Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Spanish wine & English beer

What a superb weekend - Witney is a Cotswold town west of Oxford, full of history but for us, most importantly, the home of Wychwood Brewery, a place we have visited many times but a first for our friends.

But before our beer day we had an evening of Spanish wine thanks to Majestic Wine. As with all Majestic shops Witney is stacked with wine, however it has one feature that impressed us all and made a perfect wine tasting bar ..... a glass topped well.

Glass topped well
A bit of history
Spanish wine is not my favourite, especially red but I am always open to persuasion, especially when offered a glass of Cava as the first tasting.

Juve Y Camps Reserve De La Familia - lots of initial lively bubbles in this Cava which calmed as the wine settled in the glass. This is apparently a favourite with the Spanish Royals. It had plenty of white fruitiness and citrus flavour with hints of honey giving a very slight sweetness on the finish.

MO Monastrell 2013/14 is a blend of Monastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon and Garnacha. This young wine has had some time in oak giving soft tannins. In the mouth it gives plenty of bramble and cherries with a balsamic high note giving a very light spice.

Pétalos Bierzo 2015 is a deep crimson red wine full of blackcurrants. A deep nose giving the wine a mature expectation which is met in the mouth with smooth tannins and spice.

Papa Luna 2014 is a wine I have previously enjoyed. It is a softer wine in its tannins, full of raspberries and cherries. It has high notes of white pepper and hints of vanilla on the finish. A blend of Garnacha, Mazuelo, Monastrell, Syrah and Carignan this was my preferred wine of the tasting.

Definition Rioja Reserva 2010 is a typical Rioja, full of fruit, vanilla, leather and oak. A smokey nose and heavy tannins portrayed it's 20 months in oak barrels.

I really struggle with Rioja wine, I love the smell and can drink them if ice cold but the heavy tannins, visions of old leather chairs in a cigar smoke filled library is just too much for me. I enjoy other oaked wines so had thought it was the Tempranillo grape I disliked but after tasting our final wine I don't think it is.

Cillar De Silos, Torresilo 2015 is a superbly smooth Tempranillo wine. Its 16-18 months in oak gives a smokiness but with light tannin that adds to its richness. Not surprisingly this was the most expensive wine of the evening retailing at £29.99.

Our Spanish tasting at Majestic Wine Witney
A superb way to spend a Friday evening - thank you 

Saturday was beer day, as mentioned Hubby and I have visited Wychwood Brewery before. It always amazes us how they produce so much Hobgoblin and all the other beers in their range (as well as Brakspear) in a relatively small brewery.

The tour lasts 2 hours with a superb visit around the actual brewery. The equipment is amazing, smaller than I imagine. There's a chance too to try some of the raw ingredients that go into brewing, although some are far more palatable in the beer.

It's history is amazing too, The Taproom is in the oldest part with an old mash drum set in the floor!

Taproom bar

After the tour we returned to the Taproom to sample some of Wychwood finest brews.

Our first beer was Fire Catcher, a golden beer with a little bit of spice to give that subtle fire finish. Arrowaine our next, a darker beer with toffee notes.

Dunkel Fester is Wychwood's hommage to the spooky season. I look forward to this dark beer which is available in Aldi during October.

IPA Hobgoblin is a new beer launch just a few weeks ago. Served well chilled this light golden beer had a lovely citrusy hop flavour.

King Goblin is a rich heavy beer, the strongest in our tasting at 6.6%. Black Wych, our final tasting, is my favourite from Wychwood. It was a beer no longer brewed but is now back thanks to public vote (mine included). The dark porter was a superb way to conclude our tasting.

Fire Catcher - Arrowaine - Dunkel Fester
IPA Hobgoblin - King Goblin - Dark Wych

It is always a treat to visit the home of Hobgoblin, we had a superb afternoon - thank you Wychwood Brewery

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