Joie de Vin. come to the Wine Club

October’s meeting saw the very welcome return of one of our most popular speakers, Tim North from Joie de Vin.    The business specialises in importing remarkable French wine from very carefully selected small producers that are not available in UK supermarkets.

It was inspiring to hear Tim’s enthusiasm about the individual suppliers he uses, about their environmental ethics and their very conscientious craft production methods.    Tim deals directly with each supplier and so avoids the usual overheads of the bigger traders.   His selectivity really shows in the quality of the wines.   In total, Tim showed us 8 contrasting wines.   Although a couple were more expensive than the usual we tend to see at Wine Club, they were very good value for what they were!

Tim purposefully avoided wines he had showed us before and the obvious “bar menu” wines like Sauvignon Blanc, giving us a refreshing change.     We started off with a lovely crisp refreshing Domaine Salmon Imperial Sparkling Brut.  Going on to  whites, there was a classic, crisp, dry Touraine Chenin Blanc 2014 with subtle oak notes, a really delicious, well balanced 2017 Pinot Gris from the Loire and a very complex 2016 Macon white Burgundy to rival the fine wines from Cote D’Or, also at a very fair price.  For the reds, there was a soft, fruity 2017 Touraine Gamay, an intense 2017 Cotes de Roussillon partnering beautifully with the paté, a very rich, smooth 2015 Lussac Saint Emillion and for the big showstopper, a wonderful rich red 2015 Pomerol, drinkable on its own but also great with meat or cheese.

All the wines were extremely drinkable and hard to put down and they seemed to go down a storm.  I personally enjoyed them all and would recommend a look at this business if you weren’t able to come along to the meeting.     Certainly, there were a lot of order forms going in at the end of the evening at the special discounted price!

Please see more details of last night’s wine at the Upton Wine Appreciation Society website or follow us on twitter at @UptonWine

Any queries about membership or coming along to a future meeting, please don’t hesitate to contact our Chairman Ian at ku.oc.oohaynull@yelgnal.nai    A big welcome to our new members this month – we really hope you enjoyed the night.   It was great to see you there.

The next meeting is on 21st November 2018 at 8pm.  As always, everyone welcome!



Wine Club go Back to Basics

The start of a new season for the Upton Wine Appreciation Club and proof that no matter how long you have been enjoying your wine, it’s never too late to remind yourself about which grape is your favourite!

For September we tried some single grape variety wines to remind all members of the wide variety of tastes and to give everyone a steer on which wines to select when next buying a bottle.  It is more unusual to get a single grape of wine these days, more common is a blend however, the opportunity to  pick up that single flavour as a base marker, really helps for perhaps more complex wines to come later in the year!

Following a routine AGM where last year’s committee and Chairman were elected back in for a further year we took a look at our first wine, a typical French Sauvignon Blanc.  Like many grapes it depends on where it is grown and how it is made that influences the taste.  Looking at the colour, smell and of course taste we judged this wine against other whites made from the Chardonnay and Riesling grape.  For the reds we looked at Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.

The beauty of a wine is that there are so many flavours which creates many opinions.  All the wines tasted can be found on the Upton Wine Club’s website . If you would like to try just two then we would recommend The Society’s Saar Riesling 2015 (£10.50), a classic taste for Riesling and something that would go well with any spicy dish due to it’s naturally low alcohol volume.  For the red we recommend the Society’s Red Burgundy 2017 (£9.95).  For a Pinot Noir, this is great value and will go well with a warming sausage casserole or some lamb!  Both wines can be purchased from the Wine Society.

Next month we have invited Joie de Vin back to talk about some real gems from France that you will not find in any supermarket.  These proved a real hit last year!  If you would like to join the wine club or just come along and try it for an evening then please drop an email to our Chairman: ku.oc.oohaynull@yelgnal.nai   The October meeting is on the 17th between 8pm – 10pm, we hope to see you there!

Ian Langley (Chairman)

Wine Club – A little help to remember all those good times!

It’s Bank Holiday Monday and we have just had some roast chicken with the obligatory potatoes and veg.  We are not eating outside but the doors are still open as we try to hang on to the last few days of Summer!  To help the chicken cook, I have opened a bottle of Verdejo from the Spanish region of Rueda and added a little.  I am not sure if it is the right type of wine to cook chicken but everyone seems to be enjoying the food and it gives me a very tame excuse to have a glass whilst cooking!

I am the only one in my house who drinks wine, so often I need to justify “an occasion” to open a bottle.   That is not a challenge, as I can find many an occasion.  However, it has made me wonder “why wine?”  For me, it is great that I can play around trying to match wine with the right food but even more than that, I find it nearly always enhances many a memorable occasion.

For example, at the Upton Picnic in the Park this year, I joined 120 other villagers and friends for a great evening.  I will remember the welly whanging, egg throwing and pizza cooking for a long time but to help it along, I was introduced to a South African, Newton Johnson Southend Chardonnay,  which for me, has been the outstanding wine of this Summer!

At a Summer BBQ earlier this year, by chance I bought “The Waxed Bat”, a Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec blend from Argentina, mainly because I liked the name (marketing is far from dead!)  I remember sitting in a hastily erected gazebo as the rain clouds threatened and being as shocked as my friend, whose glass I had just filled, at how exceptional it was!  The “one night of rain” we had this Summer was less of an issue as we enjoyed this fine wine with our burgers.

Yes, wine is a very versatile commodity and has a little something for everyone.  For those who want to explore the granular depths of what makes one wine “better” than another, those chasing the “perfect” wine to enhance a starter / main course / dessert or quite frankly for those (myself included) who just find it fun and a great aide-memoir to some great evenings!

The Upton Wine Appreciation Club starts it’s 14th season this year on the 19th September at the Upton Village Hall, where we will be tasting some classic single grape varieties and reminding ourselves which wine tastes best for us.   If you are remotely interested in wine and would like to know a little bit more in a very relaxed friendly environment, then please come along and create some more enjoyable memories!  No knowledge of wine necessary.  You should have already received an application form but if not please email ku.oc.oohaynull@yelgnal.nai (chairman).

Here’s to another memorable year!




Wine Club’s Picnic in the Park

The 30th June was another glorious day in Upton.  Finally Welly had been found and pointed around 130 Upton residents and their friends to the village park for a picnic!  This was an opportunity for all villagers to come along and enjoy an afternoon of fun and games followed by some great food and entertainment.   And you did not disappoint!  There were several games of rounders with varying numbers playing, with almost everyone trying their hand at Welly Whanging!  If there was a record for how far back you could throw the welly then we would have some serious contenders, as it was the winner was perhaps not surprisingly won by one of our countries leading Frisbee champions, Jamie Rabbetts with a winning throw of 25.9m.   The egg throwing/catching competition was fiercely fought and no one could hide the joy on the faces of Ben Amos and Ray Troskie when they won with a distance of 23.5m.

With some amazing hard work from all the wine committee members and the film club organisers everyone then enjoyed an evening of music, socialising and some great BBQ chicken and pizza, during which there was the Upton home brew competition.  With 12 entries it was close, but the overall winner was Sarah Sayers, who just pipped everyone with her damson gin, congratulations Sarah.

Picnic in the Park started as a small idea by the Upton Wine committee.  If you enjoyed it and wanted to continue the party, then look out for an invitation to join the wine club this year or come along to the fete on the 1st September and join.  Membership is £15 for the year.  There are monthly wine tasting evenings held at the village hall.   We will ask for a contribution of between £5-10 for the meetings you can attend, for which you will get to taste 8 different wines along with some fantastic food, a theme that we will be developing even further this year!  If you want to join or have any questions then please look out for the application form or contact Ian Langley at: ku.oc.oohaynull@yelgnal.nai.  More information can also be found on our website at

Hope to see you all on the 19th September for our first meeting of the season.



News Flash from the Wine Club

News Flash – Where’s Welly?


Have you seen Welly?  You’ll find him at various locations around our village!   Details of how to get your ticket for the Upton Picnic in the Park on the 30th June 4pm to 11pm are attached to Welly.  Come along and enjoy a few fun activities and a picnic with your friends!

If you’ve missed Welly then here are the details:

Tickets are £10 per adult £5 for 5 – 16 year olds.

  • Ticket includes drink tokens (approx. ½ bottle of wine or 2 beers). BBQ Chicken or traditional stone baked pizza (create your own topping)
  • Take part in no less than 3 WORLD RECORD attempts by the village! (Including how far can you throw an egg or whang your welly? Also, join in the biggest game of rounders ever)!
  • There will be a few extra drink tokens to buy but please bring some of your own (along with any extra picnic items to go with the BBQ)
  • We will have our own resident DJ with some music but feel free to bring your own instruments for a bit of a jam!
  • Also your chance to take part in (or simply have a sample and vote) the very first Upon home brew / wine / gin tasting competition!

Tickets must be purchased in advance (so we can estimate the food and drink!) by the 15th June.   For more information email ku.oc.oohaynull@yelgnal.nai  (850 793)


Send your money to Ian Langley Barn Acre, Stream Road.  Cheques made payable to Upton Wine Appreciation Club or you can pay on-line account 96544929 sort 60-01-01 (quoting your surname and numbers)!

Member’s Selections at the Wine Club

A slightly reduced number came this month for members’ selections as quite a few of our usual attendees were off trekking around the globe but that didn’t detract from an excellent evening, with a fabulous selection of wines to try for this Summer, with some real bargains!

The first wine of the evening was presented by Will and was the lovely Mirabeau Provence Rose from Waitrose. A versatile Summer wine that will pair with a variety of BBQ and Picnic foods. This wine is bone dry with light red fruits and a fresh acidity, try it with some BBQ mackerel or some classic lamb – Yum!

Wine No. 2 was presented by Chris Traynor who discovered this bargain wine in Aldi after seeing a review in The Times. The Godello from The Wine Foundry is a fresh lemony wine from Galicia which went very well with the mackerel pate prepared by Chris. You can find this wine in Aldi for £6.99 if it hasn’t all been snapped up by Chris. Very versatile “any time of day” wine!

Our 3rd white wine was a South African Chenin Blanc presented by Derek Whitmell from The Wine Society. A pale straw colour with a bright, clean appearance in the glass. This fresh crisp wine has apple and white stone fruit notes on the palate. A nice balance of acidity and fruit, with a streak of minerality throughout. This medium bodied dry wine has a lovely length on the finish and shows all the typical characteristics of a top-class South African Chenin Blanc. Try this for something a little different to the norm!

Wine No. 4 was another bargain wine, this time from Rob Traynor which was the Fire Tree Nero D’Avola. A nice easy drinking red wine that was accompanied by tales of Rob and co attempting to scale Mount Etna in shorts and flipflops, complete with slide show! Another great BBQ wine!

Our 5th wine of the evening was presented by Kieron. A Chianti from Sainsbury’s which was lovely but took a backstage to Kieron’s accompany story. Apparently when he was younger and studying Italian in Italy he mistakenly entered a marathon in Sienna, he thought he was going for a gently hike and was dressed in hiking boots and back pack. Not wanting to pull out but being slightly overdressed for running he was keen to reach the water stops on route but discovered when he arrived at them, and there were quite a few, they were in fact giving out Chianti and Panforte. He managed to finish the race but don’t try this at home!

Our 6th wine of the evening was another South African wine. This time it was the Catoria Pinotage, a smooth full-bodied fruit forward wine presented by David Mason. The wine is made by Carmen Stevens, South Africa’s first black winemaker and is available from Naked Wines. One of the favourites of the evening.

Derek presented the 7th wine which was a Grenache centred Lirac from the Wine Society and Ian finished off the evening with soft smooth Bordeaux, Chateau de Lussac from Majestic. Perfect wines for when you have had a long week at work. Open up the fridge get out some cheese, left over meats etc, take a seat outside, pour a glass and relax!

Lastly as we approach the end of this season, please don’t forget to book tickets to this year’s grand finale, the Picnic in the Park on 30th June. Please note all villagers are welcome! It promises to be a great afternoon and evening and a little different from previous years. We really look forward to you joining us. Please email Ian Langley ku.oc.oohaynull@yelgnal.nai if you would like to come along. For more details please see the Upton wine website at




Wine Club goes Spanish

Spanish Wines – not just all about Rioja!

This month we were extremely lucky to welcome Abingdon’s Majestic Ben to present a selection of Spanish and Iberian wines.     This so happens to be a specific area of interest for Ben and that really came across in his very drinkable and excellent value choices.

Spain, in particular, has undergone a wine revolution over the last couple of decades and now produces some brilliant wines.   It’s not just all about Rioja!   And for us it was a good opportunity to pair with some popular tapas dishes….

First, a lovely fruity complex Cava with some delicious salted roasted almonds and olives as aperitif.    We then enjoyed a selection of light, balanced and very refreshing fruity wines from Spain and Portugal paired with some delicious garlic prawns and Spanish tortilla.   Wines included a white Rioja, a crisp Albariño and a young Portugese Vinho Verde.    They were perfect wines for a very sunny evening.

Next, we enjoyed a selection of very interesting drinkable reds from some great producers.   Of course, there was a knockout Rioja Reserva and some very complex and rich reds including a noble Pétalos Bierzo, a moreish Douro red and a deep, dark, intensely fruity oaked Ribera del Duero.   Spanish meatballs and delicious chorizo were our tapas choices.

We also managed to squeeze in a quick review of the recent Wine Club survey results and to hold the prize draw (well done to our winner!)  We are obviously happy that members seem to overall love the club but we’re always interested in feedback and will revisit the suggestions at next month’s meeting.

Speaking of next month’s meeting, our next one is Member’s Wines.   We are excited to see what wines will be presented by our own members.  Please come along on Wednesday 16th May for this popular event!

Lastly as we approach the end of this season, please don’t forget to book tickets (£10 – adult, £5 – 5-16 year olds) to this year’s grand finale, the Picnic in the Park on 30th June – Please note all villagers are welcome!    It promises to be a great afternoon and evening and a little different from previous years.     Ticket sales are already holding up very well in anticipation of what hopes to be a wonderful summer party.   We really look forward to you joining us.   Please email Ian Langley ku.oc.oohaynull@yelgnal.nai if you would like to come along.

For more details of any of the above including Ben’s wines, please see the Upton wine website at

Happy drinking!


Wine and Cheese at the Wine Club

The theme of March’s Wine Club meeting was the ever-popular Wine and Cheese (via the Pangbourne Cheese Shop) pairing.

We had 4 Uptonites each sharing a couple of their favourite wine+cheese pairings, and a very delicious evening it was!  Pairings included:

  • a blushing pink New Zealand fizz with a lovely (and fat-free, if you don’t count the cream, double cream and crème fraiche ingredients) Delice de Cremiere from Burgundy.
  • a Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux matched with a, in the words of the presenter, “not at all dungy” Crottin goats cheese (judging by the reaction in the room, a definite Marmite item – I loved it)
  • a different, but nonetheless delicious Greek white against, what else, a rich Feta
  • a very drinkable Italian red from Verona married up with a rich Grana Padano cheese from the “heel” of Italy
  • a full-bodied Argentinian Malbec and a no-nonsense aged cheddar
  • a second succulent Italian red, this time from the south of the peninsula and complemented by a very well received, tomato leaf wrapped Pecorino cheese
  • a silky and absolutely mouth-watering Royal Tokaji (a personal fave, can you tell?) offset against a Montagnolo (a deceptively named, but gorgeous German blue cheese)
  • a lovely organic port paired with a powerful, but smooth and creamy Spanish blue cheese.

All-in-all a gastronomic night had by all !

You can find more info on these wines on our Twitter page, @UptonWine, as well as on our brand-new web

Also, as a group of confirmed wine-ophiles (as opposed to wino-philes) we are really keen to spread the word as far and wide as physically possible (within Upton) and want to know what interests YOU.  To this end we’ve created an online survey to find out your positive and not-so-positive feedback.  If you have any opinion at all on the subject please do let us know here: and (unlike many politicians) we will listen.

Next Outing is on 18th April at 8.00pm when Majestic will be inundating us with a fab selection of great Spring wines.  Give it a go, you know you want to!

If you decide to come along please do let us know so we can be sure we have enough to go around.  You can contact us here:

@UptonWine  /  /  ku.oc.oohaynull@yelgnal.nai



Wine Club go Brazilian

For the sixth (pretty full) meeting of the season, it was our unique opportunity to discover wines from Brazil. I have to confess I didn’t even know there was such a thing until our meeting, as I’ve never seen Brazilian wine in the supermarket. We normally associate Brazil with coffee or maybe sugar or chocolate, not wine, but not anymore!

We met Nicholas Corfe from Go Brazil Wines He was a very engaging and amusing speaker and with much enthusiasm gave us a run through of some really interesting and unusual wines across a spectrum of different types, producers, vintages and grapes.

The whites included a champagne method fizz, a Riesling, a Moscato, and a Chardonnay. Although quite different from their European counterparts, with some really interesting aromas and flavours, there was definitely evidence of European influence.

The reds included a Teroldego and two Pizzatos, one a riserva that was 13 years old and one a very special gran riserva that was a mere 9 years old. Nicholas described the Teroldego as very “gluggable”. He wasn’t wrong, I found my glass empty within a matter of minutes and I don’t think I was alone.

Maybe some of these wines divided the room.  Some people loved some of them and some loved others but they were all worthy of great respect: Classy wines, well balanced and with some unusual and subtle flavours.

Nicholas also talked us through pairings with food and so we tried our selection of nibbles against each wine reserving some of our cold meats for the final two weighty reds. The star of the food though has to be Frankie’s Brazilian cheese bread – absolutely delicious. Frankie said it was not difficult to make although I suspect she was being modest!

For more details of the wines sampled, please go to Twitter @UptonWine.

Go Brazil Wines is offering each wine to Upton residents at a discount for any orders in the near future. If you are interested in placing an order please speak to any member of the Wine Committee.

Another great night! Thanks to all involved in the organisation of a very enjoyable and fun evening.

If you would like to come along to the next meeting on 21st March 8pm, we will have another hopefully inspiring evening.   Please don’t forget to book!  Everyone is very welcome.   If you’ve never been before, please give it a try.  We would love to see you! Any enquiries, please contact Ian at  ku.oc.oohaynull@yelgnal.nai




Wine Club’s Christmas Meeting

It was actually a bitterly cold, squalling night in Upton, the sort of night where you really don’t want to venture out to a (great) party….a night where the TV remote control and cosy fireside and/or slippers  feel much more tempting.     However, in the warm glow of the village hall, a large friendly Upton crowd arrived for the annual Upton Wine Club Christmas Meeting.

If you haven’t been before, this is a highlight of the Wine Club Calendar. For a little more than the average sub (still top value at £10), we walked through a re-enactment of Christmas Day with a delicious mini version of our Christmas festive food with some fantastic accompanying wines but no argumentative rellies!!

Overall the wines were carefully chosen to complement the food, splashing out a little but still all being excellent value. Everything from sparkling wine with brunch, to both white and red choices for Christmas lunch and some great dessert and cheese wines.

I felt it was a very good opportunity to work out exactly what wines went with what and to make a note of some very good wines if you fancy a treat at Christmas.   The Committee speakers gave us some vital statistics and an insight into the pairing, enough to be both interesting and help guide us through.

Of course, if you’re not “doing Christmas” this year, it didn’t matter as it was a very lively, fun evening with everyone chatting as we wandered around the room taking in the atmosphere.   When the full hall lights came on at clearing up time, there was a distinctive groan from the crowd.

Our next meeting is on Wednesday 17th January where our guest speaker will be Tim North presenting “Joie de Vin” – a look at wines the French usually keep for themselves – artisan wines from small producers.

By then, I know it may well be even colder and more squalling and the fireside may look even more appealing but remember there will be a group of friendly Uptonites in the warm village hall ready to sample another 8 fab wines (with delicious nibbles) and a lot of fun company, all in for the bargain price of £5 AND no need to drive home!   If you haven’t been before, please get in touch with us…..we’re a very welcoming and friendly bunch and we would love to see you!


Book a place for January by dropping off the fee with (soon to be emailed) slip to any of the Committee or by emailing Frankie ku.vog.LfTnull@nilkcaJ.eiknarF and transferring the fee by online transfer.


Ian                                                   Barnacre, Stream Road

Kevin  or Frankie                          The Cottage, Reading Road

David                                                Netherbrook, Churc

Susan                                               8 Fieldside

Nick                                                 4 Alexander Close

Ros                                                  Littlecote, High Street

For more wine and meeting details please see Twitter @UptonWine