01438 741177         thewinesociety.com

Press tasting - Autumn 2019


Press tasting is today, and to prove it here are @DavidTheChemist, @Aaronb and @Polly about to get stuck in!


They are looking VERY excited to be there! Have fun guys and looking forward to hearing about your highlights :clinking_glasses::clinking_glasses::clinking_glasses::wine_glass:


Oooh! You all look jolly already! have fun!!! and report from the field :smiley: :+1:


Really nice to meet Polly and David and all the society staff. Great tasting!


Tough job tasting 73 wines! …but hugely enjoyable. Great to meet @Polly and @Aaronb and we divided the task between us. I’ll report in more detail tomorrow about ‘my’ wines. Thoroughly recommend that community members put their names in the hat when the next press tasting is announced. Many thanks to @Ewan for hosting us at the event.


@DavidTheChemist, as a point of interest, how many wines did you each taste? Say 25 each?


Yes about 25 each, then we filled in any gaps we felt we missed out on


I’m sure your wishlists have all grown. Can’t wait to read about it.


We had a jolly time in London at the Autumn Press Tasting and thoroughly enjoyed the event. @Ewan looked after us and we were introduced to a number of the Society buyers. As the wine journalists began to arrive we got stuck into the task ahead.

@Aaronb and @Polly and I divided up the list so that we would each taste and report on 24-25 wines but we all tasted a few extra which we found interesting but were not on ‘our’ list. So my 24 wines were every third one on the list of 73 starting with no.2. I have included some of the Wine Society notes (in italics) among my comments especially when the wine is not yet listed on the website or printed list. Some of the wines in this tasting will be included in the next fine wine list.

This English sparkler certainly sparkles with a fine mousse. It is mature and yet it may well continue to develop and gain more complexity and depth as it is still comparatively young. It has a toasty aroma, a very nice balance of acidity and fruit and lasts long on the palate.

2015 Rainer Ried Pfaffenberg 1ÖTW Grüner Veltliner (Available from 4th November list number AA2711 £25)

2015 was marked with a freak hailstorm which reduced yields, but the resultant concentration is a treat to taste . Elegance in abundance , a bright golden colour, subtle aroma and a gentle yet vibrant minerality.

This has a very pale colour fruity aromas and is easy drinking. Tremendous value at the price.

This wine has a pale colour but a powerful aroma which is fruity and flinty and the apple and citrus on the palate is balanced nicely with the acidity

2014 Jean-Marc Vincent, Santenay Premier Cru Gravières Blanc (Available from 4th November list no. BU62541 at £28)

A taut bright white Burgundy from a top vintage. Fermenting in larger (300 litre as opposed to 228 litre) barrels has helped to maintain the freshness while rounding out the palate . It is pale gold with a creamy bouquet and a fresh taste which lingers on the palate.

I just love this example of viognier! The pale coloured wine has a very obvious fragrant apricot aroma and the apricot is again tasted on the palate along with a gentle acidity which is well balanced with the fruit. This is definitely going on my Wish List for my next order.

2018 Tobelos Blanco, Rioja (Available from 4th November list no. SP15081 at £12.50)

This bowled Pierre over on his recent visit to Rioja. Adriana Laucirica, the new winemaker at Tobelos, has crafted a beautiful white Rioja which is perfumed, peachy and plump, with just a hint of oak. 80% viura, 10% garnacha and a touch of sauvignon to cleverly lift the aromatics.

I found this pale yellow wine had an aroma of peach. The ‘plumpness’ is lovely – smooth and fruity with a low acidity. Lovers of white Rioja, including me, will enjoy this. Another addition to my Wish List!

This has a lovely fruity aroma with just a hint of petrol. Nicely balanced and smooth with a lemony tang on the palate.

There were three vintages of this wine at the tasting. The 2014 is available now but the 2013 (AL12571 @ £45) and 2012 (AL11261 @ £46) will be available from November 4th. I had the fortune to taste the 2012. It has a golden colour, the aroma is initially closed but opens up in the glss to reveal fruit and a hint of petrol. The taste is fruity with a good acidity. I am not a great fan of Riesling so I would reckon this is too expensive for me but I am sure that lovers of Riesling will delight in this wine but get in quick when it is offered as it is marked as low stock!

Well that is it for the white wines that were on ‘my list’. I’ll post this now, have a break for a coffee and return later for a review of the reds.


Wow! Some of these wines sound AMAZING ! Looking forward to the next instalment! Thanks for posting your notes David :grinning:.


Thanks for posting these notes, @DavidTheChemist! Some gorgeous wines coming our way in time for Christmas :+1::+1::heart_eyes:


Thank you for the notes. The wishlist is already too long, after the South American tasting, but it will have to get longer.


Here we go again with ‘my’ red and fortified wines. (Again Wine Society descriptions in italics)

Just a lovely garnet colour with cherry aroma and typical gamay palate. Another wine for my Wish List!

2018 Luna Beberide Mencia, Bierzo (Available 4th November List number SP15221 @ £9.95)

Excellent example of the mencia grape, grown here in the cooler north-west of the country. This unoaked light-coloured red has bright cherry fruit and is full of energy.

Bright red colour. Fruity taste but the acidity and tannin are not as well balanced as the Morgon - but then it is at a different price level and is a good value wine that I think would be a good match with food, maybe a nice platter of Spanish cured meats.

2016 Ashton Hills Piccadilly Valley Pinot Noir (available 4th November List number AU22091 @ £25)

From one of Australia’s great boutique pinot producers, located in the cool Adelaide Hills. Matured in old French oak, this is fresh, silky and crisp, with intricate layers of red fruits which develop beautifully in the glass.

Light red terracotta colour with an aroma of red berry fruits, especially strawberry and maybe a hint of bubblegum. The tannins are soft in the mouth and the taste is long lasting.

2017 Tomáš Čačik Svatovařinecké (available 4th November List number CK131 @£17)

Although the name doesn’t lend itself well to native English speakers ***, this is a delicious Czech take on the grape better known as St Laurent. The late Tomáš Čačik was a great winemaker and ex-chef who gave a culinary twist to his low intervention wines. This is one of his last vintages and is a bright, fresh treat.

*** or indeed to anyone trying to type in those accents over the letters!

The wine has a deep magenta colour with a fresh fruity taste of blackberry fruit. Love it and another one for my Wish List.

This has an intense deep red ruby colour. There is a nice balance between the fruits and tannins. On my Wish List.

A lovely dark colour. The aroma has hints of burnt toast with the fruit. A mature claret that is really smooth with soft tannins.

I can hardly add anything to the notes in the product detail – a beautiful, floral wine with a violet nose, sweet tannins and a fine and concentrated palate . Another one for my Wish List

This has a light red colour with a hint of terracotta. I found this to be a good example of a mature Rioja which is fruity with soft tannins and subtle oak. Another example of how good the Society’s Exhibition wines are. Yet another one for my Wish List!

Deep red in colour with cherries on the palate which balance well with the tannins. Wow! Fabulous value at the price! Added to my Wish List!

2017 Newton Johnson ‘Full Stop Rock’ Syrah-Grenache- Mourvèdre, Upper Hemel en Aarde Valley (Available 4th November List number SA15121 @ £13.95)

This part of South Africa – and this winery – is renowned for pinot noir, but despite the change of grapes this wine has the same elegant cool-climate style. A wonderful, fresh blend where syrah dominates, offering a hint of the grape’s classic peppery character.

I certainly agree with the description given and found it fresh and peppery – pleasant drinking.

Actually we were not offered the half bottle which is currently available but this wine was shown in three bottle sizes – 75cl @ £26 (RH38431) Magnum @ £55 (RH38434) and Jeroboam @ £125 (RH38435) – these are available from 4th November

Wonderful, classy and celebrated syrah in a range of bottle sizes. Dense, concentrated and dark with lots of black fruit, but also with an uplifting freshness. The oak too is well judged and the stock of barrels from Château La Lagune in Bordeaux (which is under the same ownership) is being replaced by larger 500-litre casks which tend to favour fruit flavours more. Superb wine.

I went off-piste here and tried all three samples (‘my’ allocation was the magnum) to see if there was any difference. The description above is accurate and I can’t really say much more. Personally I couldn’t tell any significant difference between the bottle sizes although some people (hi @SykoWino!) found that maybe the jeroboam tasted fresher probably because of the slower maturing in the larger bottle size. (Chemist comment – the surface area/volume ratio of the reaction vessel - bottle and cork in this case - is lower for larger sizes and slows down reactions where contact with the walls and/or stopper is needed. Heat is lost gained less in larger vessels so the temperature in storage will be more stable)

Pretty much as it says on the tin! The colour - terracotta edges to a deep red – shows the maturity and the taste is smooth and well balanced. Lovely example.

And on to the fortified wines…

As the notes say, it is deeper in colour and more aromatic than the usual Tio Pepe. I found it more herbal, smooth and definitely worth the extra cost.

Made in the style of a Sauternes, it could pass as such – smooth, sweet and delicate it is a good value pudding wine

What can I say? A good value NV port that would do justice to the cheese course or just relaxing in front of the fire on a cold winter evening! Good value at the price.

Well now, this wasn’t on ‘my’ list but who would pass up the opportunity to taste an example of a 60 year old Rivesaltes? It was indeed rich and concentrated with an intense taste of raisins. I felt privileged to be able to taste this wine. At £175 for a 50cl bottle I don’t imagine everyone will be rushing to buy this but that’s just as well as there is low stock of this wine!

I hope you find my notes interesting. My comments are purely personal and you may not agree with my taste buds so take my comments with circumspection. I loved the opportunity to attend the press tasting and would encourage everyone on the Community to put your name in the hat for the next such event.


Thanks :slight_smile:
I actually bought that Rivesaltes, I think, for my parents 50th in 2009 - it cost £20 then!


Thank you so much for taking the time to write these up! There are definitely some that are going straight in the wishlist once they’re available. I love the sound of the Czech St Laurent - it’s a varietal I really like, but not so easy to come by in the UK - so looking forward to it becoming available. The Aussie PN sounds great too! :ok_hand:


Lovely to meet all three Community dwellers, and looking forward to seeing @Polly again tomorrow at The Wine Gang in Leeds!

Thanks @DavidTheChemist - great notes, and top marks for all the accents! As previously for these events, I’ve lightly edited correcting the odd typo (some of them ours!!) and later on, when some of the wines come into stock / online, I’ll put in the links.


Thanks for taking the time and trouble to put your thoughts down in black and white. I really enjoyed reading them and they’re very much appreciated. It’s good to know what’s in the pipeline for future enjoyment and I can now plan accordingly as a result.

Without doubt, I’ll be placing an order on November 4th


+1. Will have my list and be poised at the keyboard prepared for release on 4 November


Here we go. My notes are nowhere near as good as David’s and in many cases I found Ewan and his team had just nailed the tasting notes on the list anyway and I couldn’t really add anything.

Champagne Boizel Brut Réserve NV

A new Champagne to me comprised of 55% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier. Lemony and Zesty with lots of broiche. A very well rounded champagne that stacks up well against the big houses and I would happily recommend for Christmas, New Years or any special occasion.

Magnum of Rainer Wess Grüner Veltliner, Kremstal 2018

A clean and dry Gruner Veltliner in mag format with lots of stone fruit and a touch of spice. A really good example for the price.

Lafanzis Geometria Malagouzia 2018 (available 4th November list number GR1551 @ £10.95)

Refreshing Greek white from the Peloponnese. Light body with notes of peaches and melon. Would be fantastic with some mezze and a great example of how good Greek wine can be.

Bin #003 Ribolla Gialla 2018

On the nose peaches and citrus, which come out in the taste too along with lots of apricot and a very complex finish. A worthy addition to the Bin series.

Domaine Coche-Bizouard, Auxey-Duresses 2015 (available 4th November list number BU63801 @ £28)

Rich and complex with lots of depth. Notes of green apples and a kind of biscuity / mousseynes I would usually associate with champagne.

Weissburgunder, Weingut Jülg 2018

Juicy, fruity, dry Pinot Blanc with an incredible aroma. Waxy minerally mouthfeel with concentrated notes of apples, quince and a touch of melon.

Cellar del Roure Cullerot Blanco, Valenci 2018 (available 4th November list number SP15141 @ £9.95)

Bright and zingy white made from a blend of grapes including rare Verdil and Merseguera amongst others. Smooth and very easily quaffable.

Pouilly-Fume Mademoiselle de “T” du Chateau de Tracy 2018 (available 4th November list number BWLO15321 @ £16.50)

Classic Pouilly-Fume with citrus fruit aromas and a very clean bright defined taste. Well rounded and fresh.

Riesling Grand Cru Sommerberg, Domaine Albery Boxler 2013 (available 4th November list number AL12571 @ £45)

Also as a 3 pack with the 2012 and 2014 vintage, see David and Polly’s notes on these

Waxy and peachy on the nose, taste wise I found it unusual for a Riesling with notes of oranges. Structured, dry and minerally but not in that petroly way Riesling can be.

Château d’Emeringes, Beaujolais-Villages Vieilles Vignes 2018

Jammy, very juicy Beaujolais-Villages.

Pepp Blauer Zweigelt, Weinviertel 2018

Cedar and candyfloss on the nose. Very juicy with oranges and cherries, just a touch of spice and a long dry finish.

Lemelson Thea’s Selection Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2015 (available 28th October list number US8071 @ £21)

Great example of how good Oregon Pinot Noir can be. Sweet and bright on the nose, complex juicy taste with cherries, redcurrants, blackberries and a lot more going on.

Klabjan Refosk 2016 (available 4th November list number SL181 @ £16)

An unfiltered, unfined, minimal sulphur red from Slovenia. Sweet on the nose with strong smell of cappuccino and cherries. Fresh tasting with notes of rhubarb and jam.

Vurgada Nerello Cappuccio Gaglioppo, Santa Venere 2016 (available 21st October list number IT28021 @ £13.50)

Delicious Italian red with nose of marmalade, herbs, nutmeg and cinnamon. Notes of cherries and black fruits with a long dry finish. Would go great with some grilled meat on a cool Autumn night. On the wishlist.

Baron de Brane, Margaux 2011

Forest, grass and pine on the nose. Fresh and velvetty, silky tannins, casis, great structure. Delicious Margaux.

Les Deux Vaches Rouges, Tannat, Famille Laplace 2017

Really interesting take on Tannat (not that I’ve tried that many!). Very much lighter in style, strong perfume and pears on the nose, slightly astringent taste with notes of fruit and a hint of white pepper. Would go really well with a steak.

Mendel Unus Mendoza 2016

Sugar and sweet on the nose, concentrated taste with notes of blackberries and sweets and touch of mocha. The Cabernet and Petti Verdot definitely add complexity to the Malbec. Could happily drink this either with hearty food or on its own.

Syrah-Viognier L’Orangeraie, Pays d’Oc, Lorgeril 2018

Fruity and full bodied wine from close to Carcasonne. I’ve bought this before purely due to the unusual and unique blend, and that’s exactly what you get! Fantastic colour that really stood out in the glass, casis on the nose, spice from the Syrah in the glass with a roundness from the Vigonier. I’d buy this again as a very good value every day drinker.

Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert, Paul Jaboulet Aine (available 21st October list number RH38341 @ £26)

A fantastic perfectly balanced North Rhone from a famous estate. Immensely drinkable.

This one was shown as a bottle, a magnum and a jeroboam and as David says above we of course had to try them all side by side. Not much if any difference between the 3 for me either. Possibly a touch more fruit in the jereboam (about 750ml of which had been poured into a decanter that we tasted from, maybe it opened up in the air or maybe it was in my mind?).

my notes really decline in quality at this point

Grato Grati Rosso Toscana Vecchia Annata 1999

Ewan nailed this in the description, I cant add anything so steal his (sorry):

A rare opportunity to enjoy a mature Sangiovese from a great estate. Still very much alive after two decades, this comes from a great vintage in this part of Chianti. With a complex leather, violets, and cranberry (which I underlined) perfumed nose, tobacco and dried red berries on the palate and a long finish, this has splendid depth of flavour and is worth decanting before serving.

L’Etoile ‘En Banode’ Domaine de Montbourgeau 2016

Grassy with apples on the nose, dry with strong notes of green apples and a hint of nuts.Really unique and complex wine. Would work really well with food.

Casa Ermelinda Freitas Moscatel de Setúbal

Truly delicious Moscatel from Setubal. Nose of caramelised oranges, notes of honey, syrup, more oranges. Would work fantastic as a dessert wine but equally well as an aperitif on its own.

Quinta do Noval Colheita Tawny Port 2000 (available 4th November list number PT1751 @ £49)

Excellent tawny port with notes of raisins, figs, honey and citrus pith. Very clean. Still tastes youthful.

Rivesaltes, Domaine de Rancy 1959

Tough to know how to approach this (and I’m glad David and Polly tried it too!). Very rich and concentrated with incredible sweetness and a long finish. Notes of maple syrup, oranges, raisins and so much more. Very sippable (and of course far too valuable to spit at the tasting) Seconding what David said in that it was a privilege to try something so rare and unique.

I hope these notes are helpful and once again thanks to Polly, David, Ewan and all the other staff for a very enjoyable day and the opportunity to try some really great wine.


Great notes, @Aaronb! :+1::+1: got to stop drooling… Virtually every wine sounds like a potential purchase… Ouch! :open_mouth: