Our 2011 Tastings


This meeting traditionally features our Fine Wines evening and once again, Carolyn Clayton presented us with an impressive selection. This was Carolyn’s final evening as the group’s head organiser after several years arranging our meetings. Rob Hailstone has stepped in to take over the task from Carolyn and paid tribute to her for the very successful range of tastings we have enjoyed under her leadership.


The November meeting featured our annual dinner with thirty two members attending. Organised once again by Jean Haigh, with help from husband Alan and other members of the group the evening matched the high standards established in previous years. Local company Campbell and Toft’s supplied the main course and cheeses whilst the ladies in the group arranged the starters and desserts, and of course the wines. The result was a magnificent success. Excellent food, carefully chosen wines, great starters and desserts all served at elegantly decorated tables resulted in a perfect evening. The long established routine for the evening saw several dedicated men leap into action to help with the clearing up at the end. Thanks go to all in the Group who assisted with this memorable event.


Serendipity reigned supreme at the group‘s October meeting, which featured a Members‘ Choice evening. A wide range of wines from eight different countries was featured - quite amazing, considering no pre-planning takes place. The result was another entertaining evening enjoyed by a large turnout of the group‘s members.


Our September tasting featured a selection of wines presented by Pat and Lilly Barratt. They had chosen a range of representative wines from a list of top grade wines obtained from Morrisons supermarket. In fact the Morrisons website provides a wide choice of wines in various price brackets and is very informative in terms of guiding you to a wine meeting your own pre-selected criteria. We were treated to a selection of three white wines and six red wines. The favourite white was an Italian Gavi, made from Cortese grapes, and the star red was a Chateau-Neuf-Du-Pape which exhibited all the best characteristics of a wine from that famous area of France. Overall we tasted wines from five countries, with prices ranging from £7 to £15. The evening proved that there is always something new to be learned from a tasting, and this selection “ticked all the boxes”.


Our annual summer garden party hosted by Robin and Catherine Boar commenced with the news of Andy Murray‟s defeat at Wimbledon. This had little effect on our members who were enjoying a glass of vintage champagne in a lovely English garden in perfect weather. Lively conversation, an excellent buffet and a selection of superb wines resulted in an evening to remember. Things slowly wound down as darkness descended and candles were lit. Congratulations and thanks to all concerned with the event. 


A member of the group had discovered a local treasure in the shape of Beverley Bollons, a local independent wine merchant. Beverley treated us to an impressive bevy of her wines at the June meeting. Starting with a refreshing cool Portuguese rosé we progressed via both new and old world wines, including for us a novel “Assyrtiko Wild Ferment” from Greece, to a superb Rioja, and finished with a wonderful sweet Muscat Beaumes de Venise. Our thanks go to Beverley for a particularly interesting evening, and we hope to see her again in the near future.


Our May meeting saw a welcome return of George Barnes with a superb selection of wines direct from Burgundy. The starter, a Crémant de Bourgogne, made in the champagne style was truly excellent, and was followed by another three white wines featuring the local Aligoté and Chardonnay grapes, including a premier cru.Then we were served with a selection of five red wines all made from the traditional Pinot Noir grapes for which Burgundy is justly famous.They ranged from a Bourgogne Côtes de Beaune via a Chassagne Montrachet , a Beaune premier cru to a Cote de Nuits Villages.Overall a pretty extensive tour of the region, and much enjoyed by all, as George talked us through the tasting with extensive information on the various regions of Burgundy.


The area surrounding the city of Bordeaux in south-west Fance produces some of the most expensive wine in the world.  We were able to sample some of the more modestly priced wines at the April tasting.  Paul Johnson gave us an insight into the wide range of Bordeaudx wines, and some similar wines from Chile. The French wines proved to have much more character and were enjoyed with crispy bread, cheeses and pate.


Our March tasting was based on a very novel theme, ― What wines do you drink with a curry? In the UK the traditional drink accompanying a hot curry tends to be a lager, but Warren Edwardes, CEO of ―Wines for Spice quickly disabused us of this notion. By tasting a range of curry pastes, from mild to hot he demonstrated that the hotter the curry the sweeter the wine should be. He presented a simple guidance table for selecting suitable wines based on their characteristics such as naturally semisparkling, no tannin, good acidity, no oak and off dry, and of course, well chilled. Overall, an interesting educational tasting, presented by a real enthusiast.


As usual, our members' choice night produced a wide range of wines, all of which were worthy of further consumption.


Our year began with a blind-tasting where we had to match the wine to a marketeer's hyperbole. Impossible task, we found, but we had a lot of fun trying. Thanks to John for his wine selection and for not checking our results! How many years have we been practising?

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