Archive for the ‘Live Twitter Tasting’ Category

Twitter Tasting: Trappist & Abbey Beers (Father’s Day, 1pm)

June 16, 2010

Amended times: Due to a few requests from interested people, I’ve moved the tasting back to Sunday evening, as the afternoon was impractical for those wanting to spend it with their families, or who will be out and about. The schedule below has been amended correspondingly.

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Trappist & Abbey Beer Tasting Packs

Well I’m sure most of you know the routine by now, but the next Twitter Tasting will be this Sunday (20th June), and will be all about Trappist and Abbey beers from Belgium and Holland. Trappist Beers in particular have a phenomenal reputation for their quality, and encompass a wide range of styles and flavours. If you want to take part in one of our Twitter tastings, it couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is pop by the shop and pick up a Tasting Pack for £15.99 (15% off all pre-orders – the Trappist packs go on sale Thursday afternoon at 3pm). Your pack will not only include 6 fantastic beers, but will also have some basic details about how to use Twitter and how to join in with the tasting as we all tweet live as we taste. The pack booklet will also provide loads of ace material on all the breweries and the beers that we’re tasting, and a little intro from myself about why we’re tasting Trappist and Abbey beers.

The participants in these tastings usually range from the downright obsessive (and awesome) beer aficionados to the complete newcomer. No expertise is required at all, and it’s always a friendly and welcoming bunch.

The best way to get involved is tweet your own thoughts after trying a beer, and then start responding to what other people have said, agreeing or disagreeing with them, and asking questions if there’s anything you’d like to know or are unsure of. And most importantly of all, remember there’s no right and wrong when it comes to tasting! Think something smells like a farmyard? Doesn’t matter if someone else thinks it’s leather, the smell’s entirely subjective and down to your own interpretation, and people always get different aromas and flavours. If you’re really unsure and a bit shy, just stick to something basic like “Mmmm nice!” or “Bleurgh, what on Earth is that?” Nobody will mind, and you’ll quickly pick it up as you go along.

So now you’re curious about tasting some beers right? Well this Sunday’s line-up is below, along with rough tasting times, but feel free to deviate as we go along if there’s any you don’t fancy, or you don’t want to taste all 6 in one sitting.

How it’s going down (sort of):

  • 7.00pm: Maredsous Blonde
  • 7.45pm: Tripel Karmeliet
  • 8.30pm: Orval
  • 9.15pm: La Trappe Isid’or
  • 10.00pm: Westmalle Dubbel
  • 10.45pm: Chimay Red

Any questions, leave a comment on this blog post, give me a tweet, or drop me an e-mail to Ben@thewineyard.co.uk

Or of course, come and see us in the shop or give us a quick phone call on 01524400011.

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Save 33% on Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2006

May 12, 2010

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On a relatively regular basis, our suppliers offer us bin-end deals on some of their wines for various reasons; they might want to clear out the last of the previous vintage to make room for a new one arriving, the wine may have been de-listed and replaced by something else, and of course, they sometimes find they got over-excited about a new wine and bought far too much of it, and need to sell it off in volume. The caveat is usually that we have to buy up a decent chunk of stock if we want to get the benefits of the good prices, and the wines can often be ones we don’t usually stock or aren’t familiar with, so we don’t always jump at the chance.

No such trouble with this Californian Sauvignon Blanc from the well-established and highly rated Kendall-Jackson range. We were already selling this at £11.99 when we were asked if we wanted to take a few cases at a reduced price, and knew we liked it, so we grabbed 36 bottles a few days ago and promptly opened one for the tasting counter (come in and ask if you’d like to try it yourself this week). I was delighted with the quality, and the more unusual style; this is not a New Zealand-style Sauvignon by any means, and in my opinion is all the better for it. I love to see regions producing wines in their own individual manner, instead of trying to emulate someone else’s success (something the New World is still getting the hang of in many parts).

So the all important question of course is price, and we’ve reduced this from £11.99 to £9.99/bottle, or you can buy 3 bottles for £7.99 each (£23.97), saving you a fantastic 33% off the original shelf price (down from £35.97).

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Below are my own tasting notes, tweeted live as I tried it (start at the bottom and read upwards though, as they’re listed with the most recent tweet first). If you’re ever interested in seeing what others and myself have been tasting recently, search on Twitter for “#wineyardtasting” or click the image below.

Live Brew Dog Twitter Tasting: Saturday 8th May, 8pm

May 3, 2010

Come Wednesday we should have 6 new beers from the Brew Dog boys on our shelves and up for grabs (only a couple of cases of each atm, so don’t leave it too long if you want to get your hands on some). Ordering these beers in was something of a leap of faith on my part, as I’ve only tried their Punk IPA, but I was so impressed (as were others who were trying it with me) that I immediately set about arranging for us to stock their range! So with a day off on Saturday looming, I’m going to be tasting all 6 that we’re stocking at home with some friends (5 for the first time), and getting as many of you to join in as possible through the magical medium of Twitter.

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If you don’t fancy 6 beers in one evening, then that’s absolutely fine – just join in with the ones that you like the sound of! It’ll all be very informal and fun – There’s a list below of what I’ll be tasting at what time if you want to do it live along with me. Alternatively, just try 1 or 2 of whatever you fancy through the evening and tweet about it with the #wineyardtasting tag so we can all keep tabs on what everyone thinks of their beers.

I’ll be kicking off the beer tasting at 8pm, tweeting like fury as I go, and exchanging thoughts with any who join in. All the tweets will include the #wineyardtasting hashtag, so if you want to keep up with the evening’s goings on, all you’ll need to do is search “#wineyardtasting” on Twitter or visit this link, and you’ll be able to see it update with new messages.

The schedule (likely to fall apart towards the end, but it’s a loose guide for the order as much as anything):

8.00pm: Trashy Blonde Pale Ale (4.1%) – £1.60/bottle

8.30pm: 77 Lager (4.9%) – £1.50/bottle

9.00pm: 5 A.M. Saint Amber Ale (5%) – £1.65/bottle

9.30pm: Zeitgeist Black Lager (4.9%) – £1.50/bottle

10.00pm: Punk IPA (6%) – £1.65/bottle

10.30pm: Hardcore IPA (9.2%) – £2.65/bottle

Click the names of any of the beers to be whizzed off to their respective info pages on the cracking little Brew Dog site, and see what you like the look of. Give me a Tweet if you’ll be joining in or if you have any questions, or alternatively leave a comment on this page. You can also e-mail me, Ben@thewineyard.co.uk

Advice for serving temperatures (straight from a BrewDog man himself):

All the hoppy light beers – just chilled – not overly cold

(It is craft beer – not real ale- so the usual rules don’t apply )

All the stouts room temp

We don’t get too preachy about these things – people know how they like their beer

Our philosophy is never be told how to enjoy something – just enjoy it

Logic dictates, stick Punk etc on ice but don’t freeze out the hop

You will kill the flavours on the stout if you chill it

The anomaly is ZG (Zeitgeist) which although a lager actually develops in flavour as it comes to room temp –so you can go either way on that one – dealers choice

People planning to take part:

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What people are Tweeting about the event (hit that little retweet button to the right and edit the text to tweet your own comment, just leave @thewineyard in your message so I see it come up!):

@dartogreen: “I love the cool social networking marketing approach of a live twitter tasting!”

@relucantscoop: “Six Brewdogs in one evening? Sounds like my regular Saturday night ;-)”

@HowmanyGills: “I’m a huge fan of Brew Dog. They do some incredible stuff. What’s the list and I can get @Rakebarto sort me out”

@marieiram: “heehee! are the ones at 10:30 going to be BEER IS BRILLIANT! I LOVE YOU GUYYS! ?”

@neil_bowness: “need to make a trip down to see you first and pick up some Brew Dog beers, hope @brewdogjames appreciates my 40 mile round trip”

@BlueVanMan1: “Sounds great, I will try my very best. Just have to manage to get there before Saturday to get the beers in….”

@Brewdogsales: “Get involved + check out the guest casks on @ Morcambe Bay Wines [our parent company] this May/ June”

@KristianHolt: “I’m there 🙂 what a great idea.”

@PrintedSpace: “I’m there also 🙂 what a great idea.”

@DClancs: “very nice, defenitely up for your live tasting, im really looking forward to the tipsy tweets :D”

@quirkytraveller: “*Excellent beer tasting”

@PeteBrownBeer: “Very tempting! Sadly I’ll be on a train back from Ludlow…”

@PJMontgomery: “Let me know when you do another one, I’ll totally be there!”

@louiseheasmanuk: “I’m not a beer drinker but I love the concept! Let me know how it goes – would love to know!”

@mcdent: “I’d like to Ben but may not have chance. Sounds great though! Will you be suggesting drinking temperatures?”

@mcdent: “I’m liking how you have ramped up the %abv, from a sober 4.1% right up to a cheeky little 9.2% :)”

@HowmanyGills: “There’s a Brewdog tasting tomorrow hosted by @TheWineyard on twitter. Details here http://wp.me/pIB8p-4w. Awesome idea. ( CC @BrewDogJames )”

@Antipathy: “Am gutted I can’t do this – looking forward to other twitter tastings in the future though!”

@BrianSheldon: “Zeitgeist = Guinness Black Lager. Gorgeous :-)”

@DClancs: “tried Punk IPA whilst watching the election last night, very impressed :)”

@MamaJunkyard: “The twitter beer tasting is such a great idea – hope it goes well”

Chilean Desert Wines

April 26, 2010

CYT Late Harvest Sauv Blanc & Vistamar Late Harvest Moscatel

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Last night I gathered a bunch of friends to try a couple of Chilean desert wines with a homemade lemon tart (recipe courtesy of @SareySue). The tart in particular generated a lot of interest on Twitter from the likes of Mel D, FoodyPhil, BlueVanMan1, Marieiram, and TEDavis, and was a great success. It was a Rick Stein recipe, and was my first bash at pastry in recent memory. The base was nice and biscuity, and the filling was soft, creamy, rich, dense, full of flavour, zesty, tart and refreshing. The combination of the sharpness of the lemon and the richness of the cream and eggs in particular made it a bit of a challenge for me to work out what to pair with it, so I decided to try a couple of different styles of wine against it, both Late Harvest sweeties from Chile.

Six of us were tasting together: Me, Rob, Sonia, Paul, Steve, and Charlotte.

First up was Concha Y Toro Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2006 (£5.99), a tart, crisp and refreshing desert wine that was surprisingly light and sharp in style – the citrus and gooseberries you expect in Sauvignon were definitely showing through, despite the sweeter and more intense nature of the wine. It was a zippy little number with bags of citrus flavour. Paul, Steve and Rob went for this wine with the tart as their preferred pairing. Rob in particular was keen on the match, but preferred the second of our wines on its own.

The rest of us opted for the Vistamar Late Harvest Moscatel 2009 (£5.59) with our lemon tart. The wine was much richer and more honeyed, with flavours of caramel and apple sauce, but nicely balanced with refreshing acidity to keep it on the right side of syrupy. The finish was decent as well, with a touch of orange peel and toffee coming through (I would have tweeted more, but we sat down to watch 28 Days Later, and the glow of a phone/laptop was a bit of a drain on the atmosphere). I found I preferred the richness and luscious texture of the Moscatel with the tart, as it worked really well with the creamy and thick lemon filling in the tart. This is probably as much down to personal taste as it is to the quality of the pairing; as a group we were evenly split on preference, with the other half liking the fact that the zingy Sauvignon Blanc style with it’s startling acidity cut through the thickness and heavyness of the tart. My love of all things rich and sweet is doubtless responsible for my own choice.

It was a fun night’s wining and dining in the end, and the movie wasn’t bad either. If you’ve not seen 28 Days Later it’s an entertaining horror flick. I usually get very easily bored by horror films but it kept me interested, despite the second half being poorer than the first. The wines were fascinating to taste, and proved two things to all of us – Desert wines don’t need to be expensive to be good (both under £6), and they aren’t all gloopy, syrupy, rich things. the crisp acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc in particular was a suprise to most of us. Although Charlotte didn’t enjoy the sharper style, the rest of us all enjoyed both wines a lot.

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Thanks again to @SareySue for the Rick Stein recipe which I shall try and blog later in the week.

Belmont Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (Marlborough, New Zealand)

April 19, 2010

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Sauvignon Blanc, probably one of the most popular grapes in the UK today, is usually a crisp, refreshing and dry white wine. Marlborough, New Zealand is increasingly regarded as the pinnacle of all Sauv Blanc producing regions, and offers some stunning wines, usually in a very zesty style full of gooseberry and citrus flavours, and full-on in-your-face character. The only downside to the region is perhaps the price (these wines don’t often come cheap), although this doesn’t stop us Brits from buying serious quantities of the stuff.

Imagine my excitement then, when this Marlborough Sauv Blanc came in through the door and went on sale at £5.99 (or two for £10)! First thing first, I checked the vintage to see if our wholesale half of the company had been conned into buying a load of old wine that was past its best. 2009? My smile widened. Still young and fresh, barely out of the winery. Perhaps it was just a cheap wine, and everyone else was selling it cheaply too? A quick search online finds it being sold by Tesco at £10/bottle, and everywine.co.uk at £8.99! Now I’m seriously giddy, and impatiently waiting for the bus home with a bottle in my bag to check it out for myself.

I get home, having tweeted about it through the afternoon and encouraging others to try it too, and plonk it in the fridge to chill. Fast-forward a few hours, add a few Twitter folk tasting along with me, and here we go:

The aromas were definitely tropical to me, with scents of peach and guava (check out me with the posh fruit reference!) being particularly prevalent. I had to double-check, having expected to be slapped in the face by gooseberries, but yep, this was tropical through and through! In the mouth, the wine was really soft and rounded, much more elegant than anticipated, and almost creamy. There was a bit of zest there too, with a little citrus complimenting the tropical flavours, and lending it an altogether pleasant finish too. The acidity was good, meaning the wine maintained a nice freshness and crispness.

Others who tasted it live on Twitter all felt that they felt it had a fairly sweet-smelling nose, and grapefruit flavours in the mouth. A customer in the shop also thought there was a hint of lychee lurking around. All of us enjoyed it, and felt it was good value for money at £5 a bottle. Special thanks to @SoniaAnders @PabloVonSteel and @Rob_Workman for joining in with the live tasting! If you fancy joining in with one of these, give me a tweet and I’ll help you pick out a wine that you’ll hopefully love for us to taste live together. I’ll even give you 10% off the wine we taste, just for joining in and tweeting about it.

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UPDATE: We’ve stocked up for the weekend and put a fab case offer on Belmont Sauvignon Blanc 2009: £27 for 6 bottles. That’s £4.50/bottle (down from £5.99 for a single bottle) giving you a whopping 25% saving!