at Lindum House, we decided to do it all again. Which means that, in my books anyway, we can now call it a tradition. Once again we had plenty of good food and wine, and once again the weather gods smiled upon us. What more could we ask for?
The wines on the night were:
Le Caves Des Hautes Cotes, Cremant De Bourgogne
Broglia Gavi 2018
Marsolay Chardonnay, Pays D’Oc
Louis Jadot Beajolais Villages
Brazin Zinfandel 2016
July 2019 – Champagne and Sparkling Wine Tasting
Wow, what a tasting! Think of all the necessary ingredients for a great wine tasting and they were there – interesting wine you would not normally get to try, learning something new, fun anecdotes, social interactions and yummy nibbles.
Henry Speer, a longstanding and popular member of the society, shared his expertise in champagne and sparkling wine. He was also most generous with the offerings. The boat was also pushed out on nibbles to give us salmon pate, brie and olives alongside our bread.
An interesting wine was the Welcome wine on arrival – a Prosecco. This was due to it being a ‘frizzante’ rather than a full sparkler! Personally, this made the Corte Delle Calle far preferable to many of the mass produced supermarket selections of Prosecco.
The most popular of the sparkling wines anecdotally seemed to be the Nyetimber Classic Cuvee non-vintage from West Chiltington in Sussex but the Graham Beck Brut non-vintage from South Africa came close (and was served at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as President in 1994 and is said to be a favourite of Barack Obama’s).
An additional interesting aspect to the tasting was the opportunity to compare wines. So we compared Langlois L’Extra Brut non-vintage (60% chenin blanc/40% chardonnay) to Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut non-vintage (60% pinot noir/25% chardonnay/15% pinot meuniere). We then compared Domaine Chandon Brut non-vintage to Moet et Chandon Brut Imperial non-vintage. The former is a sparkling wine from Argentina produced by the same champagne house so interesting to see how they fared against each other. Lastly, we compared the Moet et Chandon Brut Imperial non-vintage to Dom Perignon Brut 2009. The Dom Perignon was very generously donated (!) by Henry and we were all very appreciative of the opportunity to try something out of reach for many of our purses.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, the highest scoring wines of the evening were the Bollinger and the Dom Perignon with much debate over personal preference between the two. We did discuss the influence on our palates of knowing a wine is more expensive even if you don’t know the actual price until the end.
All in all a great evening, with Henry’s dry sense of humour keeping us laughing whilst our palates were entertained with the fizz.
June 2019 – Portugal with Philip Kirk
Philip’s longstanding affection (and knowledge) of Portugese wines was evident in his presentation to us on Thursday evening. In fact he likes them so much that he is soon moving to Portugal to start his own wine-oriented business there. We wish Philip well in his new venture – and good luck in learning Portugese …
This evening we tasted a lovely selection of wines from Martinez Wines of Ilkley – three whites and three reds, including grapes that most of us had never heard of, and two ports (a white and an LBV).
On a high-scoring evening, the favourite white on the night was the Beyra Branco Beira 2017, a fresh and crisp wine made from the Fonte Cal and Siria grapes.
Two reds tied for favourite red of the night, Quinta da Foz de Temilobos 2013 and the Niepoort Late Bottled Vintage 2013. The Temilobos is a single vineyard wine, made from a blend of Port grapes in the Douro valley by the Delaforce family. The Niepoort needs little introduction, this was a fine, juicy example of an unfiltered LBV.
A big thank you to Philip for an enjoyable evening.
For more information on Martinez Wines, go to https://www.Martinez.co.uk
May 2019 – Committee Challenge
A lively turnout for the Committee’s recommendations/last-minute-panic-purchases.
We had each chosen two wines, one in the ‘under £10’ category and one in the ‘over £10’ category, giving our lucky members a total of twelve wines to taste and vote on. Once again, tasters didn’t know whose recommendations they were trying before voting for their favourite wine in each category. The downside of this system is, of course, that it seriously limits the opportunities for coercion, bullying or even just good old bribery by the less ethical members of the committee.
Despite the voting system being marginally less complex than voting in the forthcoming election of members for the European Parliament, the fact that neither of my own wines came first does suggest that many people were confused by the process. Still, our process is a lot cheaper than the E.P elections and it came up with the following results:
Best wine under £10
Nero Oro Appassimento, Sicily 2017, an Italian red, chosen by Jenny, which swept away the rest of the field (£8.99 from Majestic)
Best wine over £10
Grace Bridge Pinot Noir, California 2015, chosen by Ira and Steve
(£13.95 from The Old Bridge Wine Shop, Huntingdon)
A close(ish) second in this category, and so an honourable mention goes to
La Casetta Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso, chosen by Helen (£13.99 from Majestic)
Congratulations to Jenny, Ira and Steve, and Helen.
April 2019 – New Zealand with Keith Grainger
Keith is a very experienced and popular wine tutor and presenter. This evening his great depth of knowledge was evident – as you might expect from someone who was one of the founder members of the Association of Wine Educators – as he presented us with a wide range of New Zealand wines.
We tried Sauvignon Blancs from Marlborough (not surprisingly) but also from the Gladstone region on the North Island – a very different style of Sauvignon (more Loire-like?). All scored highly, a reflection of the popularity of New Zealand Sauvignons, with the Gladstone wine perhaps just edging it; this wine was the 2017 Johner Sauvignon Blanc from Virgin Wines. We also tried a delicious Waipara Reisling before moving on to the reds.
New Zealand produces some lovely Pinot Noirs and we were able to compare two Pinot’s from different regions, Marlborough and Central Otago. The wine from the latter proved to be the highest scoring of the evening, it was the 2012 John Forrest Collection Bannockburn Pinot Noir, again from Virgin Wines. Described as ‘New Zealand’s answer to fine Burgundy’, this is a serious wine with a good balance of black fruit and spicy oak. We then moved on to wines that would probably have been unheard of here from New Zealand 25 years ago, a Merlot-Cabernet and a Syrah, both from Hawkes Bay on the North Island. Keith explained that, although Hawkes Bay has been a longstanding producer of red wines, it is relatively recently that a better understanding and utilisation of terroir has led to great improvements in the quality of wines made from these classic French grapes – something that we were able to confirm for ourselves on the night.
Keith’s selection of wines came from The Wine Society, Waitrose, Virgin Wines and Great Western Wines.
March 2019 – Northern Italy with Ben Robson
An excellent turnout for a popular speaker and, once again, Ben didn’t disappoint. Last year he presented southern Italian wines to us, so this year we asked him to do an about-face and present wines from northern Italy. And his selection was certainly interesting!
Our welcome wine was a Prosecco, but not Prosecco as you know it! Described as a new ‘old-style’ of Prosecco, the Case Bianche Prosecco ‘Antico’ (i.e. antique) was a vino frizzante that was still on its lees! Unusually for a modern wine, the fermentation is completed in the bottle, leaving the yeast sitting in the bottom of the bottle – so when poured it looks distinctly like cloudy lemonade! The extra time on the lees gives it a fresh, sour apple and lime character. This wine went down well on the night and certainly created a lot of discussion. And is in danger of using up my monthly quota of exclamation marks …
The remainder of the wines for the evening came from the Piedmonte region of north-western Italy. My favourite white of the night, the Villa Guelpa Longitudine, is made from the Erbaluce grape, which was new to me. Whilst Ben’s tasting notes allude to apricot, cantaloupe melon and kiwi fruit, with salt and mineral elements to ‘heighten the tension’, my more simplistic scribblings noted ‘lemon meringue pie’. And I do like lemon meringue pie.
The reds started with a lovely, fresh and fruity Barbera D’Asti and moved on to a selection of wines made from the Nebbiolo grape. Neck and neck for the top scoring red were the Ascheri Barolo ‘Pisapola’ and the Antoniolo Gattinara; my casting vote goes to the Gattinara. Ben’s tasting notes describe it as, ‘Old English rose, black cherry and forest strawberry aromas. Deep, full and fine crunchy Nebbiolo fruit, intricate red berry, orange peel and floral nuance. Tannins are fine and will ensure a long life’. My notes are a little more succinct, i.e. ‘Really nice’ which, I feel, sums it up well.
All the wines, and more, can be found on Ben’s website: https://batwine.uk
February 2019 – a 3D Vinous Tour de France
Billed as a ‘Tour de France’, this was a tour de force from Andrew Bennett of 3D Wines, presenting wines from just some of the vineyards that he works with around France.
As well as selling wine under their ‘Time for Wine’ banner, 3D Wines encourage you to immerse yourself in the world of wine production by renting a row of vines in a classic wine region (you can even choose to pick your own grapes) or by attending one of their organised events: events such champagne blending in Rheims or truffle hunting in the Rhône valley.
This evening we tried some excellent wines from Champagne, Burgundy, Alsace, Bordeaux, the Loire and the Rhône. On an evening of high scores, the best scoring wines were the Côtes de Nuits Villages Blanc 2016 and the Blaye Grande Réserve Cuvée 3D 2015 – both with average scores of 6/7.
The Côtes de Nuits, with 10% Pinot Blanc added to the compulsory Chardonnay, ‘… has wonderful minerality on the nose and a smoky, lemony quality from the Pinot Blanc. The palate is very fine and elegant with crisp citrus fruit, a touch of melon and finely judged spicy oak’, and all at a price that mere mortals can afford.
Coming from ‘the right bank’ of the Dordogne, it’s no surprise that the Blaye is a Merlot dominated blend, but it also contains a good dollop of Malbec in with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Described as ‘Rich and spicy with an appealing nose of ripe black fruits, exotic spice and mocha. The palate is fresh and lush with sweet, spicy damson and blackcurrant fruit, spicy oak and grippy tannins. It is mouth-filling, rich and concentrated with a lovely juicy, spicy oak finish.’ Delicious and, again, very affordable.
For more information about 3D Wines, visit https//www.3dwinesexperience.com/
January 2019 – Brown Bros of Australia
Being the UK’s only importer and stockist of Brown Bros wines, Jeremy Sandham is uniquely placed to give a comprehensive presentation of their range, and this he certainly did. From the 7.5% Cienna, to the 14% Patricia Shiraz, and all points between, Jeremy showed us just how broad and varied the Brown Bros range is. Sourced mostly from vineyards in Victoria, but also from Tasmania and New South Wales, the Brown Bros ‘thing’ is to experiment with, and then perfect, presenting grape varieties and blends you wouldn’t often see; grapes such as the Cienna, the Durif, and (a new one on me) the Crouchen. And how many times have you seen Sauvignon Blanc blended with a small % of Gewurtztraminer? And it works!
Jeremy’s laid back and relaxed style belies a huge knowledge, and enthusiasm, for the wines he sells. It’s always a pleasure to welcome him to LWS. Usually he is bringing one of his reps or agents to do the presentation, so this time it was a rare treat for us having him present personally. We’re already talking of him coming back next year – maybe fine Burgundy?? Watch this space.
What about the wines, you cry; well, scoring was remarkably even across the board with five 5’s. The Crouchen / Riesling blend only managed a 3, along with the wonderfully eccentric Cienna (a low alcohol, sweet red wine, served chilled). Wine of the night was the Patricia Shiraz, with the Explorer Chenin Blanc getting an honourable mention. For me, the 18en Sauvignon Blanc was a delight, and a big surprise, the Sparkling Brut was fantastic – vintage champagne in style, but at under £20! All tonight’s wines, and many, many more, can be found at https://sandhamswine.co.uk or at the shop on South Street, Caistor.
December 2018 – Christmas Social
A new format for the Christmas Event/Party/Thing this year, and yet people still seemed to have good time!
For those that were too busy eating or chatting to make notes, here’s a list of the wines that we enjoyed:
Vecchia Modena Pignoletto Spumante N.V. Waitrose £9.99
Incantesimo Falanghina, 2017 Corney & Barrow £10.50
Domaine la Croix Belle, Côtes de Thongue The Wine Society £8.95
Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay The Wine Society £18.50
Navajas Crianza Rioja 2015 The Wine Society £8.95
Finest Alsace Gewurztraminer, 2017 Tesco £9.00
Juliénas, Les Capitans, 2017 The Wine Society £9.95
Trapiche Pure Malbec, 2017 The Co-op £9.09
Terre di Falano Primitivo, 2016 Waitrose £9.99
November 2018 – The Wines of Croatia, with Mikki Hall
A great presentation from Mikki, with some nice wines to taste and just the right amount of interesting background information about the country and its wine production. Did you know that in 2016 there were 259 different cultivars of vine that were officially recognised in Croatia? The big disappointment about this tasting was the fact that we didn’t get to try even half of them!
Mikki presented us with a selection of wines from ‘inland’ Croatia, some made from indigenous grapes and others from more widely known ‘international’ grape varieties. Included in the indigenous category were three different wines from the Graševina grape, to compare and contrast. White wine from the Graševina is very popular in Croatia and well worth trying if you visit on holiday (or even before then if you buy it from Croatianwineclub.co.uk). My favourite wine of the evening was the 2014 Erdut 1730 Graševina, fresh, with hints of citrus and good minerality. However, the popular vote (which I suppose I ought to report for a change) went to another grape, the Traminac’, more widely known as Gewürztraminer. The 2016 Papak Ilok Radosh Traminac was the highest scoring wine of the evening; with honey and rose petals on the nose it smelt sweeter than it tasted, it was off-dry on the palate, tasting (I am assured) of lychee with a bitter twist. It transpires that the 1947 Ilok Cellars Traminac was served at our own Queen’s Coronation banquet in 1953 (and can still be bought at about €7,500 per bottle – sadly beyond our budget for this evening).
One more Croatia fact; within Croatia, Croatia isn’t actually called Croatia – it is known as Hrvatska. So, when you read the label on a Croatian wine, it may well show the country of origin as being Hrvatska. Now there’s the basis of a good quiz question!
The wines are available from Croatian Wine Club https://croatianwineclub.co.uk
October 2018 – ‘Wines for the Festive Season’ with James Long
It is 27 years since James Long first presented Corney & Barrow wines to the Lincoln Wine Society; I’ve lost count of the number of his visits since. But a record turnout demonstrated that we’ve not tired of him, and says a lot about his entertaining presentations and good wines. And his generous discounts don’t go amiss either …
James’ remit of ‘Wines for the Festive Season’ meant that he had few constraints on the wines shown, other than the fact that that he promises us faithfully that these are the wines that will be served in the Long household over the coming festive period. On the evening, suffice to say that the wines went down very well, with every wine getting an average score of 5 or 6 (out of 7).
Difficult to pick just two favourites, but if forced then I would go for Bourgogne Blanc Les Sétilles, Olivier Leflaive, 2015 – the fruit of predominantly younger vines from the legendary villages of Puligny-Montrachet and Mersault (the blend is why it must be declassified to Bourgogne Blanc under French law), ‘supple, mineral, creamy, refreshing’.
And for a red, although many favoured the Californian Cabernet Sauvignon from Bakestone Cellars, I’ve chosen the Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso, Cecilia Beretta, 2016 – and not only because I love the Italian pronunciation of the name Cecilia. This ‘baby Amarone’ was well-structured with a long, chocolatey finish and delicious cherry, plum and savoury notes. Bloomin’ lovely.
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
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
November 2017 – Wig and Mitre Dinner
October 2017 – ‘A Festive Selection’ with James Long of Corney and Barrow
September 2017 – ‘Ones to Watch’, with Neil Courtier
August 2017 – Wines from Portugal, with Nicola Ladwiniec
June 2017 – Committee Challenge 2017
May 2017 – Wines from Bordeaux presented by Anthony Stockbridge
April 2017 – ‘Chile and Argentina’ with Chris Mooney and Sandhams Wines
March 2017 – ‘Off the Beaten Track’ with Leon Stolarski Fine Wines
February 2017 – Majestic’s Definition Range, with Gerry Baker.
January 2017 – ‘Wines from Verona’ with Ben Robson