Posts Tagged ‘Tasting’

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.

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

Tweeps taking part:

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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.

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

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:

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

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”

Belmont Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (Marlborough, New Zealand)

April 19, 2010

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

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.

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

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!

Tonight’s Live Tasting: Belmont Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand)

April 15, 2010

Tonight’s live Twitter tasting is an exciting one as far as I’m concerned. We’ve managed to get our hands on some Marlborough (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc for a cracking price (£5.99 or 2 for £10) and are yet to taste it ourselves. We’re assured it’s very good value for money, and I’ll be tasting it for the first time this evening. As I taste, I’ll be tweeting my immediate impressions and notes on the wine as I go, and encouraging you guys to tweet back and quiz me on it too. If you fancy joining in for a bit of Twitter tasting with me, pick up a bottle this evening and tweet your own thoughts on the wine (there are a few already chilling in the fridge).

If you’re not on Twitter, and don’t want to join, fear not! You can keep up anyway thanks to some recent improvements to the site. Open this page in your web-browser and it’ll automatically update with the latest tweets about the wine:

#WineyardTasting Tweets

As a genuinely brand new & untested wine, I can make no promises regarding quality, but you only live once and it’s not gonna cost the Earth right? Just to be clear, this isn’t an attempt at snazzy web 2.0 marketing where I only bang on about how great all our own wines are. If I’m unimpressed, you’ll hear about it just as much as if I love it (my last wine tried live on Twitter was far too acidic on first tasting, and I made no secret of it, but in fairness, the next night it had really softened up and improved a great deal – blog post about it coming up later). I also regularly tweet about wines and beers from other companies if I’m trying them (last night was an interesting selection of beers from Sainsbury’s with friends for example). So if you’re feeling curious and daring, grab a bottle of Belmont on the way back from work, and join in with me and any other curious tweeps, and we’ll try some cheap ‘n’ cheerful New Zealand Sauv Blanc together at about 8pm tonight.

Not sure if you’ll like Sauvignon Blanc (or what it is)? Expect a tart, citrus-fruit style wine full of grassy, gooseberry flavours – it’ll be crisp and refreshing, and a good pair for seafood/fish if you’re wanting to have it with food. Very very popular style of wine, and Marlborough is widely considered one of the very best regions for producing it.

Live Tastings on Twitter

April 9, 2010

When tasting wines properly, it’s often a good idea to note down your initial impressions as soon as possible, as they will never be as clear if you try to recall them later. Flavours that immediately jump out at you can quickly be forgotten again, and each sip can change your feelings and interpretations of the wine you are tasting.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been tweeting my very first impressions of wines I’m trying that we’re tasting over the weekend, as I taste them myself. I’ve found this useful in a couple of ways personally, as it collects my thoughts into an accessible online location that I can look back at as I write up notes for this blog, and it also forces me to think more carefully about the aromas and flavours I’m perceiving. When scribbling a hasty word or two with pen & paper, I know in the back of my mind that I’ll be able to expand on the notes from memory, lazy as this is. But when I’m publishing my first impressions for the world at large to read and critique, I find myself far more focused on identifying precise flavours where possible, and much more thoroughly engaging with the wine I’m tasting with the hope of being more accurate and informative with what I have to say.

With this in mind, I will be tweeting my tasting notes as I taste, live to Twitter whenever possible, and always with the #wineyardtasting link in the tweet to make them easy to find. If you’re new to Twitter, you can find me here. I love getting comments, questions and suggestions from the folks already on there, so feel free to join in any time.

Even better still would be if I could get some of you trying some wines at the same time as me, so we can exchange thoughts as we try things together. If you’re interested in taking part, get in touch on Twitter and let me know, and we can organise something between us. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an expert, and it’s all good fun at the end of the day.

The Wineyard & Deli Spring Wine Fair

March 18, 2010

Another exciting event coming up folks! On April 30th, we will be having The Wineyard & Deli’s Spring Wine Fair at the Headway Hotel, Morecambe. With 6 of our biggest and best suppliers already confirmed in attendance, each with their own table of their favourite wines to tell you all about, this is shaping up to be a fantastic evening for wine lovers. We are expecting to open at least 60-70 different bottles of wine to be tasted (d0n’t worry, there’ll be several of each bottle so we don’t run out!), offering a great selection from all corners of the world, and at all sorts of price levels.

Sounds good right? Well you’ll need a ticket from us to get in, and they only cost a measly £7.50 (Nearly 10 wines a pound!). Tickets are only being sold in advance (none on the door), so swing by The Wineyard and get yours today. Tickets have always been popular for events like this in the past, and are likely to sell out. Get in touch (contact details below) if you’d like some reserving until you can get in to see us.

Event Details:

Date: Friday 30th April, 6-9pm.
Venue: The Headway Hotel.
Entry by ticket only, available from The Wineyard & Deli for £7.50.
Tel: 01524400011 to reserve and pay.
Over 60 wines from around the world to taste.

Tasting: Central/Eastern Europe

March 14, 2010

On the 1st April 2010, we’re having a fascinating tasting of wines from the lesser-known parts of Europe at The Wineyard & Deli. Nothing from France, Italy and Spain; think instead of places like Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Germany for example. Some of these are countries long known for crafting some of the world’s best wines (Germany’s Rieslings in particular are widely regarded as world-class), and we’ll be taking you on a whirlwind tour of some of our favourites from our current range. Others are still up-and-coming, but offer great value for money, such as a couple of Bulgarian wines that sell very well week-in-week-out.

We will also be having a special guest speaker with us, Kerstin Hammes who will be presenting 1 or 2 of her family’s own wines from the Mosel Valley in Germany. This is a rare and fantastic opportunity to hear from someone with first-hand knowledge of wine production.

If you’re interested in joining us in trying some of these interesting and delicious wines, along with a range of samples from our Deli food section, you can book your tickets by coming and seeing us in the shop, getting in touch via Twitter or Facebook, or giving us a call on 01524 400011. You can also drop us an e-mail (Ben@thewineyard.co.uk – Please make the subject “Tasting Tickets” and specify within your e-mail which tasting you are interested in).

Tickets are £10 each and are limited, so book early to avoid disappointment. They are sold on a strictly first-come first-served.

Next tasting: New wines just in – 4/2/2010

January 30, 2010

The next tasting at The Wineyard & Deli will be held on Thursday 4th February, and will feature some of the best new wines to arrive on our fine shelves in recent weeks. We’ll be covering both red and white, old and new world wines. There’s some fantastic stuff lined up for you all, as the following provisional wine list* demonstrates:

  • Chateau Nicot Bordeaux Blanc 2008 (Bordeaux, France) – £9.99
  • Kendall-Jackson Sauvignon Blanc 2005 (California, USA) – £11.99
  • Peter Lehman Margaret Semillon 2004 (Barossa Valley, Australia) – £13.49
  • Lawson Dry Hills Gewurztraminer 2007 (Marlborough, New Zealand) – £13.49
  • Azpilicueta Reserva Rioja 2003 (Rioja, Spain) – £11.99
  • Trinity Hills Pinot Noir 2008 (Martinborough, New Zealand) – £12.99
  • Peter Lehman Mudflat Ebenezer Shiraz 2004 (Barossa Valley, Australia) – £13.49
  • Cecchi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2006 (Montepulciano, Italy) – £15.99

If this has suitably whet your appetite for more, get in touch with us pronto to book your tickets. Places cost £10 each, and are in limited supply, and all tickets must be bought in advance. You can contact us in one of the following ways:

  • Email: Barry@thewineyard.co.uk
  • Telephone: 01524 400011
  • Visit us: 23 Princes Crescent, Bare, Morecambe.
  • Twitter: http://twitter.com/thewineyard
  • Facebook: Search “The Wineyard & Deli”

*Wines named are subject to change dependent on stock availability and attendance – the more people attend, the more we can spend on the wines. Encourage your friends to join you and we can show you nicer wines, it’s that simple! 🙂

Next tasting at The Wineyard: Wines of Argentina

January 9, 2010

Taking place at 7pm on Thursday 14/1/2010, our next wine tasting will be focused on showcasing some fabulous wines from Argentina. The usual suspects will be on show of course; Torrontes and Malbec in particular being the grapes that have really put this country on the wine map, but we’ll also have some other fascinating wines to try such as a Cahors from France (85% Malbec) which should make for an interesting comparison, and a lovely sparkling wine to kick the night off in style. Check out this photo set on Flickr of the provisional wine choices – 10 bottles in all.

If you’re interested in joining us, tickets are £10 each and selling quickly. You need to buy them in advance so we know how much wine we can afford to open and how many we’re preparing food for, as we give out samples of various foods from our deli range with each wine. We normally taste 8 or so wines (if more tickets sell, we can open more wine – so invite your friends to join us too!) and will be on hand to talk you through the wines and their producers. We also offer 10% discount an anything purchased on the night (food and drink) and if anything sells out, we’ll give you the discount on your orders and will let you know as soon as we get it back in stock.

To purchase tickets you can either come and see us in the shop (23 Princes Crescent, Bare), or call us on 01524 400011 and pay by card over the phone. Any questions, post a response on here or look us up on Twitter (http://twitter.com/thewineyard) or Facebook (Search “The Wineyard & Deli”).