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South Africa tasting

South Africa

14th Mayfalse bay

South Africa has come a long way in a short time. During its isolation most of the country’s wines were tired and dreary, with the reds often tasting of burnt rubber and the whites of acid drops. But since then there has been a dramatic increase in quality.

South Africa is currently the world’s seventh largest wine producer. It is the fastest growing wine-supplying country in Britain, with a 12.1 per cent share of the market, hot on the heels of Italy and France (13 and 13.1 per cent, respectively).

Much of this is driven by the big brands such as Arniston Bay and Kumala, but the top end has played its part, too with a range of new exciting wines. South Africa now competes in every category, with crisp sauvignons and creamy chardonnays; honeyed chenin blancs and spicy shiraz. Even pinotage, which has been one wine not on my wavelength is now appealing.cape chard

Originally, we had planned to show some Australian wines but when we tasted the current wines available, we found them very expensive. Then, when we looked at the South African wines and there was no contest. So the wines we plan to show are a Chardonnay which recently won a gold medal at the 2012 Vintage: Chardonnay du Monde 2013 –  Then we shall compare 2 Sauvignon blancs, the first Peacock Ridge from Waterkloof Estate in Stellenbosch with a new wine from Banghoek, the oddly named “Hells Heights” from Mon Vieux . They also make a stunning Semillon from Swartland which is excellent..

In reds, Paul Boutinot has worked very hard to eradicate the rubbery flavours from Pinotage and he has succeeded. His False Bay Pinotage has lovely rich slightly earthy pea shirazflavours that offer excellent value. Paul has also brought out a Peacock Ridge Shiraz which again is good value. Mon Vieux also makes an unusual blend of Syrah and Tannat, the latter being the grape used in Madiran. We finish off with a fabulous Circumstance Merlot that Paul Boutinot is very pleased with and regards as one of the best wines he has made.

All these wines will be available for tasting on Tuesday 14th May at 8.00pm at Kro Bar, Heaton Moor. Places are £10 and should be reserved by contacting us.

Other dates

11th June Summer wines

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Piemonte tasting


9th April

Vendemmia Roncaglie 027We have had to change our plans for the next tasting. It was meant to be South Africa but the new wines have been held up in customs waiting for clearance from the Food Standards agency. The wines will not be available till mid April. So we will show them on 14th May.

Piemonte or Piedmonte means ‘foot of the mountain’. It is dominated by the Alps and experiences a continental climate. This results in long, hot summers and severe, cold winters. It is not unusual for the region to be blanketed in fog.

We are looking at 2 wineries one a small family business Poderi Colla and a modern co-operative Araldica, where we shall look at their top range of wines under the Alasia label.

araldicaThey pride themselves on using the best local grapes, coupled with modern vinification techniques and new world know how, to produce wines of distinct varietal character. Araldica is Piemonte’s largest and most progressive co-operative yet retains a small, family run company feel, thanks to the inspired guidance of winemaker/manager Claudio Manera (whose father Livio was the co-op’s first winemaker in the fifties) and his wife Lella, also a winemaker and in charge of Quality Control. 80% of production is bottled (an extraordinarily high percentage for a large co-operative) at the company’s headquarters in the Monferrato hills, home of the old cellars and a new winery, operating since September 2000

The first Colla winemaker worked in the Langhe hills in 1703. Our own times have witnessed the legendary career of Beppe Colla (born in 1930) who is said to know every vine in every vineyard around Alba, and was one of the founding fathers of the Alba DOCs in the 1960’s. In 1993, Beppe’s talented daughter, Federica, joined forces with his younger brother Tino, and founded Poderi Colla. This challenging new venture combined the family heritage of many generations, the long-standing traditions of their terroir, and the future of Alba county’s wine-making. Their synergy brought together three outstanding estates (“poderi”) under a single quality hallmark: Poderi Colla. The three properties are Cascine Drago, just outside Alba, Tenuta Roncaglia, in Barbaresco, and Tenuta Dardi Le Rose, in Barolo’s prestigious Bussia cru. Today the wines are expertly styled by Beppe and Tino’s son Pietro .

nebbioloThis is quite a cool area with Turin to the north and Genoa to the south . The vines that flourish here are Arneis and Riesling in whites and for reds Barbera and Nebbiolo. The latter has found fame in the villages of Barolo and Barbaresco but from these 2 wineries they offer fantastic value. In fact the review of 2010 Vintage Colla Nebbiolo d’Alba : “ … is big, big, big. Sweet red cherries, flowers, mint and dried herbs explode from the glass in this decidedly large-scaled, structured Nebbiolo d’Alba. This is far from an easygoing Nebbiolo, rather it is a serious wine that overdelivers for its modest price tag. Another year or so of bottle age will only do the 2010 good. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2020. 90 points.” Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate #203, 30th June 2012

These 8 wines will be available for tasting at Kro bar Heaton Moor, Stockpoprt on Tuesday 9th April at 8.00pm. Places are £10and should be reserved by contacting us.

Other dates

14 th May South Africa

11th June France

2nd July Summer Wines