Saturday 3rd November 2018 : "A Cruise Around the Med:  Spain to Morocco by Helicopter!" with Janis & Bill in Worthing.

Great variety in Bill's choice of wines for this very well planned Tasting...!

The Whites:

1. Dveri-Pax Jarenina 2016; Slovenia; Sipon/Furmint grapes; 12.5% abv; £11.00 from the Wine Society


Producer's Notes: "At the Dveri-Pax Wine Cellar in North-Eastern Slovenia, we continue an 800-year tradition of Benedictine winemaking. With a deep respect for nature and tradition, but never failing to integrate the best innovations offered by contemporary trends in winemaking, we cultivate 73 hectares (0,278 square miles) of our own vineyards. The superior quality of our wines is well recognized. Dveri-Pax wines have won awards from the most respectful international wine evaluations, such as Decanter in London, AWC Vienna and many more. At the Decanter World Wine Awards in London, the Furmint / Sipon straw wine 2009 won the highest award - International Trophy, proving the superior quality Dveri-Pax wines even when pitted against the top wine manufacturers in the world".

" Excellent combo of nerve, fire and ageing potential" - Jancis Robinson

"Smoky with Elderflower" - Decanter Magazine (Silver Medal) 

Bill's notes: "Crab Apple & Sherberty.  Spritzy?"

2. Papagiannakos, NE Attiki, Greece 2015; Assyrtiko grape; 12.5% abv; £16.00 from Hennings


Produced from 100% Assyrtiko grapes. The vines are grown on un-irrigated limestone soil at around 100m altitude, in north-east Attiki. Grapes are typically harvested towards the end of August. The wine undergoes no oak ageing – it’s fermented and matured in stainless steel at a controlled temperature (16-18ºC) with some time spent on fine lees. Maturation in bottle for 1 year. Fresh floral aromas of citrus, white blossom, wild orange and lime. Further citrus characters on the textured, mineral palate with a refreshing saline acidity. A zesty, crisp and characterful white with potential to age.

Bill's note:  "Knockout nose! Very aromatic citrus/stewed peaches"

The Reds:

3. Domaine de Ouled Thaleb, 2015; Benslimane, Morocco; 100% Syrah; 13% abv; £13.00  from the Wine Society


Alain Graillot is best known for his own vineyard at Crozes Hermitage in the Rhône Valley created in 1985. Today owner of twenty hectares of vines, his wines are known and recognized both in France and France. the rest of the world. With a passion for wine and gastronomy, Alain Graillot's project is to share his passion for wine in France and abroad. For example, by partnering with Jacques Poulain, a Bordeaux oenologist based in Morocco at the Ouled Thaleb estate (Meknes Region), the Tandem cuvée was born: a 100% Syrah wine, a grape variety of which Alain Graillot is a specialist.  Alain first visited when on a cycling holiday in Morocco - he now jointly owns the winery!

" Citrus/Orange/Lime nose. Zesty, crisp & characterful" - the Winery 

Bill's notes:  "Not as dense as some Syrah. Has a slight purply edge. Perhaps a sign of youth?  Nose of stewed fruit, palate is light & refeshing. Plummy & easy drinking".

4.  Stobi, Syrah 2013; Tikves Region, Republic of Macedonia; 100% Syrah ; 14% abv; Bought from Waitrose £ 12.00. No longer available.


Our Stobi Syrah Barrique has a rich deep colour and appealing aromas of blackberry and raspberry with a twist of spice. It is vibrant and beautifully balanced with refined tannins and a long finish. A wine that is from the Tikves wine making region, this premium full bodied wine is great for aging. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Food Suggestions:  Partners best with red meat, stews and farmhouse cheeses.

Stobi in Tikves Region is the homeland of Alexander the Great. The vineyard is surrounded by architectural wonders. The peacock on the label is taken from a nearby Roman mosaic. In Macedonia the Peacock is the symbol of immortality and is the national icon of the country.

Winery's notes:  Blackberry/raspberry and spice. Full and opulent.

Bill's notes: "Very dark purple, very full nose of marzipan? Victoria spice/spice.  Light, fruity but smoky. A big wine which is still young. Long finish."

5. Bodegas Altolandon, Mil Historias 2016; Manchuel region, Valencia; Bobal, Marsolo Garrote, Altolandon Manchuela grapes; 14.5% abv; Bought from Hennings for £12.00


As the lands starts to rise, inland northwest of Valencia, you will find Roselia Molina heading up Bodegas Altolandon. The property consists of 120 hectares with the winery resting right in the centre, not only making it aesthetically satisfying but also extremely practical. At 1,100 metres above sea level, the altitude serves to benefit the grapes with large diurnal variations which encourage even ripening and also helping retain their natural acidity. Organic methods are used to manage the vines utilising only natural fertilisers and some green pruning to further guarantee the quality of fruit prior to hand-harvesting. The grapes are vinified as naturally as possible with native yeasts and little other intervention. The wines are then aged in French oak and some in clay amphora to retain purity, but build complexity.

The vineyards face north-south, at about 11 metres surrounded by mountains but on a flat plain. The vineyards are farmed organically, sustainably and biodynamically with vines cordon trained and spur pruned.

Harvested late, by hand and never before the 12th October into 12kg cases. The colour is extracted in 6000 litre inox tank. Skin contact for 2 to 3 weeks at a controlled temperature before an alcoholic fermentation which is spontaneous, with gentle pumping over for 5 weeks. Pressed directly to 3rd use, 225 Litre French oak barrels, where the malolactic fermentation takes place, also in a natural and spontaneous way for about 4 months. Stabilisation is also natural and during the coldest months, temperatures can go to minus 15º C.

A deep cherry colour with violet tints. Nose is intense with aromas of ripe red seasonal fruit (cherries, blackberries, blackcurrant), subtle hints of violets, rosemary and a touch of black pepper. This Bobal shows distinctive power, vibrant fruit, freshness with soft and ripe tannin. It is spicy and juicy with a well rounded palate with a fascinating crunchy-fruit freshness. The finish is gently tannic combined excellent depth.

6.  Ribas Negre 2014; Mallorca; 50% Mantonegro, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah, 10% Merlot; 14.5% abv;  From the Geddes Cellar, purchased from the producer for £15.00


This wine displays the red fruit primary characters of Mantonegro as well as mineral notes from our vineyards, rich in salts and limestone. Grape varieties:50% Mantonegro, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah and 10% Merlot Aging: 10 months Barrel type: 75% French oak and 25% American oak Alcohol strength: 14% Shelf life: 6-8 Years Production: 31.000 bottles of 0,75 L

The grapes are harvested by hand before being strictly selected, one by one, at the triage table to control the quality of the grapes. Followed by fermentation at moderate temperature between 25 and 27ºC to avoid over-maceration and to obtain the primary aromas of red fruit from Mantonegro and the smooth and round tannins of Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet. Followed by a 10-month aging period in second and third year barrels.

Tasting notes: Color Bright cherry red with a hint of purple . Nose:  Red fruit and wild berry aromas, with licorice and balsamic hues. Taste:   Powerful, well balanced with smooth and round tannins. Suggestions:   Majorcan cuisine (stuffed aubergines, lamb dishes). Duck magret, mushrooms.

Winery notes: Bright cherry red. Red fruit/liquorice/balsamic.

Bill's notes: Plum coloured with berry fruits/plums & prunes. Good balance, long finish & easy drinking . At four years old it is fully ready.

7. Minkov Brothers, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014; Thracia Valley, Bulgaria;  100% Cabernet Sauvignon; 13% abv; £15.00 from Cellar Wines, Ripley - no longer available


Intense and rich, with nuances of black wild berries, chocolate and toasty tinges, with undertones of caramel, musk and vanilla in its flavour. Thick and round, with a juicy feeling, soft freshness and smooth tannins, and a lingering finish with aromas of chocolate and ripe wild berries. The wine has matured for 10 months in brand-new barrels of French oak and has a potential to age in a bottle for up to 5 years.

Would go well with flavoured meat terrines, stewed red meat dishes with wine sauces and wild mushrooms, grilled meat and game dishes with vegetables, flavoured soft cheese.

8. Brunello di Montelchino Riserva, Piccini,  2011; Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy; Sangiovase grape; 14.5% abv;  from the Geddes Cellar, possibly bought for £ 30.00 from Waitrose, now valued at at least £45.


Aromas of scorched earth, Asian spice and mature black-skinned fruit lead the way. The straightforward palate offers dried black cherry, crushed anise, clove and grilled sage alongside loosely knit tannins. Drink through 2019.

The grape of fine Italian wine, 'Brunello' translated as 'Little Dark One'.

Made by Piccini near Montalcino the town of the region located 20 miles south of Sienna in Tuscany.  This vintage was awarded a Gold Medal at the 2017 International Wine Challenge.

Winery note:  "Blackcurrant & strawberry/ savoury & aromatic. Weighty & rich but lean."

9. Chateau Musar, Gaston Hochar 1996; Bekaa Valley, Lebanon; Cab Sauv, Cincault, Carnignan; 13% abv; Bought for £9 now worth at least £60


The Bekaa Valley where the grapes grow is at 1,000 metres height. The cuvée for Ch Musar varies from year to year according  to how the winemakers think the best blend will be. The wine is not released for sale until it is 4 years old. So, you will never see a 'young' Musar.  This example is now 22 years old and, because Musar can be a bit erratic Bill recommends crossing fingers before pouring it...!

Bill's comments:  "Many years ago, once a month, on Pay Day,  Billy & I would visit the Uxbridge Arms pub for a pint. Later we would pop around the corner to Oddbins to buy a case of wine. It became my habit to include a bottle of Musar in my shopping. My recollection is that the first time I bought it the price was £8.99. I have no idea what I paid for this one so I charged SWAS a tenner. If you look online it is now apparently worth around £60...!"

Tasting Notes from the Internet:  Ruby Red. Rich/spicy/cherry/olives/cloves. Stewed fruit, plums & blackcurrants.

10.   La Viala, Minervois la Livinière, Gérard Bertrand 2007; Bertrou, France; 60% Syrah, 25% Grenache, 15% Cardignan; 14.5% abv; from the Geddes Cellar - bought for £35 now probably worth around £56.


Bill's Notes:  "I bought this in Narbonne at the producer's rather magnificent establishment.  Gérard Bertrand inherited a wine making company from his father and has massively expanded its production and has changed all production to be Biodynamic.  He now makes wine in 16 different appelations.  His original claim to fame was that he played International Rugby for France.  Today he produces some kicking wines.  You may have to scrum to get a bottle of this as it is available on the internet for about £56.00".

"The label has the Cathar Cross as its Trade Mark.  This is because it was in SW France that the Cathars were most prevalent.  They were very early opponents of the Pope and suffered terribly for their beliefs.  The area has the ruins of many Cathar Castles and is a fascinating area to explore".

We have a friend in France who has spent a lifetime in the food & drink industry.  On one of the last occasions when we saw Guf (he lives in Montpellier) as we were leaving he said to me if you ever get the chance, try to buy some wine from Bertou, a small village in the Pyrenean foothills.  We did indeed visit Bertou.  We bought some wine from the terrific Co-op there and then strolled across the bridge which spans the small river to have a super meal on the terrace of a restaurant opposite the Co-op.  It was one of those perfect experiences...".

"Before researching this wine for tonight, I had assumed it had been sourced somewhere close to Narbonne, perhaps at La Clappe which is nearby.  But I was astonished to find that in 1997 Gérard Bertrand bought a small parcel of land in Bertou and so this wine comes from that village".

For Supper, Janis served an excellent Fish Pie with Creamed Potatoes & Carrots (both from Bill's allotment) and Garden Peas.  Followed by a Rhubarb Tart, Cheesecake, a selection of Cheeses and Tea/Coffee. Some members also indulged in a Fruity Vodka...!

The Raffle:

1.  Trebuchet 2017 Chardonnay from Western Cape, South Africa - won by Sally


2.  Saint Cosme 2014 Côtes du Rhône - won by Adrienne D


Page last updated 13.11.2018 22:20

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