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Alcofrolics on the Wirral Peninsular

Category: Courses

Wine Course week 3 – Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon

Domaine Patrick Vauvy Touraine

Domaine Patrick Vauvy Touraine

This week at Chester Beer and Wines in Hoole, the focus was on Sauvignon Blanc for the whites, and Cabernet Sauvignon (or at least blends that lead with that grape) for the Reds. As usual, both the tutor, Mervyn, and our fellow   imbibers were in good humour, so with a short glance at the map showing the key areas for these grapes, it was on to the tasting. First up were the Sauvignon Blancs, and, to my wife’s delight a Marlborough example, The Cloud Factory 2015 (£9). I didn’t share my wife’s excitement however, having been stung by too many cheaper NZ sauvignon blancs, invariable with the words “Cloud” or “Bay” featuring in the name. This particular bottle had the characteristic pale green-straw colour, almost translucent at the edge, and Kiwi fruit dominating the nose. On the palate it was all gooseberry and elderflower, however, and sharp acidity, although the fruit wasn’t cloying – it seemed to me a good example of it’s type and at a very reasonable price (my guess was £12). I do find that these wines peak a little later though as the acidity becomes more integrated, so I would imagine the 2014 would be optimum vintage to drink now. Next up was a South African wine, the False Bay 2015 Sauvignon Blanc (£7.50).   Continue reading

Wine Course week 2 – Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

(Previous week)

How I would like to deal with reps who give small tasters

How I would like to deal with reps who give small tasting samples

Last night saw the wife and I return to Chester Beer and Wines for the second of five sessions of their tasting course, and the subject this week was the Burgundian grape varieties. Firstly, however, I should say how impressed I am with the course so far, the tutor Mervyn is excellent and the other attendees great company. I was in two minds whether to book myself on it – I like to think I’m reasonably comfortable with at least the main French varieties and regions together with their new world counterparts. What has surprised me, however, is how much you learn by drinking reasonable amounts of contrasting wines in parallel, and discussing it with like minded people. My usual approach is to drink single bottles sequentially, or alternatively attending tasting events where you are given a miserly splash after miserly splash – I can only assume I don’t give off a sufficiently affluent air! Continue reading

Wine Course week 1 – Pleasant surprises

My wife and I are self taught wine imbibers. Sure, we know our Pouilly-Fumé from our Pouilly-Fuissé, but we’ve never had the pleasure of instructor led tuition. To put that right we treated ourselves to a 5 week course at the excellent Chester Beer and Wines, the first session of which was this Monday. The congenial instructor Mervyn had acquired 6 bottles for us to taste, his idea being to supply a wide variety of contrasting wines: for example, a tart white followed by a flabby one. The end result was a group of wines that may not have been the best I’ll taste, but were all the more interesting as a selection. Continue reading

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