This month saw the 17th Annual General Meeting of our highly popular club. Ian Langley presented the accounts before thanking Susan Ryan for her many years of service, who is standing down from the committee. Ian then welcomed Di Rabbetts, who is joining the committee in the role of treasurer and membership secretary.
The theme of the evening was Wine Awards, and every wine tasted had won some form of award whether a medal, a high number of points, or been commended by a wine professional in the press. The wines were presented by Ian together with Brian Rippon.
To accompany the AGM, members were treated to a 91 point Graham de Beck Blanc de Blancs (Majestic, £15.99), a biscuity traditional method sparkling chardonnay from South Africa, which had a slightly mixed reception. However, all of the following wines met universal approval of the members. The first white of the evening was a crisp Villa Noria Picpoul de Pinet (Strictly Wine, £10.99) which Jamie Goode rated at 90 points. Members thought it was an extremely good and pleasant example of a Picpoul – a wine from a very small appellation of which 65% is exported, more than half of that coming to the UK. That was followed by a fascinating but equally delicious ‘mountain’ blend, Terra Alpina Organic Bianco (Majestic, £10.99) made with grapes from Hungary, Italy and the Pyrenees.
Although most examples of Falanghina come from Campania in southern Italy, the next wine was an organic example from Puglia, Bella Verità (M&S, £9). It showed the usual delicious characteristics of citrus blossom aromas and apple and pear flavours. The final white was a Marcarini Roero Arneis (Majestic, £12.99), a lovely and complex version of the Arneis grape from the Roero hills in Piedmont.
The reds started with a lovely Pinot Noir from Chile, Matetic Estela Lunar (M&S, £12 – but found in Didcot at £9, reduced to clear!). Awarded 92 points by Decanter, this was a delicate wine with notes of cherry and sweet spice. Matetic regularly win awards for being one of the top 100 wineries or producing one of the top 100 wines in the world, so this was an absolute bargain – especially considering that their wines tend to sell for twice this price. The next wine was even more of a bargain – a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo from the Tesco Finest range. This has won gold medals, the Montepulciano trophy and the Great Value Red Wine trophy. Normally £7, it was on offer in September at £5.25 when you buy 6 bottles of wine.
Brian then presented a red from Strictly Wine, a Tikveš ‘Cuvee Methodius’ Vranec (£8.99) from the Republic of North Macedonia. This is a deeply coloured red wine revealing vibrant aromas of blueberries and blackberries, with hints of chocolate and cocoa – winner of a silver medal at the International Wine Challenge. Finally Ian showed an unusual wine from Portugal, an Alicante Bouschet (M&S, £8). This grape not only has a red skin but also, unlike most red grapes, a red pulp –called a teinturier. Although now virtually unheard of, it was until the start of this century the 12th most planted red wine grape in France! Decanter gave it 91 points and (alongside Matthew Jukes) recommended trying it with lamb.
The evening was enjoyed by all, who commented on the quality of the wines. Perhaps there is something to wines that have received an award after all…