3rd December: The SWAS Christmas AGM/Quiz/Tasting
"Summertime Down Under"
The SWAS AGM/Quiz and Tasting was very kindly hosted this year by Lyn & Dave in Henfield. Mike, in the absence of Janis, summarised the state of the 2016 SWAS Finances , worked through the AGM and then presented the Tasting and fiendish Quiz. At the end of the evening the prestigeous SWAS 'Daphne Hunt Memorial Trophy' for 2016 was presented to Dinah in recognition of her outstanding oenophilic skills. Congratulations...!
On arrival, Lyn & Dave served everyone a glass of delicious home-made hot mulled wine. This was much appreciated by all on a cold December evening. After the AGM and before we got down to the main business, Bryan offered us all a chance to taste the very last bottle in the SWAS Cellar of a 2005 Château La Nerhte, Châteauneuf-du-Pape. To buy a bottle of this nowadays would cost some £64 in Hong Kong, one of the last places that it is available...!
Moving on from that delicious Châteauneuf-du-Pape we eventually started this evening's wine tasting with some rather more mundane, but hopefully still acceptable, 'Down Under' whites...
1. Bleasdale Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2015, South Australia; 100% Chardonnay; £8.95 from The Wine Society
Adelaide Hills offers some of South Australia’s best cool-climate sites, perfect for poised chardonnay. This modern Aussie chardonnay is gently whole-bunch pressed into French oak barrels and undergoes wild ferment producing a wine that has well-integrated vanilla richness balanced by tart green-apple and lemon notes. The Wine Society's view: "Exceptional value". We agreed.
2. Stoneburn Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016; Marlborough, South Island NZ; 100% Sauvignon Blanc; 13.0% alc; £7.95 from The Wine Society
Stoneburn sauvignon is a great favourite at The Wine Society. Made by Hunter's, a popular family producer in Marlborough, the wine always has great elegance as well as aromatic power. The 2016 has fresh limes and lemons on the nose, with lemongrass developing on the dry crisp light-bodied palate and refreshing finish.
3. Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvugnon 2014; Margaret River, Western Australia; 100% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14.0% alc; £15.99 from Majestic
This wine expresses the distinct regional profile of Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon and the site characteristics it takes from the Vasse Felix vineyards, with a focus on Wilyabrup. It was the first red wine produced in Margaret River and has been made every year since 1972. Cabernet is a robust variety ideally suited to Margaret River's climate and deep, well drained soils. The wine was well received.
4. 'Gnarly Dudes', Two Hands, 2014; Barossa Valley, S. Australia; 100% Shiraz (Syrah); 14.0% alc; £19.99 from Majestic
Two Hands are dedicated to showcasing the wide range of styles available from Barossa's many and varied plots. This example is sourced from a number of parcels of mature, gnarly Shiraz vines aged in a mixture of new and old French oak hogsheads for 12 months.
5. D'Arenberg 'The Footbolt', McLaren Vale, South Australia; 100% Shiraz; 14.4% alc; £11.95 fromThe Wine Society
Chester Osborn is known for his excellent-quality rich reds from the McLaren Vale and this doesn't disappoint. 100% shiraz, full of crunchy blackberry and cassis flavours, with a balanced lick of oak; full body but soft tannins and a long finish.
6. Penfolds Bin 2, 2013; Barossa Valley, South Australia; 86% Shiraz (Syrah) 14% Mataro (Mourvedre); 14.5% alc; £16.99 from Majestic
Created in 1960, Bin 2 is a classic Penfolds blend based on Rhône varieties, made from fruit grown in Barossa, McLaren Vale and Padthaway, matured in French and American oak. Mourvedre/Mataro makes up around 14% of the blend, lending body and structure.
7. Martinborough Vineyards, 'Te Tera', 2013; Martinborough, North Island, NZ; 100% Pinot Noir; 14.0% alc; £13.50 from Majestic
A great introduction to Martinborough pinot noir – complex spice and red berry, bramble fruit nose; herbal and anise notes develop in the glass and on the palate. Fine but firm tannins and good concentration mean that this wine would pair well with many dishes including roast lamb.
8. Mount Koinga Pinot Noir, 2014; Pisa, Otago, South Island NZ; 100% Pinot Noir; 13.60% alc; £19.50 from The Wine Society
Annika Streefland owns this small single vineyard property and treats the vines more like a large garden! Each is cared for by hand, day in day out, and the wine made is exclusive to The Wine Society. The 2014 is full of juicy redcurrant flavours, with soft ripe tannins and a long refreshing finish.
9. "Roaring Meg", Mount Difficulty, 2014; Central Otago, South Island NZ; 100% Pinot Noir; 13.5% alc; £19.99 from Majestic
Mount Difficulty is a boutique winery located in Bannockburn in Central Otago. The Bannockburn area is internationally recognized as one of the few places in the world where the petulant Pinot Noir variety has found a home outside Burgundy. This wine exhibits a lovely mix of red and black berry fruits with further complexity gained from oak spice. These characters are balanced by soft tannins, balanced acidity and a fruit-driven finish.
Lyn prepared and served ...
An excellent Boeuf Bourguinon, with Salmon as an alternative , accompanied by Ottelonghi Rice, Red Cabbage and Honey Glazed Roasted Carrots. We then enjoyed a Cheese Course followed by scrummy Chocolate Cake Torte and Lemon Torte.
The Xmas Raffle: