Saturday, 28 November 2015

Now The Fourth Time

Dear Reader, so many things come as surprises when really they shouldn't be so. With the Wine Club the surprise has been that we have just enjoyed our fourth end of year bash.  My, doesn't time fly? Yes, as members know, the last meeting of the year is the pot-luck supper and end of season wind down.

As is often said, '...and how was it for you?..." well for this Blogger it was very good.   In the company of good friends, having to endure a Champagne tasting while selecting from a choice of great foods. Oh and did I say taking part in good but not too competitive quizes all based upon wine?

So yes, a great night was had by all.

We started with a glass or two of welcoming Champagne and here the mysteries of the evening began. I should explain. We thought that it would be good to have a tasting but not as we normally do it with our eye on the measure and the taking suitable of notes etc. On the occasion we would simply have a selection of the best that Epernay has to offer and come to conclusion as what was the better wine, the most enjoyable wine.

More of this anon.

First a very big thank you goes to all of the members who arrived on possibly the worst night of the year clutching a great variety of very good food.  Many thanks.

Then what of the Champagnes?

As you may know reader, this time of the year is the time of the great wine discount, and particularly, the great Champagne discount. The market is awash with Champagne and there are some great offers out there but are the Champagnes as great?  So for this evening  purchases were made of four Champagnes, ranging in price from £48.00 to £10.99.  All but the Aldi wine were discounted.

They came from, Aldi at £10.99,  Sainsbury at £17.00, M&S at £32.00  and Majestic at £48.00.

Here they are:

Aldi @ £10.99

Sainsbury @ £17.00

M&S @ £32.00

Majestic Wine Warehouse @£48.00

All the bottles were concealed and we tasted while eating for the most part, during the evening everyone was asked for their choice as favourite.  So Dear Reader what do you think we would find? Intriguing no?

The most popular and by a hair's breadth was the M&S wine.

No2 was the Aldi and the least expensive.

No3 was the Pol Roger, and the most expensive.

No4 was the Sainsbury Blanc de Noirs. Mid way on price.

I know, a most un scientific test but one cannot help but say, a very interesting result. 

What else did we do on this night?  We had quizes on the subject of wine and winemaking.  our thanks go to Martin Marais, he did great job, we all enjoyed failing to answer many questions and not being aware that China has more vineyards than France. 

Also a big thanks for those that snapped up spare bottles at our auction with the monies from the sales going to the charities working in Syria. 

A brief look to the diary for next year, here are the dates:  

More details on the programme to follow when confirmed.

January 29th.  The Best of Bordeux Wines

March 18th

May 27th

22nd July

30th September

25th November

And now some snaps:

To all our readers, have great a Christmas and a sparkling and wonderful New Year, and good imbibing folks!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

An Evening in Provence

Even the name is evocative, Provence, we all think of sunshine, of foods and, for the members of the Wine Club, wines.  So it was for this meeting of the Club that we were very fortunate to have as our guest speakers and long time visitors to Provence, Jayne and Dan, presenting.  The title, wines and foods of Provence.

They were able tell and allow us to taste a very impressive selection of wines and foods of the region, but before a look at those a look at the speakers, Jayne and Dan Jennings, many thanks, you gave a great talk about 'your' part of France.

The evening started with a background to the wine industry in Provence, an area of Europe which has been producing wines and mainly Rosé wines for a very long time, back to the time of the Greeks no less. So here is an area with a very strong and robust wine culture.  Most wine is the Rosé type.

As such we enjoyed their Rosé wines and their reds, for the first time no white wines were available for us to taste , and quite right to as the white wines that are available are eclipsed by both the numbers  and the qualities of the reds and Rosé wines.  It seems that nearly 90% of wine is Rosé. This figure is coming back a little but really this is the area for Rosé wines, wines that have seen considerable sales growth of the last two or three years.

In addition to the wines we also enjoyed typical foods to accompany the wines.

In that part of France, the idea of 'Aperos' is a major social means of sharing food and wine with friends. Jayne was able to tell us how this works....what could be easier, Rosé and a mix of easy finger foods, tomatoes, saucisson, baguette and tapenade.   In theory  drinks before dinner, in fact this often extends to drinks rather than dinner. Sounds good.

The tapenade we made for the evening, it tasted just fine and the recipe for this is below.

The wines were very much of the area or terroir as the French would say. As mentioned the Rosé wines are THE wines of Provence, it seems fitting then to start with three of these wines.

The first, one of two this night from local cave in the village of Jayne and Dan, Plan de la Tour.

The Les Marquets and it's wine, La Reference. The taste and the lingering of that unique mix of flavours takes one back to Province. The warmth, the foods, the relaxation with friends. Yes all there in the bottle and the following bottles. A fine wine and a reasonable priced bottle - a great wine to start with. Accompanied by local foods. We were all in Provence now and enjoying a fruity, multi layer wine that stayed in the mouth well.   This a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault.  (We tasted a number of grapes that 'till now were unknown to us like this - Cinsault)

One of the major names of wine production in the area is the Domain Minuty, so our next tasting of the 2014 Prestige was very interesting, with a completely different blend, Mourverde, Tibouren and Cinsault - more new grapes again.  So how was it, well it was to some at least not as complex as the previous (half priced previous wine) but also very good. More subtle and with more fruit.

The last of the Rose's was the Sainte Roseline Cuvee de la Chapelle.

This a  blend but only just!  95% Mourvedre with a top up of Syrah. Different again, of course. A fine Rosé, priced at 17.5 € at the vineyard, and it has to be said quite pricey for a wine in France.  A lovely smooth and becoming wine with no bad habits.

The reds were a reflection of the climate and land, this is a tough area with poor and little soils, low rain and a great deal of sun. The reds somehow showed this in the flavours and taste. Good but robust wines.

The first was the from the local vigneron in the village, the supplier of our first wine. This a fine red, smooth and hearty, not meant in any way  to reduce the impression of quality of the wine, this was a cracker. Good to have with a good daube.

The wine: Les Marquets Rouge 2010

Interestingly this was  Cabernet and Syrah blend. A good length of flavour and just the right amount of Tannins. The wine has 12 months on French Oak.

Then back to the Sainte Roseline Vineyard to taste their  Cru Classe Red, 2010.  This was a fine wine, very smooth with a long finish. masses of fruit and a low level of Tannis. a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Cabernet. This vineyard is one of the few (14) with the status of Cru. This wine and the  Rosé both enjoy such status.

So to the last wine of the evening, and for this we are back to the Minuty vineyard to enjoy, and enjoy we did the Rouge et Or.  Again priced at 20€ at the vineyard. A lovely wine, so silky but with a depth of fruit and a pleasant linger in  the mouth. This another 95% Mourvedre blend but this time with just a touch of Grenache.  Delectable!

The cheeses, all good came from The isle of Mull , can you believe as well as locally. One food that was very well recieved was the Tapanade. The recipe for this is:


300g of stoned black olives.     Not in bottles, Waitrose do a small tub in the Essential range, also the Thursday Market has a good supplier.

2 tablespoons of Salted capers, rinsed and well drained
2 anchovy fillets
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 sprig of Thyme, just the leaves
c 4 Tablespoons of olive oil

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend to the consistency you want. It shouldn't be a smooth paste, leave some texture. 

It's very good with wine but also spread over lamb , fish or chicken prior to cooking.

Keep it in the fridge

(Ref: Alex MacKay - Cooking in Provence Headline Publications)

The mid meeting talk was on the subject of Technology - Blogs, Websites, and Apps, all good and all available for the wine lover. Apps do need a smart phone.

Here are the links to the Blogs.

Olly Smith, a very able and wine writer with hosts this interesting site with links to his Blog, Website, Twitter, etc.  He writes for the Daily Mail and is a regular on Saturday Kitchen. A raft of regular features as well as 'Wines of  the Week'

Helen McGinn. The Knackered Mothers's Wine Club.

A very amusing Blog but always with two topical recommendations.

Then brilliant Fiona Becket's Blog, the clue is in the title:

Matching Food and Wine

But much, much more than just that.

This will take you there:


Fiona Becket also rights for the Guardian, a very good article each week, but in addition the Guardian has a great Wine Site, masses of good stuff to peruse, as with the Telegraph, here the links:

The Daily Telegraph: This will take you there:

The WOT WINE site is one that values wine via blind tastings by experts, all the methodology on the site.

This will take you there


The standout APP for use on the Smart Phone is the VIVINO App. 
Searches, info, suppliers, qualities, all from the label photo you send via WIFI.   In the Supermarket, in the restaurant, at your own home. A great way to build a database of your own wine buys.

All of the above are free by the way. All give access to great and current info. 

I have yet to try Olly Smith's App, I suspect this would be very good. He is someone who has embraces  technology and uses it well.


Date of next meeting

The last meeting of the year is the Christmas Knees up, both statements untrue, we meet in November but it always seems to be the start of Christmas.  Also I don't think we do have our knees up but I can say its a very good social evening.

The date FRIDAY 27th November.

Those that have been to the evening in the past will know you are asked to bring a plate of food and instead of the usual format, we relax with some good foods and wines.

Thats all folks!

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Wines, naturally

The mid summer, the July meeting of the Wine Club took us all to an area of wine production which was unknown to most members - what would this be?    This was the culture of wine production in which the industrial methods of wine production are set to one side and a more natural and uncluttered means of making is employed.

Chris Onslow presented the wines along with a full description of the differing types of wine making methods employed by the artisan wine maker.  Most of us will know the terms, Bio, Organic, Biologique, natural and then bio-dynamic but perhaps don't appreciate the differences between the types of wine production methods

Chris took us through the various methods and descriptions of the techniques, and to see this in more detail this link will take you to the PP presentation as seen.  Wines in PP presentation

It is clear that with large productions of wine the maker needs to be able offer and the same wine wherever  that wine is bought, not an unreasonable stance of course but in accepting that we, as consumers, are also accepting the wine maker may need to use an array of chemical and wine making methods that will achieve a predictable result in terms of the wines taste and nature.  

Its is this uniformity that the types wine makers discussed are prepared to put to one side such methods and instead accept a more unpredictable outcome from the production processes.

Before we look at the wine, a look at our speaker:

I have included tasting notes in italics:

The 'welcome' wine was a wine with the usual name, "Angels Tears" - A very good Rosé form South Africa.

                                            Not too dry, not too sweet. Well rounded and very enjoyable.

ANGELS TEARS (Natural Wine) 2012 £8.00 12.5%
Country of Origin (W Cape) : South Africa
Grapes : Chenin Blanc Pinotage 

Then to France for the first of a number of wines from Bergerac

Bergerac Rose 2014 Certified Bio Dynamic Cabernet Sauvignon : 50 % Cabernet franc: 30 % Merlot : 20 %
Production 8,000 bottles 12.5% alcohol £7.50 + postage
This Rosé is a blend of three red grapes grown organically on the vineyard. The Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are cold macerated for 48 hours the wine process being triggered by indigenous yeast . The Cabernet franc undergoes direct pressing and is added.
Great Strawberry colour and a fruity nose, vivacity , depth , persistence in mouth ... A very nice wine to quench thirst... 

Then on to the white wines for the evening.  What great wine this was, soft, good flavour, low acid with good levels of fruit. As is often said, 'What's not to like?" this continuing the theme, now becoming clear that such wines are good, good at a number of levels. Good taste (of course) good at being a pure quality without the additives needed by many other types of wine. Good in that the producer is normally a small and dedicated producer of wine. Good in price, the costs of the wines was low given the quality tasted.

Chateau La Robertie
Blanc 2014
Cabernet Sauvignon 
13.5% alcohol  
£8.50 + postage
Gold medal winning wine from a vineyard that is both Organic 
and Bio dynamic.
A wine to compete with the New Zealand Best
wine full of freshness and fruit, ideal as an aperitif, with oysters , seafood and grilled fish. Consume within two year

To this Blogger this was the wine of the night, the best wine by a margin IMHO. 

A well balanced wine with good levels of fruit and long lasting finish. And look at the bottle price. A steal as they say.

Jour de Fruit 2012
£8.50                 Alcohol 13%
Grapes Merlot 80% Cabernet Franc 20%
Soil Clay and Limestone
Fermentation at 28 degrees for 8 days
Racked every 2 months before bottling in March 2013
A simple tasty Bergerac Red at its very best
Deep ruby ​​colour with cherry and blackcurrant nose with blackcurrant, 
A rounded taste with a melted tannic flavour
and a wine demonstrating an excellent grape 
ripeness at time of production

The Prosecco was labelled a Rosé, not that pink but a very fine bottle of bubbles.

All enjoyed

Santa Margherita 57
Santa Margherita "52" Rose      
£16.00          11.5%

Location : 
Grapes : Prosecco (Glera) + Malbec
Extremely Rare only 2000 bottles made a year
Complex DOC
laws mean that there is now no such wine 
as "Prosecco Rose", only white sparkling wines are allowed to call themselves Prosecco. However this is a Prosecco in all but name, made from the traditional Gleragrape. The white Prosecco is then blended with a Rose made from Malbec and refermentedin tank. The resulting wine is then bottle aged for 5 months before release.

The last white of the evening and one that would make the most ardent ABC - Anything But Chardonnay - become convinced by this grape as being one that can be great. An un- oaked wine giving great pleasure.

ClaimeD'Or Solidus Unoaked Chardonnay 75cl£12.00
12.1%     38mg SO2 at bottling
A  Natural Wine produced by non Biodynamic methods from 
Organic grapes.  Machine Harvested, cultivated yeast and Sur 
Lie for 4 months  to give smooth complexity without oak.
Gold Wine Awards 2014 -this award is a blind tasting organised by the Cape Wine Academy and judged by consumers A 
totally unwooded Chardonnay. ClaimED'Or Chardonnay is right up there amongst the best in South Africa
Lemon curd and orange blossom aromas abound. This Unwooded Chardonnay offers fresh lemony acidity and yet 
lovely breadth of flavour across the mid-palate. The finish is smooth and lingering with lots of peachy flavour. 

The final wine, and from the speakers cellar was this, and I quote, Red Beast. It was good to hear debate on the quality of this wine, given the lack of intrusion into the makings of the wine its natural nose came though strongly and for some this was a turn off, rubber tyres was the consensus on our table of tasters, but the wine itself was smooth, and with a very full and uncompromising flavour. One to have a French daube with on a winters evening in France or Freeland.

Terrasses 67
Rouge Fruit ‘Sulpher Free’  2009    

95% Merlot     5% Cabernet Franc
Made from Old Vines (50 years old) in limestone scree with certified organic grapes.The
harvest is manual, the wine aged in New oak barrels. No added Sulpher at all.

The only additive is Nitrogen used in the bottle prior to bottling to reduce Oxygenation
Tinted Crimson the hues of indigo left on a shaken glass are picked up by the eye before the nose finds cherry, strawberry and maybe grapefruit and white pepper.  The mouth finds a crisp, full fresh and not too structured wine 

with delicate tastes that play behind the lips

The cheeses were very impressive, all Uk cheese and mostly local. All available from 'our' man in Witney at the market on Thursday. He also sells some great olives.

All the info on the great cheeses will be found via this link

Dropbox account needed. (Free and a prompt will appear)

So Say CHEESE>>>>>>>


Lee Isaacs, the same Lee Isaacs that gave the informative talk on Chilean wines has been in touch with info about a wine lovers course starting in Oxford this September.  The course is aimed at 'beginners' with an interest in wine.

It continues for 8 weeks with a weekly instruction and an examination at the finish.  It is possible to continue to the next stage and on if you wish.

The cost is £425.00 For more details go here.  WESET Level 2 

Lee's email is

W.S.E.T. Course
Start date
8 September
9 weeks (including exam)
Tuesday 19:00 – 21:00
7 September
15 weeks (including exam)
Monday 19:00 – 21:00

WineMatters – Oxford’s oldest wine school and the city’s first WSET Approved Programme Provider. All courses are taught by both Michael Palij, Master of Wine, and other W.S.E.T. Diploma holders.  WineMatters is, and always has been, completely free of any commercial ties.  All courses are taught in the heart of Oxford to the very highest standards and always include a superb range of wines including some chosen from Michael’s personal cellar.  Course fees include absolutely everything:  wines, glasses, a corkscrew and the exam.  All you need to do is turn up and learn more about wine in a relaxed and friendly environment.

The November meeting -  November 27th

As members involved in this meeting in the past will know the meeting is both social and a chance to try some good wines without the usual presentation.  This year we wanted at ask members if they can tell us of any particular wine that have enjoyed from the meetings past that they would like to taste again. If its possible to buy will will do so and bring to the evening. To refresh you memory the previous blogs  with details of the wines enjoyed are available, go the side bar at the top of this page to review.  Let me know by sending a note via the comments space at the bottom of this Blog, in this way other members can see what is being considered and add their thoughts as need be.

Date of the next meeting.

September 25th.

The wines of Provence

Saturday, 30 May 2015

What's not to like?

May 29th and a virtual trip to South America, not just South America but to Chile.

Who took us on the trip? None other than Lee Isaacs, wine consultant and South American wine specialist.

One of the great advantages of being within a Wine Club is the opportunities it gives to try new wines and to be taken on the journey with those that know the way around and so it was last night. Lee was able to bring to us six wines, no duff wines to be seen and some really very exceptional.

So a big thank you Lee, a very good tour and such good wines.

His talk was not only supported by a very good selection, and more of this in a mo, but also the background to the wine industry of Chile as well as the background to the people and vineyards of those producing the wines.

It was not only wines were staring last night but also some amazing cheeses. Another thanks is called for now, all the cheeses were provided by "Open Air Foods" a seller of artisan cheeses and available via the market in Witney each Thursday.

So the wines:

Its always a danger for the writer of this Blog to say which was the best wine, we all see/taste in a different way but for me the first one was a very good wine indeed.

Interestingly Lee asked how many consider Riesling as being their favourite grape, two hands showed only, something of as surprise that, mine was one of those hands.

So the wine: The Cono Sur Reserva Special 2013 Riesling. Here we have a very good wine sold by Tesco at £8.99. Really very good indeed.  Lee was able to explain why there is the mis match between those that like the Riesling grape and the quality of the wine. All to do with it smelling of petrol it seems, this a bigger problem if the conditions of growing are not good for the grape. Well it would be a bit of a put off I guess, but fear not, no petrol overtones here just a well balanced and typical Riesling with no great tannin overtones.

Well worth checking out the philosophy of wine makers by going to the website of the company, one of the biggest producers of wine in SA and the world.

The next white was a good but , how do I say this, a different Savignon Blanc.  The grape is the mostly drunk white in this country, and why not what?  A great wine and even better in the summer with all that citrus flavour, but there we have it, this wine had almost none of those tones.  Lee was able to clarify, if you have a Kiwi Savvy Blanc you will have and expect to have those fruit and acid notes, but if you take the same grape from the Loire, this is not the case and this wine needs to be compared to the European Savvy Blanc.  As such it was very good but not what was expected.

As they say, your call.  Casa Silva, ColchaguaValley.   £15.00 @ OWC

The last white wine was the wine that people love to hate, Chardonnay, the 2014 In Situ estate bottled Reserva, OWC @ £10.00.

This was the lightly oaked classic Chardonnay.

As Lee was able to tell us its not everyday you come across wines like In Situ or winemakers like Horacio Vicente.

Horacio trained at Bordeaux first-growth Château Mouton Rothschild and California’s boutique Chalone Vineyards before returning home to work on his dad’s estate in Chile’s stunning Aconcagua Valley. After working for the best of the best, he was keen to prove that Aconcagua Valley could make wines to rival the best in the world and so the In Situ range was born.

The high altitude of the vineyards (around 850m above sea level) makes for a very fresh, fruit-driven and elegant Chardonnay.

After the whites the raffle and the spot for trivia.  This was all about cheese, a lot of information about Cheddar, did you know that the US produces c1.5 million TONS of the cheese? And did you know that Mozzartella is the UK's most eaten cheese after Cheddar.     There we are - trivia.

The cheeses we had were exceptional, some the mix of Gorgonzola and Feta too exceptional for many.

They were:

Delice de Bourgogne. Made with much additional cream. Trust the French to add cream to cheese. Good for them - what a great cheese.

Old Winchester, a cross of Gouda, Parmesan and Chedder but unlike any of them. Aged for 18 months. Salty and good.

Bayden Blue, the mix of Italian and Greek types, very pungent and loved and hated in equal measure.

Brie de Maeaux. A delight.

Gorwydd Caerphilly, a multi prize winner and understandably. Beautiful and great with a white wine.

Farmhouse Chedder. One of five farmhouse cheddars made now in the UK and allowed the POD label. Stored in the Wookey Hole caves of Chedder.

The reds.

The night of surprises continued with  the Shiraz, this is the grape that can be very 'spicey', but no this was not,  this was just a good red wine and a wine that would go so well with pasta or pizza.

This wine is made by the massive wine producer Casillero del Diablo. Clearly there is no reason why a large producer cannot produce great wines but, lets be honest, you tend to think the best wines come from smaller vineyards.  Not the case here. A good wine.

£7.99 at Tesco.

The best wine of night followed, but I need to add a question mark to this sentence. This was a very good Pinot indeed.  As we all know the Pinot Noir grape is a very tricky grape to grow and to make good wine from. When it all comes together well the value is high and so it should be, a beautiful wine emerges. And this was such a wine. Very impressive indeed.

The grapes are hand picked, double sorted, softly destemmed and crushed, then placed in open top stainless steel tanks. Prior to fermentation, grapes undergo a 3 to 7 day cold soak at 8ºC. For fermentation and only native yeasts are used by which the wine develops more complex and distinctive aromas and flavours. Final blend is aged for 12 months in French oak barrels.

This a bit, no, a lot  more expensive though at £20.00 a pop from the  OWC.

The final wine was the variety that is now associated almost exclusively with SA, the Carmenere grape. We tasted the Casa del Bosque wine. Lee was able to ell us of its near relative Merlot and the closeness in many ways that the two grapes have.  It confirmed itself as being a fine grape and a fine way to taste it in the vineyard's wine.

From the owners website:

Vinification :After being hand harvested the grapes were then crushed and destemmed to stainless steel tanks. The must was then warmed and inoculated with selected yeasts and fermented during 12 days with temperatures peaking at 33ºC/91ºF. Following the completion of fermentation the must was subjected to an additional 5 days of post fermentation maceration (to give a total of 17 days total skin contact). The wine was then pressed off skins and put to French oak barrels for 10 months during which time it was racked twice: once in the spring when it was first sulphured (following the completion of malolactic fermentation) and then once again shortly before bottling.
Tasting Notes : Intensely violet in colour, on the nose this wine exhibits heady notes of cedar, bacon fat, and graphite with just a hint of fresh lavender. In the mouth an initial attack of black cherry, sweet tobacco and cinnamon gives way to just a touch of earthiness and ripe bell pepper. Ripe tannins and fresh acidity combine to give good balance and length.

£10.99 at OWC


Date of the next meeting

July 30th 

Check out this blog.  Both amusing and good.

Sunday, 29 March 2015


What a time it must have been, to have zero access to alcohol, no beers, spirits or even more alarming, no wines!  The meeting for The Wine Club in March took us back to those days in some ways. Our exceptional and able speaker, David Lloyd has an interest and a deep knowlege of the times in the early parts of the 20th century of the USA when almost all alcohol in the forms at least that we know it was simply not legally available.

The area has given rise to it own vocabulary and culture, the pop song, Behind the Green Door a
direct reference to the colour of the doors of the speakeasy bars and dives where alcohol was available, and so it was that David took us on a virtual tour of those times and places via a great Powerpoint presentation supported by the wines of today and, amazingly of those days.

So before we look at the wines, the speaker.

And of the wines.

Note, Availability and prices at the foot of this Blog as are the dates of future meetings.

Whilst the US was becoming and became 'dry' Canada was not.  So what would the good people of the Northern US do but take a day trip to Canada and to buy some very good Canadian wines.  Our wine was avery drinkable Sauvignon  Blanc from the Cave Spring vineyard. Situated on the Niagara escarpment.

It was not known to many there that the Canadians produce both a large quantity of wine and that that wine can be very good.

Sadly not available in the UK but when the speaker travels to Canada he is able to return with wine for our evening. So another thank you is possible here to David to doing just that.

The next white was from Washington State, the state produces at lot of fine wine including our next wine A Riesling from the vineyard of Charles Smith.  Now here is an interesting winemaker, a man who managed and ran rock bands now produces some very good wines. And this Riesling did not disappoint. Always a grape with an uncertain outcome, sweet/dry. Oaked or not. In this case no Oak and very much in keeping with a classic Riesling.

The Last white a stunning Chardonnay from the Edna Valley in California.  What beautiful wine. We all know that this grape is subject to much disdain by some but when a wine like this is available you have to ask how can it be that those that enjoy wine by pass this grape.  This available from Majestic.

No only does our speaker do a great and well researched talk but also a very good and demanding quiz. All to do with the period of prohibition and with questions that had some surprising answers.

On to the the reds, the first another wine from another state other than California, this a Pinot Noir from Oregon State.  Hum, for some this was proof that to make a great Pinot Noir is not just not easy but is, in fact, very demanding.  So not a  bad wine but to many a thin Pinot.

So a good comparison now to the next red, a stunning Zinfandel from the  Bueno Vista vineyard in California. What a joy. This is the grape variety which is so well known in the US and hardly grown in Europe.  A stunning wine and an interesting wine. This came from vineyard that was founded in 1865 and still in production, An amazing feat given that almost vineyards went bankrupt over the period of prohibition.

The final wine of the night was exceptional for three reasons, firstly a wine maker from the days prior to prohibition, in the whole of the US there can only be handful of such bearing in mind that over 90% of firms went bust.

The Beringer Vineyard was the very same vineyard that was one of the wines that famously bettered the French famous wine challenge of the 70's.

Finally what great wine, just superb.  A little more than most will pay for wine I suspect but here is one to have with the meal with friends when venison or steak is the order of the night.


A reminder that we are looking forward to the probable trip to France on May 9th.  If you are thinking of joining us and have not told us yet, then please do, my email is

Dates of the next meetings:

29th May
31st July
25th September
27th November

Wine prices and where available

Canadan Wine  Not available in the UK
Honour Riesling £12.00 at M&S (Oxford)
Edna Valley Chardonnay 2012 Majestic Wines @ £12.99
Primarius Pinot Noir  £8.99 a bottle at Tesco
Buena Vista Zinfandel £13.00 @ M&S (Oxford)
Beringer Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012  Majestic Wines @ £30.00 (If two bought)