Our 2019 Tastings


As Christmas approaches the Group hold a Fine Wines Evening. This year Tony Mansie volunteered to select a range of high-quality wines, and he was true to his word.  Wines were sourced from Waitrose and the Wine Society, and varied in price from £17 to £36, but Tony managed to get substantial discounts.
The evening started with a Leckford Brut English sparkling wine blended from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier grapes, and proved that English sparklers are very much on a par with the French equivalents.  Next was an excellent Chardonnay, a Domaine Jean Monnier & Fils Meursault, followed by a Le Manor Sancerre, a trio of whites, all very fine wines.
Then came the reds, all meeting the same high standards of the whites. First a Domaine Bruno Clair Marsannay Grasse Pinot Noir, a top-quality Burgundy, then a Pauillac made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Italy featured next, a Barolo DOCG Torino, made from the Nebbiolo grape.  The Cabernet Sauvignon grape featured in a superb wine made by the Frei Brothers in Alexander Valley, an area famous for its unique climate, resulting in the production of one of the best wines from the USA.  The final wine also came from the USA, a Muga Rioja Reserva made from Tempranillo grapes, proving that the USA can produce wines meeting the Fine Wines description.
Overall a great evening with a wide diversity of really high class wines.


This meeting was very special, as we were celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Group.  Just three members of the original group were present, but the big surprise was that altogether forty past and present members arrived to celebrate the event. Click here to read more and see some photographs.


The River Rhone, 505 miles in length, rises in Switzerland and eventually discharges into the Mediterranean Sea.  Much of it flows through large areas of France’s famous vine yards. A river cruise through the southern area by John and Marie Wilburn gave them an excellent topic to describe at our October meeting, focussing on the region’s wines.
The white wines featured a Viognier from St. Joseph and a Clairette from Vacqueyras.  Any wine buff will mention G.S.M. when the southern area of the Rhone is mentioned, and this proved to be true when the Reds were tasted. First was a Grenache from Tavel then a Syrah from St. Joseph and another Syrah from Crozes Hermitage, followed by a blend of Grenache and Syrah from Grignan les Adhemar. Then came the G.S.M. blend, a Grenache Syrah Mourvedre from Vinsobres. Finally we enjoyed a Grenache-Syrah from Costieres de Nimes. All the wines exhibited their individual character, and one of the main features, their high alcohol level ranging from 12.5% to 14.5%, and they were all very good.


Wine enthusiast Duncan Gammie, who owns and runs The Wee Vinoteca, an award-winning family-run wine bar and shop in Hitchin, hosted an informed and informal wine tasting session, presenting his great value favourites chosen from the shop. A most enjoyable evening.


Our annual Garden Party was hosted by Pat and Bernard Bailey in their garden on a beautiful summer’s day. They provided superb food, and an excellent selection of wines, with group members supplying a wonderful selection of desserts. A perfect afternoon and our thanks go to all concerned in making this so successful.


This meeting featured wines selected by Carolyn Clayton on on the basis of the attractiveness of the labels. Surprisingly we enjoyed most of them!


At our May meeting we were given a comprehensive description of the Languedoc area of France and its wines by Jean and Alan Haigh. And we tasted eight wines from the area.


John Raines provided a selection of wines with the theme Wines of the World from South to North. There was one which we had never tasted before!


Marie Wilbur described a Bordeaux Wine River Cruise last year and we tasted some wines from that famous wine region of France.


The February meeting was cancelled because of bad weather - the beast from the East.


In January we compared favourite European wines costing £10 or under. Sicily was the clear favourite; Austrian and German wines got a mention, but not a single French wine!

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