Berkmann Wine Cellars

Berkmann Wine Cellars South West Wine Tasting 2015
@ The Grand Café, Southampton, SO14 3AS
Monday 5th October 2015

Berkmann Wine Cellars South West Wine Tasting 2015

On Monday 5th October I was lucky enough to be able to attend Berkmann Wine Cellars South West Wine Tasting 2015 at The Grand Café in Southampton. Berkmann Wine Cellars are one of our key wine suppliers and we buy a small range of wines from them but mainly Lapostolle frmo Chile, various Italian wines, including those from Antinori and Masi and some selected spirits including Monkey 47 Gin from Germany and Ron Millonario from Peru. The UK wine trade is extremely London-centric and it is very rare that any of the big wine suppliers organise a regional wine tasting outside of London. It is great when then do and I am highly appreciative to Berkmann Wine Cellars for organising a fantastic wine tasting, with a good, large range of wines out in the wilds of Southampton. With the tasting being so local and with the phrase “use it or lose it” in mind, there was no way I wasn’t going to attend. It was well attended, it certainly seemed busier than the last one I attended in 2013 tasting.

Berkmann Wine Cellars South West Wine Tasting 2015

Here are a few of my highlights from the wine tasting.

Sparkling Wines

I tried a few sparkling wines at the tasting, including some great Champagnes from Drappier, but the two that stood out most for me were the Casa Valduga Arte Brut from Brazil and Prosecco from Col de’ Salici. The Brazilian sparkling wine was a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir and had quite developed toasty and yeasty flavours and aromas and pucnched way above it £12ish price point. The Col de’ Salici Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry was amazingly fresh with lots of apricot character and a really clean and dry finish. A very crisp and elegant wine.

Italian White Wines

One wine that I was keen to try again to check up on was the new vintage of the Broglia La Meirana Gavi di Gavi 2014. It is still one of the best Gavi di Gavis I have tried. The 2014 was really fresh and clean with floral, blossomy notes, hints of almonds  and plenty of citrus / lime character. Very nice. Another old favourite showing well was the Masi Masianco, a white from Veneto made with 85% Pinot Grigio and 15% partially dried Verduzzo grapes which give a fair bit of character and flavour to the blend.

Did you know Cervaro della Sala had a little brother? I didn’t. It is the Castello della Sala Bramito, 100% barrel fermented Chardonnay from Umbria and would retail for under £20. One of the best Italian Chardonnays I have tried in a long time with lots of pineapple and apply character with a nice spiciness.

Italian Red Wines

I have not tried many wines from Valtellina in the north of Italy but there was a very interesting red wine wine on show made by Mamete Prevostinin. Their SantaRita Rosso di Valtellina, a high altitude 100% Nebbiolo from the Swiss / Italian border, was just fantastically clean, pure, fruity and silky textured with red fruit and floral (rose) notes.Masi Costasera Amarone Classico

The Masi Valpolicella Bonacosta and Costasera Amarone are both excellent wines and I think the Masi Costasera Amarone 2010 might have been my favourite wine of the day (a toss-up between this and the Lapostolle Mourvedre below). It demonstrates an abundance of dried fruits, chocolate, mocha and violet aromas and flavours and manages to be powerful yet with a classy, elegance and purity at the same time.

There were also three Antinori-owned red wines that deserve a mention. Guado al Tasso Il Bruciato is a superb 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 15% Syrah blend from Tuscany, as good as ever. The Prunotto Mompertone was new to me, a supply, fruity, smokey, autumnal wine, a blend of 60% Barbera and 40% Syrah from Piedmont. Lastly there was the La Braccesca Bramasole, 100% Syrah from Tuscany with loads of smokey black fruit and very reminiscent of a good Cote-Rotie. A Superb Syrah.

Chilean Wines

I am a big fan of Lapostolle wines from Chile. The Lapostolle Casa Semillon 2012 is a really fresh, waxy, fruity, citrus-y wine aged for 8 months in 2nd and 3rd fill French oak barrels with superb ageing potential. The Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Chardonnay is one of my “go to” Chardonnay and has a great balance of fruit, oak and acidity. However, the surprise for me was a new wine, made only in tiny quantities, the Lapostolle Collection Mourvedre 2013, 100% Mourvedre from Apalta. It was aged in 3rd fill French oak for 1 year and and is a fruity, juicy wine with lifted red fruit and blueberry aromas. Lovely.


We buy a few spirits from Berkmann Wine Cellars and it was good to try a few new ones that I had not tried before. Monkey 47 Gin continues to be a benchmark gin, floral and spicy with a touch of sweetness, and their newly released Sloe gin was very nice too. Bonus fact:  the Monkey 47 Gin is rested in earthenware containers for three months prior to bottling for all the flavours in the gin to marry.

Babicka Original Wormwood Vodka was a surprise. Really spicy, woody, wormwood infused vodka from Czechoslovakia with vanilla, anise notes. Just drop and olive in it and you would have a good dry Martini. Lapostolle’s Kappa Pisco is amazing, probably one of the best white Piscos one can find, with lovely aromatic grapey, muscat aromas and flavours, but clean and pure enough to drink neat, which is more than I can say for some other Piscos I have tried!

Ron de Jeremy

There were also Rums from Don Q from Puerta Rico and Ron de Jeremy from Panama. I really liked the Don Q Anejo and the Ron de Jeremy Spiced and XO. The spiced was bottled at 47% which is unusual for a spiced rum, most are bottled at around 38%. It is refreshing to see a full strength spiced rum and it certainly didn’t take any prisoners. Big, rich and spicy but with a lot more power than some. I normally find the normal Ron de Jeremy a little bit too sweet for my taste but the Ron de Jeremy XO was very good. Apparently this was a blend of rums from Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica and Guyana, aged through a Solera system and bottled with a rough average age of 15 years old. It was big, rich and smokey with loads of dark toffee, mocha and oaky notes.

So there you have it. Thanks again to Berkmann Wine Cellars for organising a regional tasting. What I really need is the recipe for the goats cheese arancini with tomato sauce The Grand Café served!

Compass Box Whisky Limited Editions

Compass Box Flaming Heart
Fifteenth Anniversary Limited Edition
Blended Malt Scotch Whisky 48.9% 70cl

All details from Compass Box Whisky.

Compass Box Flaming Heart Fifteenth Anniversary Limited EditionAvailability

Fifteenth Anniversary Limited Edition
release of 12,060 bottles.
Bottled in July 2015.

Flavour Descriptors

A unique interplay between spice, sweet and smoke characteristics. Sweet fruits and wood-smoke on the nose. Fat and full-bodied on the palate with a spicy sweetness and a brooding complexity that is rich, sweet and addictively decadent.


This is a whisky for late nights, for after dinner, for camping under the stars. Drink it neat or pair with rich cheeses, fine cigars or your favourite rock song turned up to 11.

Bottling Details

Bottled at 48.9%
Not chill-filtered
Natural colour


Compass Box This Is Not A Luxury Whisky
Limited Edition
Blended Scotch Whisky 53.1% 70cl

Compass Box This Is Not A Luxury WhiskyAvailability

Limited Edition release of 4,992 bottles.
Bottled in August 2015.

Flavour Descriptors

Complex, rich, lightly smoky and opulent. Sultanas,
sweet sherry and concentrated floral notes combine
with deep demerara sweetness, cacao and lighter
creamy coconut character. An inviting nose, fat and
full-bodied on the palate with a long, lingering sweetsmoke


This particular luxury has been designed to be
consumed, not preserved on a shelf. Use it to
celebrate life’s little victories – a new job, a chance
meeting with a friend, the conclusion of an enjoyable
dinner. Above all else, share and enjoy.

Bottling Details

Bottled at 53.1%
Not chill-filtered
Natural colour

Belvedere 007 Collectors Edition

Now available at Fareham Wine Cellar – Please follow the links for more information or to buy online.

Belvedere 007 Collectors Edition 40% 70cl – available now while stocks last.

Belvedere 007 Collectors Edition 40% 175cl Night Sabre – available now while stocks last.

Belvedere 007 Collectors Edition 40% 70cl

Belvedere 007 Collectors Edition Bottle


Belvedere 007 Collectors Edition 40% 175cl Night Saber

I have only just discovered that the larger light up bottles of Belvedere Vodka are known as the “Night Sabre”!!! Where have I been?

Belvedere 007 Collectors Edition 1.75cl Bottle

Belvedere Vodka is distilled from 100% Dan´kowskie Gold Rye, which has only been successfully harvested in Poland. Belvedere Vodka is distilled four times, the optimum number for achieving its unique flavour profile – three distillations leave minor imperfections, five distillations strip away delicious flavour notes.

Tasting Notes: Belvedere Vodka has a a faint hint of vanilla on the nose along with some gentle, soft cream characteristics. The palate is full and round with a medium bodied weight and rich, velvety texture. There is some vanilla swaying between sweet and savoury with a hint of white pepper and spice. Good length with notes of almond, clotted cream and some faint almond and brazil nut characteristics.

Chilgrove Gin

Chilgrove Gin is a new, small batch gin whose roots lie deep in the heart of the South Downs. It is the brainchild of husband and wife team Christopher and Celia Beaumont-Hutchings who one day thought that they would like to make a gin of their own. Unlike most people who idly daydream about such projects, they actually put their money where their mouths were and did it. The idea was fermented, as it were, in the beer garden of their local hostelry, the White Horse, in the small West Sussex village of Chilgrove, after which it is named.

Chilgrove Gin is now available at Fareham Wine Cellar.

Chilgrove Gin

Chilgrove Gin lays claim to being the first English gin to be made with a neutral base spirit produced from grapes. The base spirit is sourced from the Spanish wine-growing region of La Mancha. It is not the first gin that we have sold that is made from grape spirit. That honour would have to go G’Vine Gin from France. With the massive increase in English wine production, particularly sparkling, of recent years I would not be surprised to see a few more gins made from a grape spirit base appearing on the market soon. Grape spirit was originally the base spirit for the fore-runner of gin, Dutch Genever, before Genever producers were forced to switch to grain spirit due to mainly political reasons.

The idea behind Chilgrove Gin is a stripped back, less is more approach, which is rather the opposite to some other new gins who seem to be having a competition to see how many botanicals they can use. So, why grape spirit? Most gin is made from a neutral base spirit made from grain, but it can be made from a base spirit distilled from just about anything including sugar beet, sugar cane, potatoes or even apples like Williams Chase Elegant Gin. Grape spirit is a more refined, elegant spirit than grain spirit which allows the full expression of the 11 carefully selected botanicals to produce a crisp, smooth, yet complex, gin.

Chilgrove Gin Botanicals

Juniper BerryChilgrove Gin Label
Coriander Seed
Sweet Orange
Angelica Root
Liquorice Root
Orris Root
Bitter Orange
Water Mint
Grains of Paradise

Chilgrove Gin is made at Thames Distillers in London by eighth generation master distiller Charles Maxwell. It is here where the neutral grape spirit is redistilled in the presence of 11 botanicals to flavour the gin. If you are a gin-lover you have no doubt imbibed some of the gins made at Thames Distillers already. The distillery has two 500 litre stainless steel pot stills named Tom Thumb and Thumbelina. They make over 60 brands of gin for various company’s including Jenson’s, Juniper Green, Portobello Road and Fifty Pounds Gin. After redistillation with the botanicals the last thing that needs to be done is to reduce the gin down to the chosen alcoholic volume, in this case 44% abv. The water used to do this is the other South Downs connection. Chilgrove gin is made using water from the Southdowns Water Co., a natural mineral water supplier whose spring is located on the West Sussex / Hampshire border at Southbourne. This spring water is naturally filtered through the chalky South Downs. It is naturally high in calcium and low in sodium and brings it own individual character to the gin.

Chilgrove Gin Tasting Notes
From distiller Charles Maxwell,

“A big, powerful, complex gin. The neutral grape spirit base helps to give a soft mouth feel and bring forward floral notes as it combines with the citrus botanicals.  Overall there is a gentle delivery of the botanical flavours which end up with a spicy peppery note delivered by the grains of paradise working with the juniper.”

Fareham Wine Cellar Tasting Notes

Chilgrove gin has a sweetish nose with a big hit of citrus, tangerine, and more subtle floral, violet, juniper and spicy coriander notes. There are also menthol / eucalyptus nuances. It is a powerful full, rich and complex gin with with a viscous mouthfeel. The palate is dominated by juniper, coriander and spicy, peppery flavours with more mint notes. Is my mind playing tricks or is there some red berry character here too? It has a very pleasing, fresh, clean, crisp and dry finish. Bottled at 44% abv.

Chilgrove Gin really seems have hit the ground running and it is quickly becoming the favourite gin of the yachting community – it was the official gin of the 2015 AAM Cowes Week and it is the official Spirits Partner of sailing company Sunsail. I also notice that it pops up in Pork and Gin sausages at O’Hagan’s Sausages in Fishbourne, in sorbets and ice creams at the Sussex Ice Cream Company and is now available in Canada!

Look out for Chilgrove Vodka coming soon and visit the Chilgrove Gin website for more information and cocktail recipes.

Urbina Rioja Winemakers Dinner

Urbina Rioja

with winemaker Pedro Urbina

Wednesday 14th October 2015

7.15 for a prompt start at 7.30pm

@ Lysses House Hotel
High Street

Tickets £37.50 per person in advance only from Lysses House Hotel T: 01329 822622.

This is one for Rioja-philes! The evening will consist of a 3 course dinner with all courses matched with one of Urbina’s fine Riojas. There will also be a short pre-dinner tutored wine tasting of 5 wines presented by Bodegas Urbina winemaker Pedro Urbina.

Please notify Lysses House Hotel if you have any particular dietary requirements.

Urbina Rioja Winemakers Dinner

Pre Dinner Tasting

Urbina Blanco 2012

Urbina Rosado 2013

Urbina Crianza 2008

Urbina Reserva Especial 2001

Urbina Gran Reserva 1996



Fillet of pan fried cod with chorizo sausage set on a base of buttered spinach and finished with a red wine and cream sauce

Urbina Garnacha 2013


Main Course

Rump of lamb roasted until pink served with a butter bean stew with roasted peppers, courgettes and basil finished with a basil scented sauce

Urbina Seleccion 1999



A selection of Spanish cheeses served with crusty bread and quince jelly

Urbina Gran Reserva Especial 1994


Coffee and mints


About Urbina Rioja

Bodegas Urbina are a small family-owned Rioja producer with 75 hectares of Urbina Seleccion 1999 Riojavineyards. Established in 1870 the winery and vineyards are located in Cuzcurrita de Río Tirón at the north western edge of the Rioja DOC with some more vineyards located in the heart of the Rioja DOC at Urunuela. All the grapes they use are from their own vineyards, they don’t use any bought in fruit.

Urbina produces a full range of Riojas including white, rosé and a full range of red wines from the young, un-oaked Jovens up to Reservas and Gran Reservas which are aged for years in barrel and bottle. There is a definite Urbina “house style”, the wines tend to be lighter than some more modern styles of Rioja with a lot of red fruit and vanilla character, an almost Burgundian style of Rioja!

Visit the Bodegas Urbina Website and read more at the Fareham Wine Cellar Blog.

Romanian Wines and Lacerta Winery

Time to rediscover Romanian Wines?

Romanian wines do not currently have much of a presence in the UK market and don’t have a great reputation, a hangover from the cheap Romanian wines that were available in UK supermarkets in the 1980s. I remember an abundance of Romanin wines, mainly Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as many Bulgarian and Hungarian wines, that were very affordable, popular wines. Export of Romanian wines was rather stopped in its tracks by the Romanian Revolution of December 1989. This lead to a very serious economic downturn and severe under-investment in the wine industry. Wine farms had been nationalised and, after the fall of communism, it proved almost impossible to find the original owners, many of whom has emigrated or disappeared. The result was a virtual standstill of the Romanian wine industry, let alone any export of Romanian wines. There have been precious few Romanian wines available in the UK since the last century, but now there are some serious wines appearing for sale in the UK once again and the Romanian wine industry is getting itself back on track.

Romania is one of the oldest wine-producing countries, with a history of viticultural history stretching back 6000 years and, I was surprised to learn, one of the world’s largest producers of wine (11th largest in 2009 according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, an agency of the United Nations). During the communist era there was much planting of international grape varieties (the usual suspects – Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay etc.) but there is also a good selection of indigenous varieties including red grape varieties such as Feteasca Neagra, and Burgund Mare (also known as Blaufraenkisch), and white grape varieties such as Feteasca Alba and Busuioaca de Bohotin.

Romanian Wines & Lacerta Winery

Lacerta Winery is at the forefront of the new wave of quality Romanian wines that are now being produced. Lacerta winery is located approximately 100kms to the north east of Bucharest, some 2 hours drive by car, in Fintesti, Buzau County in the Dealu Mare wine growing region.

Dealu Mare is located in the Muntenia area of Romania and is recognised as being one of the most important wine producing regions in Romania. Lacerta boasts of being situated on the 45th parallel, the same latitude many of the fine wines of Bordeaux and Tuscany. Lacerta Winery is one of the most modern wineries in Romania which was achieved with an impressive 7 million Euro investment.

The company was founded in 2003 by a group of investors headed by Austrian businessman Walter Friedl with the dream of producing some of the best Romanian wines possible. The first vines were planted in 2005, the vineyards now cover some 80 hectares and the first wine was launched in 2011. The ultra-modern winery is almost entirely gravity-fed with minimal use of pumps to move the wine around. The theory behind this is that the handling of the wine is gentler, the wine is not subjected to agitation (and electric fields, which could have an effect on long chain molecules in the wine) and there is less chance for any oxidation to take place. Therefore the wine should remain in a more natural state. There is a high degree of vineyard management (green harvesting) and yields are kept low at around 1kg of grapes per vine. There is also careful sorting of the grapes after harvest at the winery. The wines are aged in a combination of different oak barriques (225L) sourced from France, USA, Russia, Hungary and Romania. The barrels are used for a maximum of three years. Lacerta Winery is targeting production of some 150,000 bottles per year. The winemaker is Mihai Banita.

Lacerta Feteasca Alba, Dealu Mare

This white wine is made from 100% Feteasca Alba an indigenous grape variety to Romania (and Moldova) and Feteasca translates as “maiden” in Romanian, so Feteasca Alba is literally “white maiden”. The grapes come from vineyards with an age of 5 to 8 years old with clay and limestone soils. It is vinified in stainless steel, it undergoes cold maceration for 2 days prior to fermentation followed by malolactic fermentation in tank.

Lacerta Feteasca Alba 1

The wine is a bright, light golden colour with green hints. The aromas on the nose are reminiscent of floral / white blossom notes, citrus and tropical fruit. The palate fresh and citrus-y (grapefruit). A well-balanced wine with good minerality, acidity and a good, clean and crisp finish. Try with salads, white meats, grilled fish, pasta and couscous.

Lacerta Chardonnay Reserva

As mentioned above, Romania has never been shy to use international grape varieties as well as their own indigenous grapes. The Lacerta Chardonnay is a case in point, it is 100% Chardonnay, sourced from the oldest wines on the estate, which are now 10 years old. After harvest the grapes undergo a 2 day period of cold maceration, followed by alcoholic fermentation, malolactic fermentation in tank and then the Lacerta Chardonnay Reserva is aged for 12 months in 225L French oak barriques.

Lacerta Chardonnay Reserva 2

Lacerta Chardonnay Reserva has a golden, yellow colour. The nose has aromas of citrus, tropical notes and hints of vanilla, spice and toasted oak from the oak aging. The palate is full with flavours of melon and pineapple along with more creamy, vanilla character from the barriques. Full, complex wine with well-integrated oak influences and good mouthfeel. Try with richer white meat dishes, seafood or roasted Mediterranean vegetables and spicy couscous.

Lacerta Cuvee IX

The Lacerta Cuvee IX is the estate’s top red wine blend and which consists of Cabernet Sauvignon, Blaufraenkisch, Feteasca Neagra and Merlot sourced from vines with an aged of 10 years old. Most will be familiar with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Feteasca Neagra (literally “black maiden”), like the white grape Feteasca Alba from which it is thought to derive, is indigenous to Romania and Moldova. Blaufraenkisch (known elsewhere as Blaufrankisch without an ‘e’) is widely grown across central Europe. It is also known as Burgund Mare in Romania. After harvest the grapes are cold macerated for 2 days prior to alcoholic fermentation. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in tank prior to 12 months ageing in a combination of French and East European 225L oak barriques.

Lacerta Wines Cuvee IX

Lacerta Cuvee IX has a deep, dark, red colour. The nose is redolent with aromas of dark and red fruits including black cherry, blackberry, plums and damson. The barrique ageing adds spicy (hints of clove), mocha and vanilla character. Although this is a full-bodied red wine it is also soft and quite supple. There is a touch of natural sweetness on the palate. The finish is long and persistant. Lacerta Cuvee IX will be a great match for any red meats, mature cheese and even richer game dishes.

Matching Wine with Pork Pie

Who doesn’t love pork pies? They are little parcels of porky, pastry loveliness and some of the best around are made by local pork pie specialist Jake’s Artisan Foods. I first managed to get my hands on some of Jake’s Pork Pies at the 2014 Vineyards of Hampshire Festival at Jenkyn Place near Bentley. This year the  2015 Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival was held at Hambledon Vineyard and I knew I had to make a bee-line for some of Jake’s Pork Pies as soon as I got there, because they always sell out very quickly.  Jon Kaye is the man behind the pies, an ex-journalist who started out making pork pies as a hobby 6 or 7 years ago. He is based near Petersfield and went full-time in 2013. I highly recommend looking out for his pies at one of the many farmers markets he regularly attends. Visit his website for a list of venues and dates.

Jake's Artisan Pies at Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival at Hambledon Vineyard (19)
Jon Kaye from Jake’s Artisan Foods at Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival 2015

What makes Jake’s Pork Pies so special? Well, everything is done by hand from butchering free-range pork shoulder, grinding spices and seasoning, making the hot water crust pasty, hand-raising the pies and adding (homemade) jelly. As someone who has recently made some pork pies, I know what a time consuming process this all is and the fact that this is all done by hand is amazing. And then you have to get the seasoning right! Jake’s Pork Pies are made with coarsely chopped pork, the seasoning is spot on (I am guessing salt, pepper, some mace or nutmeg and no doubt some secret ingredient!) and the pastry has just the right amount of crispness and flakiness. The filling is flavoursome, porky and succulent with a generous amount of jelly helping to keep it moist, but not too much which I don’t like (but that’s a personal thing).

Jake's Artisan Pies at Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival at Hambledon Vineyard (19)
Jake’s Pork Pies at Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival 2015

Matching Wine with Pork Pie

Jon and I swapped a few emails and he suggested that I should make some suggestions for matching wine with pork pie, which I thought was a very good idea! In terms of matching wine with pork pie I think it is best not to think of pork as a white meat but think of these as something a bit richer. The main ingredients are of, of course, pork and pastry, and they do have quite a high fat content (but not in a bad way!). Considering the fat content of the pork pie, and this applies to pork in general, one needs to aim for a white wine with good acidity to cut through the fat content or a red wine low in tannin, also with good acidity, as tannins tend to clash with fat.

Matching White Wine with Pork Pie

There are two options here, one can either try a fresh and racy white wine to cut through the fat or a fuller, richer wine to complement the richness of flavours. For a fresher style I would perhaps suggest a riesling. Riesling comes in many different styles and they make excellent food wines. A drier, mineral style of Riesling from the Mosel would be a good match and I would recommend something like Dr Loosen Red Slate Dry Riesling. This is a fuller, yet dry, style of Riesling with floral, blossom aromas and flavours of peach, pear and honey on the palate. Importantly it has very good, well-balanced acidity to cut through any fattiness. A good alternative wine match with Pork Pie would be a fresh, zingy wine like the Trapiche Estacion 1883 Torrontes from Mendoza, Argentina with its grapefruit / citrus acidity and grape-y flavours.

As a fuller style of white wine, a good Chardonnay with a nice bit of oak would be a good wine match with Pork Pie. Rather than trying to cut through the fat, it is more about complementing the creamy, buttery character of the pork and pastry. My choice for this would be a rich, buttery barrel-aged Chardonnay such as the Louis Latour Grande Ardeche Chardonnay. This is a Burgundian-style wine made by a Burgundy negociant but in vineyards in the Ardeche, to the west of the Rhone valley. It is a full-bodied, rich white wine with aromas of tropical fruit, toasty oak notes and a full-bodied palate with pear and nutty flavours to complement the richness of a good pork pie. A good alternative to a white Burgundy at a bargain price. However, any good Chardonnay with a dollop of oak should do the trick!

Matching Red Wine with Pork PieCote de Brouilly Caves des Vigneron de Bel-Air

As mentioned above, a matching a red wine with pork pie requires a fruity wine with low tannins and good acidity. Think of some of the traditional natural matches for Charcuterie and cold meats like Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, lighter Cote du Rhone or Bordeaux which all fit this profile. There are, of course, plenty of other alternatives from elsewhere around the world but I think it would be best to avoid the sweeter, jammier chewy styles. Unless this is what you like! Food / wine matching is ultimately a personal preference! As a traditional wine match for pork pie you won’t go much wrong with a Beaujolais and I would recommend the Cote de Brouilly from Caves des Vignerons de Bel-Air. This Gamay has plenty of raspberry, floral aromas and flavours with a soft, round and lively finish with nice acidity. Don’t be afraid to pop lighter, fruitier wines such as this in the fridge for 20 minutes or so in the hot, summer months. A good alternative to this would be a juicy, soft Valpolicella and the Masi Bonacosta Valpolicella Classico with its violet, mint, cherry flavours and low acidity would be a great match.

Matching Other Wine With Pork Pie

One other wine match that springs to mind for pork pie would be a Sherry or Madeira, not the sweeter styles, but something dry(ish) with a bit of richness. For a Sherry look for a dry Amontillado or a dry Oloroso such as the Don Jose Oloroso from Sanchez Romate. This is rich with walnut, spicy, okay flavours but has a dry finish and good acidity and will be a great wine match for pork pie without being overpowering.

Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Autumn 2015 Wine Course

Please find below the details for the Autumn 2015 Wine Course starting in September 2015.

Autumn 2015 Wine Course

With Daria Kenefeck

@ Lysses House Hotel

51 High Street Fareham Hampshire PO16 7BQ

Course Code: LHAU1512
Course Length: 12 weeks
Start date: Thursday 17th September 2015
Finish date: Thursday 10th December 2015
Mid term break: Thursday 29th October 2015

Cost: £156.00 per person including wine

Please note that this course is very popular, I advise booking ASAP if you wish to attend.

A message from Daria,

“Please could you let me know by the end of August / first week of September whether you would like to join the course.  Please also note that there is a strict limit of 25 people for the class, so please confirm with me before payment is made.
Payments should be made by BACS to Daria’s Wine Foundation (please email for further details) by 11th September, or cash on the first night.”

Wine Glasses
Daria Kenefeck works at Fareham Wine Cellar and has taught a wine course in the local area for a number of years. There are three wine courses per year running roughly during school term times on a Thursday evening. The wine course involves some wine education followed by a tasting. There are also various themed evenings, the occasional blind tasting and sometimes guest speakers (I have it on good authority there will be a Kendall Jackson Masterclass with Pierre-Marie Pattieu on October 15th).

The classes start at 7.00pm and finish at approximately 9.15pm. If you are interested in attending either the Spring or Summer course please contact Daria at Fareham Wine Cellar, telephone 01329 822733. Or email if you have any further questions.

Please note you will need to bring at least 5 wine tasting glasses and writing implements. Payment must be made at the beginning of the wine course. There is a car park behind the hotel, and should this be full for any reason, there is a public car park opposite which is free after 6.00 pm.The room used for the class is on the first floor, but there is a lift available.

Provisional Dates for the 2016 Wine Course

5 Week Winter Course – 14th January 2016 to 11th February 2016

10 Week Summer Course – 10th March 2016, with a 2-week break over Easter (31st March and 7th April) and finishing on 26th May 2016.

Vineyards of Hampshire

Wine Festival 2015


The Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival 2015 was held at Hambledon Vineyard on Sunday 12th July 2015. The Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival is a small, but perfectly formed, wine festival consisting of several Hampshire Wineries, all of whom are Hampshire Sparkling Wine Producers, and local Hampshire food producers. The food producers come together through the Hampshire Fare association. The festival moves location each year and it is shared between the various Hampshire wineries that take part. I was lucky enough to attend the inaugural Vineyards of Hampshire festival held in 2014 at Jenkyn Place Vineyard which was a fantastic day out and a great success. Hambledon Vineyard (and Meonhill Wines) is the closest venue to Fareham Wine Cellar so there was no question of not attending this year.

Unfortunately Sunday 12th July 2015 was a cloudy, drizzly and windy day which probably wasn’t the best weather for visiting a wine festival and drinking Hampshire Sparkling wine in a vineyard. I had visions of drinking wine in the glorious sunshine surrounded by vines but it was a typical wet English summer’s day. However, us Brits are made of sterner stuff and, considering the weather, I would say the turnout for the Vineyards of Hampshire Wines Festival was pretty good. Fortunately there was a good size marquee to keep everyone dry, but it did get a bit crowded at points. According to a recent article in the Daily Echo, there are currently 38 vineyards in Hampshire as of July 2015, although there seems to be some dispute over the actual number at the moment. The cream of the crop, pun intended, were represented at this year’s festival.

Vineyards of Hampshire Exhibitors

Cottonworth – from Cottonworth near Andover

Danebury Vineyards – near Stockbridge

Exton Park Wines – from Exton

Hambledon Vineyard – at Hambledon, venue of the 2015 festival

Hattingley Valley Wines – near Medstead, Alton

Jenkyn Place Vineyard – near Bentley

Meonhill Wines – the wine is now made at Hambledon Vineyard but the vineyards located at Old Winchester Hill near Droxford


I didn’t take any notes about the wines I tasted on the afternoon but I did make a few mental notes and observations.

It was good to see newcomers, Exton Park Wines, at the wine festival. I am sure they will be a welcome addition to this select group of Hampshire Sparkling wine producers This is the first year they have released any wine under their own label, having previously sold fruit to Coates and Seely (who seem to be getting a lot of press at the moment).

We already sell both Hambledon Vineyard and Meonhill Wines in our shop, so I am a little bit biased, but I think their wines still seem to be some of the best English sparkling wines available. We are lucky they are our most local vineyards. I am particularly fond of the Meonhill Reserve Brut NV. It is developing a rather lovely golden colour with deep and complex flavours. Of all the wines tasted it was the most “Champagne-like”. I suppose this comes from having a bit of a head start over some of the other new wineries at the show – Champenoise Didier Pierson has been making wine at Meonhill since 2007 and obviously has some good stocks of aged, reserved wine to put in the blend. The Hambledon Classic Cuvée Brut is another favourite of mine, it is always a very classy, very elegant wine. It was a pity we didn’t get to try the new Hambledon Premiere Cuvée, though there was a tantalising bottle on display.

It was good to meet Caroline Stephens from Danebury Vineyards again. I think Danebury were one of the very first English sparkling producers to approach us at Fareham Wine Cellar many years ago. I still struggle with their sparkling wine, the Cossack, which is an unusual blend of Auxerrois Blanc and Rulander (Pinot Gris) but I did enjoy their Madeleine Angevine, the only non-sparkling wine of the day. Madeleine Angevine is originally from the Loire and always reminds me of a elderflowery Riesling crossed with Pinot Gris. It is a refreshing white wine and one I think we may stock in due course.

Other mentions must go to Cottonworth and Hattingley Valley wines. Both of these producers ranges of wines are very strong the – Hattingley Valley Rosé may well have been the biggest surprise and my favourite wine of the afternoon. I know it received my colleague’s vote.

The Vineyards of Hampshire Wines Festival isn’t all about wine and there was also a range of local Hampshire food producers showing their products under the Hampshire Fare association. Hampshire Fare has been working with local farmers and producers across Hampshire for more than twenty years and are passionate about supporting all things local.

I knew Parsonage Farm Charcuterie and Jake’s Artisan Pies from the previous year’s festival. I was under instruction with pre-orders for some of Jake’s Pork Pies and made sure I got to both their stands early on because they always sell out. There was a selection of great charcuterie from Parsonage Farm and I bought various salamis, including a great Watercress and Gin salami made with Twisted Nose Winchester Dry Gin (which uses Hampshire watercress as one of it botanicals) and a Lonzino style air-cured piece of pork loin cured with an interesting spice blend. My colleague also bought some air-cured pork loin cured with orange and gin, Twisted Nose Gin I assume.


Also in attendance was Chris Attewell of the Winchester Cocoa Company who makes fantastic handmade chocolate with many local ingredients (Summerdown Mint, Twisted Nose Gin, Winchester Char Teas etc.). He had produced a special selection of 6 chocolates which were all picked to match well with Hampshire sparkling wines. If you are interested in learning more about Chris’s chocolates he is hosting a chocolate and sparkling wine matching evening in the Autumn at Hambledon Vineyard. You can read more about matching chocolate and wines at my previous blog post.


Other producers included Lyburn Cheese, great farmhouse cheeses which I know very well, who were also selling a fantastic blue cheese from the Isle of Wight Cheese Company. I also bumped into Will Dobson of Hill Farm Juice, near Swanmore, who make some fantastic apple juices. There was a brilliant apple juice with sloe and damson which, in my humble opinion, was crying out for the addition of a bit of gin! Although the apple juices were all great on their own, I was imagining the cocktails I could make with them!


Hambledon Vineyard did a brilliant job of putting on the festival. There was also a pop-up shop (I missed on out in the Vineyards of Hampshire T-shirts), ice cream stand, a Braai with some great boerwors and a hog roast. I heard a few grumbles about the parking situation and passed at least two people having to take a break on the walk up the hill. It was a long, steep walk from the car parking to the event and there did seem to be parking available nearer the event at top of the hill, perhaps this should have been filled first. My biggest grumble were the glasses. These were the same awful plastic tulips as the previous year. I had to return the first two which were cracked and leaky. If one is serious about wine tasting they are pretty useless. The design makes it impossible to swirl the wine in the glass or really get one’s nose into it  to allow one to appreciate the aromas, which is obviously a very important part of wine tasting. How about suggest purchasing some ISO tasting glasses for next year’s event so people can taste the wines properly? Give one away with each ticket. Factor them into the price. Have them personalised with a “Vineyards of Hampshire” name and logo, sell them and use them at future events just like beer festivals and other wine and food festivals do. Bought in bulk they are not expensive. Wines of this quality should be given the best chance to be appreciated. Just my two cents!

Well done to everyone organised exhibited and attended. Despite the weather it was a very good afternoon!

I thought it would be useful to show the locations of the wineries on the map below, they have red markers. Hampshire Fare food producers are marked with blue and Fareham Wine Cellar is marked with a yellow marker.

Grahams Vintage Port Bond

Grahams Vintage Port Bond

One of the things I am often asked about at Fareham Wine Cellar is supplying wine or Port for Christening or wedding gifts. This can be tricky thing to do when someone wants to actually buy wine or Port from the year of the wedding or Christening. A lot of people don’t appreciate that the wines or Ports from the current year will not be available straight away and they often want to give it as a present ASAP. A nice idea, but winemaking takes time.

Inquiries for Christening or wedding gifts can come throughout the viticultural year so I often have to explain, depending on the time of the year, that the vines haven’t flowered yet, the grapes are still on the vine, the grapes haven’t been harvested yet, the wine is quietly ageing away in oak barrels for many months etc. etc. – most good quality wines will spend a good 12 to 18 months in oak barrels and are then aged a certain amount of time in bottle prior to release from the producer and shipping to the UK.

What’s more, there is no guarantee that the wine or Port vintage will be a good one and with vintage Port there is no guarantee that it will be a even be a declared vintage at all. There is also nothing tangible to give as a present. For example, if 2015 is declared as a vintage year for Port, it wouldn’t be available in the UK until late 2016 or early 2017.

Of course for wine there is the Bordeaux en Primeur system (whether one thinks it is broken or not) and there are other wine producing countries and regions that sell En Primeur. However, Port has never really had as formalised En Primeur system like Bordeaux, but wine merchants, like ourselves, will send out offers when the prices of vintage Port are released. If we can get a few cask sample of vintage Ports we try and do a customer tasting so people can try before they buy. It is great to be able to offer this and we are going to be trying the Quinta do Vesuvio and Dow Quinta Senhora da Ribeira 2013 with some customers this Saturday.

So Grahams Port noticed is a gap in the market. Which is where the Grahams Vintage Port Bond comes in.

What is the Grahams Vintage Port Bond?

The Grahams Vintage Port Bond allows one to buy a case of Vintage Port in the year it is harvested rather than having to wait approximately 18 months before the Vintage Port is bottled, shipped and available in the UK. This makes it an ideal gift to a child in the year of their birth, or to a couple in the year of their marriage.

The Grahams Vintage Port Bond can then be redeemed when the Port is available in the UK, which as mentioned above, is usually around 18 months after the harvest of that particular year.

The Grahams Vintage Port Bond entitles the holder to 1 case (1 x 6 bottles) Grahams Vintage Port from the harvest of the year the bond is purchased or, if a main vintage is not declared in that year, 2 cases (2 x 6 bottles) Grahams Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Port. In the unusual occurence that no vintage Port is made at all in a given year then a full refund will be guaranteed or an alternative year offered.

Please note, one can purchase Graham’s Vintage Port from the year we are currently in and the previous year, i.e. one can currently buy 2015 and 2014 Vintage Port (as 04/07/15).

The buyer receives a Grahams Vintage Port Bond on purchase and will be provided with a high quality presentation bond certificate personalised with handwritten calligraphy that can be presented to the recipient on the occasion being celebrated, such as a wedding or Christening.

The price includes,

1 case (6 bottles) of Grahams Vintage Port  or 2 cases (12 bottles) Grahams Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Port

UK VAT and Duty

Delivery to a UK address

Beautifully presented and personalised Certificate in wax sealed envelope

Bespoke service, informing customer when their Port is ready for delivery

The Grahams Vintage Port Bond is only available from a select few UK wine merchants and retailers and Fareham Wine Cellar is please to be included.

Buy the Grahams Vintage Port Bond and read the full terms and conditions at Fareham Wine Cellar.

Grahams Vintage Port Bond 3 Grahams Vintage Port Bond