September Newsletter


Philip introduced us to an interesting collection of wines at his wine comparison tasting.  The object of the evening was to compare two wines within four wine types.

1)  Sparkling Wine

  1. Codorniu, Waitrose Spanish Cellar Cava, vol 11.5%, 2016, approx. £9
  2. Chapel Down, made in Kent to the same method as Champagne, vol 12%, approx. £25

Both excellent wines.  It was agreed that the Chapel Down was the better of the two, but perhaps not 3 times the price better.

2)  Sauvignon Gris

  1. Chateau Le Coin, 2017, vol 13%, Bordeaux, approx. £9
  2. Casa Silva, 2017, vol 13.5%, Chile, approx. £9

Sauvignon Gris is a very old grape, older than Sauvignon Blanc.  Both very pleasant white wines, with the majority of us preferring the Chilean one.

3)  Rosé

  1. Mezquiriz, 2017, vol 12%, Spanish, £3.89
  2. Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, 2017, vol 12.5%, £6.89

Philip gave us a cheap Spanish rosada and a French rosé to compare.  Everyone agreed that there was no doubt that the Mezquiriz was a poor wine lacking in body and character, compared to the French rosé which was quite acceptable.

4)  Bordeaux

  1. Chateau Le Coin, 2016, vol 14%, recently opened, approx. £12
  2. As above, but opened 4 hrs ago and decanted

The bottle label recommended decanting, however the majority of members failed to detect a difference between a) and b), with only a few people favouring the decanted wine.  A very pleasant wine, however Philip preferred the 2015 vintage, which unfortunately is no longer available.

This was a most enjoyable and informative evening where we benefitted from Philip’s extensive knowledge of wines.  Thank you, Philip. 


Quarterly (Sweet White)

1st Les Maskrey, 2nd Bob Dye, 3rd Tom Rix 

Wine of the Evening

Dry: 1st Bob Dye, 2nd Cathy Rishman, 3rd Les Maskrey

Sweet: 1st Les Maskrey, 2nd Bob Dye, 3rd Tom Rix

Judges: Bert Scott and Pujan Dhar


The Life and Times of Edith Cavell

Our guest speaker, Melanie Gibson-Barton, will be giving a talk on the British heroine who died in Brussels in 1915, supported by photographs of existing artefacts of her life.  The speaker has made regular visits to Brussels to research the hospitals and homes where Edith would have worked, as well as the place of her execution. 

This talk has been personally recommended to us, so please invite as many friends as possible to come along as guests (standard £4 entry fee).


WoE (dry and sweet classes)


Cathy Rishman was awarded 1st place in the liqueur class at the society’s open show with her orange liqueur.


Tom Rix the Silverware Merchant

The Open Show was held on 15 September.  Tom Rix certainly excelled at the show winning 6 cups, plus the rose bowl.  A full list of results is included as a separate attachment.   The committee thanks Bob Dye for ensuring the smooth running of the show, Lin and Sylvia for providing another excellent lunch and all others who helped on the day.  Bob would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped.


I often have difficulty finding sufficient elderberries for making a gallon of elderberry wine.  This year I am using 12 oz of elderberries together with other ingredients to make a red table wine:

Chianti Style Wine, based on a recipe by Chilterns Masters

568 ml (20 fl oz) red grape concentrate

454 g (1 lb) bottled Morello cherries

340 g (12 oz) elderberries

57 g (2 oz) raspberries

113 g (4 oz) strawberries

454 g (1 lb) sugar

10 g (½ oz) oak chippings


Gervin No 2 yeast


2-part finings

Sodium Metabisulfite

The recipe is designed to produce a wine with 13% alcohol and 0.5% acidity.

Wash the elderberries, raspberries and strawberries in a sulfite solution.  Rinse in cold water.  Place the washed fruit in a fermenting bucket with the grape concentrate, cherries and oak chips.  Mash well with a ladle to release the cherry stones.  Dissolve the sugar in 2 pints of boiling water.  Add to the bucket and make up to a volume of 6 pints with cold water.   Add the pectolase, yeast and nutrients.  Ferment on the pulp for 3 days.  Strain into a demijohn.  Top up with water.  Ferment to dryness.  Rack into a fresh demijohn and leave for 48 hours, then fine with 2-part finings.  Leave for 8 weeks before bottling.



Hops ‘N’ Harvest Beer Festival: 8 & 9 September

Les Bates reported a successful weekend with 2,300 visitors on Saturday and about 1,000 on Sunday.

The photo shows Les gathering in the hops for his next brew.

NAWB Annual National Show, AGM and Conference

Friday - Sunday 15 - 17 March 2019

Britannia Country House Hotel, Manchester

£90 per person for 2 nights B&B and Saturday dinner dance, including a 2-course dinner.  Optional dinner on Friday £12.50 and Sunday lunch £7.50.  £3 per night single room supplement.  There will be a total of 87 wine and beer classes at the show, with a set wine and beer recipe for those interested.  If this event is of interest please follow these links or contact me for printed copies:


£22.50 for a Pint!

Daily Mail: Brewed by the Alesmith Brewing Company, a pint of Alesmith Speedway Stout Hawaiian Special Edition can be enjoyed for a mere £22.50.  Apparently, the price can be justified as this US beer, produced in San Diego, contains expensive ingredients, such as Blue Mountain coffee from Hawaii.  It also contains a lot of alcohol, with a volume of 12% and is generally sold in ⅓ pint measures.  The producers describe it as having an “ominous” appearance, with flavours of chocolate and malts, supported by “notes” of dark fruit, toffee and caramel.  Seemingly UK drinkers remain unconvinced, with it being described by one as tasting “like an old blanket”.  The beer is imported by the Craft Beer Co, which has pubs across London and the south east.  I suppose it’s not too far away for us to try, but just bear in mind a pint would cost more than an off-peak return ticket to London!

Mead and the Game of Thrones

Daily Telegraph: Sales of mead have recently tripled, which has been attributed to the popularity of the “Game of Thrones”.   Mead, the drink made from honey, is believed to be the first alcoholic drink recorded in history, dating back to 9,000BC.  It ranges from 3.5% to 20% vol and was enjoyed by the great philosopher, Aristotle and the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare.  However, it fell out of favour when cheaper alternatives arrived, such as wine and beer.

A Vintage Year for Champagne

Daily Mail: 2018 has been the best year in a decade for champagne due to the heatwave.  The grape harvest normally takes place in September, but this year it started in August, being only the fifth time in the last 15 years.  Maxime Toubart, president of the Champagne Winegrowers’ Union, said: “The last few years have been tough.  This year is expected to be exceptionally good so we are very happy”.


Did you know?

Traditionally Beaujolais grapes are harvested at the end of the night when temperatures are lower to produce a fruity and tender wine. 

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13.03 | 12:56

anyone interested in 4x 50 litre wine carboys. I stopped making wine about 15 years ago. open to offers.

16.01 | 20:27

Same you only allow 160 caricatures on your site I would like to wright more !!!

16.01 | 15:40

Thank you for your kind comments. You are more than welcome to join us at one of our meetings - the first Thursday of each month.

16.01 | 15:26

Hi There I have just come across your website ...and very impressed, you seem to be a well organised club with monthly events and good membership BRAVO

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