Tasting: Wines of South Africa – Friday 2nd July, 7pm

June 25, 2010

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Well it was almost inevitable really, with the World Cup being on, that we would cash in on all the interest in South Africa and do a related tasting. Don’t let our profit-hungry cynical marketing ploy put you off getting involved though! South Africa genuinely does make some absolutely fantastic wines, and they are well worth trying for yourself.

Most people know they do the whites well (mostly Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc, but also the odd Chardonnay and Viognier worth trying), but they also make some phenomenal reds that could confidently be counted amongst their international peers as really top notch. Shiraz (aka Syrah) is often very good quality, Merlot can also be really good, and of course, their speciality, Pinotage, is where they really distinguish themselves from the crowd. South Africa’s unique selling point if you like, a lovely little grape making reds that range from dense, complex creatures, to bold and juicy little numbers that really surprise you with their vibrancy and berry-fruit flavours. There are also some cracking Pinot Noirs and Mouvedres to look out for.

A really interesting and increasingly diverse wine-making country, this is an area South Africa really excels in (unlike football it would seem), and we promise we won’t have any vuvuzelas. ; )

If you want to come along and try some stuff for yourself, it couldn’t be easier. £10 a ticket, at least 8 wines to taste along with tasty treats from the Deli side of the shop, and the fountain of wine-knowledge Barry Howarth on hand to guide you through it all. You surely can’t have better plans than that for your friday evening?

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Give us a quick call on 01524400011 or pop by the shop to book your tickets. Or tweet us.


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.

Twitter Tasting: US Craft Beers Part I

May 17, 2010

20/5/2010, 8pm – UPDATE: We’ve been absolutely bowled over by the unanticipated level of demand we’ve had for the tasting packs in the last 24 hours. Unfortunately, we’ve now completely sold out of Anchor Bock, and will be unable to get any more in before the tasting. If you’d still like to take part, we’re selling tasting packs with the other 4 beers in, along with the background info booklets, for £9.25. Any packs that were already pre-ordered will of course still have the full set of 5 beers when collected.

I’d like to take a moment to extend a genuine and heartfelt thank you to everybody who has been so enthusiastic and supportive of this little project of mine. The comments and RTs that have been flying around and coming in on Twitter have been incredibly generous and kind, and are deeply appreciated. Rest assured, these tastings will become a regular feature of my Tweeting in the weeks and months ahead. I hope you all thoroughly enjoy yourselves come Saturday, and will be back for more in the future. Cheers!

Twitter Tasting Packs: 5 fantastic beers, background notes on the breweries and their brews, and information about Twitter and how it works, all for £11. Plus you get to be part of the collision between beer tasting and social media! What could be better?

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

Last weekend saw our very first online beer tasting go off without a hitch. A group of us all got hold of a few bottles of the fantastic beers made by the chaps at BrewDog, and tasted our way through 6 of their range, exchanging comments, observations and comparisons as we went, all through the magical medium of Twitter. Not only did it end up being a fun night, trying some very unusual and wonderful beers, but it also proved pretty popular and got noticed by a few who weren’t taking part.

So in response to demands for more of the same for others to join in with, this coming Saturday (22nd May), we’ll be doing it all over again, but this time with some of America’s finest craft beers that are currently doing the rounds in the UK. There was actually 10 beers to choose from that we stock, from 4 different breweries, but to avoid getting too carried away for one evening, I asked our followers on Twitter to choose 2 of the breweries to go with for this tasting, leaving the other 2 for another night.

With a whopping 67% of the vote, the decision has been made to taste the Anchor and Flying Dog beers this weekend. These are two of America’s best-known craft beer producers, creating iconic and unique premium beverages for discerning drinkers far and wide.

The Anchor brewery in San Francisco is world-famous for it’s Anchor Steam Beer which it has been producing since 1896. Every beer is virtually hand-made, in the most traditional of manners, and has been the benchmark of American brewing for generations. Their website is very well put together, and provides lots of background information on the brewers and their story for those of you who are interested.

Our other brewery providing Saturday night’s delights is anything but traditional; a collaborative effort first started in 1983 in a Brewpub in Aspen, Colorado, the Flying Dog project has included the likes of Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman amongst its number. Anything but conformist, the Flying Dog beers are original and unique, and considered to be amongst the best in the world. Marketed with Ralph’s controversial artwork adorning the bottles, the beers certainly stand out on a shelf, and over 500,000 cases a year are shipped worldwide from their Maryland facility.

The lineup:

So how do you take part I hear you ask? Dead simple really. Pick up a bottle of each of the beers from the lineup (or just the ones you like the look of, you don’t have to do them all), either from ourselves or another beerspecialist if we’re hard to reach. We’re doing ready-made packs of all 5 beers, along with background notes on the breweries & brews, and info about how Twitter works. All you need to do is call in and ask for a Twitter Tasting Pack, and have £11 ready.

Twitter Tasting Packs, ready and waiting for collection. Let me know you're coming in, and get your own personalised pack made up, including your own avatar and personal tweet written on the side of the box. 😉

Once you’ve got your beers, make sure you have a Twitter account set up and good to go (visit Twitter.com if you don’t already, and follow the sign up process). Look us up (We’re @TheWineyard) and start following us so that you can see my tweets, and feel free to tweet back anytime – I love to chat about anything and everything, not just beer and wine. Come Saturday evening, punch ‘#wineyardtasting’ into the search box on Twitter, and stay on that page. Once we get underway, new messages will start appearing at the top of the search results as others begin tweeting. Crack open your bottle of Anchor Steam around 8pm, type a little tweet with any thoughts (“ooh this smells good” or “What an interesting colour” for example, and make sure you include the phrase ‘#wineyardtasting’ with no spaces in the message so we can all see it show up. Watch what everyone else is saying, and start replying to them, remembering to include ‘#wineyardtasting’ in each message. You’ll be making new beer buds in no time.

Confused? Don’t worry about it, just drop me a tweet (@thewineyard) or an email (Ben@thewineyard.co.uk) with any questions and I’ll do everything I can to help you get set up for a beery night of social media! Any thoughts or comments on the event in general, please do add a comment below.

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Tweeps taking part:

Vote for our next tasting on Twitter

May 16, 2010

Throughout today, I’m running a poll on which beers we taste for our next online beer tasting on Twitter. Following the success of the BrewDog tasting last week (there’s a blog post half-finished as I type to report back on all the beers and what we got up to), I’ll be doing it all over again on Saturday 22nd May, with some fantastic American craft beers. However, with 10 to choose from, the choice is broader this time and I was torn on what to do. So I’m throwing the choice over to all of you instead.

One option is to taste our way through all 10 beers in one evening (I’d highly recommend doing it with a friend and having half of each if this is what we do). Another is to do 5 beers for the next tasting, and the other 5 at another point in time. This is fairly easy to do, as it lets us taste beer from 2 breweries in each session, dividing the set up quite nicely.

We’ve got the following beers to pick from:

Vote for which beers you’d like to try in this poll (running until about 11pm Sunday), and whichever comes out on top will be next Saurday’s Twitter Tasting.

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.

Tasting: Viogniers of the World (7pm, Friday 21st May)

May 9, 2010

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Our next in-store tasting should be a really interesting one for all you white wine drinkers out there. All the wines on show will be either 100% Viognier, or will have Viognier as part of a blend. It is a terrific little grape that’s been growing in popularity recently, known for it’s fantastic aromatic qualities, and luscious peachy, nectarine & apricot flavour profile.

With the surge in interest amongst consumers has come a big jump in Viognier plantings around the world, and these days it’s not uncommon to find a bottle hailing from far flung places like Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It’s original rise to prominence is rooted in the small Northern Rhone appellations of Condrieu and Chateau Grillet, and the important role the grape plays in many of the Rhone Valley’s white blends, where it is often used with other aromatic grapes such as Roussanne and Marsanne, creating delightfully elegant and subtle wines.

As a single varietal, it can often be a little richer and more intense than the Rhone blends, delivering bags of flavour and an individual style that, for me at least, is usually more interesting and delightful than any Chardonnay I’ve tried for example.

So come Friday the 21st (of May), at 7pm we’ll be working our way across the globe, tasting a good range of Viogniers from different countries, demonstrating what a truly fascinating and delicious grape it can be, and hopefully converting a few new fans in the process. The wines will as usual be accompanied by food samples from the deli, and will be introduced by our good selves with a bit of background on the growers and regions, as well as lots of juicy info on the grape itself.

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If you’re interested in joining us, tickets are available from the shop or over the phone (01524400011), and cost £10 a head. Places are limited though, so book early to avoid disappointment.

Interesting stats from Spring Wine Fair 2010

May 5, 2010

Customers at the Spring Wine Fair, 2010

Last week was our eagerly anticipated Spring Wine Fair, where punters got the opportunity to taste up to 77 different wines, and to have an informal chat with some of our biggest and best suppliers about the wines they represent. The evening was a big success, both in terms of profitability for ourselves, and more importantly, in terms of customer satisfaction. We’ve been getting rave reviews from everyone we speak to when they visit us in the shop. Not only was the evening fun, but people found it genuinely useful for their improving their own knowledge of wine and narrowing down particular styles that they prefer.

Suppliers at the Spring Wine Fair, 2010

The suppliers present included Boutinot (Deborah Brooks), Grupo Codorniu (David Pickering), Fells Wines (Sandy McDonald), Enotria Wines (Stephen Lane), De Bortoli Australian Wines (Keith Stone), and Discovery Wines (Paul Shackleton). There were also some of our favourite wines from Ehrmann’s, Vinoceros, and Morecambe Bay Wines open, which we represented on their behalf.

My favourites that I tried myself on the night include the cracking Recchia Valpolicella Ripasso, our new Salvano Barbaresco Riserva 04, Glen Carlou Syrah 05, Ricasoli Brolio Chianti Classico 07, Torres ‘Natureo’ 09, Vina Pomal Reserva Rioja 04, and Alasia Brachetto del Acqui Rosado 09. I’ll be blogging about some of these in the coming weeks as they arrive in-store (some are brand new wines to us, and are not yet on the shelves) so I can snap a photo of them and give you some further background details. If you attended, do get in touch and let me know your own favourites, and what you thought of any of mine that you tried. You can leave a comment on this post, tweet me, e-mail me (Ben@thewineyard.co.uk), or find me in-store most days as well of course.

Some quick stats about Friday’s event:

  • We sold 134 bottles: That’s 99.375l of wine (includes 3 half bottles of desert wine)!
  • 56% of that was red wine, 34% white, and 10% rose.
  • Of the wines opened to taste, 53% were red, 41% white, and 6% rose.
  • The most popular region on the night was Argentina, taking credit for 22% of the evenings orders. Australia was a close second, with 21%, and France third on 19%. Italy gets an honourable mention for 4th on 16%, the rest were all less than 5% each.
  • The most-ordered individual wine was a long-standing favourite of ours: Mas Barrau Cabernet Franc (France), single-handedly accounting for a whopping 10% of all orders. 2nd and 3rd were both Trapiche wines (Argentina): Astica Sauvignon Semillon, and Astica Merlot Malbec.
  • The average spend per bottle was £7.56 (There was 10% off on all orders on the night, so the average value was approximately £8.40/bottle). [tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]
  • The most expensive individual bottle ordered was Glen Carlou Syrah 05 (£16.49). The cheapest was Vistamar Carmenere 09 (£5.25).

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”

Wine List for our Spring Wine Tasting Fair

April 26, 2010

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This Friday (30th April), we shall be hosting our very own wine tasting extravaganza! We’ve now got 74 confirmed wines lined up for attendees to try, plus a few surprise extras we’ll be sneaking in at the last minute. If you’re interested in coming, you need to pick up a ticket from The Wineyard & Deli (none sold on the door come Friday) for £7.50. If the shop isn’t easily accessible for you, give us a ring on 01524400011 and we can take payment by card over the phone instead.

The event will take place at the Headway Hotel, Morecambe, and doors are open 6-9pm for you to come at your leisure and taste whatever takes your fancy. For those who like to plan in advance, I’ve included a comprehensive list of the vast majority of the wines we’ll be opening below, although it is subject to change should any complications arise. The wines marked with a * are those I’m particularly keen on (that I’ve already tried myself), either because of their outstanding quality, unusual characteristics, or sheer value for money. Don’t limit yourself to just trying my favourites though, get around and find some of your own too! There’s plenty of wines that I’m genuinely looking forward to trying myself for the first time too. A word of advice for anyone keen to taste a lot of these: make use of the spitoons like us pros, or you’ll be flat on your back in no time!

Table 1: Boutinot Wines with Deborah Brooks


*1, Circumstance Sauvignon Blanc 08 (South Africa) – £10.99*

2, Tabali Reserve Viognier 09 (Chile) – £8.99

*3, Alsace Grand Cru Brand Gewurztraminer 07 (France) – £14.99*


*4, Les Cerisiers Cotes Du Rhone  Rose 08 (France) – £8.29*

5, Alasia Brachetto del Acqui, Rosado 09 (Italy) – £7.49

*6, The Lizard Pink Shiraz Rose 08 (France) – £6.49*


*7, Conivale Primitivo 08/09 (Italy) – £6.49*

*8, GSM Cotes de Rousillion Villages  05 (France) – £9.99*

9, La Haut Terrases Gigondas 07 (France) – £12.79

10, Mas Barrau Cabernet Franc 09 (France) – £7.49

11, Senorrio de Sarria No 7 Graciano 05 (Spain) – £9.79

*12, Amarone Della Valpolicella Brevetta 06 (Italy) – £25.99*

Table 2: Grupo Cordoniu with David Pickering

Sparkling Wines

*13, Anna de Codorniu Brut Cava N.V. (Spain) – £10.99*

14, Anna de Codorniu Brut Rose Cava N.V. (Spain) – £10.99

White Wines

15, Santa Rita 120 Viognier 08 (Chile) – £7.79

16, Raimat Abidia Blanc de Blanc 07 (Spain) – £7.99

Red Wines

17, Zaco Tempranillo Rioja Crianza 06 (Spain) – £8.99

*18, Raimat  Abadia Tinto 06 (Spain) – £7.99*

19, Vina Pomal Reserve Rioja 04 (Spain) – £11.99

*20, Bodegas Septima Malbec 08 (Argentina) – £7.49*

*21, Scali Dei Prior Priorat 04 (Spain) – £13.99*

Table 3: Fells Wine with Sandy MacDonald


*22, Trapiche  ‘Astica’ Sauvignon/Semilion 08 (Argentina) – £7.49*

23, Trapiche Melodius Chardonnay (Argentina) – £8.49

24, Kendall Jackson VR Chardonnay 07 (California) – £13.99

*25, Kendall Jackson VR Sauvignon Blanc 08 (California) – £11.99*

*26, Torres Vina Esmerelda 08 (Spain) – £8.79*

27, Torres ‘Natureo’ 09 (Spain) – £7.29

Rose Wines

28, Trapiche ‘Astica’ Rose (Argentina) – £7.49

Red Wines

29, Trapiche  ‘Astica’ Merlot/Malbec (Argentina) – £7.49

30, Trapiche Melodius Merlot (Argentina) – £8.49

*31, Torres Tormenta Cabernet Sauvignon 07 (Chile) – £8.99*

32, Ricasoli Brolio Chianti Classico 07 (Italy) – £15.99

*33, Guigal Cotes Du Rhone 06 (France) – £11.49*

34, Guigal St. Joseph 05 (France) – £20.99


35, Graham’s  Crusted Port (Bottled 02) (Portugal) – £19.99

Table 4: Enotria Wines with Stephen Lane

Sparkling Wines

36, Grosvenor Ridgeview N.V. (England) – £27.99

White Wines

37, Bonic One Organic Chardonnay 08 (Australia) – £8.49

*38, Peter Lehman Layers White 09 (Australia) – £10.99*

*39, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Villa Bianchi 08 (Italy) – £8.99*

Rose Wines

*40, Sancerre Rose Vieux Pruniers 08 (France) – £15.99*

Red Wines

*41, Painter Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon 06 (California) – £7.99*

42, Bonic One Organic Shiraz 08 (Australia) – £8.49

43 Poliziano Rosso di Montalcino 06 (Italy) – £13.99

44, Glen Carlou Syrah 05 (South Africa) – £16.49

Table 5: De Bortoli Australian Wines with Keith Stone

Sparkling Wines

45, Sacred Hill Sparkling Brut N.V. – £7.75

46, Emeri Sparkling Shiraz  N.V – £10.99

White Wines

47, The Accomplice Chardonnay 2009 – £6.49

*48, Windy Peak Viognier 2007 – £8.49*

49, Yarra Estate Chardonnay 2005 – £11.99

Red Wines

50, The Accomplice Shiraz 2009 – £6.49

51, Vat 10 Pinot Noir 2008 – £8.99

*52, Vat 1 Petite Sirah 2006 – £8.99*

Fortified Wines

53, De Bortoli Show Liqueur Muscat N.V. – £15.99

Table 6: Discovery Wines with Paul Shackleton

White Wines

54, Sepia Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 09 (Chile) – £7.49

*55, Omaka Springs Sauvignon Blanc 09 (New Zealand) – £9.49*

*56, McGregors Reserve Chardonnay 08 (Australia) – £6.29*

Rose Wines

*57, Discovery Beach Zinfandel Rose 09 (California) – £5.99*

Red Wines

58, Sepia Reserva Pinot Noir 08 (Chile) – £7.49

*59, Omaka Springs Pinot Noir 08 (New Zealand) – £10.99*

60, Sepia Reserva Merlot 08 (Chile) – £7.49

61, Vistamar Carmenere 09 (Chile) – £5.25

*62, McGregors Reserve Shiraz 08 (Australia) – £6.29*

Sweet Wines

*63, Vistamar Late Harvest Moscatel 09 (Chile) – £5.59 (37.5cl Bottle)*

Table 7: Ehrmann’s and Vinoceros Wines

Sparkling Wines

64, Angas Brut Sparkling N.V. (Australia) – £9.49

*65, Jansz Tasmanian sparkling Brut N.V. (Australia) – £12.99*

Whites Wines

*66, Casa Lapostelle Sauvignon Blanc 08 (Chile) – £8.99*

67, Palandri Estate Chardonnay 07 (Australia) – £11.49

*68, Tahbilk Marsanne 06 (Australia) – £9.99*

Red Wines

69, Coopers Creek Pinot Noir 08 (New Zealand) – £11.99

*70, Casa Lapostelle Merlot 07 (Chile) – £9.99*

71, Conde de Valdemar Rioja Crianza 05 (Spain) – £11.49

72, Palandri Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 05 (Australia) – £11.49

73, Palandri Estate Shiraz 07 (Australia) – £11.49

74, Soluna Premium Organic Malbec 06 (Argentina) – £11.49

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Anything caught your eye? Leave a comment or send me a tweet and let me know what you fancy trying.

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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.