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

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