A note on scoring wine

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


April 2017

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 Sandham’s wine merchants in 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 have been producing wine longer than 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 compared to 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

An excellent evening with Leon Stolarski Fine Wines – our theme “Off the Beaten Track”.

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

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 certainly 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

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

What a great end to the year.  A blind tasting was compiled by our committee members Steve and Ira.  A real palate tester!  We had four wines and not only did we have to identify the grape variety, we were challenged by having to identify the country of origin and region the wine came from too.  We had lots of discussions over this and some conflicting views of the wine types whilst enjoying sampling it too!  Nobody scored 12 out of 12!! The buffet was a lovely touch to the evening and members and guests were able to socialise throughout.  Please see the gallery page for some of the photographs captured during the evening.  2017 is set to be another great tasting year for The Lincoln Wine Society.  We hope to see you at one of our events soon!

November 2016

Another great evening tasting wines, picked for the festive period by James Long from Corney & Barrow. As always it was great to see James who was kind enough to come and be our speaker for the evening. What a turn out!!…..There were 44 attendees, the most in one tasting seen all year. James had his work cut out to captivate and interest all who attended as well as enthuse us with his wine selection for the evening. This he managed particularly well as usual.


James opened the evening with a lovely pink fizz – Rosato Spumante, Cecilia Beretta, Italy. Spumante meaning sparkling and it was certainly that! Made in the Prosecco region but unable to be named Prosecco due to its colour, it was certainly a great alternative to some Prosecco’s I’ve tasted. One definitely for the xmas party season and a great price too at £10.85. There was some interesting white’s and reds suitably paired for the endless festive food supplies of turkey, cheese, bubble and squeak and xmas puds! The last wine of the evening was a sweetie!! And what a great name – Sticky Mickey, a sauvignon blanc from Marlborough New Zealand. A half bottle priced at £12.76. Sweet wines are not my absolute favourites but I’m definitely putting this on my must have wine list for this year.


James as always was very entertaining with his little anecdotes and stories to tell. He was very accommodating to those new to wine tasting, explaining how it should be done to get the most out of tasting and not just drinking. He certainly kept us all interested and had the whole room in laughter at various points throughout the evening. Thank you again James. Many of us were able to place orders at the end of the evening and I am so looking forward to xmas so I can make the most out of my wine delivery!!

If you would like to learn more about the wines tasted throughout the evening, see the photographic section. Or you can visit www.corneyandbarrow.com


We hope to see you at our December social. See events for further details of date and costs. A buffet is also included in the next tasting.


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September 2016

This tasting was slightly different to our normal monthly meetings.  The change for this month was greatly welcomed and many members, guests and friends attended despite the cost being slightly higher than our normal tastings.  It was well worth it!  We had an Italian themed evening comprising of five courses from a soup to start, a fish course, meat course, cheese and dessert.  With each of these courses we had an accompanying wine which were very well matched indeed.  Prior to tasting the wine Danny from the Wig & Mitre, an employee and wine expert originating from Italy talked us through what we were tasting.  We were given a little history of grape variety, region and reason for pairing.  It was great to see some new faces at the tasting too who thoroughly enjoyed the evening as much as the existing members did.  The wine we tasted was available for us to buy from The Wig & Mitre and some was purchased during the evening.  Enid, one of our long standing members also turned 80 and so it was lovely to help her celebrate with a slightly different, interesting and thoroughly enjoyable evening! The wines were very reasonably priced and ranged from a Bardolino Chiaretto Rose, Danese at £10.95 to a Recioto Della Valpolicella, Tresauro, 2014 at £19.80


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August 2016

Supermarket Challenge!

Well what can I say.  15 wines to try in 2 hours = a great social event, lots of very tipsy members (and guests) and some sore heads the following day!  It was great!! 🙂  There were 5 supermarkets included in the challenge.  These were Asda, Morrisons, Co-op, Tesco and Waitrose.  The categories were wines under £6, wines £6-£10 and wines over £10.  The objective of the evening was to try all the wines in each category. Attendees had to then rate the best wine in that category and place their vote against it.  The scores were totted up at the end of the night and winners announced. (they were double checked to be sure by another committee member due to the amount consumed!)  I always thoroughly enjoy this event and the number of people attending the tasting proves I’m not alone.  All of the wines tasted are readily available in the supermarket.  There were some great surprises amongst those on offer and some disappointing ones too but the overall winner was Waitrose, winning two out of the three categories!

Wines tasted were as follows:-


Moneda Reserva Malbec 2015, Chile £5.75

Kalstein Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Germany £7.00

Sancerre Rose 2015, France £10.97


Castelliere Pinot Grigio 2015, Italy £4.25

WM Alsace Gewurztraminer 2014, France £8.00

Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir 204, New Zealand £12.00


Co-op Fairtrade Carmenere 2014, Chile £4.99

Co-op Truly Irresistable Bio Bio Malbec 2014, Chile £7.19

Co-op Truly Irresistable Chablis Premier Cru 2012, France £14.99


Tesco Rioja 2015, Spain £4.30

Tesco Finest White Burgundy 2014, France £8.00

Tesco Barolo 2012, Italy £10.00


Hilltop Estate Eva’s Vineyard Dry White 2015 £4.79

Waitrose Provence Rose 2015, France £8.99

Waitrose Barossa Shiraz 2015, Australia £11.99


The winners were:-

Under £6 – Waitrose Hilltop Estate

£6-£10 – Asda Sauvignon Blanc

Over £10 – Waitrose Barossa Shiraz


A top evening with lots of laughs, great company and photographic evidence to prove it! 🙂




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July 2016 Champagne Tasting

July  2016

This month’s tasting was all about Champers!  As the fist champagne tasting presented by Henry Speer, a wine society member was so well received we invited Henry along to present to us again.  Henry, once again used his experiences in the champagne trade and vineyards to relate amusing and interesting tales of his experience, and of course presenting some enjoyable wines from the champagne region.  Some of the wines that were tasted were from producers not familiar to members and priced well below some of the well known champagne producers.  The evening seemed to be enjoyed by all which was evident from the level of chatter as everyone socialised, sharing their opinions and preferences of the wine tasted.  The scores given for the wines tasted were well above average.  The equal highest scoring wines were Michel Rochourt Brut NV Premier Cru (£21) from The Big Red Wine Co. from Suffolk and a Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut NV (£34) from Majestic Wines.  In fact most of the wines tasted were from Majestic Wines.

This evening was a great opportunity for all to taste wines which most of our members only try on very special occasions and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

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June 2016

Local rising star Ben Straw of The Straw Collection presented an evening of Riesling Around the World this month. Ben was able to demonstrate not only what a versatile and adaptable grape Riesling is, but how differently it is treated across the globe. From the slightly austere off-dry Villa Wolf Dry Riesling of the German Pfalz, via the bone-dry minerality of the Yealands from Marlborough, New Zealand, through to the full and luscious Eroica from Chateau Ste Michelle of Washington State USA (the pick of the night). What different winemakers from separate lands do with the same grape was an education in itself.

Ben was on good form, too, and gains confidence in his presentation every time he comes to see us. We’ll see you again soon, Ben!

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May 2016

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.

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April 2016

This month’s wines were selected by Wine Merchant Ann et Vin based in Newark.  Ann brought with her Raj Solanki to present the wines.  Raj is a wine educator with over 20 years experience in the wine industry, initially starting his career with Majestic.  Raj now runs his own business Fat Finch, offering WSET (Wines and Spirits Education Trust) courses.  These can be undertaken at Ann Et Vin (see www.annetvin.com or www.fatfinchwines.co.uk for more details)

Eight wines were tasted throughout the evening and were all from the wine growing regions of Australia.  All wines selected  were great food pairing wines but also very drinkable on their own.  The wines scored on average a 5 out of 7 but a couple of them had the room divided.  The wines tasted included a sparkling Rose from Victoria priced at £17.50, a Riesling from Eden Valley priced at £11.50, a Viogner/Pinot Gris from New South Wales priced at £9.75, a Grenache from McLaren Vale priced at £22.50, a Sangiovese/Shiraz from Barossa priced at £16.50, a Tempranillo/Petit Verdot/Graciano from Margaret River priced at £17.00, a Zinfandel from Margaret River priced at £18.50 and a Frontignac/Gewurztraminer Frizzante from Barossa priced at £10.50.  Raj was extremely knowledgeable about the wines he presented and the evening was enjoyably educational with a great balance of humour and banter too.  The names of some of the wines we tasted certainly got the groups talking.  Especially the Sangiovese/Shiraz which was named ‘The Squids Fist’ by Some Young Punks and the Frontignac/Gewurztraminer from the Rude Mechanicals named ‘Suck it and See’!!

Ann brought with her a great supply of wine so that those attending the evening had the opportunity to purchase cases if they so desired.  This was warmly welcomed.

Two people at the end of the night said how much they enjoyed Raj’s presentation and how he kept his audience interested throughout.

The last wine of the evening was the ‘Suck It And See’ Frizante.  A light, very fruity, sweet sparkling wine with aromas of Rose and Lychees.  Described by the wine makers Rude Mechanicals as perfect for ‘sex and picnics’  Roll on summer I say………..

If you would like to purchase any of the wines mentioned above please visit www.annetvin.com.

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March 2016

Rioja was the wine of the evening and not always as we know it!  There were 8 wines for us to try chosen from two of Rioja’s regions.  This included a Tempranillo Blanco to start the evening and a Rosado Rioja as well as some great reds.

Jeremy Sandham from Sandhams Wine Merchants of Caistor presented this evening alongside Loren Hardwick from Richmond Wine Agencies who have been established since 1822 and are based in Middlesex.  Both were knowledgeable  about the chosen wines and provided a very informative evening.

The Tempranillo Blanco was discovered in 1988 and is a mutation of the red Tempranillo grape.  However the Blanco was only permitted to be made in 2007.  In my opinion the wine which we tasted – Fincas Azabache Tempranillo Blanco 2015 was a little sharp and acidic. As  it is the first vintage of this particular co-operative (which was established in 1955) I look forward to seeing how this will develop.  This was priced at £10.99.  For me the Ramon Bilbo Rosado Rioja was a pleasant alternative to some rose wines I’ve tasted previously.  This 2015 vintage had a good year with temperatures reaching 50 degrees C.  The wine is salmon pink in colour and it had a subtle fruit flavour and was delicate and stylish.  The maker of this wine has been quoted as saying “Wine making is like painting.  You can take a big brush and a big pot of one paint to produce something bland and uninteresting, or you can take a small brush with lots of different pots of paints to create something with character and complexity” and this is what he’s done!  This wine comes with a very reasonable price tag of £9.25 per bottle.

The first red we tasted was a Ramon Bilbao Crianza Rioja from 2012 priced at £9.98  This is the wine of choice in Spanish restaurants and it is easy to see why.  It is a fruity modern Rioja made from 100% Tempranillo sourced from around the region, fermented separately, then blended and aged in new oak for 12 months and in bottle for 12 months.  It was very smooth with hints of spice and deep red fruits.  A very easy drinker indeed.

The three reds that followed were all very different indeed from their blends, where sourced to fermentation and ageing.  These were Ramon Bilbao Reserva Rioja 2010 priced at £13.28, Ramon Bilbao Vinedos Altura Rioja 2012 £11.95 and Ramon Bilbao Gran Reserva Rioja 2008 £16.95. This particular wine is aged in oak for 30 months and then in bottle for 36 months before release.  It has won 4 gold medals including the International wine challenge!

The final wine of the night was the evenings winner with a score of 6.  This is the Ramon Bilbao Mirto Special Cuvee Rioja 2010.  This is 100% Tempranillo produced from 40 year old vines. It has spent 24 months in new French oak and will certainly age for a few more years yet.  Only 3000 cases were made of this vintage and it is priced at £37.58 per bottle.  I really enjoyed this tasting and thanks goes to both Jeremy and Loren for bringing some great wines for us to try.  I’m already looking forward to see what April has to offer!!

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February 2016

It was great to see so many faces at this evening’s tasting. 42 people attended including many guests of members along with members themselves.  I hope the guests enjoyed the evening and have a taste for returning next month!  Please feel free to get in touch to let the society know what you thought about the evening and the wines you tried.

This month’s tasting was presented by  committee member Mark Baker and the wines tasted were picked by Peter Adams, another member of the committee.  The exhibition range of  The Wine Society is where the wines were sourced from (formerly the International Wine Society).   There are currently 338 masters of wine living in 24 different countries.  Three of whom are among the nine wine buyers of the society so you can imagine the quality of the wine that is sourced.  There are 25-30 exhibition wines and during this evening’s tasting there were eight picked for us to try.  The welcome wine was an English sparkling wine from the 2013 vintage.  Not strictly a new world wine but certainly new world in the terms of wine producing.  This bubbly tipple, a mix of chardonnay, pinot meunier and pinot noir was welcomed warmly by the majority and scored 4 1/2 out of 7.  The price for this is £20 and a serious rival for quality champagne. The top scoring white wine of the evening was  a New Zealand Chardonnay produced by New Zealand’s first master of wine Michael Brajkovich who rated 2014 one of his best vintages.  This wine is exclusively made for The Wine Society from a single vineyard.  An elegant, fruity wine scoring 5 1/2 and a bargain at £13.50 per bottle.  The top scoring red wine of the evening was The exhibition Alto Maipo Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 also priced at £13.50 and scoring an impressive 6.

To find out more about The Wine Society and the wines they stock, including the exhibition range tasted this evening visit www.thewinesociety.com

We hope to see you all next month.  Details of that tasting including price and date will be published soon.

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January 2016

Happy new year!!  It certainly was a great start to the year with this month’s tasting.  I unfortunately missed out but the reviews of the night tell me I missed an excellent evening!

Ben Robson from The Bat and Bottle, based in Oakham, presented an evening of delight with wines from the region of Chianti.  Including from Rufina and the Chianti Classico area, the biggest sub-area of Chianti in Tuscany.  The offerings of the evening varied in style, geography, altitude and price but it was safe to say the one thing that was consistent was the quality of the wine. During the evening Ben introduced two types of wine to compare and contrast.  These were a standard 2009 Rufina from Colognole with 20% Canaiolo grape and supplemented with Sangiovese (£14.50) alongside a Riserva ‘Don’ from the same vintage and the same producer.  This being 100% Sangiovese.(£25) The next comparison was followed by a Chianti Classico from Le Miccine in Gaiole with a variety of grapes (£15.76) alongside a 100% Sangiovese Chianti Classico Riserva from the same producer. (£19.75)  These side by side comparisons added an interesting perspective to the evening’s tasting.

I am told that this was probably the highest scoring evening possibly in the history of  The Lincoln Wine Society.  Two of the wines sampled scored between 6 and 7.  Therefore definitely tickling the taste buds of the 30 attendees.  The wine of the night was the Castell’in Villa a 2010 vintage Chianti Classico. This powerful red leans more to deep, dried fruit, smoke and spice than the floral elements found in cooler vintages.  This we are told is grown by a Greek Princess originating from Switzerland and reputedly the most difficult woman in Italy!!  (I’m guessing she had no hand in picking the grapes and the processes that followed.  I’m sure she probably has done lots of sampling though!!)  Her strive for perfection has certainly paid off with this wine and at a cost to you and me for just £17.50 the wine wowed and nearly swept the room with a score of 7 on it’s own!  Ben, as usual, didn’t disappoint with his entertaining and informative presentation.  If you are intrigued (like I am) to find out for yourselves why this wine scored so highly then you can order from their website www.batwine.uk.

I will be interested to know your thoughts so please let me know by emailing secretary@lincolnwinesociety.co.uk or by commenting on our Facebook page.

Happy drinking!

Posted in Reviews | Comments Off on January 2016

December 2015

What a great social event was had by all. Peter and Paul (not dickie birds but committee members) hosted this fab event and a lot of thought had gone into making sure the last tasting event of the year was enjoyed by all.

At first they had fun with us, testing to see how many people were listening to the many speakers that had attended the tastings throughout the year and about the wines they had brought with them. We all stood up and answered ‘yes or no’ to the questions asked by placing our hands on our heads or our behinds! It was clear from the result that Eddy (the committee’s secretary) was definitely paying attention and won himself a bottle of champers! He is probably tucking into his winnings as I type this so cheers Eddy, well deserved!

A blind tasting then followed the quiz and four different wines were tasted. We were all given a sheet with options on of the type of grape, country of origin and region they could have come from. Great fun. This was then followed by a lovely buffet and more wine to taste to end the evening and the year. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to do the ‘Frozen’ sing along that Paul had suggested and so we will have to let it go until next time!

Next year promises some great tasting events in the Wine Society’s Calendar and these shall be posted on here very soon.

A very happy Christmas to all. Make sure you eat, drink great wine and be merry!!

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