Wines from the New and Old World Wineries at the Wine Club

The nights are drawing in and you can feel the rapid advancement of Christmas in the air.  There was definitely some high spirits at the November Upton Wine Club meeting on the 20th of November. The evening was hosted by Ian and David, who took us through a comparison of blended wines from both New and Old world wineries.  Wine makers blend grapes to create some “complexity” in the wine they are making, developing new and different tastes that are reflected in the many thousands of wines we can choose.   Blended wines could be as simple as mixing 2 or 3 grape varieties or, as in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, up to 13 different grape varieties.

Over the evening we compared several blends, two wines at a time, with similar blends from both the New World and the Old world.   First, we looked at sparkling wines with classic Pinot Noir, Meunier and a touch of Chardonnay blend.  From the Champagne region Drappier Premier Cru and from South Africa Graham Beck Brut.  There were less “toast and yeast” notes that you might have expected from a champagne in the Drappier and the Graham Beck proved a good alternative to a prosecco if you fancy a change.

The next set of whites compared was Château Recougne Blanc, a white Claret (Yes you can get some white wines from Bordeaux) and Parcel Series from Australia’s Margaret River region.  Both based on Sauvignon Blanc with significant blend from Sémillon.  General consensus was that it was best to stick to reds when selecting wines from Bordeaux!

Our first set of reds were based on a blend of “GSM” (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre). From the Old world we looked at Gigondas Carobelle 2018, a very typical wine from the Rhone valley region in France and Yalumba Strapper from Australia.  Both were very good wines with strong flavours of black fruit, followed by blackcurrant, thyme, liquorice and tobacco characters.   Both wines would go well with your winter Stew!

To finish we went back to Bordeaux and selected a better known Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend wine, Les Ormes Sorbet and compared it with Capaia One from South Africa.  Again, both good wines but if there was a standout wine of the evening it was the Les Ormes Sorbet 2007.   If you are looking for a very good value red for Christmas day, that will go with your duck and (if you have any leftover) your cheese later in the day, then this is highly recommended.  At around £15 per bottle (we sourced this one from Majestic)  and are in favour of toasty, spicy red fruit notes then you will be hard pushed to get better value!

Next month is our Christmas meeting on the 11th December and is one of the most favoured meetings of the year.  A chance to kick-off the Christmas season with some of your village friends and with some great food and wine.  This year, attendees will have a chance to win some very special prizes to make your festive season even more special!   As a member or someone who just wants to come along and see what we are all about this is a great meeting to attend.  If you are interested please see our website  ( or contact Ian (   At just £12 for members and £14 for non-members, this is a chance to try some amazing wine if you are still looking for something special for your celebrations this year.

Have a great festive season!

Ian (Chairman)