Vintage Club Newsletter. Spring/Summer 1999

Dear Vcers

I do apologise for the tardiness of these newsletters which we have combined into one double issue (now split-R). Our son has become a black hole that seems to devour any moment of time or energy that might otherwise be put to good use (such as typing up VC notes). However, we are trying my best so do bear with us.

Well since I last wrote we have had two excellent Vintage Club tastings. The first was a weekend away in a cottage in Brayford on the edge of Exmoor and the second our annual tasting in Bath. Many thanks to everyone who came to these tastings and I hope you enjoyed them. To those who didn't (didn't come not didn't enjoy it!) I hope reading these notes will make you regret what you missed and will encourage you to come along to the next ; speaking of which although the venue has not been finalised the next tasting will be on October 9th so mark it in your diaries now!

We are still planning a Millenium trip to Champagne on the first Bank Holiday in May. This will be based on renting a cottage/ Gite for 3-4 nights in the Champagne region, a special Millenium tasting and a trip to a Champagne House. Actual details will be sent out very soon and I will need commitments and deposits from those interested. It would be lovely to get some of the older members together again for this special occasion so do try and make it if you can.

So without further waffle, the tastings.which Ed has very kindly translated and typed....

DEVON TASTING. April 1999. Tasting Notes

Complied by Ed from Chris's notes

The theme was.......FIRST NAMES (no producers names allowed!)

The tasting began around the kitchen table of the massive farmhouse kitchen we later moved outside to enjoy the lovely spring sunshine

The tasting

Chris and Ed
this wine was brought to toast new vc member -James Kay

Rich buttery Toasty with grapefruit on finish. Bill "Blanc de Blanc" Ed contradicts with "Pinot based". There was some confusion if this wine was new or old world .A vote produced a 50/50 split on whether it was an Aussie sparkler (what an insult!) or Champagne. There were a few surprised faces when it was unwrapped. Time to get the noses and taste buds into gear!

Pierre Gimmonet 1992 Vintage Champagne from Oddbins 17.00; theme ``Pierre''

Mark - not themed, tut tut
Dolly mixtures, pear drops, ethyl acetate, banana chews, orange blossom, peachy ( a suggestion it might be Voignier) - slightly flabby palate. Described as rather similar to Randal Grahm's "Bloody good white" (Oddbins) but the bottle was the wrong shape. Bill sticks his neck out (didn't know he had one!) and says its South African Sauvignon/Semillon-Wrong! We should have stuck with our initial impressions-Voignier

Picajuan Peak NV Argentina Voignier from Tesco 4-99.

Mark-not themed, tut tut again
Everyone is yawning - Ed throws water everywhere (he's worse than the baby). Hang on we haven't got started yet there is another 13 wines to go!

After plunging our noses into our glasses there is a chorus of "mind the oak". A very toasty little number -is it French or American Oak? There are suggestions the barrels could be made from alternating staves of American and French Oak. Rambutan Rampercash (English cricketer) Whats his name doing in the middle of these tasting notes! Well back to the wine - Aussie Chardonnay from Coonawara - was that Steve's suggestion? "Can you be more specific?" The third row down the vineyard on the left hand side. No sorry a little too specific it was American

Jekel Gravelstone Chardonnay Monterey Countey California 1996 6-99 from Wine Rack.

Steve "Louis"
Looks oily and oaky with a very rich nose. No hold on it looks like a Riesling as it is poured. Stokes - the old unit of Centiporses-P factor converts between the two (Slugs and Porpoises.!) Strong lemon and lime curd flavours with good acidity. Ed puts his head on the line suggesting Hunter valley Semillon - "but where are the damp sheep!" says Mark. Is Verdelho a red herring? Well it was an Aussie semillon after all

Hencheke "Louis" Eden Valley Semillon 1996 Australia 9.00 from Waitrose

Mark - not themed, tut tut tut tut
What has Steve got in his pockets?. Guy is prodding his dish (not Philippa! [oi, just read that, G]) To the wine...Orange/brown at the rim-shows some age. Quite leggy with vegetal nose Feels as if could do with warming up a bit - this is causing confusion. Ed thinks its pinot then changes his mind as grassy green unripe tannins start to show through. fruit seems to have disappeared- leaving a sappy stalkiness. Summing up looks old tastes green. Merlot based claret or Cab Franc from Loire? Hmm - expected a lot more ripeness in the fruit from a 1990 claret!

Dom. Baron Phillipe Rothchild Reserve Speciale 1990 - a Present

Gareth - "Monty"
Pongy, plummy rich and earthy with a nice nose." Smells like earl grey tea"-Quentin" "Pommerol"- exclaims Mark vivaciously. Sorry but it was one of those uncharacteristic Riojas- we had no chance of getting it...

Montechilla Gran Reserve "Vina Monty" Rioja 1989 - from Oddbins 9.99

Jaqui " Jaques" - the first person attempting to match their own name!
Nice smelling wine says Guy. "Something characteristic" -Mark Crimson colour a nose of cherries suggests maybe Italian. "freshly washed duvets-spicy duvets even" says someone. Ed is perplexed by the new wine making- is it a Californian Sangiovese? No sorry - good old Beaujolais

Moulin a Vent Chateau des Jaques Beaujolais Jadot 1997 - from Waitrose 9.50

George and Caroline "George" the second person attempting to match their own name!
Silly Billy says "Who thinks this is Spanish "- we all think its Burgundy. The vegetal strawberry jam nose could be what is leading us in this direction. Comments like butchers shop-a vegetarian butchers shop?? and chocolate orange (Mark) don't throw us off the sent - this wine was easily identified

Nuit St. Georges Premier Cru ?Producer 1994 from Majestic 20-00

Silly Billy " Joseph"
"Horsey"-Mark exclaims. Don't give the glass to James he'll drink it all"-Chris. and then goes onto say its smell like another pinot. We all take note (Chris can sniff out a Pinot at 50 yards). But hold on this wine is purple with deep peppery undertones.

Several minutes later.... we have now adjourned to sit outside and bask in the sunshine

Back to the wine. "Maybe some Grenache in here"-Ed (but he's not convinced). "Sausages" says Bill Is he planning a Barbecue or something? Steve thinks it Cru Beaujolais. Were getting close now - northern Rhone or southern French- silly us its a Billy wine!

St Joseph Rhone 1996 Dom. Coursodon

Chris and Ed " Barbara"
"Pwow " says Bill which is another way of saying pepper, liquorice, braised fennel on a bed of barbecue bananas-is it Beaujolais. Mark thinks Zinfandel or maybe a new age Super Tuscan-no its a new age super Piemonte

Countacc! Barbera Michele Chiarlo Piemonte 1996 Italy- 17-00 from Oddbins

Steve - not themed, tut
Old armchairs sweaty saddles or was that armpit? Intense and old but very fruity for its apparent age. Some people think Steve =Australia so there is disagreement whether this wine is from Oz or France. "Its too silky for claret" but I'm afraid it was claret and very nice too!

Chateau Pope Clemant 1988 28-00 from Willabys Oldham

Quentin - not themed, tut
Prickly sherberty Italian wine - with a dab of toffee apples. Ed proclaims "I am convinced that the Goodyear G800 Supersteel will make a great contribution to road safety". Oops sorry "Im convinced this is an Reciotto Amarone" -but alas he was wrong it was a more humble wine, but one of the favourites of the tasting

Squinzano NV Italy a mere 2-99 from Sainsbury's

Quentin and Jacqui - not themed, tut tut
The furrowed brows of the tasters made it was clear that this was a ....serious wine. "Claret" -suggests Quentin. But on the palate it proved to show off a lot of sweet ripe fruit. This led to the France/Spain vote as to this wine's origins. Those who voted France were right-yet another tasty claret.

Chateau Desmiral 1994 Margaux

Guy and Philippa - not themed, multiple tut
Well onto wine number 14 - the alcohol has taken some effect. Jaqui is wearing James's hat and looks as though she is straight off a Parisian catwalk!

This wine is sort of marmalade and a bit Sauterney-. It hits the mark! Fantastic, spot on -we are running out of superlatives. The general feeling it might be a Sauterne from not such a nobly rotten year, but its not - it from that other, often forgotten region of France the Coteaux de Layon. Yum,yum

Dom Sauveray "Cuvee Nectar" Coteaux de Layon St Lambert du Luttay 1995 18-99 from Oddbins

Mark - not themed
Prune juice - thick and viscous with long legs-Is this Pedro Ximenez/ No its from Malaga

Malaga Cruz Vin Veijo Malaga NV 2-00 from a French hyper market.

Well that's all folks, I promise I'll write again soon.

Chris and Ed