Snooth User: Debbie Dobbins

A fantastic pre-christmas wine tasting in Cornwall!!!

Posted by Debbie Dobbins, Nov 25, 2012.

It’s Saturday afternoon and I am still buzzing about the wine tasting I attended on Thursday night. Wadebridge wines put on a fantastic evening at the Royal Cornwall Showground. The venue was heaving with people guzzling their way through the over 100 wines on show looking for the perfect bottles to order in time for Christmas.

The event was very well organised and despite the number of guests I found it just about possible to take a look at almost all the tables. My one and only difficultly was trying to squeeze my way through to the spittoons. I must say I was definitely in the minority, most folks seemed happy quaffing glass after glass, luckily for them Relish were on had with yummy cheeses and olives to break up the drinking.

A highlight for me was most definitely Mr. Geoff Cole, his lovely wife and their delicious and diverse selection of Madeira’s, my favourite was D’Oliveiras 1988, Terrantez. It was medium dry, super complex with a real appley fresh finish that blew me away, amazing considering it is over 20 years old!

My second highlight was meeting Ben Llewellyn of Carte Blanche. His genuine enthusiasm and knowledge made him really stand out. After tasting his line up it was clear that bright, interesting and elegant are qualities Ben holds highly when selecting wines and producers to work with. I would be happy to receive any of his wines for Christmas, but was particularly captivated by Domaine Cheveaux, Pouilly Fuisse, 2010, Burgundy. Subtle and elegant yet complex and exciting with a real purity; the sort of wine I could drink all-night and go to bed fooled I will be waking up with a clear head- dangerous.

It was also really wonderful to meet Mark Hellyar of Chateau Civrac, a Cornishman making his mark in Bordeaux. His billed 2007 and 2008 were very drinkable, but his stand out for me was a sneaky bottle of 2006, plenty of structure and acidity, a real winner.

Thank you to Tamsin and everyone at Wadebridge Wines for a marvelous evening. I will most definitely be popping in to stock up before Christmas!

Has anyone else been to any good pre-christmas tastings? Any highlights?


Reply by JonDerry, Nov 26, 2012.

I haven't been to any great tastings lately though I did attend a Burgundy v Piedmont tasting recently...Burgundy won by default due to the lack of quality of Piedmont that was brought.

Anyway sounds like you had a fine time, it's also nice when you're able to come away from it pointing to a few wines and experiences that stood out. 

Reply by Debbie Dobbins, Dec 7, 2012.

Sorry for late reply! What a shame that Piedmont brought such a poor show, I would have hoped that would have been a tight match. 

Reply by amour, Jan 9, 2013.

Thanks Debbie! I miss the U.K. very much! By the way, have you had any of the wines produced in Cornwall...and any of the Tea grown in Cornwall....I had both at Fortnum & Mason's!

Do you go to London sometimes? Fortnum has a Wine bar and a Corkage Fee so you can get nice wines for drinking there, from their interesting collection. 

I once bought wines from The Wine Society. Are you aware of them?

The Cheese Course at  Aventura Miami/ Florida put on a small good show at the pre-Christmas period. I re-visited the La Crema (USA) Wines ...not that bad at all!  Can you get La Crema in the U.K?

 Are ODDBINS Wine shops still around?

Thanks for sharing the names of the wines you encountered, and some notes too!

Which U.K. produced wine do you suggest during the winter? (Thanks in advance!) CHEERS!

Reply by penguinoid, Jan 10, 2013.

I've tried a number of wines produced in England, but none from Cornwall yet. Camel Valley are meant to be pretty good, but I haven't had a chance to try their wines yet.

Just further east, I worked at a small winery called Furleigh Estate near Beaminster, Dorset for a vintage -- they make some pretty good wines.

I'd also recomment Chapel Down -- really liked their Pinot Blanc. I tried one with a few year's bottle age, and it was a very good wine. Breaky Bottom makes an excellent sparkling wine too.

I need to try more English wines next time I'm there. I think Rathfinney Estate is planning to make a riesling, which will be interesting to try when it's released. I'm also very keen to try the wines from Davenport Vineyards at some point.


Reply by zufrieden, Jan 11, 2013.

My dear Penguinoid, I have not seen you in these august pages of late. You need to write more often.

Reply by amour, Jan 13, 2013.

This thread seems to be wandering everywhere!

I do not mind at all. I hope too many are not offended in any way!

After all, it is certainly throwing up gems and delights!

Penguinoid mentioned Furleigh Estates, and I wondered if he knew the close-by Steven Spurrier,

owner of the up and coming Bride Valley Vineyard,  in Dorset, near chalky Kimmeridge village.

Steven and his wife Bella hope to better Ridgeview with sparkling wine of distinction. They may well prevail!

2014 will see a Bride Valley Vineyard vintage blanc de blancs and a non-vintage, a cuvee of 40% Chardonnay, and a mix of Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir.

We look forward!

Spurrier has wonderful vines of class! The U.K. has quite interesting vineyards....Theale Vineyard had a good Sparkling Chardonnay 2003, and Sharpham Vineyards in Devon offered some palate intrigue.

Has any Snoother found interesting U.K. wine while there (considering that the production quantities are relatively small and do not get to the big US market).  Of course, U.K. Snoothers can fill us in; we do greatly appreciate!  Cheers!

Reply by amour, Jan 13, 2013.

By the way, did you all see that Nyetimber,our prestigious winery in Sussex, U.K., experienced such bad weather conditions in 2012, they could not proceed with the harvest. However they do have a lot of good wine on the lees...thank heavens! No real shortage expected...though less bottles over time.

The soil  in Sussex at West Chiltington, where Nyetimber is located, is identical to that of the Champagne Region in France, geologically speaking, but of course, alas! ......warm dry conditions are vital! That Nyetimber did not have in 2012.

I rather enjoy Nyetimber, with its great balance and freshness...blindfolded, you would shout FRANCE!

Better luck next time.

Reply by amour, Jan 14, 2013.


By the way, Ridgeview Bloomsbury 2009 (from the  Ridgeview winery U.K., of course) was served at  one of Queen Elizabeth's receptions, celebrating her Diamond Jubilee.

I have had the Ridgeview Victoria Rose and found it to be fresh and more than average!

( Victoria Rose sells in London at around thirty pounds per bottle.)

Reply by penguinoid, Jan 15, 2013.

Hi -

Yes, I'd heard that Steven Spurrier had planted a vineyard not far from Furleigh Estate. It sounds interesting, and I hope to try their wine when it's released.

I've also heard of Nyetimber and hope to try it some time. I was disappointed to hear they'd lossed the 2012 vintage -- I'm sure it must have been quite a trial for them, even if they have other wines they can sell. I guess that's the difficult side of growing wine on the edges of whats possible -- can be great in a good year, but disasterous in a bad one!

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