Links Instow Clovelly

The Weekend Summary – Vintage Club Weekend Instow

Septemeber 2007

Notes by Ed

The Devon 2006 weekend was spent at Railway Cottage at Instow which is located between Bideford and Barnstaple. Quentin booked this and as usual came up with an excellent venue - both for location and accommodation .He even ordered some fine warm weather! Our only regret was the venue was in north rather than south Devon so some of you had to miss out – my apologies to those affected.

As most were there for the Friday all were keen to get down drinking good wine and enjoying the fine cuisine prepared by our master chef Mark Masento – we were not disappointed as he conjured up a collection of gastronomic delights. Tops for me were the Asparagus risotto (Jamie Oliver recipe), the beetroot and feta salad and the onion gratin. Don’t know about the meat dishes but it smelt pretty good even though I am a vege! Not to be forgotten was the fact that we managed to consume 18 bottles of wine thought the evening – a vast array of our favourite whites were tasted including Loosen, Cloudy Bay , Whither Hills but also some unusual ones including a very palatable claret style from Brazil . Thanks to Steve (and Phil from Wino’s in Oldham!) One should acknowledge Steve at this point – despite carrying a wine related injury he battled on through the weekend despite being in pain. Brave man!

Even with the excesses of the previous evening no one seemed too jaded for the tasting on Saturday. The ingredients for our buffet lunch were found at a deli just a few steps down the road and yet again we were indulged in another delightful meal. Gareth (Birchley) finally arrived after driving past several times and with a full complement we were set to go. The preamble before the tasting started with some proposals for future testing’s which describe in a later email.

The tasting itself went extremely well and thanks to all who made an effort and used great imagination to get a wine to fit our nautical theme. Well done to Rachel for coming up with the best vote with Bogle. Although not in with the theme Roger was forgiven with his selection as it was the best voted red - 1996 Les Forts de Latour. Anyway read the following tasting notes to see what you missed if you did not make the tasting!

To complete the day we trooped off to Sacks restaurant for a tasty (but a little) pricey nouveau cuisine evening meal. In our happy and load state a certain member was asked to shut up by diner on another table which left another certain person on our table in a giggling fit for the next half hour ! No harm done though - we had a nice meal.

Sunday saw the departure of some members but a few of us took the opportunity to visit the fishing village at Clovelly and then enjoy watching the surf crashing in at Bude beach. The evening was spent in the pub nearby for our meal following an amusing game of Balderdash.

Overall a very enjoyable weekend - many thanks to all who made it possible

See you all again next time



The Tasting

The theme was 'Nautical'.

1. Nyetimber Blanc de Blanc 1999 ,England

The first sniff of this fizz suggested vintage Champagne – a nice biscuity nose with some development and maturity. Good rich palate showing good complexity. Comments were made about its dark colour MM. G Birchley suggested that it could be blanc de blancs – Pol Roger maybe? Winston Churchill was Lord of the Admiralty in WW1 – could we have been treated to this great themed wine? We all felt we had got this one sussed – until Q revealed it was NOT Champagne but a rather good English fizz………

2. Berberana Marino NV Spain
Mark M

Yet another intriguing wine from the Masento cellar (or fridge as it turned out) We were immediately taken aback by the fact this wine seemed to be hiding something ie bouquet and palate! After much snorting the smell of dolly mixtures were detected by Steve, sappiness on the palate – Ed, pasty!! - Steve, seawater!! – Roger. Light Condreau!!!! – G Birchley. Suggestions this could be one of those very neutral styles from Northern Italy, but no, it was a Spanish wine found by Mark in his fridge…and it fitted the theme (and fitted Mark's recent tendancy to bring truely awful wines...).

3. Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2000 New Zealand

Grassy style with green bean aromas and a little limey on the palate - no hesitation here Sauvignon Blanc! But from where ? Q thought the stewed gooseberry style suggested Californian but others were focusing on Sauvignons more recent home from home – New Zealand. It was our old favourite Cloudy Bay, with a few years of ageing . Theme = bay.

4. Bogle Chardonnay 2005 California

Big golden wine with sweet fruit and oak on the palate. Oily oaked chardy – Ed Bananas ! - Roger, who after a few more snorts went on to suggest Californian chardonnay. Gareth Birchley however suggested somewhat controversially - not chardonnay! No, this one was too obvious and Roger was right. Clever theme connection though, which got it top vote for theme. Link to theme, Bogel = Mythical sea monster,

5. Finca Valpiedra Rioja 1998

The man with a reputation for bringing along Costier de Nimes at every blind tasting slipped in something a little different for a change. The initial comments were of oakiness being detected on the nose. More mature old world wine – Ed. Oak !!shouted Roger like a town crier! Gareth Birchely – modern, tannic, blueberries - not necessarily a Rioja. Had this man come along to be devils advocate? It did not halt the cry for Rioja from a chorus led by Steve …… and it was. Theme – simple but good, a nice picture of a pebble on the label.

6. St Pierre 1997 Bordeaux

Unfortunately Corked – we shall move on …………..sob

7. Cape Mentele Cab. Merlot 2004

Cheryl, sensing she could be missing her slot, unleashed a blockbuster of a wine into the tasting. Others who knew they had lesser wines to come gasped as the massive fruit driven monster blitzed their taste buds into submission. There could be only one cry – Ozzie Shiraz! led by Steve and Roger. Has it got some Voignier in it? asked Steve. With his nose buried in the glass he was quickly honing in on to the producer. Voyager Estate he exclaimed!. Good try Steve, it was an Ozzie but a cab/merlot from Cape Mentele. Theme : Same owners as Cloudy Bay…..tenuous

8. Les Forts de Latour 1996, Paulliac

Despite being gazumped by the previous monster wine this one shone through like the winter sun on a frosty morning.The beautiful complex cedary nose immediately suggested only one thing – Claret and classy claret at that. The palate was firm and ripe but with great elegance. Steve suggested it could be St Julian or Pauillac. A classed growth indicated MM. A first wine – Ed No not a first but a second wine – but not just any second wine but arguably the greatest of them all - Les Forts from Chateau Latour. Voted best red wine. No theme.

9. Amiral de Beychevellle 2000, St. Julian

This wine was sweet with ripe fruit and youthful. Clearly from a good vintage .Everyone was immediately focusing on the fact it was claret. 2001/2002 vintage Gareth Birchley. Very ripe smell.MM – right bank?
Theme : Amiral (aka Admiral) you can’t get more nautical than that, also had a fine label with a picture of a four master sailing ship.

10. Fetzer Pacific Bay 2002 California
Mark M

I can smell Voignier in this - apricots and cream! Steve. Like tinned peaches- Gareth Interesting wine but not as interesting as previous clarets “It’s a tenuous theme revealed MM” Soft fruit but lacks structure and power. Most thought this might be claret – but we were wrong…..Theme : “Pacific Bay”

11. Lindemans St George Cab Sauvignon 1986
Gareth Birchley

From its colour and the first sniff this was clearly an old wine. The fruit had given way to a complex earthy character that old wines develop. However it still showed excellent length and complexity The question was whether this was a claret or NW. Those who guessed the new world were correct. Voted second favourite red.

12. Wolf Blass Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
Mark M

First comments were “this was not a Masento wine”. It exhibited a sweet perfumed nose and nice sweet fruit on the palate suggesting initially this was new world. However there was some discussion on where this little beauty came from. Australian – Roger and Ed . Italian – Mark and Steve guessing the grape was Sangiovese. It was announced by MM that it was not Italian – so it was an OZ after all.. Grapes still confused we had Sangiovese from Steve, Shiraz – Ed and Cab/Shiraz from Roger. No one got this completely right as it was a straight Ozzie cabernet.

14. Falesco Vittiano Umbria 2001

After his misfortune of having a corked wine earlier in the tasting, Q felt compelled to dash upstairs to find another red from his collection, thanks Q. Quite chocolaty and chewiness – exploded MM. Chocó berry – MA Ed – Not a claret could be southern French?. French wine in the new world – Mark. Where’s Lelandi ? – Steve. Votes for this wines origin were – New World 5 vs. Old Wold – 2 Q to put us out of our misery by declaring it was Italian - from Umbria

14. Rupert and Rothschild Cab/Merlot 03
Simon (friend of Cheryl)

Smells good – new world smooth. “Lid of a daffodil “is a palindrome – Gareth No one will beat me at hangman – MM. Discussion on seeing the first and last letter when you recognise a word. Back to the wine. Classic –MM Syrah? Soft and fruity. Blackberry fruit – deep and dark. Reeks of an Australian – Must be a Shiraz – Ed. But Steve disagreed – “no not an Aussie” Steve is right. South African or Californian. Merlot blend – Mark. We were getting close – until the wine was revealed.

15. Bell Napa Valley Cab. Sauvignon 02
Mark M

Big and bucksome wine with tight cabernet fruit. Big smooth and voluptuous. Then onto an Abbey Titmus conversation – why women don’t trust her?? Was this new Wold from oz? Apparently not Oz but from the Napa valley, USA Theme – Bell (of a ship)

16. Mount Langi Ighiran 1996

Green pepper and coal tar. Sandalwood – Mark (he had just been to the bathroom- guess the soap!) Course ground black pepper- green mangoes- Ed Must be a Syrah.Clearly not an Aussie wine in character but it was – Shiraz an old world style.

17. Grahams Malvedos 1996 Vintage Port
Mark M, again!

Sweet ripe glorious alcoholic rich nose - this could only be one wine to fit the theme – Port. With the wine identified we had a few guesses at the wine maker. Some thought it was a Grahams style or was it Warrs or even a Taylor’s. Turned out to be Grahams Malvedos vintage – what a fine way to finish a very good tasting.

Thanks to all the contributors.