Wine Appreciation

Group Contact Lindsay Southgate

Telephone 01208 873371

Email lindsayjsouthgate(at)gmail(dot)com


Last Monday of the month at 3pm

26th February - Jenny
26th March - Jean and Eric
30th April - Helen
May (BH) -  Carl and Sue
25th June - Rob & Lin
30th July - Alan
27th August (BH) - Nick
24th September - Linden
29th October  - Christine
26th November - Wadebridge Wines Christmas Tasting

Update January 2018

We decided to start the year with a bang - tasting three wines which include bubbles!

Firstly a bit of info about the differences between champagne and other sparkling wines:

While Champagne is so called because of the region in which it’s made, similar methods are used in the manufacture of Cava and Prosecco – but there are crucial differences that set Champagne apart from the rest.

For instance, Champagne’s ‘Methode Champenoise’ process has strict regulations that require non-vintage varietals to be aged ‘on the lees’ in the bottle for at least 15 months. This means that the Champagne is kept in the bottle with the sediment that forms, while it’s gradually turned and inverted until it’s time for the lees, or sediment, to be removed.
Vintage Champagne, meanwhile, must be aged in cellars for three years or more before ‘disgorgement’, or the removal of the ‘lees’, or solidified sediment, that gathers in the bottleneck.

Cava, made using the ‘Methode Tradicional’, is formed from a blend of several types of wine but like Champagne, is also allowed to go through its second fermention in the bottle. The process takes nine months. But since doesn’t sit on the lees for as long, Cava is lighter in style than longer-aged Champagnes. Instead of toffee and biscuit notes, Cava will hit you with balanced citrus, melon, pear, and a pleasant acidity.

For Prosecco, the Italian Charmat method is applied. Secondary fermentation takes place in steel enamel-covered tanks rather than in the individual bottles and the resulting fizz is then bottled under pressure in a continuous process. This impacts the flavour notably, making it lighter and less yeasty. Prosecco can tend to be a little sweeter than Champagne or Cava, with bigger loser bubbles and buoyant flavours of apple, pear, lemon rind, light flowers, and even tropical fruit.

Are only white grapes used to make Champagne?
No. In fact, Pinot Noir, a red grape, is integral to the production process. They take care to keep the skin away from contact with the juice of the grapes so that the resulting liquid harvested from the white flesh of the grape remains white.

Is Champagne made using more than one grape then?
Yes – three varieties are blended in a process called assemblage: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.

What grapes are used in the production of Cava and Prosecco?
In Cava, native Spanish grapes Macabeu, Parellada and Xarello are used, while Prosecco is made using just one grape – Glera.

So what are the differences in taste?
Generally speaking, Prosecco is lighter and slightly sweeter than Champagne. Cava is normally drier than Prosecco – on a par with Champagne – but is arguably less complex without the depth of flavour and distinctive ‘biscuity’ notes.

Hambledon Premiere Cuvée
English Sparkling Wine
Price: £42.50
Blend: The blend of Chardonnay (58%), Pinot Meunier (18%) & Pinot Noir (24%) was carefully developed under the guidance of our leading Champenois chef de caves, Hervé Jestin.
Tasting note: Nose rich and warm exuding Seville orange and brioche aromas, with hints of dried flowers and toasted hazelnuts. The palate is explosive, with mouthwatering acidity and dried apricot and citrus. The mouthfeel is a silky soft foam of tingling sparks. The finish shows undertones of vanilla and and salted caramel, ending again with that fresh, vivid, orangey tang. Very dry, long and immensely complex.
Ageing: Ready to drink now but will benefit from ageing.

 Oudinot Brut Champagne

 Marks & Spencer
 Price: £27.00
A dry and elegant champagne with a crisp mousse and fresh lemon fruit undertones. This all-Chardonnay sparkler is crisp and minerally with a palate-refreshing finish.

Marks and Spencer Rosado Cava Prestige, NV
Produced by: Freixenet
Grape: Trepat
Price: £12
A fresh and fruity Cava Rosado with fabulous fruit and floral aromas. Elegantly dry with a soft yet full flavour of summer fruits, clean and fresh with a good length. The expressive sparkle is produced by careful maturation in this bottle for a 9 month period.


Our adventures during 2017 may be followed on this page.