Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Slaying dragons

Our hosts Karen & Terry decided that this month we would taste English wines.. St Georges Day and all that.. and just for those that don't know their history
' St George's Day in the United Kingdom remembers St George, England's patron saint. The anniversary of his death, which is on April 23, is seen as England's national day. According to legend, he was a soldier in the Roman army who killed a dragon and saved a princess.' 

Eight of us turned up to find Terry with his head in the oven..checking the roast, not trying to gas himself..(probably an electric oven anyway!) a superb mega joint of beef it has to be said, naturally with all the trimmings, well you just wouldn't expect anything else from Terry.  Now some of you may notice our hosts were Terry and Karen, you notice I haven't mention Karen, well.. apparently she was still travelling home, I think she was probably killing time at the pub, returning when she knew it would all be ready !!

Now you can't just pop down to the local supermarket & pick up a bottle.. so we were given plenty of notice to source a bottle or two.

Before we begin, just say there is a difference between English wines and British wines.  I quote from the vineyard leaflet "English wines are made from fresh grapes grown in England, whilst British wine is simply produced from foreign grapes "... now you know !

We started with Marks presentation on behalf of the four of us (Mark Linda Geoff & I) about our buying trip to Biddenden, well done Mark, although I did get told off by one of the group for butting in with little bits about the visit... whilst watching we tasted the Huxelrebe which was well received, very light in colour, dry enough and would be great on a summer day.

This was followed by Flint Dry from Chapel Down, although purchased at the new Majestic Wine Merchants in Broadstairs, this was very tangy compared to the first wine, lots of citrus, made your mouth water, just like eating an opal fruit sweet, lots of flavours..pear, peach, melon, pineapple, greengage and stone fruits, oddly Mick wondered what these were.. maybe, just maybe, they are fruits that have stones in them.. I am just guessing here !

By the way, this was the best looking label on the wines, the others were very old fashioned, as we know, you can be swayed when buying by the label on the bottle.

Two of us had the same wine, the award winning Ortega from Biddenden, one bought at the winery and one bought at a food fair (£2 more), more about this wine further down.

We won in a raffle, a dodgy looking bottle of English wine from Essex, New Hall Bacchus 2008, only 10.5%, so we brought this one along as well... very shocked it was actually quite good, we were all very surprised.

I have to add at this point a few glasses have been drunk, not too many, we have really calmed down, a delicious meal eaten, then the singing starts, (always the singing) mentioning no names, not because I don't want to but because she would rather I didn't, not because of her singing but...opps starting to ramble on here.. Anyway the singing starts, yes, yes lovely voices, but once she starts others can't resist joining in .. and you know it is 'finally' time to stop them when 'Mr hummer' starts (don't even ask).

We finished, oddly, with a pink fizz from Chapel Down, Vintage Rose reserve, gold medal winner, very good indeed, hints of strawberries, cream and shortbread made with 100% Pinot Noir, thats the wine not the shortbread.  I thought worth the £25.

Slaying the myth~

The general opinion was they were all very 'nice' (that special wine term ) we couldn't actually vote one as top, they were all fairly equal, so a thumbs up for English wines.

If we always paid over £9 a bottle would they all seem better, less room for a nasty one ??

If you are not too bored yet, I would like to tell you a story, now who said that, I am thinking Des O'Connor but thats not right some other bloke Max something?? can't remember.. anyone know ??  Sorry sorry drifting off at a tangent once again...

On a sunny Sunday earlier this month Mark & Linda invited me to join them for a jaunt out to Biddenden Vineyard, after a little bit of doubting the Sat Nav and lack of signs to the vineyard we finally arrived at Kent's oldest commercial vineyard.

After a brief sit down in the sun (hard work all that travelling) we headed into the shop  past the 'Bikers', tell you more later, where we were met by a very friendly knowledgeable girl who helped us select the wines to buy.  Needless to say we did taste a 'few' before making our selection.

We tried the dry white 'Huxelrebe' our favourite & purchased by Mark & Linda , we then tried the 'Gribble Bridge' white then the award winning 'Ortega' very fruity with a very distinctive fragrance, I selected this one to buy as it tasted so different. We also tried the Rose, a very light flavour and colour would be good on a summer afternoon in the garden and we finished with a few sips of the red, which we didn't like.

We then took a gentle stroll round the vineyard so lovely and warm, enhanced by the fact that the site is on a gentle south facing slope in a sheltered valley.

Once the loop was complete we headed back to the shop to make our purchase but first stopped to chat with the cider drinking bikers, who were also enjoying the sunshine, it was chats and photos all round and the admittance from one of them that really he was a white wine drinker (should he really say that out loud) doesn't quite go with the image.
Spot the white wine drinker (No not Linda or I )..
So I would like to say Thank You to our hosts for selecting English wine, we had a lovely morning out tasting and meeting new people, so these wines will have fond memories (opps sounding slushy now).. really does beat grabbing a bottle off the supermarket shelf !


Time to stick a cork in it.

Bye S x

No comments: