Friday, 11 March 2016

Cuvée Reserve's Wine Weekend

Cuvée Reserve is the wine forum I host where members share wine discoveries, ideas and tasting notes. Next month sees CR's second anniversary as I started the forum just after meeting with fellow Tesco Wine Community members for the first time in April 2014 (you can read about our antics on this previous post).

For a while the forum ran alongside TWC with members posting on both forums but after Tesco closed its community site Cuvée Reserve became the wine chat home for many.

Cuvée Reserve's Monthly tastings

Every month one of our members chooses a wine under £10 for us all to buy and review; although no-one posts their review until after the 20th to give everyone a chance of an unbiased tasting.

There are so many lovely wines, so many wine outlets and so many different tastes that Cuvée Reserve's collection of reviews is now quite intensive:
338 to date !

It seemed only logical to meet for a weekend to share some of our favourite wines in person; a few members had met before at various events but for some it was the first time - you'd never know as everyone chatted away like long standing friends.

Using the holiday site  Home and Away I booked a lovely house in Stratford-upon-avon for our meet up weekend. It was an ideal location as no-one had too far to travel and Stratford is a lovely town to visit. The house had plenty of bedrooms, all en-suite, kitchen, large lounge and great conservatory dining room with a table big enough to seat us all, perfect for our weekend plans.

Friday night we had a buffet, everyone brought something to add to the meal as well as a bottle of wine or two. We tasted a number of wines as we munched away - a few whites but the evening was predominantly Spanish riojas; not my favourite but such fun trying !!

Our Friday Night buffet with wine !!        (Steph's photo) 
Bubbly - the perfect way to start an evening
Lots of Spanish wine including a magnum of Carinena 
Picpoul Sauvignon and Morgon were two of my favourites
I've added a page to the top of my blog which lists the wines we tasted - thanks to Darren for compiling the list. Here's the link.
Homemade Elderflower

I really enjoyed the Club de Sommeliers Morgon which is 100% Gamay and the Chateau Hervé Laroque, both reds; whilst my favourite whites of the evening were the Symboise La Grande Olivette Picpoul Sauvignon and the Alvi's Drift Chenin Blanc.

I had made a chocolate Guinness cake and to accompany it I took along a bottle of my homemade Elderflower wine, its sweet and syrupiness was a perfect match to the chocolaty dessert.

Saturday dawned, not too early, breakfast followed by a stroll into the town centre. Our first stop was a visit to Holy Trinity Church, Shakespeare's burial place. Although Hubby and I have been to Stratford many times it was the first time we'd visited his grave.

Holy Trinity Church
William Shakespeare's Grave
A 'miss the puddles' walk along the River Avon past the RSC theatre brought us into the shopping area of the town. Lots of window shopping, coffee stop and a look at Shakespeare's Birthplace filled our morning before we popped along to Majestic - yes for wine!!

We were greeted with a lovely glass of bubbly and the tasting table had some lovely wines to try. It was good to browse the shop together to talk about all the wines saying which we'd tried and spotting good buys. You can buy single bottles at Majestic but there's a huge discount if you buy six or more so we all bought one or two to make up the six - as if we really needed more !

Saturday afternoon was chill and relax time before popping open a bottle of Louis Delauney champagne to start the evening off in style. I cooked dinner Saturday night as not knowing a town makes it difficult to ensure a good takeaway. I had prepared most of the food at home so really it was just the cooking to do.

Saturday night bubbly 
We enjoyed more white wine this evening; Karl Pfaffmann Weissburgunder, Karl Pfaffmann Riesling and Randersackerer Ewig Leben all brought over from Germany;   Luis Felipe Edwards Gran Reserva Chardonnay to go with our chicken and a lovely crisp Calvet Reserve Pinot Blanc.

Wine from Germany
A few of our whites ... 
.... and a few more 
The reds flowed too; decanted heavy reds Mayu Syrah Reserva and Ermita de San Lorenzo; Southern France Laurent Miguel L'Artisan Faugéres and my overall favourite red of the weekend Stobi Petit Verdot Barrique. 

Our Saturday night reds
Dessert for Saturday was a ginger biscuit pud - so easy so delicious - and a walnut lemon pavlova. Many of the white wines suited the puddings as although creamy neither were particularly sweet.

Good food and good wine enjoyed with great friends     (Darren's photo)

Before the weekend I asked everyone to buy a wine within the budget of £4.50 - £6.50. Each bottle needed a label on saying who from and where bought and was wrapped up like a gift so the bottle could not be identified. Using raffle tickets we all chose a bottle not knowing who each one was from.

It was like a mini Christmas as everyone opened their 'gift' which was taken home to be tried later and reviewed on Cuvée Reserve.

Hubby received a white Catarratto Terre Siciliane from Steve and my bottle was a Gran Montana Malbec from Dave.
Our mystery bottles unwrapped
The evening extended on into the early hours with music, cheese, biscuits, coffee, wine and laughter - an absolutely amazing evening.

CHEERS !!    (photo - Dave)
Sunday involved packing up, a quick clean round and the difficult game of 'quietly placing a significant number of empties in the recycling bin' !

Cuvée Reserve is a members only forum but membership is open to all - if you'd like to join please follow this link, you'll need a Yuku account first but it is free and please make sure you include an email address in your membership request.

It's an important rugby Saturday for me so it will be Guinness not wine, although there's always Sunday - maybe a good time to review my Malbec prize !

Thank you - what a super weekend - so lovely to spend time together. 
Cuvée Reserve tasting weekend will certainly not be a one off event - keep watching the calendar, I'm sure there have been thoughts of  'next time' wine already !!

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