January Newsletter

January Meeting

My Favourite Tipple

This year we had an extensive range of tipples which, quite by chance, could have accompanied a fine dinner, starting with an aperitif and finishing with spirits.


  1. Kir Royale – Roy Clements: Firstly, Roy told us about the interesting background to this sparkling aperitif (see page 2).  Roy used 9 parts Bouvet Brut, made by Bouvet Ladubay from the Loire to one-part Cassis.  A lovely drink.
  2. Alsace – Les Bates:  Les explained that Alsace is one of the smallest wine-growing regions in France.  Pre-1870 Alsace was regarded as one of France’s highly favoured wine regions, before its turbulent history with Germany.  Les brought along an excellent Alsace Grand Cru Turckheim, 2014, 13.5% vol. It was a refreshing wine with a flinty, minerally taste.  The only downside is that it is very expensive to buy in the UK, but canny Les bought a bottle at Auchan on our French trip for €14. 
  3. French Malbec – Andrew Stanhope:  Another good find on the French trip was Andrew’s La Baume, 2016, 12.5% vol, approx. £8 at Majestic.  Andrew explained the different characteristics between the Argentinean and French types, with the French Malbec having a much calmer and gentler flavour, usually with a vol of 12.5%.  The Argentinean Malbec is grown in a completely different type of soil and produces a much stronger wine with a volume of around 14%.  The La Baume was certainly a very pleasant, light fruity wine, completely different to the heavier Argentinean Malbec.
  4. Carmenère - Les Maskrey:  Les has found that the Argentinean Malbec is becoming thinner and only available as a younger wine.  If you are looking for a fuller bodied wine then the Chilean Carmenère is a good alternative. This grape originally came from France, but it is now mainly grown in Chile.  Les brought along a Mayu Grand Reserva, 2015, 14.5% vol, £10.99. This was an excellent wine, but sadly the 2015 vintage is no longer available, however there are many other good Carmenères around.
  5. Maury – Dave Daykin/Tom Rix: A couple of surprise sweet red wines from Dave’s cellar were next introduced by Tom.  Maury is a French sweet red, very similar to a port, 16.5% vol, from Laithwaites 2003. A most enjoyable after dinner wine.
  6. Mavrodafne Reserva – Dave/Tom: A Greek sweet red, 15% vol, limited edition 10,000 bottles from Lidl, 2016.  Another good dessert wine.
  7. Calvados – Jan Powis: Jan and Chris were holidaying in France many years ago when the weather was very cold.  On arrival at their hotel Jan was given a glass of Calvados and she felt warm for the first time in ages. Jan gave us a detailed description on the making of Calvados.  A lovely brandy.  Jan told us there is an English version of Calvados available, but it is much dearer than the French one.     
  8. English Whisky – Geoff Rishman: There are an increasing number of distilleries in England producing whiskies, such as Adnams and Cotswolds.  Geoff feels they are good whiskies, similar in taste to Irish, whereas The English, Norfolk is more akin to a good Scotch whisky.

Many thanks to everyone who brought along their tipples and supplied us with so much background information on their chosen drinks. A great evening.


Quarterly Dry Red: 1st & 2nd Tom Rix, 3rd Cathy Rishman

Judge: Bert Scott


I will be giving a talk with tastings on homemade wines made from less commonly used ingredients or unusual combinations of ingredients - Thursday 7 February.


WoE (dry and sweet classes)


The Annual Dinner will be held on Friday 26 April, at the Rose and Crown Hotel, Tonbridge.  The cost this year is £30 per head for a 3-course meal including coffee/tea and gratuities.  Menu choices will be distributed with the February newsletter.


Subscriptions are due on 1 February.  Please can you complete the attached form and return it to our treasurer, Chris, either by post with a cheque enclosed or at the February meeting.


This is one of Geoff’s favourite pâté recipes.  At Christmas-time he uses a combination of goose and duck livers.

Duck Liver Pâté with Armagnac, Delia's Happy Christmas

225g duck livers, rinsed and trimmed

225g butter

2 tbsp Armagnac

2 tsp mustard powder

¼ tsp ground mace

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

For the garnish:

6 small sprigs fresh thyme

6 juniper berries

Equipment: 6 ramekins with a base diameter of 5.5cm

To make the pâté, take a medium-sized, heavy-based frying pan, melt about 25g of the butter and fry the duck livers over a medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Keep them on the move, turning them over quite frequently. Then remove them from the pan with a draining spoon and transfer them to a blender or food processor.  In the same pan, gently melt 150g of the remaining butter and add this to the blender or food processor. Then pour the Armagnac onto the juices left in the frying pan and pour that over the livers. Now add the mustard, mace, thyme, garlic and some seasoning.

Leave to stand for 10 minutes, then blend until you have a smooth, velvety purée. Next, divide this between the ramekins. Then melt the remaining 50g of the butter, pour a little over each one to seal, press in a sprig of thyme and a juniper berry, and leave them to get quite cold.

Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge till needed. Remove from the fridge about an hour before serving as the pâté needs to be eaten at room temperature.



NAWB Annual Show 2019 – Reminder

Elaine Robinson, NAWB Entries Secretary, has sent us this reminder: “The 61st NAWB Annual show in Manchester on March 15-17 is fast approaching.  Just to remind you that if you are coming to the show, the closing date for bookings at the hotel at our guaranteed rate is February 1st. Any bookings made after this date may not be accepted at the rate agreed. The booking form and details are on the NAWB website - www.nawb.org.uk   All bookings for the weekend must be made using the reference number on the booking form.  If you have not received a paper schedule, I have a few left. Please let me know if you wish to be sent one. All the show details, conference

CUTTINGS: The Good Summer of 2018

Another Bumper Year for UK Wines

Daily Mail: Earlier this year the Daily Telegraph reported 2017 as being a successful year for UK wines (April Newsletter). Interestingly the Daily Mail recently reported that the 2018 harvest at Chapel Down winery was about 60% greater than in 2017 due to the hot summer making perfect growing conditions. Imports of champagne into the UK have fallen to a 17-year low, partly due to the fall in the Pound against the Euro, making imports more expensive and English sparkling wines an attractive alternative.

(Article kindly supplied by Bob Dye)

A Bumper Summer for Pub Beer Sales

Daily Telegraph: The 2018 World Cup and the heatwave have been attributed to UK pubs having their first summer beer sales boost in 15 years, causing pub sales to rise by 0.9%. Data from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) showed a 4.4% increase in beer sales on the same quarter in 2017. However, the BBPA said pubs should not become complacent due to the uncertainty of our future economy.


Kir was the surname of a French cleric, Canon Félix Kir (1876-1968), a member of the local French Resistance who helped 5,000 POW’s to escape.  He was given the death penalty by the Gestapo, but this was revoked as he was a man of the cloth.  After the war he became mayor of Dijon. Félix Kir offered the local drink of Aligote mixed with Cassis, a blackcurrant liqueur, to delegates, as all the local fine red wines had been consumed by the Gestapo. This drink became known as a Kir. A Kir Royale is made with a sparkling wine instead of a still white.  


Chris Powis, our treasurer, saw this in his motoring magazine and thought of Tonbridge Winemakers: 








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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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