Category Archives: Wine Tasting

Nyetimber and The Vineyard at Stockcross

IMG_0698My very first interest in learning more about wine started during an English Wine Producers‘ tasting at the Great British Cheese Festival around 10 years ago. The realisation that there could be a future in producing wine made from grapes grown in this country, ignited a real excitement in me that wine had failed to do in the past and it’s what prompted me to apply to complete my WSET courses. A far from romantic affair, run in an old science lab at Bracknell and Wokingham College, both my Intermediate and Advanced courses delivered an anti-climatic one page, 10 minute passing over of wine from England and Wales amongst the intrigue of the rest of the world’s wines.

To distract me further, all thoughts of English wine were then buried under piles of laundry and dirty nappies. Until that is, my interest was reignited in the form of a bottle of Nyetimber Classic Cuvee produced to celebrate my birthday last summer.

Since then, my English wine nerdiness has spiralled, the pinnacle of which saw me presenting an English wine tasting, so, imagine my delight when an invitation to ‘An Evening with Nyetimber‘ came my way! Not just a Nyetimber tasting, but a wine and dinner pairing at the one and only The Vineyard at Stockcross, the 5-star boutique hotel, spa and restaurant between Hungerford and Newbury. Cue much jubilation and clicking of heels (if I could click my heels, but that’s a whole other story) and off I drove into the sunset last Sunday night with the wind in my hair and the promise of a first class dinner and watering . Continue reading

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking Out, English Wine, Wine and Food Pairing, Wine Tasting

Cheers to English Wine Week!

A selection of English Sparkling for an upcoming tasting in May.

Hoorah to English Wine Week!

Just a quicky as I have a small person pestering me to set up a treasure hunt. It’s a Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, as I believe it is too in the states. It is also World Sherry Day and, more to the point, we’re in the midst of English Wine Week.

I ran an English Wine tasting a couple of week’s ago and the general consensus from a group of happy tasters, was that the English wine was excellent. Since then, I also attended a trade show where I tried even more!

In summary;

we can grow some fabulous Bacchus – a lighter version of Sauvignon Blanc. The Pheasants Ridge Bacchus Dry from near Henley-on-Thames was a delight and the generous Michael Gilbey gave us (The Wine Team) a bottle to try. (£75 for 6 bottles) I would like to try their Sparkling Brut now.

Expect to see some Chardonnay emerging  Give the Gusbourne Estate Chardonnay (still, not sparkling – well, try that too!) a go!

Age it! – We tried a vertical tasting of Stanlake Park‘s Kings Fume (a 2006 and a 2010) (£10.99 from the vineyard) blend of Ortega, Regner, Scheurebe and Bacchus. Both tasty with the eldest being a lot creamier and softer – the jury was out as to which was preferred.

 the reds are coming along – until this particular tasting, I was yet to taste a decent English red. The 2 Pinot Noirs from Bolney Estate (£15.99) and a’Becketts (£15) however were light and fruity, with the former hinting at some good Burgundy-esque flavours and body.

don’t rule out rosé either – the Oaken Grove Benham Blush  (Waitrose, £10.99) was just how I like my rosé – light, acidic and fruity (think Provencal) [Also featured in My quest to find the perfect rosé]

….drum roll…and the sparkling……! – Becoming increasingly competitive in price and quality with Champagne and other sparkling wine, it really feels like English Sparkling is carving out its own little niche within the market, and I’m yet to try a nasty one. It’s also switching me towards pink sparkling – The Balfour Brut Rosé (£35.99, Waitrose) is a force to be reckoned with. As for the whites, you could pick up the Sainsbury’s English Sparkling Wine, a 2007 vintage from Denbies  for around £15 in their 25% off deal at the moment – a billion-times better investment than a cheap bottle of NV Champers in my opinion, and worth every penny at full price £19.99. Another that I had the pleasure of tasting this week was the award-winning Bluebell Vineyard Estates Hindleap Blanc de Blancs (£23.99). These guys were lovely to meet and all 3 of their sparklings were yummy.

Not my most scientific post this one, but wanted to share while the sun still shines and the long weekend is still in full swing. Please do share any you’ve tried and where you bought it. Happy Bank Holiday and Happy English Wine Week!

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, English Wine, Sparkling, Uncategorized, Wine Tasting

You win some you lose some: Part 2 (1977 Chateauneuf wine tasting)

 Clos de L’Oratoire des Papes, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, 1977First off, I apologise for the delay between posts. When I started this blog, I was working a shorter week and was kindly allowed a couple of hours ‘blogging time’ on my day off by a pair of obliging napping babies…those days have passed, but as promised here is my follow on from my last post [part 1].

To recap, I had won a wine auction consisting of 2 St. Emilion Bordeaux, 2 left-bank Bordeaux and a Chateauneuf-du-Pape (Southern Rhone) – all from the 1970’s and all a little fusty looking. Figuring that all of them would, at the very least, be better drunk 20 years ago ready to drink, I wasted little time in opening the first bottle of my winnings.

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You win some, you lose some.

In a moment of madness, having been alerted to the sale of some vintage wine in the monthly  Bourne End Auction, in Buckinghamshire, I placed a blind bid on a lot of wine from the 1970’s.

A wine lottery it seemed, but in my excitement at the mystery and owning my very own wine from my decade of birth, I swiftly submitted my bid. In my haste, foolishly, I hadn’t even bothered to look up the Chateau Laniote to see if it was ever any good, let alone when it’s 40 years old nor did I have any idea as to the history of the actual wine or any clue as to what the other 4 bottles were. Not my wisest move ever, but such fun!

lot206

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Making me work for my wine

So, I haven’t been able to blog as much as I would like to over the last couple of weeks, partly due to being extra-specially knackered but also because I’ve cancelled the cleaners so have been doing the housework when I want to be blogging! What this does mean however is that the money that I am saving on the cleaners can be spent on more/ better wine. The opportunity to do so presented itself to me when an old wine associate of mine, Tony Hill, one-half of Bordeaux and Beyond, kindly let me help out on his stand at a local wine fair back in November to give me a taste of the wine trade. Continue reading

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, Eating/ Drinking Out, France, Grape Varieties, South America, Wine Tasting

From Chunder to Wonder

Hardys_ReserveAs someone who is well aware that Australia produces some of the best wine in the world but never actually buys Australian wine, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the excellent ‘Chateau Chunder: When Australian Wine Changed the World’ on BBC4 last week. Having been bitten by drinking nasty Chardonnay in vast quantities in my early 20’s, it’s about time someone reminded me what I’ve been missing.

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Filed under Australia, Eating/ Drinking In, Grape Varieties, Wine Tasting

Wine for a fiver

So, there I was, buying a couple of those buckets of mini cakes in M&S for my colleagues and I spied a ‘Two for a tenner’ Spanish wine promotion by the checkout. Intrigued, the labels informed me that both the Las Falleras Blanco y Tinto were made from local Spanish grape varieties, and on a whim, proceeded to buy them.

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, France, South America, Spain, Uncategorized, Wine Tasting