Wine Appreciation

Group Contact Lindsay Southgate

Telephone 01208 873371

Email lindsayjsouthgate(at)gmail(dot)com

Last Monday of the month at 3pm


26th August (BH)
 Linden B
30th September
28th October

Update 30th July 2019

Our July meeting was held at Keith and Lindsay's house.  Prior to this month's meeting Lindsay had read an article about improving standards of German wine, so she picked three for tasting.

Karl May Gutswein Weissburgunder 2018

 This luscious Weissburgunder is made by brothers Peter and Fritz May, seventh generation winemakers at their 200 year old family estate. Better known elsewhere as Pinot Blanc or Bianco, in Germany’s Rheinhessen region Weissburgunder produces a lovely rounded style with a core of minerally freshness. Peter and Fritz are both talented winemakers, – Peter worked at Framingham in New Zealand and Fritz at Riesling specialist Grosset in Australia. At their own estate they employ eco-friendly methods in the vineyard and this is reflected in the vibrant fruit and finesse of the wine – a delicious match for pork and sauerkraut, or creamy chicken.

Taste: Creamy and smooth with orchard fruit and gentle spiciness

Alcohol 12.5% (£12-59 per bottle from Laithwaites)


Leitz Eins Zwei Dry 2017

Weingut Josef Leitz is located in Rüdesheim, at the western end of the Rheingau. As the German Wine Guide notes, “Few in the Rheingau make finer wines than Leitz.” This family estate is run by Johannes Leitz, who took over what was then a 2.6 hectare property in 1985, aged just 21, and grew it to 43 hectares. Eins Zwei Dry is a wonderful modern ambassador for the region. Named with a refreshing Teutonic sense of fun, this tasty, dry Riesling is a light hearted, crisp, elegant white. With scents of apple, apricot and lime blossom, it’s very food friendly and particularly good with pan-fried fish or Waldorf salad, or simply on its own.

Taste: Stony, citrus; a fresh, mouthwatering, fruity, floral quality

Alcohol 12.0% (£13-49 per bottle from Laithwaites)

Von Reben Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir is much loved in the pricey wines of Burgundy. Germany also makes thoroughly appealing and complex reds from Pinot Noir, usually providing better value. The warmer climate of the Pfalz is particularly well suited to the grape. Laithwaites buyer was very taken with this tiny-yield red from the Rietburg cellar. Yields in 2017 were small but the quality is excellent. The secret with Pinot Noir is to go gently – careful extraction of flavours and no heavy oak, so the wine sings with fruit and no hard edges. Roast chicken, barbecues, creamy pasta or simply solo – enjoy as you like.

Taste Ripe berries – raspberry, cherry, blackberry – with savoury length

Alcohol 13.0% (£9-44 per bottle from Laithwaites)


Overall the selection was well received by the group, particularly the Pinot Noir, but they considered the white wines did not represent particularly good value for money.

The next meeting is on 26th August 2019 at Linden's house.


Update 25th June 2019

Seven members of the group gathered at Jean and Eric's  house for the June meeting.

The first wine we tasted was a 2008 Gewurztraminer from the Zephyr  vineyard in Malborough New Zealand. The name Zephyr characterises the prevailing winds that complement Marlborough’s unique ripening season. Eric purhcased  the wine from Experience Wines in Lostwithiel for about £9. The group was sightly surprised by the age of the wine, but everyone agreed it had aged well.

More details available on the Zephyr website.

Following the Gewurztraminer tasting Eric explained how he had picked the most expensive white and red wine on sale at the local branch of ASDA.

The white wine selected was a 13% Chablis Premier Cru from Famille Brocard with a list price of £15.  We are advised that "Famille Brocard has created this excellent wine from grapes produced in the Chablis Premier Cru vineyards of Northern Burgundy. The Chardonnay grapes reach full ripeness here and the resulting wine has the classic, floral aromas of Premier Cru Chablis with delicious citrus and mineral flavours on the finish."

The final wine tasted was McGuigan's Shortlist Barossa Valley GSM 2016, a 14% wine from Australia selling for £13.

The ASDA website advises "the combination of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre works seamlessly together to provide a ripe red fruited wine, with a savoury appeal, complemented by soft, fine tannins. "

The  website continues  "McGuigan Wines was established to celebrate the culmination of 3 generations of wine growing by the McGuigan family. Founder Brian McGuigan adopted the central symbol of the family crest, the lion, to reflect inspiration & the McGuigan's enduring spirit & passion for producing great quality Australian wine. Today Brian's brother, Neil McGuigan, is at the helm of McGuigan Wines & continues the proud family tradition. "

Although both the more expensive wines were considered pleasant, members of the group did not detect a significant improvement over similar lower prices wines.

The next meeting will be on 29th July at Keith and Lindsay's house.


Update 4th June 2019

Report of Meeting on Monday 27th May

The weather looked promising and we decided to sit outdoors, but we experienced the occasional weather interruption, which thankfully didn't dampen everyone's spirits. 

Click on  above image  for larger  view

The theme was local: everything (nearly) was obtained from the Co-op, which proved to be very good value and very good quality. 

I chose a selection of red wines, typical of what I might choose for myself, and a white Riesling, representative of what I used to drink when I was younger.  By consensus, one of the red wines was decanted (the Rioja), one was opened to let breathe (the Malbec) and one was drunk immediately on opening (the Shiraz blend).

I am not sure whether we noticed the difference, but it was a bit of fun.  At the end of the wine tasting, everyone was given the option of an Irish Whiskey upgrade, which I brought back from our recent holiday to Ireland.  It was a lovely smooth Jameson, which rounded off a super afternoon.


More  photos, and details of wines served, on our flickr page


Update 29th April 2019
One of the advantages of belonging to a wine appreciation group is you can sample several different bottles to compare different price points. As a long term fan of Beaujolais Alan had sourced four bottles for us to sample.

Starting with the nearest white wine to the region as a light starter - Macon-Villages Chardonnay, Cave de Lugny, Burgundy (Waitrose £9.99). Made from chardonnay grapes, grown in the Maconnais in the south of Burgundy, this unoaked wine is an excellent example of modern white Burgundy. It is crisp and dry with fresh citrus and peach flavours, displaying a hint of minerality true to its origin. It's a great introduction to the region, with classical tropical fruit flavours of honey and melon and a rounded, buttery mouth feel.

We then moved on to the reds!
Waitrose Beaujolais Villages (Waitrose £7.99)
Fresh and fruity, this has all the red berry character expected from the Gamay variety, along with a hint of spice.

Georges Duboeuf Brouilly 75cl (Sainbury £8.50)
Brouilly is the largest and most southerly of the ten Beaujolais "Crus", with vineyards surrounding the imposing Mont Brouilly. The finest Gamay is supple with soft tannins and a lip-smacking minerality.  

Fleurie AOC Beaujolais Henry Fessy (Waitrose £13.49)
Fleurie is often described as the "Queen of the Crus". This ideal terroir and situation give a pleasant and harmonious wine showing fruity aromas and a nice roundness.

Update 25th February 2019
Carl and Sue kindly hosted our February meeting which took place on what felt like a Spring day!
The theme was 'grapes Carl had never tried' and why not!

1. Baron de Ley Rioja Blanco £8.99

From Waitrose website

"Irresistible white Rioja: elegant yet rounded - an ideal aperitif. From a multi award-winning estate comes an acclaimed white Rioja. Bursting with ripe citrus and apricot with good weight and texture, this excels with Spanish tapas dishes. A great-value find. "

A thumbs up from our group definitely

2.Teruzzi & Puthod Rondolino Vernaccia di San Gimignano £9.49

From Waitrose website

"Elegant aromas of green apple & citrus. This Tuscan dry white wine has an elegant nose of cut green apple and crisp citrus flavours, alongside soft fruits and a delicious stony minerality, followed by hints of almonds."

Again enjoyed by all, and deemed to offer a different flavour from many white wines.

3.Tenuta Rapitalà Nero d’Avola £9.99

From Waitrose website

"When the winery name is said to mean ‘beautiful garden of God’, you expect something sublime and this wine doesn’t disappoint. From the rolling hills close to Palermo, Nero d’Avola is Sicily’s most expressive red grape. This seductive wine has juicy plum and cherry fruits, hints of spice and soft gentle tannins. "

Again proof that we should always try new things as this red was popular with those who enjoy red AND those who prefer white normally.

Another very pleasant afternoon when the conversation ranged far beyond wine as usual. The x-rays of the pins in Nick's arm proved an interesting topic certainly!


Update 29th January 2019

What a great way to spend the last Monday afternoon in January - tasting a fine selection of wines accompanied by tasty olives, bread, meats and cheeses. We enjoyed a lovely afternoon at The Wine Store, Charlestown and were transported in comfort via the Lerryn minibus.

We tasted six wines as follows:

Côté Mas Frisante 

Pale lemon coloured with green tints, the nose exhibits citrus, pear and floral notes. The palate is lively and fresh with ripe apple and citrus peel and a clean and refreshing finish. A great aperitif and also works well with shellfish.
This Frissante sparkling wine is made using the Charmat method. This is where the second fermentation takes place in a sealed tank with sufficient yeast and sugar to produce 2 bar of pressure in the wine. It is then bottled under a champagne cork and is deliciously sparkling!
A blend of 55% Piquepoul and 45% Chardonnay.

Cuma Organic Argentina

A totally organic wine with a zesty lime and white grapefruit taste. Honeysuckle and peach stone give a warmer background flavour. Pairing well with stronger tasting dishes such as strong cheeses, spicy curries or smoked sausages. With very little human interference this grape grows naturally in the cool night air and warm days. With it’s hint of Jasmine and Rose petals you could easily be transported to Argentina as you drink.

Trimbach Riesling Alsace

An Alsace benchmark from the famous house of Trimbach in Ribeauvillé. Ripe and fruity in the fine 2015 vintage, but with a fine backbone of acidity and wonderful appetising freshness too.

Le Tot Louis Tête Beaujolais Nouveau

A light and delicate red wine, with complex flavours of banana and bubblegum notes. This prompted reminiscences of Beaujolais Nouveau tastings in Kent and London. In general we felt this was a good example compared to some of our memories!

Gran Cerdo Spain natural wine

Gran Cerdo Tempranillo Gonzalo Grijalba, best value natural red on the market! Gran Cerdo is all about great natural wine with whole bunch fermentation, light filtration, no stabilisation and minimal sulphur. The juicy elements of Tempranillo shine through with no dirty oak to mask the charm of this little natural wine giving phenomenal value. The winemaker, Gonzalo Gonzalo is a legend (and not just for his name) because he has proved that you can make a fantastic biodynamic Tempranillo at an affordable price. The nose and flavours are an intoxicating combination of red and dark berries, faint lavender (or violets) and a slightly earthy edge. The herbaceous flavours gives the wine a slight green finish with a little spice, while the tannin and acidity cry out for some red meat.

Pedro Ximenez Triana Hidalo La Gitana

Produced by the Hidalgo Family bodega, established in 1792 in Sanlúcar. Made using grapes dried on straw mats, fermented and fortified, then aged under the solaria system. One of the sweetest wines in the world, PX is about as sweet as things can get! Aromas of raisins, molasses, figs, toffee, caramel, nuts, the palate is incredibly thick, dense, with an oily texture, massive concentration and unsurpassed sweetness and prolonged length. The ultimate sweet wine! Fantastic when poured over ice-cream.

As ever the jury was split over our favourite but we all enjoyed the varied tasting which Gina at The Wine Store had put on for us. Bring on the rest of 2019!

Update December 2018
After our very enjoyable annual jaunt to Wadebridge Wines Christmas Tasting we have yet another outing planned for the start of 2019. On Monday 28th January we will have a tasting at the recently opened Wine Store in Charlestown. Once again the Lerryn minibus will be used to enable us all to enjoy a tipple or two. The tasting will cost £25 per head plus a small fee for the use of the minibus. If you have not yet confirmed your place with Lindsay please do so asap.


Our adventures during 2018 may be followed on this page.