Wine Appreciation

Group Contact Lindsay Southgate

Telephone 01208 873371

Email lindsayjsouthgate(at)gmail(dot)com


Last Monday of the month at 3pm

25th June - Rob & Lin
30th July - Nick
27th August (BH) - Lindsay & Keith
24th September - Linden
29th October  - Christine
26th November - Wadebridge Wines Christmas Tasting

Update May 2018
Sue and Carl made good use of one of our newly purchased reference books for this month's meeting. Using the 2018 version of "Best Wines in the Supermarket", Carl had sourced three white wines from three different supermarkets. Each wine had scored top marks in the book but at very different price points.

Our challenge, on a beautifully hot summer's afternoon was to sit back, enjoy their garden, drink three wines and guess which was the most expensive, which in the middle and which the cheapest. Of course we set to our challenge with great gusto. 

The bottles had all been covered so we had no clues from the labels or the bottles themselves. Inevitably we all had slightly different opinions and guesses! The wines we tasted were as follows

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Greco di Tufo £10
"Aromas of fragrant herbs and flavours of exotic fruit combined with a fresh mineral finish. Perfect with seafood pasta."

Asda Extra Special Valle de Leyda Suavignon Blanc £5.98
"Crisp and zesty with pink grapefruit and fresh asparagus flavours. Sourced from Chile's Leyda Valley this gloriously floral and grassy Sauvignon Blanc has a tasty, fresh, citrussy flavour. Delicious choice with grilled fish, seafood or Thai food."

Lidl South African Chenin Blanc £3.89
"Dry, subtle citrus flavours and highly moreish- enjoy on its own or with salads and fish."

We all agreed that all three were eminently drinkable but generally felt that the quality was reflected in the price. A great, fun afternoon so many thanks to Carl and Sue for their hospitality.

Update April 2018
This month Helen had chosen what she termed "a random selection, soft and velvety". This choice came from Helen's preference for softer wines with less tannin.

The three wines were as follows, with descriptions from the Waitrose website:

Tenuta Rapitalà Nero d’Avola £9.99
"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"

Waitrose St Hallett Reserve, Shiraz £11.99
"This wine has been made by blending selected parcels of fruit from across the Barossa. Lovely bright raspberry and plum aromas are complimented by restrained layers of pepper and spice. The palate is filled with fresh berries, hints of white pepper spice with velvety rolling tannins that add textural interest to finish off the wine nicely."

Chateau Souverain Chardonnay California £7.99
This Chardonnay offers aromas of stone fruit and soft tropical notes, layered with flavors of caramel and toasted oak. Rich textures lead to a balanced, lingering finish.

We enjoyed all three wines, but felt the extra £2 cost was worth the extra on the Australian Shiraz compared to the Sicilian Red. The American Chardonnay at 13.9%abv was typical of an American Chardonnay and very enjoyable on a lovely sunny afternoon. We thank Helen for encouraging us to try yet more unusual wines!

Update March 2018
A theme with a difference this month - Alan, as a geologist, had chosen three wines which referred to the rocks from their region in the name of the wine.

Firstly Dr Loosen Grey Slate Riesling (Waitrose £9.99)
"Elegant, fruity Riesling from the celebrated Erni Loosen. Beautifully structured, with pineapple, white peach and green apple flavours this has surprising power on the finish. By working closely with growers, Ernst and Thomas Loosen are able to assure excellent quality." ABV 10.5%

This almost had a spritz about it and was deemed very refreshing and a good example of a modern day Riesling.

We then moved to the New World for an unusual wine of its type - Greywacke Sauvignon 2016 Marlborough ABV 13% (Majestic Wines £17.99 or Wadebridge Wines).
"Greywacke (pronounced 'grey-wacky') is the name given to the grey sedimentary rock that characterises much of the soil in this estate's vineyard. The winery was founded in 2009, and is the brainchild of Kevin Judd, former winemaker of Cloudy Bay for 25 years. Intense aromatics of melon, peach and papaya are accompanied by hints of tomato leaf and capsicum. The palate is crisp but remarkably mouth-filling, a small portion of the wine having been oak fermented. Partner with a selection of canapes made with smoked salmon, anchovies or chêvre."

To finish we enjoyed an Australian Shiraz -  2016 Jip Jip Rocks Shiraz (Waitrose £10.99)
"The Jip Jip Rocks are a striking outcrop of 350 million year old pink-red granite in the heart of the Padthaway region, which are sacred in traditional Aboriginal beliefs.

Lifted spice and ripe mulberry/blackberry aromas are complimented with chocolate, cedar and cinnamon on the nose. Well-integrated oak tannin provides flavours of clove and supple texture, which supports the rich plum, blackberry and mocha. The overall structure is supple and generous with fine-grained tannin and a lingering finish.

Winemaking Report
Fermentation took place over 10 – 12 days in a combination of open and static fermenters. The temperature was closely monitored to ensure the wine retains its natural fruit expression. New and older French and American oak was used for the maturation of selected wine parcels over a period of 13 months. These parcels were put together from our family estate to best demonstrate the depth and character of our fruit, balanced by integrated oak."

Everybody enjoyed the Riesling, much to some people's surprise. The Sauvignon Blanc was less popular and was very untypical of the sauvignon blanc we have come to expect from that region. The Jip Jip Shiraz was well received by everybody too.

A great theme Alan, thank you for your hospitality!

Update February 2018

Jenny kindly hosted this month's meeting but due to holidays there was a select group of attendees!

She reports:

Only five of us this month so a change of plan.

Wine writer Jane MacQuitty says we taste differently and not all of us can access every taste or smell.  25% of us can't taste bitterness and 3% not vanilla.

There are also 'super-tasters' who hate the oily finish of cheaper viogniers.   She recommends the Co-ops 2016 Irresistable Viognier (St Gabriel vineyard Pays D'Oc)  at £7.49,  with it's 'clean as a whistle finish, describing it as 'white peach-spiced'.   However the label quotes 'pale gold in colour, full flavoured , honeyed. Wonderful aromas of dried stone fruits with floral and vanilla overtones'   Showing it  is indeed a very personal thing.

We moved on to a 2016 red - Zalze - also Co-op at £7.49 - from S. Africa. Label reads 'In a valley where wine has been made for centuries Kleine Zalze continues the tradition of producing wines of outstanding quality.  It's a blend of Shiraz, Grenache and Viognier.   It was liked by all and probably tasted different to each of us.    However the label description is 'Dense plummy, spicy fruitcake aromas with a leathery soft finish.  The black-olive fruit is well supported by the French Oak tannins giving this wine a savoury, long finish.

We rounded off the afternoon experimenting with the white by adding Creme de Casis for a Kir, or a dash of brandy, or simply an unadulterated glass freshener.

If you want to try some both wines appear in the Lostwithiel store but are stocked at St Austell


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.