Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Keith Grainger.- Cru Borgeois

This month we had Bordeaux Wines presented by Keith Grainger.

The main focus was on reds from the Haut Medoc, although we started with a Sauvignon Blanc and finished with a Sauternes.

Price wise, the reds were all in the £13 - £17 region, although as they were all bought at the Chateau, Keith used the Euro price to give a guide. Actual UK retail prices will be in that sort of region.

Keith is a real enthusiast for these wines, and you will have an entertaining evening.

However, for me the red wines here were all too similar – all a Cab Sauv/Merlot/Petit Verdot mix and although Keith implored us to search for the differences, I really couldn't. I guess I'm just not a Cru-Borgeois kind of guy. I did get in a bit of trouble at the end when the “mature” and “at its peak” 2010 Chateau La Tour Haut Causann felt to me to be well over the top, and lacking in character & fruit. Sacrilege!

I did rather like the first wine, and at £8.50 it is pretty good value from the Wine Society.

2017 Dourthe No1 Bordeaux Suavignon Blanc
2015 Chateau d'Hanteillan – Haut Medoc +
2015 Chateau Cambon La Pelouse – Haut Medoc
2014 Chateau Barreyres – Haut Medoc
2014 Chateau Fonreaud – Listrac Medoc
2014 Chateau Larose Trintaudon – Haut Medoc
2010 Chateau La Tour Haut Causann – Haut Medoc
2014 The Societies Exhibition Sauternes

Monday, April 23, 2018

April 2018. Unusual Grape Varieties, Phil Miles

As it was the AGM, Our Chairman, Phil Miles presented a set of wines made from obscure grape varieties. And these are obscure! Amazingly they are also readily available – M&S or Laithwaites and inexpensive. For those who don't know the first 4 are whites, the rest reds.

Apostolos Thymiopoulos
Central Greece
Le Revelation
Chateau Mukhrani
Cabeza De Toro
, Spain
Alicante Bouschet
Alexis Machua

The whites were all fine, but this is one of the problems with modern whites – clean fresh, well made etc... Nothing to complain about at all, except they are all a bit same-y. But you won't be dissappointed either.

The reds were more interesting. The Alicante Bouschet is a very particular taste, but deep, deep red. Itsoften added to other wines to add body and colour. Many liked it. The Susumaniello was widely liked – full bodied, well rounded, and a real star. The Maratheftiko however was really quite tannic, too tannic for most.

That being said, all of these wines are a good buy, and worth a punt to see if oyu like them, and are after something a little off-piste.

Monday, March 26, 2018

March 2018 - WInes of Uruguay, Carla Bertellotti

For the 3rd time in 8 years, we had Carla presenting her range of Uruguayan Wines, particularly Uruguay's signature grape variety, the Tannat. As always, some good wines at some good prices

The Wines:
Marichal Permium Varietal Chardonnay 2017. £11.99
De Lucca Marsanne Reserve 2016 (Marsanne/Roussane). £9.99
Vinedos de Los Vientos Estival 2016 (Gewurztraminer/Chardonnay/Moscato Bianco). £12.99
Vinedos de Los Vientos Notos 2016 (Nebbiolo/Tannat). £12.99
De Lucca Nero D'Avola 2016. £16.99
Vinedos de Los Vientos Anarkia 2017 (Tannat). £12.99
De Lucca Tannat Merlot Reserve 2013. £11.99
Bodegones del Sur Tannat 2015. £13.99

The Marsanne is a marmite wine - love it or hate it - a very particular style. For me, a bit like a cross between a classic Gewurz and an old style heavily oaked chardonnay. I really liked it. Many didn't.
The Estival Gewurz blend is again something that perhaps shouldn't really work, but does, really well - the Moscato adds a nice touch of fresh grapiness.
The reds were all good, with perhaps the Anarkia being the most popular on the night, although I went for the Tannat/Merlot reserve.

Claras website is - well worth looking at

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.