Thursday, 24 April 2014

Wine Challenge - another 20 bottles

Easter Saturday was the second round in our Scout 100 Wine Tasting Challenge - if your new to my blog have a look at my original post about our 100th Birthday

So after a very successful first round I was shopping again for 20 more wines but this time from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. My budget is £4.50 a bottle but with careful budgeting, a keen eye when out shopping and some very generous donations I think we hit the mark.

First HUGE thank you to our donators for this round:

Calais Wine Superstore - who very kindly donated a case of The Paddock - this was one of our tastings (reviews later) and because we only use one bottle per tasting the remaining bottles will be used as raffle prizes throughout the year. Thank you for such a generous donation.

Julie and Paul - a fantastic donation of The Opportunist, thank you for your support.

Sarah and Ian - a generous donation of Rawnsley Estate Chardonnay, thank you.

Tesco store in Bedworth - who kindly donated a case of mixed wines, some will be in our next tasting but Noblio was a perfect New Zealand addition for this round. Tesco also donated a Gallo Five Oaks and 20cl Freixenet Cava for our raffle, thank you so much.

Sainsburys store in Nuneaton - a brilliant gift card donation for our raffle, thank you.

Everyone has been so generous and I already have many donations for our next tasting in July featuring European wines and some special wines for our final tasting in November.

This will be a very special tasting with sparkling wines - Freixenet have already donated a full bottle of their Cordon Nero for this event. Friends have donated higher value wines too which we will be saving for our final tasting; these include a Chateauneuf de Pape, Pouilly Fume, and Villa Cafaggio.

And so to Round 2.......

Round 2 - ready to go
White wines
Australian Sparkling Brut (Co-op): great value sparkling wine, light and refreshing

Yellow Tails - pinot grigio (Co-op) : a bargain find at £3.00, full of green apples, citrus and passion fruit, quite a popular one
Heritage Road - chardonnay (Sainsburys) : deep yellow chardonnay with a nose of apricots
Rawnsley Estate - chardonnay (Sarah and Ian's donation) : another good example of an Australian chardonnay, quite a favourite with some of the ladies.
St Hallett - reisling (Co-op) : this Barossa wine caused some hilarity as the nose produced the recognisable riesling fragrance of petrol
The Opportunist - sauvignon blanc, Riesling (Julie and Ian's donation) : a good quality wine with the Riesling giving an added flavour to this Australian sauvignon blanc

Noblio - sauvignon blanc (donated by Tesco) : this grape was a favourite at the first tasting and it remained the favourite this time, a few tasters recognised the grape from last time.
Vineyards World of Wines - chenin blanc (Tesco) : although we have 20 cheeses at each tasting I have not been pairing them to the wines, however for this final white I did ask everyone to have a taste before having a piece of gruyere cheese and then a second taste. Everyone commented that the cheese lifted the wine - this was a discovery we made at a Tesco Wine Fair many years ago: South African chenin blanc is a prefect match for Swiss gruyere cheese.

The wine cheese pairing led very nicely into our buffet break. After tasting all 8 whites everyone compared notes to find the most popular. It was the New Zealand sauvignon blanc Noblio - my favourite too. And so to our cheeses - it's quite tricky to find 20 new cheeses each time (again to a very tight budget) and some cheese types were the same as last time but from a different store - a bit like the same grape from different producers !!

Our cheese buffet wrapped and waiting
but soon devoured
Our cheeses this time were:
Hochland curd cheese slices with onion and chives
Adsa Gruyere
Philadelphia soft cheese with salmon and dill
Farmfoods mild Cheddar slices
Tesco Cornish brie
Tesco Gorgonzola
Seriously strong speadable
Philadelphia soft cheese with sweet chilli
Farmfoods Edam slices
Asda Cheddar with pickled onions and chives
Tesco Red Leicester
Tesco Blue Stilton
Farmfoods mature Cheddar slices
Tesco medium Cheddar
Tesco Edam
Asda French chilli roulé
Tesco Wensleydale with cranberries
Tesco mini Brie
Tesco smoke flavoured cheese
Tesco Camembert

There is nothing nicer than a plate of cheese and a glass of wine - everyone had a small glass of their favourite white and plenty of biscuits to hep the cheese along - so moreish !

Moving back to wine tasting it was our 4 Rosé wines - the first from South Africa and the other three from Australia. It was interesting to compare these to the Californian rosé wines we had last time.

Rosé Wines 

South African Rosé - blend (Co-op) : a reasonable wine but probably better chilled.
kooliburra - blend (Aldi) : this was quite a favourite with the ladies, especially at just £3.99 a bottle
Jacaranda Hill - shiraz (Co-op) : most people found this a little sharp and dry
Oxford Landing Estates - blend (Co-op) : I honestly can't remember what people said for this one, I should take notes but pouring, talking and trying not to have too many sips myself is a hard enough juggle without adding a pen to the equation.

Raffle time next - as I mentioned before we had a lovely bottle of Gallo Five Oaks and the mini Cava for Tesco, the £10 gift card from Sainsbury's and as it was Easter I added a Mini Eggs mug with a packet of Mini Eggs. Great excitement and all prizes were won - although it's never me.

The final 8 were our red selection. I tried this time to have the same grape from different countries or producers.  One of each pair was from Lidl's reasonably priced range Cimarosa.

Red Wines

Singata - pinotage (this was from our own cellar and probably purchased in France) : a new grape for many of the tasters, quite mixed opinions.
Cimarosa - shiraz (Lidl) : the first chance of the evening to try a shiraz wine as a single grape. At 14.5% it was certainly a weighty wine.
Cimarosa - shiraz, cabernet sauvignon (Lidl) : A smooth red from South Africa, definitely lighter than the single shiraz.
Hardy's - shiraz, cabernet sauvignon (Co-op) : a known wine to many at the tasting and at the time the favourite.
Cimarosa - cabernet sauvignon (Lidl) : this quickly knocked the Hardy's off being the favourite, a lovely wine from Australia
Robertson Winery - cabernet sauvignon (another from our cellar and purchased at Majestic in France) - and with the speed of lightening became the favourite - much smoother and deeper - the star of the single cabernet sauvignon pair.
Masterpeace - shiraz (Aldi) : slightly over my budget at £4.99 but a spicy deep red shiraz wine. There were a few 'mmmmm's happening as this was being tasted.
The Paddock - shiraz (donated by Calais Wine) : the star of the reds. It was mainly the chaps that liked the red wines, each red was proclaimed the favourite only to be overtaken by the next, finalising in this being unquestionable voted the overall best. There were quite a few 'yes please' for second tastings of this Australian wine filled with plums, red berries, vanilla and a hint of spice, and many requests for details on how to get to Calais - details in my Calais page

The star of the evening
Thank you so much to everyone who helped with donations and a big thank you to my Hubby Nick who did another amazing job of being my 'odd' wine waiter. Thanks too to our daughter Philippa who was home from Uni and also came up to help.

Our next tasting is July 12th and will feature wine from Europe but not France as this will be our fourth tasting in September. I already have quite a few bottles ready, donations from Tesco and friends Alan & Beverley. I need to have a review of my storage boxes under the stairs before buying any - I know for certain there is a Mateus Rosé.

It is great fun finding these' bargains', writing up the tasting notes (blind) and
 presenting the wines - I hope you've enjoyed reading about Round 2 of our
100 Wine Tasting Challenge .....cheers !!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like another successful wine tasting evening.


I'm so pleased you're enjoying my travel and wine ramblings - I love reading your replies too, thank you for posting a comment