Monday, 24 February 2014

Wine Challenge - first 20 bottles

Saturday was the first session in our 100 wine tasting challenge as part of our scout group's 100th Birthday celebrations - did you read my last post about our challenges - great photos too.

Our first 20 wines were from California, Chile and Argentina. It was great fun sourcing the wines especially as my budget was £4.50 a bottle - and before I write any more I must say a HUGE thank you to Trivento and CyT UK who so very kindly donated 4 bottles of their Borde Rio Argentinian wine.

All ready !!
As you can see we were taking this challenge very seriously - I had tasting note sheets ready along with aroma tables to help identify fragrances and flavours. Many of the scout leaders and their friends had not been to a wine tasting before and were ready for an informative evening.

For each place I made a glass placement - a circle for each glass (2) and we poured the wines in pairs (one & two; three & four;) By having the two circles it was easier to keep track of which wine was being tasted as in the glass some did look quite similar.

All lined up ready to go
These are the wines we tasted - and their source; we did not take full wine tasting notes but I've added a few things I remember people commenting on. We did have four blind tastings too - two whites and two reds.

White wines

tanguera - blend of white wine (Asda) : too dry for most people

The Boulders - viognier (Co-operative) : crisp and refreshing, two tasters favourite

Blossom Hill - chardonnay (Co-operative) : most people had tried this before

Oak Leaf - chardonnay (Asda) : very different to the above chardonnay, again a few people had had it before and was a favourite with a couple of tasters

El Riquelme - pinot grigio (Asda) : too light in flavour

El Riquelme - sauvignon blanc (Asda) :  a light sauvignon which nearly caused a riot
as a firm favourite with three tasters

Isla Negra - sauvignon blanc Reserva (Co-operative) blind tasting : very different to previous sauvignon blanc, many thought this was a chardonnay

Borde Rio - chardonnay (donated by Trivento and CyT UK) blind tasting : comments ranged from too sharp to smooth, spice flavour with maybe a touch of ginger, a little too sweet.

After tasting our 8 white wines we had a little break and hit the cheese table. 20 varieties of cheese (all from Asda) ranging from hard cheese, sliced cheese to soft melting camembert. We didn't match the cheese to wine but certainly had another glass of our favourite white.


 Here's our cheese selection:

President le Bleu
Mild Cheddar slices
Mozzarella slices
President Emmental slices
Port Salut slices
French Brie
Classic Blue Stilton
Castello soft cheese with pineapple
Royal petit Camembert
Ilchester Wensleydale with cranberries
Lye Cross Farm mature Cheddar
Apetina with green olives and garlic in oil
Greek style salad cheese
Applewood smoke flavoured Cheddar
President Crème de Brie
Go Dutch Gouda
Ilchester Mexicana slices
French goats' cheese
Belton Farm Red Leicester
Wensleydale ginger and apricot

The surprise and favourite was the Castello with pineapple, and the Port Salut was a first for many too. The stilton and Mexicana were acquired tastes as both a little strong in their own way. The Camembert once cut decided to melt away and the Crème de Brie had to be quickly spread onto a cracker.

So to clear our palettes from so much cheese we started the rose wine off with a sparkling, followed by three more rose wines which delighted the ladies.

Rose wines

First Cape - white zinfandel sparkling (Morrisons) : low alcohol at 5.5% and was too light for some, however would be very refreshing outside in the summer

Gallo - white zinfandel (Asda) : a well known favourite with the ladies

Echo Falls - rose blend (Tesco) : anther well known favourite

Crow's Landing - shiraz cabernet rose (Co-operative) : a deeper rose with a heavier spice palette.

With the white and roses having been tasted with a variety of comments the discussion moved to the cost of the wines. It became quite clear that although the wines were alright there was more depth and body to the more expensive wine from Trivento and CyT UK. The cost of UK duty surprised some and when taken into account shows how little actual wine is in a £4.50 bottle.  

And so to our final 8 wines:

Red wines

tanguera - blend (Asda) - not a popular wine

Vinyards World of Wine - merlot (Tesco) : a little too much tannin for some

El Riquelme - merlot (Asda) : very different to the merlot above, less tannin

Jacktone Ranch - shiraz (donated from our cellar, originally purchased from Tesco) : the strongest wine at 14%, too deep for some, loved by others.

Isla Negra - cabernet sauvignon merlot (Asda) - a smoother red with slight tannin, easy drinker

Monte Nevado - cabernet merlot (Morrisons) : again quite different to the above wine although mainly the same grapes, more fruit but with tannins

Jacktone Ranch - cabernet sauvignon reserve (donated from our cellar, originally purchased from Tesco) blind tasting : a favourite red with most of the men; the ladies, who were on the whole not red drinkers, liked this as it had more blackcurrant flavours.

Borde Rio - malbec (donated by Trivento and Cyt UK) blind tasting : the overall winner of the night, fought over for the top ups; comments included fruity, woody, smooth, mellow and warming.

What a night - it was a great success as you can see from my poor tea towel - who spilt !!

Thank you to everyone who helped, especially my perfect wine waiter assistant Hubby. I was a little nervous with having such a tight budget, 20 wines and cheese to source, notes to make without opening the bottles (a hard chore) and talking through all the wines whilst sampling them myself (the hardest chore for sure).

Our next wine tasting is Easter Saturday where I'll have another 20 wines and 20 cheeses ready for another night of fun.

The wines will be from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. I have already been sent a donation of Australian red wine from The Wine Reserve and Calais Wine - huge thanks to them for their generosity.

Our local Tesco has donated 5 bottles of wine plus some 1/4 bottles of cava - thank you Tesco

And my lovely friend Julie has donated an Australian white

If you can help too please email me  thank you

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