Madeira Day Wine Tasting 2015

Madeira Day is a campaign to spread the word about quality Madeira wines. Now in its second year, Madeira Day started as Madeira Saturday in 2014. It is organised by Vinhos Barbeito and their UK importer, Portuguese wines specialist, Raymond Reynolds Ltd. Don’t forget to tweet using #MadeiraDay.

Our Madeira Day Wine Tasting is a free tasting. Please pop into Fareham Wine Cellar anytime between 2pm and 5.30pm on the 14th November 2015.

Madeira Day Wine Tasting 2015

Saturday 14th November 2015 from 2.00pm until 5.30pm

Fareham Wine Cellar
55 High Street
Fareham, P016 8TD

We will be showing some fantastic Madeiras from Vinhos Barbeito, a small, traditional Madeira producer, who doesn’t add any caramel to their Madeiras as some more commercial Madeiras do. The result is that Barbeito’s Madeira have a wonderful clean, purity and freshness. They are superb wines, suitable for all sorts of occasions, and must be tried!

Madeira Day wines on show will be (and maybe a.n.other),

Barbeito Boal (Bual) Reserva 19% 50cl

Barbeito Boal (Bual) Reserva

A superb medium-sweet Madeira with refreshing acidity. Barbeito Boal Reserva has a golden, honey colour. The nose demonstrates aromas of dried fruit, floral notes and marmalade. It is a round, medium-bodied with slight smoky hint and a fresh and tangy finish.

Barbeito Verdelho 10 Year Old Reserva Velha 19% 75cl

Barbeito Verdelho 10 Year Old Reserva Velha

Barbeito Verdelho 10 Year Old Reserva Velha is literally an “Old Reserve” Made from 100% Verdelho grapes. It is made in a medium dry style. It has a bright, light golden brown colour. The nose has aromas of citrus, floral and honeyed notes. It is soft, round, well-balance with good acidity and persisent, lingering finish.

Barbeito Madeira and Bolo de Mel
Barbeito Madeira and Bolo de Mel in 2014

We we will also have some wonderful spiced molasses cake, made to a traditional Madeiran recipe, called Bolo de Mel, made by Alan Williams of the Buxton Cake Company to try with the wines.

Barbeito Madeira is was founded in 1946 by Mário Barbeito. Today Mario’s grandson, Ricardo de Freitas, runs Vinhos Barbeito. Barbeito is a very traditional canteiro style Madeira and undergoes no de-acidification nor addition of caramel. Barbeito work closely with local producers and have input with them to ensure that each harvest the grapes are harvested to the specification of winemaker Ricardo de Freitas.

Read more about Barbeito Madeira at their website.

A couple of tweets from the day!


Urbina Rioja Winemakers Dinner 2015

with winemaker Pedro Urbina

Wednesday 14th October 2015

@ Lysses House Hotel, High Street
Fareham, Maplink

Urbina Rioja Winemakers Dinner 2015 (1)

On Wednesday 14th October 2015 we were lucky enough to have a visit from Bodegas Urbina winemaker Pedro Urbina and his representative in the UK, Edward Burridge of Burridges of Arlington Street, specialist importers of Spanish wines. This gave us the opportunity to host a winemaker’s dinner at Lysses House Hotel. Here are a few of my thoughts, and a few pictures, of the evening.

Pedro Urbina at the Urbina Rioja Winemakers Dinner 2015 (9)Pedro Urbina

It is always good to have access to a winemaker, there are always questions that you can ask a winemaker that no-one else will tell you the answer to. Of course, they don’t always answer the questions one asks! One of the things I was interested in finding out was how can Bodegas Urbina still be selling Urbina Gran Reserva 1996 or Urbina Reserva Especial 2001 Rioja when all other Rioja producers are on something like the 2005 and 2008 vintages? Well it seems that Pedro Senior, who would have been in charge at the time, made a lot of wine of one type if he thought that it would be the best expression of his wine in that vintage. So we, and Urbina, are still selling Urbina Gran Reserva 1996 because they made a lot of Gran Reserva in that year. If my memory serves me correctly, I don’t recall ever selling any 1996 Reservas from Urbina, only Crianza. Likewise in 1999 there was no other Urbina Rioja made apart from the Urbina Seleccion Crianza 1999 (actually, it could be classified as a Reserva, see below) because Pedro Snr thought it would be the best wine to make in that vintage.

Urbina Rioja Winemakers Dinner 2015 (11)

Another interesting point that was mentioned, which is a useful point to remind everyone, is that Urbina Crianza has been aged long enough in oak and bottle prior to release to qualify as a Reserva and, similarly, Urbina Reservas qualify as Gran Reservas. Otherwise things seem to be continuing in much the same vein as before at Urbina. Pedro did mention that they are now using 35% French oak and 65% American oak where as it was 100% American previously and that will be interesting to see how it affects the wines going forward. There is also a new project from Urbina coming shortly called Bodegas Salva from Rioja Alta. It is named after Salva after Pedro’s grandfather Salvador and is a joint venture between Pedro and his two brothers Angel and Santiago, who are lecturers at MasterViteno in Madrid. This small 5 hectare estate will produce a Crianza and a Reserva in a more modern, fruit-driven style than the classic Urbina Rioja.

Urbina Rioja Winemakers Dinner 2015 (2)

As usual chef Clive Wright and his staff at Lysses House Hotel performed a stellar job in ensuring that everyone was fed and watered well. I know it is not an easy job trying to serve 60 covers all at once. The food, once again, was superb. The starters of cod and chorizo on a bed of spinach with a red wine and cream sauce was a brilliant match for the Urbina Garnacha, the sweet meatiness of the chorizo and the spicy, vibrant, red fruit were a perfect match. The main course was some fantastic Welsh lamb with a Spanish infused butter bean, pepper and courgette stew which worked really well with the Urbina Seleccion. The Urbina Seleccion 1999 is always one of my favourite Urbina Riojas as I find it just has a bit more fruit, but similar power, to their Reserva wines. In fact Pedro calls the Urbina Seleccion 1999 their 4×4 wine, it will go anywhere, meaning it is their most versatile wine for food matching. There was also a small selection of Spanish Cheeses inc;uding Manchego, a Spanish Blue and a Spanish smoked cheese called San Simon. I am not normally a fan of smoked cheeses and I was surprised how well this match with the Urbina Gran Reserva 1996, the smokiness of the cheese and the dried fruit and vanilla character just seem to complement each other really well.

The biggest star of the evening seemed to be the Urbina Crianza. Apparently the previous evening at another wine tasting it was the Urbina Reserva Especial 2001! Here is a breakdown of the wines sold on the evening.

Urbina Winemakers Dinner Sales Percentage

See the full list and wines and menu here.

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

I kindly received some samples of the latest 2015 Compass Box Whisky Limited Editions from Herman Van Broekhuizen, the Brand Ambassador for Compass Box Whisky. These were the 15th Anniversary Flaming Heart and the surreal-ly named, with a nod of the head to Magritte, This Is Not A Luxury Whisky. I have been selling Compass Box Whisky at Fareham Wine Cellar since it was launched and I almost always have a couple of their whiskies, the Spice Tree and Peat Monster, on the go at home, so I guess you could call be a bit of a fan of their whiskies.

Compass Box Whisky Samples

I had already heard from one of my customers who had attended The Whisky Show 2015 that both the Compass Box Flaming Heart and the This Is Not A Luxury Whisky were stunning whiskies. So, armed with my samples, I sat down one afternoon last week to have an attempt at some tasting notes. Please be gentle with me, I am more used to tasting and writing notes about wines than whiskies!

I have also included the flavour descriptors from the Compass Box Whisky website and, perhaps rather more interesting, the composition of the two whiskies as well. There are some very old whiskies in the blends, particularly in the This Is Not A Luxury Whisky, a blend of 19, 40 and 30 year old malt and grain whiskies. Grain whiskies this old are very rare indeed.

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

Appearance: Clear, bright, pale, golden barley corn colour.

Nose: Aromatic and pungent nose. Aromas of smoke, nutty almond hints, cereal, spicy oak and some sweet notes of honey and vanilla. There is some medicinal character, with a touch of sticking plaster, and there are some salty, maritime aromas too. A bit of a nose-tingler. A small drop of water brings extra sweet vanilla aromas.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium weight, slight oily feel.

Palate: Medium-rich and spicy. Good oaky, new barrel character and a touch of pepper, piney / resin notes, clean wood smoke and menthol character. Gently warming. Sweet through the entry and mid-palate. Vibrant.

Finish: Finishes sweet, but not overly sweet, and long. Complex yet clean and fresh. Excellent.


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

Bottling Details

Bottled at 48.9%
Not chill-filtered
Natural colour


From Compass Box Whisky,

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.

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

Appearance: Good clear orange-y gold colour.

Nose: Warm and mellow nose. Sweet sherry notes, hints of floral (violet), aldehyde character and toffee / caramel aromas. Big and sweet with dried fruit and raisins. Hints of apples, pears and some sort of tropical fruit. A drop of water brings out a touch of orange citrus. There is also a faint smoky hint.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full-bodied.

Palate: Soft and warming. More herbal and grassy notes, hints of chocolate and sweet demerara (hints of rum), brown sugar notes and coconut. There is also some earthy, leathery character. Spicy (cinnamon), oaky and a bit of smoke. There is an awful lot going on here.

Finish: The finish is full, rich, spicy and very long. Very complex finish. Quite stunning.


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

Bottling Details

Bottled at 53.1%
Not chill-filtered
Natural colour


From Compass Box Whisky

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 sweet smoke finish.

These are two of the best Compass Box Whiskies I have tried. The Flaming Heart is a superb blended malt, it reminds me of the original bottling, a well-balance mix of sweet and smoke. The This Is Not A Luxury Whisky is a big brooding whisky, perfect for afternoons in front of a wood fire, a whisky for contemplation. I urge you to seek both of these out.

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.

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.

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.

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

Tedeschi Winemaker’s Dinner Review

with Riccardo Tedeschi

Tuesday 16th June 2015 @ Lysses House Hotel

Last week we were very lucky to have a visit from Riccardo Tedeschi, winemaker from the world renowned Tedeschi Wines. I have written a bit more about Tedeschi Wines and you can see the full menu and wines at my previous blog post. I would like to thank Riccardo for his time and for showing a range his fabulous wines in an informative and humorous manner. This would also not have been possible without Matthew Nutt of John E Fells (Tedeschi’s UK agents).

Tedeschi Wines Dinner at Lysses House Hotel June 2015
Riccardo Tedeschi

Before the dinner we had a tutored wine tasting of four red wines. Due to a slight pouring error, these ended up being the Tedeschi Lucchine Valpolicella DOC Classico, Corasco IGT Delle Venezie, Capitel Nicalo Valpolicella DOC Superiore and La Fabriseria Valpolicella DOC Superiore.

Tedeschi Wines Dinner at Lysses House Hotel June 2015

All of the Tedeschi wines showed very well and it was interesting to note the consistency of house style and the gradual increase in quality (in fact the quality across the tasting was extremely good). We already stock some of the Tedeschi wines, but having tasted most of the range, there will definitely be a couple more that we will be adding to the Fareham Wine Cellar’s Italian wine selection.

Tedeschi Wines Dinner at Lysses House Hotel June 2015

There were a couple of my personal favourite Tedeschi wines in the pre-dinner tasting, the Tedeschi Corasco and Tedeschi La Fabriseria Valpolicella. The Tedeschi Corasco is a COrvina, RAboso and RefoSCO, blend (get it?) and the only red wine of the tasting that was not a Valpolicella, it is, in fact an IGT delle Venezie. This is because although the Corvina comes from Moraine hills in the heart of Valpolicella the Raboso is grown in Oderzo (Treviso) and the Refosco is grown in Aquileia, both outside of the Valpolicella region. The grapes for the Corasco are dried for 1 month and lose about 10% of their weight in this time. It is a lot plummier and richer than the Valpolicellas and has loads of dark, spicy, damson fruit with dried fruit (raisined) and violet character creeping in. A superb wine. My other favourite was the top Tedeschi Valpolicella, La Fabriseria Valpolicella Classico DOC Superiore, a Super-Valpolicella if you will! This is from the Tedeschi family’s La Fabriseria vineyard, their top vineyard, and is a blend of 35% Corvina, 30% Corvinone, 30% Rondinella aged 5% Oseleta, cropped at a similar low-yield level as for Amarone and aged in Slavonian oak barrels. Tedeschi La Fabriseria Valpolicella has great floral, violet aromas with hints of cherry, sour cherry and dried fruit (prune). The palate is full and rich with superb balance and feel. There are sweet notes with more plummy, cherry flavours balanced with a lively acidity. Big, rich and chunky. Very nice. Honorable mention to the Lucchine and the Capitel Nicalo which are both very good wines. The Capitel Nicalo and the Corasco were the two most popular wines of the evening in terms of orders placed (see diagram below). The Capitel Nicalo is also one of the three best-selling wines that Tedeschi produce (alongside the Tedeschi Amarone and one other I can’t remember!).

The staff and chef Clive Wright at Lysses House Hotel did a great job serving food and wine to 40 people all at the same time, which is never the easiest of jobs. I managed to grab a couple of quick photographs of the fish starters and the vegetarian option (which had a rather nice tricolore theme) but I didn’t get round to taking any more.

Both starters matched very well with the chosen white wine which was the fanatastic Tedeschi Capitel Tenda Soave. This is 100% Garganega grown on volacanic soils and the grapes are late harvested, with some botrytis. This is a full, weighty Soave with good viscous mouthfeel and a dry finish. Nothing like the bad old Soaves of yesteryear. The main course was thinly sliced duck breast on a bed sweet potato purée, leeks and snow peas. This was matched with the Tedeschi Amarone which was rich and sweet enough to handle the duck and the sweetness of the sweet potato purée.  There was a small selection of Italian cheeses including Taleggio, Pecorino and a white Gorgonzola (which I hadn’t seen before. This was paired with the Tedeschi Capitel San Rocco Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Superiore and it seemed to work well with most of the cheeses, perhaps not the salty Pecorino, but definitely the Taleggio. The San Rocco undergoes a second fermentation on the skins of the Amarone wine from the previous vintage. This imparts some of the Amarone character into the wine. It is a very full-bodied, spicy red wine with coffee / mocha flavours. The last food wine match for the evening split the crowd somewhat. The dessert, a rich dark chocolate slice studded with raisin and macaroons served with a vanilla seed ice cream and tuille biscuit, was served with the Tedeschi Capitel Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG Classico. It was a very rich, dark chocolate and I think it might have been a bit too sweet for the Recioto. Some people loved the combination, some people didn’t. Personally, I couldn’t make up my mind, the flavours and wine combination seemed to change with every mouthful. If I repeated the excercise I would probably serve the Recioto on its own. The Recioto was not the sweetest of styles but it was packed with spicy, damson, confit aromas and flavours. A wine for contemplation.

Tedeschi Wines Dinner at Lysses House Hotel June 2015
Chef Clive Wright discusses the intricacies of the menu

Which was the favourite Tedeschi wine on the evening?

As a percentage of orders placed.

Tedeschi Winemaker's Dinner Pie Chart

Thank you again to everyone who attended and especially to Riccardo Tedeschi for spending a evening with us all at Fareham Wine Cellar.