Wine Appreciation

Group Contact Lindsay Southgate

Telephone 01208 873371

Email lindsayjsouthgate(at)gmail(dot)com


30 Jan     Keith & Lindsay
27 Feb    Jean & Eric
27 Mar    Helen
24  Apr   Sue & Carl
29 May   Alan
5 July     Camel Valley Vineyard
31 Jul     Jenny
28 Aug    Rob & Lin
25 Sep    Nick
30 Oct    Christine

Suggestions for 2017 trips - organisers please
Eastcott Vineyard near Okehampton

Update 29th May 2017
A record turnout for our May meeting was kindly hosted by Alan. Much to the amusement of his guests Alan's wife. Marion, had selected the wines for us to try this month - based on "pretty labels" from Waitrose! Whilst we may have laughed initially we finished the afternoon thinking there must be something in it!

1. Calle d'Oro Prosecco DOC Cantine Maschio £10.99
Fresh, fruity and deliciously moreish.  Serve chilled with a selection of nibbles
Charming fizz. Full of fruit, lovely colour and not too dry. Excellent as an aperitif or to sip all evening. Cute bottle and a great price make this a party winner and affordable for a mid week treat. 

2. Corbello Catarratto Inzolia £7.99 (currently on offer at £5.99)
From the beautiful island of Sicily, this easy drinking wine is delightfully fresh, fruity and crisp. 
Inspired by the bustling Sicilian cafe culture (as on label), this delicious blend of local grape varieties is vibrant and easy going. Fresh citrus and  tropical fruit flavours make this dry white wine  a perfect match with grilled fish and salads.

3. Gran Passo Classico £7.99
Modern style, easy-going Portuguese red wine with generous fruity palate and soft tannins. 
A full bodied Portguese red which is excellent value for money and much better quality than perhaps the label suggests.

If you're looking for a rich and flavoursome red to sip by the fire on a frosty evening, then Gran Passo ticks all the boxes. Produced using a mix of local and international grape varieties,  Touriga and Frannca, Tinta, Roriz, Castelao and Syrah.This wine displays notes of cassis, black plum and black cherry, combined with a subtle violet character. The perfect match for stews and casseroles. 

As ever different people prefer different wines but everybody enjoyed the three we tasted, and we enjoyed the added dimension of voting for our favourite label too! 

Upcoming trip - Wednesday 5th July 

Camel Valley Vineyard has long been on our list of potential visits. Recently I have been in touch with them and it seems to be best if we join one of the regular Wednesday evening tours which they hold - a Grand Tour and Tasting at a cost of £15. This is the description from their website:

 "Grand Tour & Tasting
Every Wednesday evening at 5.00pm between April and October, with an additional tour at 5.00pm on Thursdays throughout August. A wine maker will personally guide you through the vineyard year and winery process, answering any questions you may have. Afterwards, there will be a fun wine tasting session, beginning with our most famous wine, Cornwall Brut.  We aim to taste a minimum of 5 wines, and you can of course buy wine by the bottle or case after the tour. "
I have been able to reserve the Lerryn Minbus and a driver for Wednesday 5th July. We would leave Lostwithiel at approx 4.15pm and return by about 7pm.
The cost would be £15 for the tour and approx £2.50 for the minibus. We will be able to take 16 people. Spaces will be offered to the Wine Group initially and then opened up to all members of the U3A. 
To reserve your space please email to be added to the list of attendees. In a few weeks I will collect the monies due from each participant - the same system as used by the Theatre and Photography Groups.

Update 3rd May 2017

Wine Appreciation meeting at Colwood Cottage on 24th April,

hosts Carl and Sue

We had a group of 9 people who came to Colwood, with apologies from Nick, (who was up to his knees in earth)

Carl had printed a map of the wine regions of Italy, and some information about each of the 2 wines.  (Click on map for enlarged view.)

The first wine we tasted was a white wine from the MARCHE region of Italy , selected at random, which is east of Umbria, and on the coast. One of the main grapes grown in this area is the VERDICCHIO grape and the wine was called MONACESCA. It had a yellowish colour and and was quite a dry wine. It was enjoyable to taste if somewhat unremarkable.

The second wine was a red wine from the PUGLIA region which is down in the “heel”

of Italy and was a PRIMITIVO grape giving the wine a really rich red colour and a full flavour. The wine was called TERRE DI FAIANO and everybody seemed to enthuse about the wine.

Both wines were from Waitrose (red, £7.00; white £11)

Thank you everybody who came, we enjoyed your company.

Carl and Sue

Update 27th March 2017

A beautiful Spring afternoon saw us gather at Helen's for our March meeting. Many of you will remember Jean Ashbridge, our first Wine group Contact, who sadly passed away. We were pleased to raise a glass to Jean as we started the afternoon with a Chapel Down Bacchus 2013 from Jean's cellar. 

From England’s fourth most planted grape variety, this is a great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc. It displays aromas of green apple, gooseberry and freshly cut grass. It is light, crisp and fresh with a tangy edge and some elderflower notes on the finish. We all approved of Jean's taste!

The 2013 vintage is no longer available but the 2015 is currently selling from the Tenterden vineyard at approx £12.99.

We then moved on to a lovely french rosé - Vigne de la Pree Merlot 2014. This is a Vin Biologique by Stephane
Orieux. Interestingly it is shipped to Falmouth under wind power by Transport a la Voile. The shipping method had certainly not harmed the taste of the wine which suited the sunny afternoon perfectly. This wine is available for £12 from Wadebridge Wines.

Finally we headed to South Africa for a Babylonstoren Babel 2014 (
available for £13 from Wadebridge Wines). The tasting notes tell us this dry full-bodied red wine is a fusion of black currant and spice with a hint of chocolate with sweet tobacco and fynbos on the
nose. It is a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot - something for everybody in there! Again we all enjoyed this wine but some felt it might be a little more rounded in a couple of years time.

The majority vote went to the Chapel Down Bacchus yesterday - Jean would surely have approved.

Update 27th February 2017

Jean & Eric kindly hosted our February meeting. They decided to offer us two organic wines, followed by some award winning "bubbles".

The white wine was Tilimuqui Fairtrade Single Vineyard Torrontés (Waitrose £6.39, normally £7.99).
It is described as a crisp, fruity organic Fairtrade white wine made from Torrontés; the aromatic profile of which is shown exceptionally well here, offering fragrant, gently spicy, citrus-fruit flavours. 

In 2009 Waitrose started to buy Fairtrade wines from Tilimuqui, a small rural village in Argentina. Since then
the relationship has blossomed and Waitrose sales have raised £20,000 fairtade premium for the community, with is used to fund local programs such as their agricultural school. The winery, called La Riojana, is well known for producing outstanding wines. Last year they received a Gold Decanter award for their Tilimiqui Cabernet Sauvignon/Bonarda.

None of us were familiar with this grape but we all enjoyed sampling it!

The red wine was Bonterra Organic, Merlot, American(Waitrose £11.99). The Waitrose website description is "Bonterra Vineyard wines are made from quality, organic grapes and this beautifully crafted Merlot is a great example of their winemaking. It has a rich, full, plum and spice nose, with silky texture."

It was a definite hit with many of our group.

We finished en extremely pleasant afternoon with 
Champagne Charles Lecouvey Brut NV(Waitrose £14.99, normally £22.99). The description from Waitrose is - "An exquisite blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which is matured for a minimum of 18 months prior to release. A fresh, elegant style with a lovely delicacy on the palate and great length of flavour." Once again we found this very much to our taste as did the judges of the International Wine & Spirit Competition who awarded it a Silver Medal! Certainly a very pleasant end to the afternoon.....

,,,but not quite. Jean decided to offer us an extra tasting - 
Tunnock's dark chocolate tea cakes (Waitrose £1.00)!!

Many  thanks to Jean & Eric for an enjoyable afternoon.


Update 30th January 2017
We started off 2017 with a comparison of the "value" of wine in bottles priced at various price points given the amount of duty, VAT, distribution and margin applied to each bottle. 

(Source: Majestic Wine)

To test this out we tried a bottle priced at £7.50, £12 and £15. To escape the winter we went for three cheeky rose wines!

Sevilen R Rose £7.50
  • Vintage: 2015

  • A very pretty refreshing dry rosé scented with aromas of rhubarb and raspberries. Cool nights in the Denizli region of south west Turkey and the chalky, mineral soils of the steep vineyards in which it is produced all contribute to its lively, crisp style.

  • About this bottle: This wine is a collaboration between local winemaker Sibel Coban and French expert Florent Dumeau, who have combined traditional and modern techniques to create a wonderful rosé that delighted Jeneve Williams, the M&S winemaker, on her Eastern Mediterranean travels.

  • Grape Variety: 70% Kalecik Karasi, 30% Syrah

  • Country of origin: Turkey

  • Region: Denizili, Guney

  • Alcohol content: 13 %

Eastcott Two Moors Rosé £12.00

  • Vintage: 2014

  • This off-dry English rosé has a bright strawberry colour and aromas of red fruits, balancing cranberry and redcurrant flavours with citrus and green apple notes.

  • About this bottle: Eastcott is a small vineyard and winery in Devon owned and run by Richard & Hilary Waller. The couple planted their first vines in 2008 and take care of all the vine growing and winery work themselves. Through their wines, the Wallers seek to express something of the gentle character of West Devon. Richard Waller, who studied winemaking at Plumpton College in Sussex, crafted this unique ‘red rosé’ by blending 60% Ronda grapes - an early ripening modern variety that gives a soft red fruit character - and 40% Seyval Blanc, a white grape that lends the wine its crisp backbone and appley bite.

  • Grape Variety- 60% Rondo, 40% Seyval Blanc

  • Country of origin: England

  • Region: Devon

  • Alcohol content: 11 %

Les Ruettes Sancerre Rosé £15.00

  • Vintage: 2015

  • An aromatic and delightfully crisp, elegant rosé made from the prized Pinot Noir grape. This has a succulent, fresh flavour of raspberries and strawberries.

  • About this bottle: The relatively cool Sancerre area of France's Loire Valley produces elegant and attractive wines, including delicious, high quality rosé. This is made from 100% Pinot Noir grown in Sancerre, and winemaker Fabrice Robineau has used modern techniques, including cool temperature formation, to retain the maximum aroma and fresh fruit flavours in the wine. This wine has been sealed with a screw cap - our aim is to choose the most suitable closure for each wine

  • Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Noir

  • Country of origin: France

  • Region: Sancerre

  • Alcohol content: 12.5 %

We all enjoyed each wine for their different characters. Whilst the most expensive wine was probably the favourite we felt that the Turkish wine which was half the price was excellent value. We were all impressed by the English wine at £12 and intrigued by the apple flavours. We hope to plan a visit to this vineyard later in the year.

Update 10th December 2016

We had a great time at our annual trip to Wadebridge Wines Christmas Tasting on 23rd November.   Alan will be collecting our orders shortly and delivering them to us in time for Christmas. 

Our adventures during 2016 may now be followed on this page.

Our first event of 2017 will be at Keith and Lindsay's on January 30th.