Our 2020 Tastings


'Rioja - Then and Now' by Robin Boar

It is a pity that we have had to postpone the evening that I had planned for 3rd April (2020), but so that you don't miss out entirely, I thought that I would let you know what was in store:

A cava made by one of the best bodegas.
Two white Riojas including a Reserva (a relative rarity)
Two red Crianzas of very different styles 
Two well-aged red Reservas of different styles and vintages
A red Gran Reserva

For those of you who were not at, or do not remember, my last Rioja presentation (4th April 1997) The Wine Society have produced a very good summary available at https://www.thewinesociety.com/resources/downloads/spain_infographic%20final.pdf(link is external).

Study it carefully (no excuses - we all have plenty of time now!) and I will test you on it when the tasting does eventually take place.
In the meantime keep safe and well.
With best wishes, Robin


The meeting  began with John Raines starting a discussion about future tastings now that the corona virus had arrived in the UK.  He warned that the April meeting may have to be cancelled, and unfortunately that proved to be correct.
John then asked John Wilburn, to proceed with the tasting and introduce his selection of wines from New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. The first wine came from New Zealand, a Pinot Gris. it’s taste and quality from hand-picked grapes met with great approval.  A Garganega from Australia followed, it also received warm approval. The reds came next, starting with a Pinot Noir from New Zealand which surprisingly was not up to standard.  The remainder of the reds were very much better, and we then tasted a Shiraz and Zweigeit blend from Australia. This was followed by a Mataro, Montepulciano and Grenache blend, also from Oz. We moved on to Stellenbosch, a blend of Touriga Nacional and Shiraz.  Next another complex blend of Piotage, Carignan, Tempranillo, Durif and Grenache.  Time was running out so a quick serving of Cabernet Sauvignon from Oz was followed by a Pinotage, an exhibition range Stellenbosch.  Nine different wines overall resulted in a very merry mood, noisy conversations and some difficulty for John to call the meeting to a close.
Little did we know what was about to come, lockdown!


This meeting featured a collection of wines chosen by Bernard Bailey. He had told us he would be presenting us with a selection of unknown wines. Difficult to believe after the many years the group had been tasting a very wide selection from wines produced around the World   Bernard, however, was right and we tasted eight wines made from lesser known old grape varieties, and surprisingly, most were very good, especially the whites. All were excellent value with prices ranging from £5.00 to £7.00.
We commenced with a sparkling Pecorino from Italy and progressed to other wines from Germany, Portugal, France, Spain, Sardinia, and Chile. There were three whites and five reds, resulting in a very unique evening.


Despite a cold damp evening we had a good turnout of members attending a Members’ Choice evening, where each person describes their own choice of a wine and its origin.
No planning was involved about who will bring a particular wine, and the meeting proved this method can work quite well.  The tasting commenced with three whites, a German Reisling, then a Grillo Chardonnay from Sicily and an English Rose, all very good. The reds followed with a Merlot, a Blind Tasting of a Cabernet Sauvignon, and a normal tasting of two Argentinian Malbecs.  All excellent examples of very drinkable reds.  Jean Haigh provided the accompanying bread and cheese to ensure we had a very pleasant evening overall.

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