Monday, February 19, 2018

February 2018. English Wines, Robin Goldsmith

This February we had English Wines, Presented by Robin Goldsmith

The wines were:

  • Jenkyn Place, Classic Cuveee. Chardonnay/Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier - £29.50
  • Exton park, Blanc De Noirs Pinot Noir - £29.95
  • Chapel Down. Kit's Coty Blanc de Blancs. Chardonnay -£40
  • Hush Heath. Balfour Brut Rose Chardonnay/Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier - £29.50
  • 2014 £38
  • Nyetimber Rose NV Chardonnay/Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier - £39.99
  • Camel Valley. Darnibole Bacchus - £17.99
  • Chapel Down. Bacchus reserve - £14.99
  • Bolney. Lychgate Red. Rondo. - £14.99

The real difficulty for me is the sheer price of many of these wines. As you can get a half decent fizz for £10, and a half decent Champagne for £20, the sparkling English wines have a real challenge. So they are a bit niche. And for me, the first 4 were very much at the dry brut end of the scale. I did like the Nytimber as it came across as more well developed and rounded, and less austere.

The Bacchus wines were interesting, and certainly worth trying whilst the Lychgate Rondo Red was a bit of a novelty. A most peculiar nose, but tasted pretty good.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

January 2018 - New Years Party

January, as always, was the UWS New Years Party

For the record the wines were:

Bouvet Sparkling Saumur

Dr Loosen Grey Slate Riesling
Invivo Sauvignon Blanc Awatere Valley (NZ)

Incanta Pinot Noir – Romania
Catena Malbec – Argentina

Concha y Toro Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc. Valle Del Maule
Domaine de Leyrissat Monbazillac
Harveys Signature 12YO Cream Sherry.

All readily available Waitrose, Majestic etc....

Saturday, December 23, 2017

December 2017 - UWS, A History

We were presented with 8 wines by Esther, who is a founding member, to showcase the hitory of the UWS. UWS is close to 36 years old (Feb 2018) and has met EVERY month over those 35 3/4 years - never missing a single month.
Esther chose the wines to illustrate some of the history of the society and the world of wine and how it has changed.

Wine 1 - Cremant de Limoux. Used to be Blanquette de Limoux. In the 1980s the only fizz you really came across was Champagne, and this was one of the first ones that Esther could remenber that wasn't.
Wine 2 - Mateus Rose. A part of our history, familiar to pretty well anyone who drank wine in the '80s . At one point it was >50% of our imports of wine from Portugal
Wine 3 - Gruner Veltliner. Part of the story about Austrian Wines and anti-freeze, plus a long story about an UWS treasurer in the 80's who started a wine buying group, and made off with money (about £2 - 3000 in todays money, so not trivial)
Wine 4 - White Rioja. Again, a piece of society  history involving a coach trip down to Sherston to taste cider and Riojas - A morning of Cider, lunch with (plenty of) Rioja, followed by an afternoon of Rioja tasting. Memories are a bit hazy.....
Wine 5 - Fleurie. The Gamay grape, same as Beaujolais Nouveau... If you were there in the 80's you will remember. Enough said
Wine 6 - Bulgarian Merlot. In the 1980's, Bulgaria was the 2nd largest wine producer. Supported by the communist regime for hard currency, it produced a lot of pretty good wine. After 1989 it all fell apart and is only just now clawing its way back.
Wine 7 - Israeli Cabernet Sauvignon. Back in the day, somewhere in Israel, Esther was browsing the wine shelves, and someone else in the shop asked - "you seem very interested, why?" It transpired the other chap was in wine trade, and lived in Hayes. So a tasting was organised.
Wine 8 - PX Sherry. Black, Sticky, Sweet, Gorgeous. We all have memories of Harvey's Bristol Cream and similar (Emva?). Awful, just awful. But good sherry, real sherry in all its varieties is a marvellous thing. We have had several Sherry tastings, and it's undervalued and marvellous. 

An excellent evening.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

November 2017: WInes of Argentina

This month we had Berkmann Wine Cellars, presenting Wines of Argentina: 

  • Finca la Colonia Torrontes, Mendoza
  • Finca Perdriel Sauvignon Blanc, Medoza
  • Passo Bianco, Masi Tupungato. Pinot Grigio/Torrontes, Mendoza
  • Norton Porteno Malbec, Mendoza
  • Finca Decero Remolinos Vineyard, Malbec, Mendoza
  • Finca Decero Remolinos Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza
  • Finca Decero Remolinos Vineyard, Petit Verdot, Mendoza
  • Norton Privada Family Blend, Mendoza.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

October 2017 - The World of Sherry - Charles Metcalfe

An evening of Sherry - The Wines were:

Manzanilla La Gitana, Hidalgo La Gitana. £10 -11 Ocado, Majestic, many independents.

FinoTio Pepe, Gonzales Byass. £10 – 10.50 Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose Cellar, many independents.

Valdespino Tio Diego Single Vineyard Dry Amontillado. £16.95 Lea & Sandeman.

Palo Cortado Solera, Cayetano del Pino. £14.95 The Wine Society / £11.49 per half Waitrose Cellar.

Lustau Don Nuno Dry Oloroso. £14.69 – 15.95 & Noel Young Wines,

Oloroso Medium Dry, Barbadillo. £9.95 – 11.50 Halifax Wine Company, Albion Wine Shippers, Davy Wine Merchants.

Lustau Old East India Solera Cream. £17.99 Oxford Wine Company, Many independents

Sandeman Royal Corregidor 20 year old Rich Old Oloroso. Not available in UK (£14 per half bottle).

Monday, September 25, 2017

September - Wines of Chile, Lindsay Oram

This month we had Lindsay Oram ( a Wine Educator who we know well, living just round the corner as she does. She was presenting Chilean Wines, supported by Wines of Chile (

Apparently many people believe that Chile only does cheap wine. Well, we know different, and Lindsay presented a number of wines to prove it.

  • Cono Sur Sparkling Rose – Pinot Noir. £10.75 Tesco
  • Vina Tabali. Encantado Gran Reserva Cande single vinyard 2015. Viognier £9.99 Waitrose
  • Close des Fous Locura. Terroir de Los Andes 2014. Chardonnay £15.99 Waitrose
  • Undurruga Cauguenes Estate 2016. Viognier/Roussanne/Marsanne. £7.50 Wine Society
  • Vina Maycas de Limari 2016. Pinot Noir £8.50 Wine Society
  • Undurraga Cabernet Franc 2013. Cabernet Franc. £14.95 Wine Society
  • Koyle Cerro Basalto 2014. Carignan/Syrah/Grenache/Mourvedre. £17.00 Wine Society.
  • Concha Y Toro Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc. £7.50 half. Tesco

The Sparkling was a good standard fizz, standig up there with New Zealand fizz, Prosecco etc. at the same sort of price. Worth trying

Of the whites my view was that the Viognier blend was the best – the other grapes taking the edge off the “oily” nature of the neat Viognier, while the Chardonnay was a lot of money for what it was.

The reds were all good, and I'd certainly be tempted by either of the 2 more expensive wines – I personally thought the Cabernet Franc was the better, but its a personal view. And for me at £15 the bottle, that's saying something.

The final wine, the Late Harvest dessert is a very good alternative to other and worth the money.

Friday, August 25, 2017

August - Peter Freeman, Wines from the Loire

This Month we had Peter Freeman, presenting Wines from the Loire.
We had 40 members turn up – a good attendance

The Wines Were:

Cremant Rose              Majestic               £13.99

Muscadet                     Tesco                   £6.50

Sancerre                       Tesco                   £13.00

Vouvray                        Majestic              £11.99

Gamay Rose                 Sainsbury            £5.50

Malbec                         Majestic              £7.99

Chinon                          Mill Hill Wines    £13.99

Coteaux de Layon        Spirited Wines     £17.50