Our wine tasting evenings are designed to appeal to people who appreciate fine wine.
They are relaxed and informal in style. The tutor will give some background information and then simply introduce each wine and encourage discussion. A wine tasting sheet and, where appropriate, maps will be provided but not detailed notes.
Bordeaux – Affordable Reds From The Excellent 2016 Vintage • Thursday, 30th January in London – Holborn
2016 started badly in Bordeaux. After the warmest winter on record, budbreak occurred at the end of March, long before the danger of frost had passed. A spell of cold and wet weather delayed flowering until the middle of June and although a good set was achieved, July and August were very hot and very dry, inhibiting the development of fruit. Good rainfall at the beginning of September saved the day and then, miracle upon miracle, an unbroken ten-week spell of warm, dry weather enabled good crops of healthy grapes to be picked at the moment of optimum ripeness. Wines of high quality were made across to whole of the Bordeaux region in 2016 but the best of all were made in the Medoc, where Cabernet Sauvignon is a major component of most assemblages. The Medoc wines are deep, dark purple in colour. The have attractive aromas of ripe black fruit, In the mouth, it is the balance of ripe but not jammy fruit, gentle acidity and fine tannins that impresses. These are wines that will be attractive to drink young but will age beautifully in bottle. The bad news is that the Crus Classes are now difficult to find and sell at a premium. The good news is that the quality of ‘second’ wines and wines from petits chateaux, particularly those that have earned the seal of approval of the Cru Bourgeois Association of the Medoc, is exceptionally high in 2016. And the prices of these are much more affordable.
We have selected 8 Crus Bourgeois for this tasting. Here is the line-up:-
Châteaux Vieux Moulin, Lacour Jacquet, Peyredon La Gravette, Rollan de By, Moulin de Canhaut, Maison Blanche, Pierre de Montignac and Noillac.
Tutor Vivienne Franks with Malcolm Franks.
Classic Grape – Chardonnay • Monday, 3rd February in London – Holborn
Although Chardonnay is responsible for the finest whites of Burgundy and a key contributor to Champagne, its reputation as one of the world’s greatest varieties was compromised in the 1990’s by the high alcohols and heavy oak of wines produced in the southern hemisphere. Time for a re-appraisal we think.
We plan to show a Blanc de Blancs from Le Mesnil, Chablis Vieille Vignes from Jean-Marc Brocard, Macon-Verze from Joseph Burrier, Saint-Aubin 1er Cru from Alex Gambal and top wines from Argentina, California New Zealand and South Africa.
Tutor: Sandy Leckie.
Australian Giants • Thursday, 13th February in London – Holborn
For this tasting, we have chosen contrasting pairs of wines from 8 of Australia’s top producers from our private cellars to share with you:-
Semillon, Amberley Estate
Riesling, ‘Polish Hill’, O’Leary-Walker
Riesling, ‘Polish Hill’, Grosset
Cabernet/Merlot, Cape Mentelle
‘Basket Pressed’ Shiraz, Reynella
‘Dead Arm’ Shiraz, d’Arenberg
Noble 1′, Botrytis Semillon
Tutor: Sandy Leckie
Southern Rhône • Monday, 17th February in London – Holborn
The southern part of the Rhône valley produces some of the most accessible and best value wines of France. We shall be tasting a representative selection of wines from top producers. Here is the line-up:-
Lirac – ‘La Fermade’, Domaine Maby
Grignan-lès-Adhémar – Viognier, Domaine de Montine
Tavel – ‘Prima Donna’, Domaine Maby
Côtes-du-Rhône – Château Courac
Gigondas – ‘Le Pas de l’Aigle’, Pierre Amadieu
Cairanne – Pierre Amadieu
Châteauneuf-du-Pape – ‘Clos du Calvaire’
Muscat-de-Beaumes-de-Venise – Domaine Des Bernadins
Tutor: Sue Eames with Malcolm Franks.
Rioja's Rising Stars • Tuesday, 25th February in London – Holborn
This tasting focuses on recent changes within this much-loved region. Long prized for its beautiful oak – aged reds, new styles of wine have been developing in Rioja over the last decade. A younger generation of winemakers is putting more emphasis on terroir than mandatory ageing in barrel – and there is renewed interest in white and rosado Rioja. The Consejo itself has been updating the rules of production to encourage the development of new styles and to permit vineyard designations on bottles. Our tasting will bring you right up to date with all these changes.
Tutor Pippa Hayward (Accredited Rioja Wine Educator) with Sandy Leckie.
Fine Swiss Wines • Monday, 2nd March in London – Holborn
At number 24 in the world league, Switzerland produces more than twice as much wine as New Zealand, but exports little. However, what it does export is of high quality. At this tasting, we will show wines made from Chasselas, aka Fendant (the most widely planted grape variety in Switzerland) and regional specialities like Petite Arvine as well as international varieties Pinot Noir and Merlot. Here is the complete wine list:-
Chasselas Non-filtré, Montmollin, ‘17
Fendant Grand Cru, Brunière, ‘17
Bianco di Merlot, Contrada, ‘16
Petite Arvine ‘Grande Année’, René Favre ‘10
Pinot Noir, Montmollin, ‘15
Merlot ‘Empreinte’, Cave de la Côte, ‘16
Gamaret-Garanoir, Cave de la Côte, ‘16
Piot Noir ‘Renommée’, René Favre
Tutor: Vivienne Franks with Malcolm Franks.
Mature German Riesling • Thursday, 12th March in London – Holborn
The tastings we organised in 2016 and 2017 were so popular that whenever the opportunity arises to invest in more old vintages, we jump at it. Rieslings in a variety of styles from the Mosel, Nahe and Pfalz and vintages back to 1995. Here are the wines we have selected for you to taste:-
Ruppertsberger Hoheburg Kabinett, Wnzerverein,‘03
Burg-Layer Schlosskapelle Kabinett Schäfer,‘97
Laubenheiemer Vogelsang Spätlese, Schäfer‘03
Erdener Treppchen Spätlese, Beres,‘00
Erdener Herrenberg Spätlese. Beres,‘95
Munsterer Pittersberg Auslese, Gottelmann,‘06
Burg-Layer Rothenberg Auslese, Schäfer,‘03
Burg-Layer Schlosskapelle Auslese, Schäfer,‘99
Tutor: Vivienne Franks with Malcolm Franks.
South America – The New Wave • Monday, 16th March in London – Holborn
Over the last few years, pioneering grape growers and wine makers in Argentina and Chile have been busy seeking out new vineyard locations to take advantage of their countries’ special geography and climate. We are now seeing the results of their work and very impressive they are too. We shall be showing 4 white and 4 red wines from some of the most innovative wine makers of the southern hemisphere.
Tutor – Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie
South African Gems • Thursday, 26th March in London – Holborn
A selection of wines from leading South African producers such as Boekenhoutskloof, Bouchard-Finlayson, Meerlust, Kanonkop, Morgenhof, Rustenberg, and Vergelegen.
Tutor: Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie
Mature Red Bordeaux • Monday, 30th March in London – Holborn
Eight mature red wines from Bordeaux:-
La Tour-Haut-Brion ’03
Les Fiefs-de-Lagrange ’00
Labegorce Zédé ’00
Haut-Batailley ’95 (Pictured)
Tutor: Vivienne Franks and Malcolm Franks.