May 2016 Meeting - Wines for summer dinking

This months hosts were Kim and Teresa who had selected some wines for summer drinking. Lower alcohol wines that can be enjoyed at lunchtime, at an al fresco picnic or at a BBQ...

The Wines




% Alc




Prosecco Brut I Duecento (Italy)






Three Choirs Midsummer Hill 2014 (England)

Madeleine Angevine(40%), 20% Reichensteiner (20%),  Seyval (20%) and  Phoenix (20%)





Chateau Bauduc Sauvignon Blanc  2014 (France)

Sauvignon Blanc





Three Choirs Rosé 2014 (England)

Phoenix, Reichensteiner, and Rondo





Chateau Bauduc Rosé 2014 (France)

Merlot (40%), Cabernet Sauvignon (40%), Cabernet Franc (20%)





Jean-Paul Brun, Terres Dorées Beaujolais L'Ancien 2014 (France)






Sileni Estate Hawke's Bay Syrah 2013 (NZ)






1. Prosecco Brut I Duecento


Great value Prosecco, fresh, gentle with touch of green apples on the nose. Now in a new, more robust bottle. A great, and great-value, party wine.


Araldica is the trading name of the successful co-operative at Castelvero in Italy’s northwestern Piedmont region. It is one of the most important producers of Barbera d'Asti and Barbera d’Alba, and also makes excellent Gavi, Moscato and Prosecco. Founded in 1954 by a small group of growers, headed by their parish priest, the co-op has evolved greatly from its simple origins and now it owns the largest winery in Piedmont.


It currently has around 200 members, cultivating 900 hectares of vines throughout the region, but in particular its vineyards in the Monferrato hills are celebrated for the quality of their barbera. As the business expanded in the latter half of the 20th century, the company also acquired a modern, temperature-controlled bottling plant and warehouse, with a large capacity to store its barrels made from the region’s traditionally favoured Slovenian oak.

While Italy is generally known for its sun-baked vineyards, Piedmont is actually as far north as Bordeaux, and the nearby Alps make a marked impact on the temperatures which are much more in line with classic French regions. The hot summers are followed by very cold, often snowy winters, and the melting snow is an excellent marker of vineyard quality: the best vineyards have the fastest-melting snow because they receive the most sunshine.



2. Three Choirs Midsummer Hill 2014


A crisp, dry blend (of 40% madeleine angevine, 20% reichensteiner, 20% seyval and 20% phoenix grapes) from Gloucestershire exclusive to The Society. It has a great spice and pear perfume, with baked-apple notes on the palate. A fine match for chicken and fish dishes or an ideal aperitif.


Three Choirs Vineyards Ltd Situated in the English countryside where the three counties of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire converge, Three Choirs has become one of England’s most significant producers. As well as being the second largest wine estate in the country with around 100 acres under vine, Three Choirs is also one of the oldest, having pioneered the English wine movement in the 1970s when the industry was still in its infancy.

Award-winning winemaker Martin Fowke has closely studied the techniques of New World producers such as those in New Zealand, working in cooler climate areas and has successfully tailored the winemaking processes to the prevailing English climate. The gentle undulating south-facing slopes here lie within a special microclimate, sheltered by the Malverns and the Brecon Beacons. The conditions are ideal for ripening the grapes, which are kept cool and clean by the breezes coming up the valley from the River Severn. A variety of well-suited grape varieties including pinot noir is planted and each year, red, white and rosé styles are produced along with sparkling whites.

Martin has recently started projects with boutique wineries around the world to bottle small amounts of their wines as well as brewing speciality beers and producing a range of ciders. He also makes wines for thirty other vineyards in England and Wales at the modern on-site winery. These ongoing enterprises, as well as the visitors’ facilities attracting tourists from around the world to this rural setting, look set to keep Three Choirs firmly at the top of its game.


3. Chateau Bauduc Sauvignon Blanc 2014


Crisp, dry white from our vines surrounding the Chateau. Ramsay label only now. £9.95 a bottle.


The back label: ‘This crisp, zingy dry white, made exclusively from the 28 acres of Sauvignon Blanc vines that surround the chateau, has been the house wine for Gordon Ramsay and Rick Stein for more than a decade.


Wine of the Week, 26 February 2016: 'a welcome change from the Loire model of piercing citrus and slate, relying instead on ripe yellow fruit flavour and viscous mouthfeel.' Richard Hemming MW.


2014 turned out to be a very good vintage and we harvested the grapes for this wine in lovely weather in mid to late September. Crisp, dry and zingy, this is 100% Sauvignon Blanc from our vines surrounding the chateau. 12% alc/volume, Chateau-bottled, Stelvin+ screwcap. Best from Spring 2015 through 2017.


There are only two restaurants in London with three Michelin stars, and this is the house wine at one of them. We’re really proud to have been the house white at Ramsay’s for, crikey, fifteen years now.



4. Three Choirs Rosé 2014


Produced from phoenix, reichensteiner, and rondo grapes, this delightful English pink has ripe cherry and raspberry aromas with a crisp palate of red-berry fruits.


5. Chateau Bauduc Rose 2014


Delicious pale, dry rosé with Rick Stein's signature label, as served in his restaurants. £9.95 a bottle in cases of 6.


The back label: ‘This Provencal style of rosé was made from 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc. The grapes were harvested earlier than for red, and the juice quickly run off the skins for a pale, dry wine.’


In a dry, ripe Bordeaux vintage like 2015, rosé can be a challenge. If the rosé is a by-product of making red, when you run off some juice from freshly-crushed, powerful red grapes, the resulting pink wine can be deeply coloured, heavy and fairly alcoholic - especially when made mainly with Merlot.  The 2015 Bauduc rosé has 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Cabernet Franc, harvested earlier than for making red wine to keep the fruit, acidity and the alcohol in check (it's 12% abv - far lower than most 2015 reds), with 20% Merlot for the roundness and texture.


Pale, a very pretty pink, fruity and dry, the 2015 has just been selected as the 'front page' rosé for Rick Stein's restaurants once again. Rick, who visited the vineyard during the harvest, takes a quarter of this limited production wine.



6. Jean-Paul Brun, Terres Dorées Beaujolais L'Ancien 2014


 From limestone and clay soils in the south of the region, this is a rich and ample gamay with a deep, resonant flavour. Made using Burgundian cellar techniques, it tastes quite pinot-like with a little bottle age.


Jean-Paul Brun is undoubtedly the best-known producer in the south of Beaujolais. This is the so-called Pays des Pierres Dorées, named after the golden coloured limestone, much quarried for building material. Jean-Paul is based in Charnay, a village just north of Lyon.


Viticulture is important here although it shares the hillsides with other forms of agriculture. Most of the wines are simple and sold as Beaujolais Nouveau, but Jean-Paul is the exception, and aims for a more complex, food-friendly style.

He started in 1977 with just four hectares, and now has 30, as well as 15 hectares of vineyard plots on the granite soils of some of the Beaujolais crus – Fleurie, Moulin à Vent, Morgon and Côte de Brouilly. The vineyard is in the process of conversion to biodynamic viticulture.


Particular specialities include his chardonnay, which accounts for eight hectares of his vines, as well as L’Ancien, a gamay made from old vines.

Jean Paul’s winemaking is much more Burgundian and traditional than most of his neighbours, with wines fermenting in vats before ageing in cement or oak. He believes in minimal intervention, and chooses not to add industrial yeasts, which are often responsible for the ‘bubblegum’ style of some generic Beaujolais. Nor does he practise chaptalisation (adding sugar to the must to increase alcohol), which explains why alcohol levels are lower.



7. Sileni Estate Hawke's Bay Syrah 2013


Steve Smith MW describes the 2013 vintage as a 'vintage of a generation' in Hawke's Bay. This delicious syrah has plenty of fresh black-pepper and plum aromas, and complex leather, violets and cured meats develop on the palate. A very attractive concentrated and complex wine offering good value for money.


Those of you of a classical bent will already know that Sileni Estates in New Zealand is named for the Greek woodland spirits who were boon companions of Dionysus, the god of wine, and close relatives of satyrs and mountain nymphs.

Whether they ever capered and revelled in the area where Sileni Estates grow their grapes is a moot point, but the estate was certainly founded by a wine lover, Graeme Avery, a pharmaceutical scientist and publisher who, in partnership with financial director Chris Cowper and winemaker Grant Edmonds, established the estate in 1997.

Grant is chief winemaker and between his team and him there is experience of working in Bordeaux, Burgundy, Oregon, California and Australia. At their principal winery, a state-of-the -art facility near Hastings in Hawke’s Bay, they have blend of high-tech and traditional equipment in balance to bring out the best in the grapes of this warm, dry region, New Zealand’s oldest.

In addition to the Hawke’s Bay facility, Sileni also have a winery in Marlborough on the South Island where they make benchmark sauvignon blanc and pinot noir.