HarwoodThe group will meet in an informal friendly environment to discuss and enjoy wine.

Group Coordinator: Derek Harwood (click to contact)

The Group meets once a month; generally the first Wednesday in the month, from 18.00 until 20.00 ish 

At a member's house in Islington.

Following the Wine Tasting event held in January 2018 it was gauged that there was enough general interest to make this a regular session, ie form as a group. But to keep costs down it will be held in a member’s home rather than a commercial establishment.

The Wine Appreciation group will function as follows:

  • It will meet monthly
  • It will meet in members’ houses (possibly on a rotational basis)
  • There will be a theme selected by the group members (in advance), eg Loire wines
  • There will be a sign-up for each session with the limit set at the first 10 (with a waiting list)
  • Five of these will be invited to bring a bottle
  • A guideline price will be given (probably £8.00 to £10.00 per bottle)
  • The person bringing the bottle will be expected to have researched the providence and present to the Group
  • Nibbles will be provided by hosts (costs recoverable)
  • Each person attending will pay £10 a session to cover all costs. Members bringing a bottle will hence get costs back, as will host for the food. Any surplus will be carried forward towards a special evening open to all group members
  • Outings for meals or to vineyards could be considered by the Group

You don't need any prior expertise in wine tasting but it is expected that you will have to do some pre-work for each session to support group discussion on the chosen wine topic.

If you are interested in joining this group, please sign into the Beacon members' system here, then under Groups, find and click on Wine Appreciation. There you will see the option of joining online. Please provide your details there. Once you've registered for the group you will receive further information through emails. Or you can send me an email — to the email account link at the top of this page.

Future Sessions
The full lookahead date information is now visible in the new 'Beacon' members' system. The link to Beacon for iU3A members is here. Once you've clicked there, sign in with your personal details, then on the Home page click on 'Calendar of meetings and events'. You'll see all groups listed there; at the top line next to 'Group', in the gap select the drop-down menu arrow; scroll down
to Wine Appreciation, click that, then only the dates for the Wine Appreciation group will be shown. 

However the next term dates are also shown here with the chosen theme:

  • Wednesday 06 February (sign up open) this session will revert to our normal start time of 18.00 — Chilean
  • Wednesday 06 March New Zealand

Sign up for the next session will become open about a month before the actual session's date.

Our Recent Meetings
January, Burgundy: we sampled three whites and two reds. We had to relax the price cap for the wines from region, so they drifted up to a max of £15.00 a bottle. But one of the whites was obtained for £8.99. To find out general information of the area look here. Notes for the specific wines tasted are as follows:

  • Macon-Villages 2016 — Les Pierres Blanches, Chardonnay, here
  • Macon-Villages 2016 — G Bouchon, Chardonnay, here
  • Macon Aze 2017 — Louis Jadot, here
  • Albert Bichot Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Beaune 2016, here
  • Chorey-les-Beaune 2016, here

Howard's additional information from his personal experiences of the area provided additional entertainment for the evening. There was agreement that the best Pinot Noir is not from France these days but Oregon!

December: we reviewed three white and two red South African wines at this very enjoyable session. There was debate about whether Walker Bay was Western or Eastern Cape WO. All the others were definitely Western Cape designation. See the general notes to explain the regions and general overview of South African wines here. Maybe the most interesting fact about the three whites was their names: Goats Do Roam, Secret Cellar & Primordial Soup, the first two slightly sweet, the last drier. We had interesting discussions on labels as well. It was then time for snacks these included biltong (dried meat), a South African speciality from one of the group and some cheese brought back from the recent iU3A Outing to the Christmas Market in Brussels. We then moved to the reds. The first, with another interesting name Flotsam & Jetsam was a pinotage (a grape variety of South African origin): fruity but quite light. We concluded with a a full bodied red from Marc Kent, Swartland, by the reviews not as good as his first creation The Chocolate Block. And of course a South African evening had to be finished off with some Amarula (a liqueur made from the local marula berry). Thanks again to the researchers for selecting a bottle and sharing the knowledge about that bottle with the rest of us. 

November: this time our session theme was Spanish wines. We had five wines this time, two whites, a rosé and two reds. The whites were both from the Galicia region (NW corner of Spain), both using the Albarino grape variety. They were similar but the 'Medusa' was judged as slightly drier. The rosé was actually from Gran Canaria, hand-carried back by Christine. We couldn't pick up the 'volcanic ash' taste supposed to be left on the palate — mainly as none of us knew what volcanic ash tasted like! The two reds were from the Rioja region (North Central). One was a Gran Reserva: aged for at least two years in oak and three in the bottle; the other was a Reserva: aged for a minimum of three years at least one of which is in oak. Both were fairly full-bodied but not heavy, the Gran Reserva being favoured highest. All our wines chosen were in the top 8% of all world wines — good choices, appreciated by all. An attempt was made to finish the session with a Spanish sweet dessert wine but this (a Manzanilla) turned out to be basically a white sherry, and not a sweet one. Good probably as chilled aperitif, but not as a dessert wine. For some of the research notes from the evening click on: general, white, rosé , rioja1 & rioja2. We also learned that there were more than 10,000 grape varieties around the world! Many tastings yet to follow.....

October: the theme for our first meeting was 'Italian Wines'. To start we had two good bottles of Orvieto from the Umbrai region but with different grape combinations, so this gave us a chance to taste the different effect this can have on the same 'type' of wine. We then moved to the reds and started with a good Nero D'Avola from Sicily, Palermo — full-bodied and quite fruity, enjoyed by all of us. But the star of the night was our 4th, a Tuscan red — Psyco. We were all in raptures about this one. Very deep and full bodied — see the detailed tasting note here. Then we rounded off the evening with some Vin Santo and biscotti. The wine was accompanied by some Italian style nibbles to help absorb some of the alcohol and we had three excellent presentations from Neil, Howard and Julia. All in all we felt this was a good start for this group.




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