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)


  1. A very interesting and well researched talk, thank you. I also wholly agree about Chardonnay in general, it's still one of my favourite grapes even though not 'trendy' any more. I also like Merlot - so there, ha ha.

    1. Thanks for the comment, good to see what readers think of the Blog thoughts. But yes the Edna Valley was very good, as are the White Burgabdy wines and still the much maligned Chardonnay grape.