Our 2016 Tastings


Our December meeting always rounds off the year with a selection of fine wines. The wines this year were selected by John Raines and George Barnes, and they came up trumps. The evening started with a Taittinger Champagne followed by an Italian Gavi then an exceptional N.Z. Chardonnay. The red wines came from France, Italy, Spain, the Lebanon and Argentina. The final tasting featured a dessert wine, a superb Sauternes from France. A selection of bread and cheeses to accompany the wines was provided by George’s wife Ellen. All in all, an excellent start to the Christmas season.


At our November meeting Carolyn Clayton presented us with wines chosen by a Wine Society’s blind-tasting panel. They had done an excellent job as we were able to taste a range of wines from Europe and one from Argentina. We rated all highly, especially as they were very good value in terms of quality and price.


Our October meeting featured a presentation by Majestic Wines focused on their North and South American wines. We commenced with a Californian Viognier, followed by an Argentinian Vinalba Torrontes. Both were very good. There followed five reds, all very dark in colour, much more so than their European counterparts. Overall an excellent insight into North American wines in particular, especially their names, such as the Frog Prince from the Napa Valley!


Jean and Alan Haigh started our autumn season with a unique presentation of wines from France. We started in a celebratory mood with a Taittinger Champagne, followed by classic wines such as Sancerre, Saumur Champigny, Buzet, and a Monbazillac dessert wine. One intruder from Portugal, a genuine Mateus Rosé, in its classic shaped bottle, was still very drinkable. Jean had also prepared samples of tasty French snacks. A truly excellent evening, and a great turnout of twenty eight members.


Our July meeting was the annual garden party. Thanks to our hosts Lily and Pat Barrett, a great selection of wines and super weather it was a fantastic success.


This meeting had a very contemporary theme, a blind tasting of EU wines. John Raines had put together a collection of eight wines, and asked us to decide the variety of grapes used to make the wine, and the country of origin. Great success with the first wine, a sparkling, very lively, English “champagne”. We also identified the next, a Riesling from Germany, but a Gruner Veltliner from Austria proved to be more difficult. We then tasted five reds, with varying degrees of success, helped by John giving us the first letters of the major rivers flowing through the countries, ranging from Portugal to Romania. Overall a lively evening.


Our May meeting featured seven wines from New Zealand, presented by George Barnes. A very quaffable sparkler was followed by a Riesling and a Chardonnay. The reds featured Gamay Noir, Pinot Noir, Syrah and a Cabernet Merlot blend. The various wine regions were described by George with the aid of a map. All good proof that Sauvignon Blanc is not the only wine emanating from that country!


At our April meeting member Terry Gamble surprised us with seven wines bought direct from Italy. All costing just £5.00 a bottle. The price belied their quality, as they all proved to be exceptional value for money. Served with a selection of cheeses and biscuits they ensured we enjoyed a first-rate evening.


Serendipity always plays a part in our Member’s Choice evenings. Once again, at our March meeting we were lucky enough to have a wide selection of different wines, with no pre-planning. Three whites, from Germany, Argentina and New Zealand were followed by four reds from N.Z, Hungary, Portugal and Spain. Overall a truly eclectic selection.


Our February meeting gave us the chance of tasting a selection of wines from Germany, Italy, New Zealand, the USA, Chile, and France. John Raines had chosen a mix of his old and new favourite wines for us to try, ranging from a Riesling to a Bordeaux Claret. All accompanied by a selection of cheeses with both bread, biscuits, and salted popcorn! Overall a very enjoyable evening.


The Group met for dinner at the Broadway Hotel rather than hold an early January wine-tasting. Our thanks go to Jean and Alan Haigh for organising a very convivial evening. It also gave the chance for some members to engage in beer tasting rather than wines!

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