2017/18 Season

The details of our previous meetings in the 2017/18 season are below. Why not join us next time?

A Taste of Sicily, with Alivini Wines

6th July 2018

For our last tasting of the 2017-18 season, we welcomed Alivini Wines, with a selection of Sicilian vintages, accompanied by some cheeses and olives from the island.

Italy is undeniably amongst the most exciting wine-producing countries in the world. The enormous variety means there is a wine to suit everyone’s palate. Alivini’s portfolio has been carefully constructed and refined over several decades to contain some of Italy’s most famous producers, alongside smaller, unsung heroes from the Italian wine world to perfectly marry the diverse and delicious food products they import.
When looking at potential suppliers, Alivini takes into consideration two key factors which are of significant importance to create a superior product: passion and time. Passion is the key ingredient that all our suppliers put into their produce, especially when it comes to our wine collection. This passion also extends to oenology studies and experience. The perfect wine may bare no real recipe, however through one’s creativity and courage a great wine can be born. In winemaking, it is hard to imagine rapid success, even more so off the back of the launch of a new product. Patience is the key – using skill, time and a bit of luck, results will arrive.
The world of wine is constantly changing, a limitless world of great stories. Alivini strivese to learn and find wines that speak of their origin, crafted by talented individuals, that showcase an extra dimension of flavour, balance, finesse and persistence.

The US Pacific Northwest, with Ian McLaren

1st June 2018

The states of Washington and Oregon produce some excellent wines, but they don’t appear on supermarket bargain shelves. Ian McLaren, chair of the Central London Wine Society has found us eight wines that do not quite break the bank, but do average £20 a bottle. Ian gave us an excellent tasting, with many of the Washington wines from Charles Smith, a big merchant in Portland.

Oregon is the more southerly state, but grows almost entirely Burgundian grapes. On the Pacific side of the Rocky Mountains, it has breezes coming off the cool coastal waters. Washington, although on the border with Canada, has most of its vineyards on the eastern side of the mountains. The area is desert, except where watered by the Columbia River and its tributaries, and has a long, hot growing season. The grapes are typically red Bordeaux varieties, although white wines are grown at altitude.

Northern and Central Italy, with Andrew Price

4th May 2018

For our May meeting, our own Andrew Price made his NEWTS speaker debut, with a a wonderful selection of wines from Northern and Central Italy.

The selection included some great sparkling wines from the North, as well as reds and whites from the Centre, including Tuscany.





Turkey – Cradle of Wine Making, with Richard Bost

13th April 2018

For this meeting, we welcomed back Richard Bost, who took us on a tasting tour of Turkey.

You could easily be forgiven for not knowing that Turkey makes wine, as the country only started exporting  to the UK a few years ago. However, it is widely believed that wine-making began in Eastern Anatolia (part of modern Turkey), Georgia, and Armenia about 7,000 years ago!

The eight wines presented included sparklers, as well as white, rose, and red wines made from some of Turkey ’s wide range of indigenous grapes such as Emir, Narince, Kalecik Karasi, Okuzgozu, and Bogazkere.

CVNE Rioja, with Quentin Sadler

Friday 2nd February

CVNE, Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (https://www.cvne.com/en/), was founded in 1879 in Haro, Rioja. Still owned and run by the founding family they remain one of the great Rioja houses and produce several labels that read like a history of the Rioja region.

We tasted a broad cross-section of their wines including absolute classics, some blasts from the past and some great value too. The tasting included some beguiling white wines and some Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva reds from Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa, as well as Contino, their famous single vineyard wine.


Sumptuous Syrah – an exploration of Northern Rhone wines, with Gilbert Winfield

Friday 5th January 2018

For our first meeting of 2018, we welcomed back local wine educator Gilbert Winfield.

Cotes du Rhone wines have been the darling of UK wine consumers for decades, showing a charming balance between Mediterranean warmth and French skill, largely populated by the Grenache based wines from the Southern end of the valley. This tasting focusses on the Northern end, where Syrah is king, and the wines show a cooler climate sophistication. One of the wines will be white, but most will be from the sexy Syrah grape and the tasting will include a voluptuous Cote Rotie grown on precipitous slopes south of Vienne, perfect to reawaken any tastebuds jaded by the excesses of Christmas!

Pardon et Fils Beaujolais Wine Tasting, with Festive Nibbles, presented by Douglas Harrison

Friday 1st December

For our December meeting, we were pleased to welcome back Douglas Harrison, who offered a special Christmas tasting of ten Beaujolais wines, from Pardon et Fils (http://www.pardonetfils.com/en/).

As well as a sparkling wine to start, plus wines from both 2014 and 2015, the tasting included both Pardon’s rose and rouge 2017 Nouveaux wines, which, as promised, were excellent this year, and heading for their annual Gold Medal!

The tasting was accompanied by some delicious festive nibbles from Harrison’s Deli on Pitshanger Lane (http://www.harrisonswines.co.uk/store/), including Iberico de Bellota, a really delicious venison salami, a smoked fish pate and a variety of cheeses.

Portugal, with Jimmy Smith

Friday 3rd November

In November, we investigated a country that is innovating its light wine industry to change the stereotype that Portugal is only good for Port.

The Atlantic Ocean on the Western fringe of Europe is the dominant factor in this country’s wine production, providing various conditions for a diverse mix of grape-growing. In the mountainous north we find the region of Vinho Verde, a cooler area, known for its’ zesty and spritzy white wines. The famed Douro Valley is also important for full-bodied reds as well as the traditional Port-styles. Whilst to the south the district of Dao is on everyone’s lips, producing elegant lightly-oaked reds of distinct quality, from grape varieties such as Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz (Spain’s Tempranillo). In addition Bairrada is an up-and-coming district with exciting varieties such as Baga (red) and Bical (white). In the south we find Ribetajo and Alentejoall capable of producing interesting and complex wines. While discussing all things vinous that Portugal has to offer – we will be tasting 6 great styles of Portuguese wines!

It was a great tasting, which let us discover that there’s more to Portugal than Port!

The Family of Twelve New Zealand Wine Makers – Deborah Zbinden

Friday 6th October

This is the story of twelve dedicated New Zealand wine producers, tightly bound by a common love for the craft of fine wine growing. There are just twelve in this unique family of families, and that’s all there’ll ever be. They are The Family of Twelve, New Zealand’s Wine Family.

Deborah is a WSET Certified Educator, having worked in the wine industry since 2000.