Judgement of Upton at the Wine Club

The third wine club meeting of the 2022 calendar took place on the usual
third Wednesday of the month, on 16th March. Attended by approximately 20
of our club members, this was a smaller turnout than usual, which meant
slightly more generous samples of the delicious wine on offer throughout the
evening (and more headaches the next morning, perhaps!).
The theme of the night was “The Judgement of Paris”; for those unfamiliar
with the wine connection to this phrase (as opposed to the story from Greek
Mythology), the Judgement of Paris was a wine competition organised in
Paris in May 1976 by Stephen Spurrier, a British wine merchant, and his
colleague Patricia Gallagher, in which French judges carried out two blind
tasting comparisons; one of top quality chardonnays and another of red
wines (Bordeaux wines from France and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from
California). In every category, the Californian wines came out top, which
greatly shocked the judges, as France was at the time considered to be the
foremost producers of the world’s best wines.
And so, to the Judgement of Upton. Eight bottles of wine, including four
white and four red, and half from France and half from California, were
brilliantly presented by the dynamic duo Ian Langley and Brian Rippon, from
the wine club committee. Over four rounds, two bottles at a time were
sampled and compared by being labelled as A and B, to enact our own blind
tasting. The wines were all supplied by the Wine Society and were similarly
priced, so the task was to see which one’s members preferred.
Round 1 involved two Viogniers: a 2020 McManis Viognier from California and
a 2021 Grignan-les-Adhemar, Viognier from Domaine de Montine, in France.
The Californian is a rich, velvety white wine with peach, pear and apricot
aromas and could be paired easily with fish curry, prawns, scallops or a
melon starter (random!). The French wine, from Southern Rhone, is a
creamy, full- flavoured Viognier with peace and exotic guava flavours. Very
ripe and full-flavoured, it is said to go perfectly with fish or duck pate. With
only 45p separating the two wines in price (£11.95 and £11.50 respectively),
both wines present good value for money.
Round 2 involved two Chardonnays: a 2020 Bogle Vineyward California
Chardonnay and a 2020 Domaine Andre Bonhomme from the Macon-Villages
Vielles Vignes in France. The Californian is 50% aged in American Oak for
eight months to give a rich vanilla and nutmeg spice. The other half is aged
in steel to retain the fresh peach and lemon character. It is 14.5% alcohol
and priced at £12.50 and is best paired with children dishes prawns and beef
carpaccio. The Domaine Andre Bonhomme (13.5%) is a ripe yet refreshing
burgundy with aromas of white peaches and a balanced palate with a long
finish for a wine of this price (£12.50 also).
We then moved onto the reds. Round 3 involved two Pinot Noirs: The
Society’s Exhibition Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2019 (Californian) and a Reuilly
Rouge ‘Les Demoiselles Tatin’, from the Domaines Tatin in France, 2019.
The former is a vibrant and bright red fruity wine that you’d expect from
the fog-cooled yet sunny Sonoma Coast in California. At 13.5% in alcohol
volume and £14.95 in price, the wine goes well with rabbit dishes, roast
beef, veal and cold meats. The French wine is a delightful Central Vineyards
Pinot Noir from a ripe Loire vintage. Again, another one that can be paired
with cold meats, rabbit and veal, but also with ham, salmon and wild
mushrooms. Versatile and a snip at £12.50.
The final two wines of the night were of the Cabernet Sauvignon and
Cabernet Merlot variety. The first was a 2015 Chateau Tour Saint Bonet,
Medoc (13.5%), a ruby-red coloured, medium- bodied wine from a
consistently good Bordeaux estate; it has a bouquet of cassis and cedar and
is made from Cabernet- Merlot grapes. The second wine was the 2019
Californian Pedroncelli Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon (14.5%). This
wine has blackberry, blackcurrant and mulberry flavours which are wellbalanced by subtle cedar and vanilla notes. Both wines are great value
(£13.50 and £11.95 respectively) and on the night, were paired with pieces
of delicious chorizo.
A vote by a show of arms was undertaken throughout the evening, with the
Californian wines overall coming out on top again, although there was of
course some divided opinion! A fantastic, informative enjoyable evening
was had by all.
Natalie Morgan

Wine Club Discuss South African Cool Climate Wines

Wednesday 16th February was the sixth meeting of the season for the Upton
Wine Club. This month we were excited to see the return of Andy and Ross
from the wine distributor Hallgarten, who have supported the club on
several occasions and provide wines both to up-market restaurants and
retailers such as Strictly Wine. The theme this month was South African
wines that had coastal influences in their production – the cooler climate,
often with the influence of sea breezes, create unique conditions resulting
in some exceptional wines.
The first wine of the evening was a Sauvignon Blanc from the Lomond Wines
estate, situated on the Western Cape, where there are up to 18 different
soil types producing some really good, complex single variety wines. If your
go-to Sauv Blanc is New Zealand then this will make you sit up and realise
there is much more to try! Full of zesty citrus notes but with some depth
from a touch of passion fruit and a hint of blackcurrant.
Next was a Chenin Blanc from Mulderbosch Vineyards in Stellenbosch, a well
-known wine region in South Africa. This wine is made from a blend of
fermentations, part in oak barrels and the remainder in stainless steel tanks.
The result is a vibrant fresh wine with aromas of pear, apricot and a touch
of cinnamon spice. A really lovely wine that would go down well with food
or on its own.
Moving on we tried a Grenache Blanc – not a common grape – from the
Western Cape region of Breedekloof. This showed beautiful balance with
notes of anise, lime and green apple. The focus in making these wines is on
sustainable farming, with very little intervention in the making of the wine.
The producer ages the wine for 10 months on its “lees” (the yeast used in
the fermentation process), creating an amazing complexity.
Our next white came from the Elgin Valley, surrounded by mountains, which
created an amazing microclimate to grow this wine, made mainly from
Sauvignon Blanc but with added Riesling and Chenin Blanc. The wine was
called 1900 Queen Manthatisi and was from Spioenkop (incidentally, where
Liverpool FC took the name of their stand – the Kop!) The cooler climate
has created a wine full of ripe peach, citrus and grapefruit notes.
Our final white was a real treat. Lismore Chardonnay wine was a great
example of what the Wine Club is all about. If you knew nothing about the
producer Samantha O’Keefe and her wines, then spending £40+ on a bottle
is not something most of us would do. Because we had over 30 people join
us this evening it meant we could try some exceptional wines. Here, Sam
had grown wines in conditions that allowed the grapes to be harvested 3-4
weeks later than most wines, allowing them to develop some really intense
citrus aromas with hazel and butter notes that make this simply
exceptional.
If you think the “only” wine to try with steak is Malbec, then think again.
Our first red was an unusually deep flavoured Pinot Noir from Cape Agulhas
called Phantom. A very dry, cool summer has allowed this wine to ripen
slowly, creating a great flavour and one you wouldn’t normally expect from
this grape variety.
South Africa is famous for its Pinotage wines. The next wine, again from
the Western Cape, was an amazing example of this grape. Full of cherry,
wild strawberry fruit and ripe raspberries – just as you would expect from a
Pinotage but with some wonderful spice and earthy notes. All the wines
were very well received but this was one of the most popular.
Our final wine was again a real treat. Englishman Richard Kershaw is
known for producing exceptional wines in South Africa and with a price
point that is justifiably higher than what we might normally spend on a
bottle. This wine was a 100% Syrah called Clonal Selection and was made
from grapes taken from small parcels of wine in the Elgin Valley region. If
you wanted a bottle for a special occasion or simply to just treat yourself,
then this would be my recommendation!
We cannot do justice to all the wines in a write up but if you want to know
more or are interested in joining the wine club, then please visit the Upton
Wine Club website www.uptonwineclub.co.uk. If you want to try any of
them, all the wines can be found at your local Upton wine merchant
www.strictlywine.co.uk.
The next meeting is on 16th March at the village hall. Hope to see you
there!
Ian Langley

February 2022- South African Cool Climate Wines

South African Cool Climate Wines

 

Wednesday 16th February was the sixth meeting of the season for the Upton Wine Club.  This month we were excited to see the return of Andy and Ross from the wine distributor Hallgarten, who have supported the club on several occasions and provide wines both to up-market restaurants and retailers such as Strictly Wine.  The theme this month was South African wines that had coastal influences in their production – the cooler climate, often with the influence of sea breezes, create unique conditions resulting in some exceptional wines.

 

The first wine of the evening was a Sauvignon Blanc from the Lomond Wines estate, situated on the Western Cape, where there are up to 18 different soil types producing some really good, complex single variety wines.  If your go-to Sauv Blanc is New Zealand then this will make you sit up and realise there is much more to try! Full of zesty citrus notes but with some depth from a touch of passion fruit and a hint of blackcurrant.

 

Next was a Chenin Blanc from Mulderbosch Vineyards in Stellenbosch, a well-known wine region in South Africa.  This wine is made from a blend of fermentations, part in oak barrels and the remainder in stainless steel tanks.  The result is a vibrant fresh wine with aromas of pear, apricot and a touch of cinnamon spice.  A really lovely wine that would go down well with food or on its own.

 

Moving on we tried a Grenache Blanc – not a common grape – from the Western Cape region of Breedekloof. This showed beautiful balance with notes of anise, lime and green apple.  The focus in making these wines is on sustainable farming, with very little intervention in the making of the wine.   The producer ages the wine for 10 months on its “lees” (the yeast used in the fermentation process), creating an amazing complexity.

 

Our next white came from the Elgin Valley, surrounded by mountains, which created an amazing microclimate to grow this wine, made mainly from Sauvignon Blanc but with added Riesling and Chenin Blanc.  The wine was called 1900 Queen Manthatisi and was from Spioenkop (incidentally, where Liverpool FC took the name of their stand – the Kop!)  The cooler climate has created a wine full of ripe peach, citrus and grapefruit notes.

 

Our final white was a real treat.  Lismore Chardonnay wine was a great example of what the Wine Club is all about.  If you knew nothing about the producer Samantha O’Keefe and her wines, then spending £40+ on a bottle is not something most of us would do.   Because we had over 30 people join us this evening it meant we could try some exceptional wines.  Here, Sam had grown wines in conditions that allowed the grapes to be harvested 3-4 weeks later than most wines, allowing them to develop some really intense citrus aromas with hazel and butter notes that make this simply exceptional.

 

If you think the “only” wine to try with steak is Malbec, then think again.   Our first red was an unusually deep flavoured Pinot Noir from Cape Agulhas called Phantom.  A very dry, cool summer has allowed this wine to ripen slowly, creating a great flavour and one you wouldn’t normally expect from this grape variety.

 

South Africa is famous for its Pinotage wines.   The next wine, again from the Western Cape, was an amazing example of this grape.  Full of cherry, wild strawberry fruit and ripe raspberries – just as you would expect from a Pinotage but with some wonderful spice and earthy notes.  All the wines were very well received but this was one of the most popular.

 

Our final wine was again a real treat.  Englishman Richard Kershaw is known for producing exceptional wines in South Africa and with a price point that is justifiably higher than what we might normally spend on a bottle.   This wine was a 100% Syrah called Clonal Selection and was made from grapes taken from small parcels of wine in the Elgin Valley region.  If you wanted a bottle for a special occasion or simply to just treat yourself, then this would be my recommendation!

 

We cannot do justice to all the wines in a write up but if you want to know more or are interested in joining the wine club, then please visit the Upton Wine Club website www.uptonwineclub.co.uk.  If you want to try any of them, all the wines can be found at your local Upton wine merchant www.strictlywine.co.uk.

 

The next meeting is on 16th March at the village hall.  Hope to see you there!

 

Ian Langley

Chairman

 

 

November Wine Club

November wine club

As another year winds down and the Autumn months tumble towards Winter, there are a few things that you can guarantee; the cold air in the mornings; the shops decorated with tinsel and decked out with their Christmas products; and the friendly and knowledgeable duo Tim and Gill from Joie de Vin arriving for their annual presentation at Upton wine club.  The fact that this has become an annual tradition is what makes the November meeting of wine club extra special and well turned out, and so it was on 17th November when 30 + members of the club came to listen to the expertise of Tim and Gill and participated in the delightful sampling of some of their bestsellers.

The evening started with an enjoyable sparkling wine, a ‘Maison Peltier Vouvray Brut La Colliniere’. We were informed that this wine had been fermented for two years and produced in the traditional, or “champagne” method. The consensus was that this was a good quality, fresh and crisp sparkling wine.

Our second wine of the evening was a ‘Domaine Guillaman Chardonnay 2019’, a fresh and crisp wine with hints of apple and citrus. This wine is produced in the Southwest of France, not far from the Bordeaux region, and comprises of 15% Gras Manseng and 85% Chardonnay. It is a highly quaffable wine that can be drank on its own, but also can be paired nicely with chicken dishes. It certainly went down well with the crowd.

Joie de Vin’s third bottle of the evening was a crisp ‘Maison Peltier Vouvray Sec 2019’. A typical Vouvray, it is made with Chenin Blanc grapes and has notes of apple and pears on the nose and palate and would pair very nicely with grilled fish or mild curries, or like its predecessor, can be enjoyed on its own.

The final white wine of the evening was introduced as ‘Le Pommeraie de Brown 2016’, a wonderful example of a barrel-fermented white wine from Pessac Leognan, Bordeaux’s premier region for white wine. Made of 84% Semillion and 16% Sauvignon Blanc, the lovely wine had notes of citrus, pear and vanilla. An elegant wine and another crowd pleaser.

At this halfway point in the evening, Tim moved us onto the red wines in his collection, starting with a ‘Domaine du Bon Remede Merlot IGP Mediterranee 2019. Deep in colour with a fruit nose, this was a particularly lovely rich and smooth red wine, Tim recommended that this would go very well with a meaty fish such as monkfish.

Wine six of the evening was the ‘Domaine La Toupie Quator, Cotes de Roussillon 2017 AOP’, a lovely wine with soft round tannins, ripe fruit flavours, spicy notes, complexity and length. Made from four varieties (Grenanche Noir, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvedre) in the foothills of the Pyrenees, the wine is hand-harvested. A wine that is great with red meats, cheese and charcuterie, it can be drank now through to 2024.

The penultimate wine of the evening was the ‘Domaine Trilles 10, Cotes dur Rhoussilon 2018’, a rich, full wine with a deep colour and big fruit flavours- cherry and plum. The producers do not use chemicals in their processes and the wine is aged in oak. My personal favourite wine of the evening, Tim said it goes well with duck, rick casseroles and barbecues.

The final wine of the evening was a ‘Domaine Trilles Rivesaltes Ambre’, which had a deep brown/ gold colour with hints of honey, caramel, candied fruits and vanilla. A ‘win doux natural’ made, like port, by adding spirit to arrest the fermentation, it was the perfect end to the evening and one can imagine drinking it with a rich pudding or with strong cheeses.

For more details about the wine, you can contact Joie de Vin direct on www.joiedevin.co.uk; and for information about joining Upton Wine Club, please contact Ian Langley on ian.langley@yahoo.co.uk

Natalie Robertson, committee member

Wine Club October meeting – Sparkling wines!

If ever further proof were needed that the festive season was nearly upon us, with the nights drawing in at a rapid pace, this month’s wine club enabled everyone to try a selection of sparkling wines….and maybe to find a few to get the festivities started!

Sparkling wines come from a number of regions worldwide and have many different labels, depending on the region and style of production. We were able to try many of them including champagnes, Prosecco, Cremants and English sparkling wines.

Our first wine was a Cintila Extra Dry Peninsula de Setubal NV, a wine made from Portuguese grapes, providing a wonderful buttery, creamy taste. This was well received by everyone and considered excellent value for money! If you want to know how much all the wines were and where you can buy them, please go to www.uptonwineclub.co.uk

We then tasted a Prosecco from Tesco (from their Finest range). A good example of a well known wine from the Italian galera grape, produced in the northern region of Italy. Some found this a little light on taste, others loved it!  It would be a good cocktail mixer if you needed sparkling wine!

Next we tried Castel faglia Franciacorta NV. Another Italian wine from the Lombardy region. This has a lively acidity with some fresh almond and aromatic aromas.  Again, a lovely wine on it’s own or with a starter such as smoked salmon.

We moved on to an English sparkling wine next called Prince Charmat Sparkling Brut. We tried the white but you can also get a rose.  This wine comes predominantly Chardonnay grapes collected across the South of England and then produced in West Sussex. This was very crisp with lovely fruit notes of apples and peach.

The next wine we tried was a little more well known and definitely comparable to Champagne. Another English wine, Simpsons Chalklands Classic Cuvee. A great wine with notes of caramelised pears and citrus on the nose and to taste.  Just a really enjoyable wine from the UK!

We then looked at a wine from the North of France, Cave de Turkheim Cremant d’Alsace.  Most of this wine is kept by the French for local consumption but 10% finds it’s way out of the Alsace region and it definitely worth a try if you’ve not had it before.

To finish we compared a fine Champagne called Champagne Collet, Brut Vintage 2008 with another Champagne from Aldi, Champagne Veuve Monsigny Brut NV.  With the first wine a little more than twice the price of the second, we were keen to see if we really could “taste the difference!”  In the end it was concluded that BOTH wines were excellent.  The Collet would be a brilliant alternative to some of the more well known Champagnes and the Monsigny was exceptionally good value for money!

The wine club meets every 3rd Wednesday of the month. If you wanted to come and see what we are all about then please log on to our website and get in touch! www.uptonwine.co.uk

 

Ian Langley

Chairman

 

Blended Wines at the Wine Club

15th September marked the beginning of the Wine Club year with 36 members signing up for the evening, which kicked off with the AGM. Our Chairman Ian gave thanks to Ros Caffyn who has resigned from the committee (albeit she will continue to assist), and Brian Rippon was voted on.

The theme of the evening was blended wines, and members were treated during the AGM to a glass of Pinord Seleccion Brut Cava (Xarello, Macabeo and Parellada grapes), a light sparkling with refreshing citrus notes.

The first wine was an interesting and popular Italian white from Puglia, a Paolo Leo ‘Renèe Bianco Organic’ by Majestic. A blend of Chardonnay, Fiano and Sauvignon Blanc, the tropical fruit notes made it a good summer drinking wine. We followed with a Portuguese Selected Harvest White , available from Majestic or Strictly Wine, from the Santo Isidro de Pegões cooperative on the Setúbal peninsula near Lisbon – good with food, a full flavoured wine with aromas of orange blossom and fresh fruits which worked in harmony with the oak spice. This pushed the blends to the limits with no fewer than five varieties, Fernão Pires, Antão Vaz, Verdelho, Arinto and Chardonnay.

The final white, also from Majestic, was the St Cosme ‘Micro Cosme’ Sauvignon-Viognier from the Rhône valley – aromatic and refreshing, with notes of apricot, lychee, grapefruit and mango.

The reds started with a wine found in most of the supermarkets, on offer at £7. ’19 Crimes Red’ by Treasury Wine Estates topped the list in a recent survey as the UK’s favourite supermarket wine, also the UK’s number one millennial wine brand. “It’s a taste you’ll never forget”, says the website, and some members agreed, preferring a little less sugar in their wine. Members heard about the app which brings the label to life when you point your phone at the bottle; the cash prizes for finding special corks, and the pop-up 19 Crimes tattoo parlour in London offering free tattoos…

The tone became a little more serious with a Buzet from Strictly Wine, ‘Sans’ without added sulphites. A Bordeaux blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon from south-west France, it represented a good value option to similar Bordeaux wines a bit further down the Garonne river. This was followed by a Strictly Wine Rhône red – an opulent unoaked Grenache/Syrah/ Mourvèdre (GSM) from Domaine Combe Julière in Rasteau.

Members then heard about some of the challenges facing the wine industry, including global problems with shipping and haulage not to mention delays with customs clearance. Frost, hail, mildew, and fire damage have resulted in the worst French harvest in 50 years, while the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc harvest is 20-30% down at the same time as global demand has dramatically increased. In consequence this most popular of wine varieties will become more expensive and harder to find in the coming months.

The evening finished with a lovely Ribera del Duero Reserva (also Majestic) from the Bardos winery. This is a high altitude blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, with complex notes of dark fruit, chocolate and vanilla spice, a perfect end to a most enjoyable evening.

You can find details of future meetings and membership at www.uptonwineclub.com.

Ian Langley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REAL “Old World Wines” at the Virtual Wine Club

Having taken a few months off, it was great to host another virtual wine club in March. With record numbers joining for this month’s meeting, the feeling was clearly shared amongst our members as well! This month we were trying wines, which in the main, were new to most members. With the support of Strictly Wine, we were given a tour of wines from countries that could really be described as “old world”!  Wines had been selected from countries that had been making wine for over 2000 years and in some cases, using methods that had not changed much over that time either!

We tried white wines from Turkey (Kayra Narince 2018); Croatia (Jako Vino Stina “Cuvee white” 2019);  Cyprus (Kyperounda “Petritis” 2019) and Georgia (Vachnadziani Qvevri Rkatsiteli 2014). All were very good and more than stood up as an alternative to some of the more well known grapes and wines we might normally pick. If you have never tried an “orange” wine, then the Georian wine was lovely (note, orange wine is very much like marmite – you’ll either love or hate them but definitely worth a try!)  All the wines could easily by paired well with some traditional foods, sea foods, creamy pasta’s etc – www.strictlywine.co.uk offer some great suggestions for each one.

The reds again, gave us some wonderful examples of grape varieties that would not normally be classified as main stream! We had wines from Lebanon (Chateau Oumsiyat Desir 2018), Armenia (ArmAs Karmrahyut Reserve 2013), Greece and Republic of North Macedonia (Tikves).The Lebanon wine was a great if you wanted an alternative to a Gamay, lovely slightly chilled and with some warm weather coming, would go down well with the first BBQ of the year! If a rich Australian red is your go to wine, then maybe try the Armenian, which had a little more ageing that brought out some amazing deep fruit flavours. There were wines for all tastes, sausage casseroles, classic BBQ’s and fine steaks!

Next wine club night is on the 21st April. If you are interested to know just a little more about wine (with a large serving of some great social fun), then please take a look at our web site www.uptonwineclub.co.uk or contact our chairman, ian.langley@yahoo.co.uk.

Ian

 

Virtual December Meeting of the Wine Club

We are getting used to a “new normal,” and whilst it can never replace what we all hope will be back soon, it is better than the alternative!  And so it was this December, when the Upton Wine Club hosted their second virtual meet. December has traditionally been the month where our wine club goes to town and pulls out all stops for a really festive food and wine pairing evening. This year, our village showed (again) what tremendous spirit we have, with some wonderful home made sausage rolls and mince pies, accompanying cheese and chorizo, with some Christmas crackers, again home made!

We were joined by Katie Jones from her home in the South of France, who presented a selection of her wines, along with a wonderful story of how she moved to a small community, who fell in….and then out of love with her but through adversity has found an amazing way of life, which may not be for everyone but most of us would want to sample, if only for a few weeks of the year!

Between Katie, and then supported by Frankie, we explored a number of wines, all grown on vines at least 60+ years old, which goes against the ethos of the community around her, who prefer to pick grapes on younger, more abundant fruiting vines. This was a voyage of quality over quantity, with a market for both, although personally, I know which ones I will be buying!

Our first wine was called On the QT Bin 25. This was made from 100% Cariganan Gris grape, a difficult grape to grow and for that reason is hardly harvest anywhere else in the world. It was a tremendously smooth grape, herbaceous and one to try with soft cheeses or even a few mussels!

The whites were finished off with Blanc “A Different Direction” and Macabeau. Both were rated very high by our members and worth a try.

We moved on to the reds. The first of which was called Hairy Grenache, so called after the hair on the leaves. The wine however, was beautifully smooth and if you are still making use of the BBQ this winter, one to try with some of those sausages!

Next up was her Fitou. Full of dark red fruits, herbs and just a touch of liquorice – simply delicious. This was followed by a Domaine Jones Syrah and those that liked the previous wine, loved this one! Made from a very small batch of wine grown each year, this was more intense but with similar liquorice and deep red berry flavours. Our last Red was called “La Gare Old Vine Carignan”, branded after the new office Katie works, a converted railway station. A great red to finish, full bodied and full of that jammy fruit flavour, making it a wonderful Xmas tasting wine.

Our final wine was a sweet Muscat, which has become a favourite of many a member. Wonderfully smooth and perfect with a bit of blue cheese, should you have any room left after Christmas dinner!

It was a great to share a drink and have a virtual chat with some fellow wine enthusiast. It really helped add a little bit more Christmas Spirit to what has been a very very mixed year! Let’s hope for a more uplifting 2021!

Ian

 

Laughter at the Wine Club

Whether you love wine or are a bit indifferent, the one thing most of us will agree on, is the importance of having a good laugh with some friends.  And so it was, at this month’s wine club meeting.

Our village hall can still comfortably take up to 30 people at a social distance and with the use of bistro tables, we were able to spread members out at a safe distance with still the same (arguably more) good humour and banter that we have come to expect from our evenings.

The challenge for this month was for the committee to select wines they had enjoyed over the summer that could still easily be drunk now, as we put our clocks back and see in the darker evenings.

We opened with a lovely white from Austria called Gruner Veltliner.  This is a lovely light aromatic wine, with plenty of zesty lime flavours and touch of white pepper.   If you don’t want to cook one evening and fancy a Thai, then do try this as a wonderful accompaniment to the spicy food.

Next was a Florent Rouve, Vire Clesse.  One of the best wines of the evening (Ed opinion) and a classic example of a Chardonnay from the South of Burgundy at a very reasonable price (have a look when next in M&S!) Crisp, dry and full of peach and honeysuckle flavours, but nice and deep.   Perfect with any creamy pasta dish!

Our third white was called Villebois,  a classic example of a Pouilly Fume from the Loire.  If you like Sauv Blanc, then you will love this wine.  Try it with white fish or meat dishes, the crisp flinty flavour will match perfectly.

The last white was a Roussanne called Chateau Montfin.   This was pretty much a wine made with 100% Roussanne grape.  If you’ve not tried Roussanne before then worth a try.

We had 4 very different reds to try.  The first was a Gamay grape from Touraine in the Loire valley called Domaine de la Chaise. Normally known for making Beaujolais, this was a really good wine, perfect slightly chilled and with a plate of sliced red meats.

Next was a Pinot Noir from the Saint Clair winery in Marlborough, New Zealand called Pioneer Block.  A selected wine made from a specific block of vines grown on the estate – yep they can differ from area to area within the vineyard!  This was another excellent wine, full of red fruits and one for that Sunday roast Lamb!

The penultimate wine was a Grenache/Syrah blend called Me & Monsieur Jones.  A lovely wine from the Languedoc region, France.  A strong but very smooth wine full of rich dark berries.  Definitely one for your beef stews!

The evening was nearly over but not without trying a “GSM”, a three classic grape blend called The Cutler from South Africa.  Full of Raspberry, Cherry and peppers.   Again, a great wine and very versatile.  Try it with a late season BBQ or some simple French onion soup!

We all really look forward to the time when this blasted COVID-19 is but a memory or at least something we can cope with whilst living much more “normal” lives.  Until then, the healing powers of laughter, I believe, benefits everyone and there is never any shortage of that at the wine club meetings!

The next meeting is on the 19th November.  If you would like to come along, then look out for the invite as norm or contact ian.langley@yahoo.co.uk.   Hope to see you there!

Ian

(Chairman)

Wine Club back in Business

September saw the start of a new season for the UWC. With the first ever virtual UWC quiz finishing off the last season in June, this was the first “real” meeting since February this year! It was great to see everyone together, albeit with the new social distance rules that apply to the village hall.

The rules and guidelines for the village hall relating to COVID-19 are constantly being reviewed to ensure we are fully up to date and compliant.   Whilst we have had to make some changes for everyone’s protection, it has been brilliant to have the opportunity to bring back a little bit of normality for everyone who enjoys the wine club.

September allowed the club to start the new season with the delayed March meeting, which was wines from Brian and Giulia’s Strictly Wine business, presented by Ros and Andy, the distributors that have helped Strictly Wine build their business from the start!

One of the great things about wine is the varying tastes experienced from the same grape, which you get from the differing regions and methods of wine making. Great for the variety but not always easy to make a selection.   Ros and Andy helped out here by comparing various wines for different countries and regions for everyone to compare and contrast.

To start we tried the Zorzal, Sauvignon Blanc “Eggo Blanc de Cal” from Mendoza with the Saint Clair Pioneer Block 1 from Marlborough. Whilst the New Zealand Marlborough is perhaps better known for SB, there was an even split on preference. Try the Zorzal for something different!

Next we tried the Tahbilk Viognier, Nagambie Lakes from Victoria and the Swartland Winery ‘Limited Release’ Carignan. Really interesting to try a white against a red. There was a clear winner here, with one member ordering several cases of the Carignan….Christmas come early (if it lasts that long!)   100% Carignan, with some great complexity and a combination of dark red fruits and chocolate – Yum!

We had two very contrasting Pinot Noir’s to taste next. Lake Chalice ‘The Nest’ Pinot Noir from Marlborough and Ernst Gouws Pinot Noir, Western Cape. Two great wines, which changed people’s view as the wine opened up. The Nest, produced some very aromatic flavours mixed with light raspberries, whilst the Ernst Gouws was a much deeper red with again, more chocolate notes with red berries. Both great and worth trying with some Pate for a lazy Sunday supper!

Out last wine comparison was the Argentine Piattelli Premium Malbec Premium, Cafayate and the Berton Vineyard Gundagai Shiraz from New South Wales, Australia. Both brilliant wines to finish on, with the Australian Shiraz becoming the overall favourite, with some beautiful deep red berry flavours.  Just right for a beef casserole!

If you fancy trying any of the wines above then please look up strictlywine.com (or just see Brian). For anyone wanting to know more about the wine club or who wants to come along and see what it’s all about please go to our website (www.uptonwineclub.com) or mail ian.langley@yahoo.co.uk.

Looking forward to October’s meeting, where the committee will be talking about some of their favourite wines from the Summer!

Ian

(Chairman)