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Walkaround tastings

Usually a couple days before. You should definitely receive an email from the Tasting team by Friday, I reckon.

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As @inbar says, and I should be there too!

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Likewise I’m doing the Tuesday Bordeaux bash in Leeds and its all a mystery. Be interesting to see if yours differs (streets paved with gold etc.) :slight_smile:

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Aha, yes I have a ticket for Leeds next week too.

Lots of good notes above, and having done several of these types of tasting (although not for a while now), I’d add a few thoughts.

The time will fly by - if you want to be sure of tasting everything, be prepared, get there early, go at your own pace, be flexible about tasting order (leave busy tables until later etc).

I don’t ever remember them running out of anything, and if they do it wouldn’t happen early on. Do spit. Especially to start with. If you’ve not done a tasting of 12+ wines before, you’ll be surprised how quickly and easily your palate fatigues. And drink plenty in between, plus the cheese and crackers (assuming they still do this). Sometimes going back to whites after reds refreshes the palate - lots of tannic reds is what kills mine! But try and save the best until last, otherwise the lesser wines can be disappointing, which can be a shame. And any sweet ones definitely at the end.

There will be a booklet provided with space for notes, so no need to print stuff off ahead. The tasting list should be published at least a day ahead, check it out and perhaps familiarise yourself with some of the wines. And at the end, they usually offer 10% off anything you’ve tasted - orders to be in that night or day after, so maybe plan for that too, it’s very difficult to avoid purchases when you’ve tasted something spectacular, in my experience!

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Me too - ticket and trains booked - hopefully no strikes planned!

Pester them: I always insist on knowing before the cancellation date (usually a week before).

Or you could just ask us nicely if the notes are available and if they are we will send them on :grinning:.

In this case we expect that members will be emailed the full notes on Friday. If you are unhappy with the selection we will happily refund you regardless of the cancellation date.

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Very enjoyable tasting in Reading last night.

The room was smaller than usual, but the layout had been carefully thought out, to avoid overcrowding at tables, especially for the sparkling and sweet wines, which of course normally get busy at the beginning and end of the evening.

What’s more, @Tim_S sent an email saying that they were ahead of schedule in setting up so we could arrive early if we wanted.

Comments on wines to foĺlow (once I’ve got my order in :wink:).

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To pick up on that point, at my last few large walkaround tastings, I worked through all wines (except sweeties) table by table, the whites on each table followed by the reds on the same table. I found it work worked well, reducing the time spent table-swapping, and keeping my palate refreshed. I’m not saying this will work for everyone, but it is not as stupid as you might think, and is worth trying at least.

Another thing hinted at above, is that if you go round in a group or even just one other person, it will slow you down and might restrict the number of wines you try. Of course there are advantages in tasting with a friends too, and it depends what you want to achieve. Personally I prefer to taste alone, and take some breaks to socialise and discuss the wines on show.

I have to say there is a lot of good advice above. I was going to highlight the bits I agreed with, but that turned out to be everything except not necessarily starting with all the whites. And I don’t strongly disagree with that either - it is pretty standard practice.

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The wines at last night’s tasting were very wide ranging, and I’ll just pick up on a few of them. We were in a small group so concentration levels were perhaps not as high as they might be. An exit poll of ‘wine of the night’ was quite interesting - I’ll refer to that too.

The Castelnau champagne was one of the favourites for many, easily beating the Society’s ESW (for me too). The Hortas do Caseirinho Frisante was much more popular than the Society’s Prosecco, which I didn’t like at all, although Mrs C was quite keen.

I figured out why the Almazuela Verdejo, 2021, was paired with a Reuilly. The notes mentioned ‘pungent tropical fruit’ and indeed that was spot on - it was reminiscent of one of those wild yeast SB’s from NZ; one that will divide opinion. The Reuilly was much more restrained, but none the worse for that.

Nyulaszo Furmint, Royal Tokaji, 2018 was quite prominently oaked but didn’t have much else for me; the comparison House of Brown California Chardonnay was very good but I suspect you can do as well for less elsewhere on the list. My favourite white of the evening was the Exhibition Albarino, Rias Baixas 2021, a very good alternative to the Fefinanes.

The two PN’s, Kelly Washington Gibbston 2019 and Marsannay, Sylvain Pataille, 2018 were the most popular in the poll, with the NZ wine pipping the Burgundy, which had a distinct farmyard element to the nose. My wife picked up on that straight away and it’s not a term she would be particularly familiar with as a wine descriptor.

One of the most interesting wines was a Vinos en Voz Baja Costumbres, Rioja Orientale, 2020. I don’t have very much experience of Rioja but this didn’t match my expectations at all. TWS expect that ‘it will soon be more widely known’. It was certainly among my top wines of the evening but I’d be interested to hear what you Rioja experts think, if you’ve tried it.

The Xinomavro ‘Alta’ Naoussa, Thymiopolous, 2020 was described as ‘ethereal…packed with cherry and Parma violets’ but for us it was an explosion of blackcurrant - delicious. Many voted for this one too.

The Monbazillac, Ch La Pech Calevie 2019, was much lighter than the Ch Raymond-Lafon Sauternes, 2015 (which had a nose to wallow in) but stood up very well in comparison, and must be one of the best bargains on the list at £13.95.

All in all, a really interesting evening, especially going round with some guests who were at their first proper tasting. A bit of an eye-opener for them.

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We very much enjoyed our first TWS walkaround last night in Reading, it appeared to be a well-attended and well-organised event, so thanks and congrats to @tim_S and his team.

After all the great advice above, we decided to stick pretty much to the traditional tasting order of fizz, white, red and fortified, even though this meant some moving around between tables.

A few, very subjective, notes based on memory and my scrawlings in the provided booklet.

Favourite wines of the night for me were the two Pinots, Thymiopoulos’s Alta Xinomavro and the dry Furmint:

Kelly Washington Gibbston Central Otago Pinot Noir 2019 (£29)
Domaine Sylvain Pataille, Marsannay Rouge 2018 (£23.50)
The Marsannay was very aromatic on the nose (as expected), the NZ wine was a strikingly light red in the glass, slightly less going on on the nose, but a fuller flavour. Of the two, the Otago edges it for me, but at £29 it’s only going to be for a special occasion.

Xinomavro ‘Alta’ Naoussa, Thymiopoulos 2020 (£16.50)
Thymiopoulos’ wines are a favourite here - we’ve loved the Earth & Sky and his regular Xinomavro - so expectations were high, and we weren’t disappointed. Beautifully pinky red in the glass, with a taste of liquid strawberries and minimal tannins, given its youth. Tasted as good on the second (and third :flushed:) visit!
Thought it well-matched against The Society’s Exhibition Barolo 2018 (£27) - same colour and similar taste profile, but more tannic. The Xinomavro won for me, especially with the difference in price.

Single-Vineyard Nyulászó Furmint, Royal Tokaji 2018 (£19.50)
First thought after sticking my nose in the glass was that I’d been given a glass of dry sherry, an impression reinforced upon tasting. Coupled with a lot of spice, this was the favourite white for me, but then I like dry sherry. Suspect it might be a marmite wine. The server remarked that nobody else had liked it so far.

Honourable mentions to Champagne Castelnau Reserve Brut NV (£33, but available for £22 as a case discount). Really liked the fine mousse and the appley taste. Possibly a slightly sweet note, even though it is bone dry, perhaps because it was tasted immediately after the Exhibition ESW, which I thought very acidic.

Couldn’t really understand the Albariño/Viognier comparison, it didn’t work for me, but thought that The Society’s Exhibition Albariño, Rías Baixas 2021 (£14.95) was delightfully fruity and refreshing, one to drink on a summer’s day in the garden.

The Moshchofilero/Gewurztraminer showdown worked well, with the Seméli Mantinia Moshchofilero 2021 (£11.95) just winning for me, intriguing, moreish taste, sweetish-tasting (but obvs not sweet), floral notes.

Was looking forward to the Rioja/Ribera comparison, but neither excited my tastebuds. The Rioja (which is 100% garnacha I think) seemed too young, too tannic, unbalanced, whereas the Ribera (100% tempranillo) was better, for me, but not yet in a good place.

Of the Ports
Bleasdale The Wise One Tawny Langhorne Creek (£11.50)
The Society’s Exhibition Tawny Port, 10 Years Old (£17.50)
Both have been maturing in oak for ten years, the Aussie a blend of grenache, shiraz and verdelho. The Bleasdale is a more typically tawny colour and would go well with chocolate I think (such wines always being in demand in our house). It is impressive value for money, and I would definitely buy some, if it weren’t already out of stock. The Exhibition is reddy-brown and not too sweet, which I like. Seems quite young. Preferred the Bleasdale.

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Thank you for your excellent notes! :grinning:

Quick question: was the Riberia the one called Secreto?

It was the Society’s Exhibition wine. Didn’t excite me either!

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Thank you :slight_smile:

Tim Sykes’ tutored Bordeaux tasting, was online last Tuesday. I have the wines but Unfortunately I missed the zoom thing - so hoping to do it today (Saturday) via youtube or whatever.

Does anyone have a link to it? I thik @MikeFranklin was also planning to do it at the end of the week?

EDIT !!! found it in the e-mail: Online - Tasting Pack Event - Bordeaux with Tim Sykes - YouTube

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Sorry only just seen this but you got there anyway! I shall be doing it myself very shortly. I’m a ‘subscriber’ to the TWS youtube channel so it’s dead easy to find and browse all of their videos…and there are a lot of them! :smiley:

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The Bordeaux wines are very good indeed - you are in for a treat.

Everyone’s first choice - was mine as well. I’d be fascinated to hear what your 1st AND 2nd choice would be?

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Can anybody use a Leeds tasting ticket which is tomorrow …maybe your going and could take a friend or spouse …I can’t make it now due to unexpected circumstances and they won’t refund grrrr
Let me know and il change name on invite

Unfortunately it won’t be possible for me, but I’m intrigued as to why TWS isn’t providing a refund? I can’t see how 1 or even a few people having to pull out makes any difference to the planning of an event like this, where they will take more than sufficient wine to cover everyone going anyway. It’s the kind of thing I just assumed would have been covered by the society’s promise (it’s not as if you are going to enjoy any of the wine!). I ask because I bought a ticket for a friend to join me at the Liverpool tasting in December, but he now might not be able to because the first of the two day train strikes have been announced for that date. I would be pretty incredulous (not to mention annoyed) if TWS didn’t provide me with a refund in these circumstances.

EDIT: Found the policy in the FAQs…

“If you wish to cancel a ticket that you have purchased for a tasting or other event, please contact us as soon as possible. If you cancel your ticket at least 7 days before the date of the event (14 days for Wine Dinners) a full refund will be arranged. If you cancel your ticket later than 7 days before the date of the event (14 days for Wine Dinners), we will seek to find another buyer for your ticket. If we are able to re-sell your ticket, a full refund will be arranged. If we are not able to re-sell your ticket, you will not be entitled to a refund (but you may still attend the event, if you change your mind).”

This seems reasonable for the dinners, but feels a little harsh for the walk around tastings where the loss is likely to be negligible if anything.

Yea so much for the TWS all encompassing guarantee …. When life gets in the way …