Anyway I have been a member of Tesco Wine Community for a few years, a great place to chat with fellow wine lovers and Tesco offer many tasting opportunities which have helped improve my wine knowledge. We have visited 7 or 8 of their annual Wine Fairs but have never managed to meet the other members so I decided to offer to arrange a 'meet up'.
I emailed various hotels, who whilst offering great room rates for staying over and had wonderful meeting rooms, quoted prices as high as £25 corkage a bottle for us to try our wines !! Thankfully Jackie, another TWC member, is a PhD student at Oxford University and arranged a meeting room for the afternoon and guest rooms for our stay - it was a really lovely venue.
The plan for the day was to meet everyone, follow Jackie on a short tour of Oxford grabbing a tum lining lunch, share and discuss wines we had each brought along, Chinese meal and bed !! All was planned and we were ready to go.
However I was then amazed to receive an email from Trivento Wines offering us a tasting of some wines from their range, along with their Cono Sur, Bonterra and Casillo del Diablo partner wines. An amazing offer which I gratefully accepted.
So after excitedly greeting the other TWC members, the planned tour of Oxford with lunch (more later), Jackie showing us to our rooms and the wonderful meeting room, we didn't have long before Ben from Trivento arrived accompanied by these lovelies:
Dave and Agnes 'safely' bought along some Spanish meats and cheese, and Ed, Clive and Julie brought some goodies too - making quite a platter.
Oh can you spot the 'large' bottle of Lanson? Helen McGinn author of The Knackered Mother's Wine Club had met Steve and Steph at a previous event and kindly sent on this lovely bottle of bubbly to get us going - it certainly met the challenge.
|Lanson White Label - gift from Helen McGinn|
So back to Ben and his lovely range of wine; 3 whites and 3 reds. They were lovely and it was such fun sitting together to sample them, comparing colours, noses and tastes. I have unfortunately mislaid my tasting notes - good excuse to try them again - so the notes are from memory, just hope I've not mixed any up, pinot noir is a white wine isn't it?
Casillero del Diablo Devil's Collection Reserva - this was a new wine to me, Casillero del Diablo but with a striking new label
Cono Sur 20 Barrels sauvignon blanc it was so interesting to learn how the brand got it's original name - 20 barrels left so the vintner made a new wine. Being a sauvignon blanc fan this was my favourite.
Bonterra chardonnay - I can't remember it really, maybe I was refilling the water karafes in the kitchen :)
Cono Sur Bicicleta pinot noir a light red in colour - plenty of notes on their link
Trivento Malbec Reserve a crimson colour which looked like velvet in the glass, lots of blackberries with a hint of spice and vanilla
Trivento Malbec Grand Reserve this was everyone's favourite, deep red in colour, dark fruits and a lovely warm smooth finish.
|From the left: Hubby Nick, Clive, Julie, Steph, Steve, |
Jackie, Dave, Agnes (hiding), Ed and of course Ben
We spent a lovely hour chatting away - a great group. To thank Ben (and Jackie for the venue) I had put together a little goody bag each - Hobgoblin beer and chocolate. It was quite difficult to think of a gift for a man but not give wine - you'll see why Hobgoblin later.
So now to our wine and all those nibbles. I have to confess here that I cannot remember everyone's wine, hopefully we will be emailing each other as it would be great to find them again to enjoy at home.
We took it in turns to present our choices - Jackie is a member of the Oxford Wine Society and has learnt quite a lot in his time at the University, he presented these two lovely wines from his cellar.
I'm not even sure who went next but Dave bought two Spanish wines - one actually from Spain. I was very pleased he had as my main experience of Spanish wine is rioja which is not always to my liking. I enjoyed both these Spanish bottles and will now maybe start to look at others.
|A Spanish one from Dave and Agnes|
|Reds on the table - the whites were resting in the fridge|
|A beautiful white from Clive and Julie - it was a 2005|
that he'd laid down
|Loire Valley white and red brought over |
from our holidays in France
It was a brilliant afternoon of sampling, eating, chatting, laughing - as you can see from the nibbles after shot.
|My Tesco wines to enjoy at home|
|Small windows with intricate carving|
|A massive outside wall of identical panels|
|The most important church in Oxford - if you|
live more than 3 miles from here you cannot
study at the University
|On our tour|
|Old square church tower, intricate clock and bells|
with a hexagonal building next door
Oxford has some amazing architecture
|Witney market place|
|Witney church and cross|
|Cotswold high street|
After the tour we returned to The Tap to sample their range - well not quite all the range but at least 6. As I was driving Hubby had double samplings - no complaints though ! My favourite in their range is Black Wych a lovely stout and Ginger Beard. They also produce Brakspear beer and we all enjoyed a sample of their Triple III.
|Behind the bar - me, Hubby, Julie and Clive|
Paul Mas Marsanne, The Ned Sauvignon Blanc and Paul Mas Syrah-Viognier
An absolutely amazing weekend, everyone played a part in making it such fun to meet for the first time (although after five minutes you'd have thought we were long lost friends)
One to be repeated I'm sure - thank you everyone x x http://www.bonterra.com/