Santa’s Coming To The Toon!

With the Festive Season now upon us, what better way to get celebrations underway than at St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle; even better as Guest Wines had a bounty of fabulous wines on hand. Now that’s what we call a good start to Christmas!

We were honoured this year by being asked to provide our services to two very important events both happening at the Cathedral within the space of less than a week.

The first was to hand-out mulled wine at the 12th Bishop of Newcastle’s Inauguration on Saturday 12th December (a bit of good timing there or was it in the planning!).

Now, Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without a drop of two of mulled wine, and we were not about to disappoint, especially a bishop or the kind folk of Newcastle!

12th Bishop of Newcastle Dec 15

This Inauguration was made even more special as this was the first time that the position had been taken by a woman, Christine Hardman.

Snow flurried outside whilst the ceremony was performed, giving the day a festive feel.

Afterwards, the congregation enjoyed a warming glass of non-alcoholic mulled wine (or two) prepared and served by Guest Wines!

12th Bishop of Newcastle Inauguration Dec 15

Here’s to the Bishop!

We were then back at the Cathedral the following Tuesday to be part of this year’s Christmas at the Cathedral charity event in aid of the Teenager Cancer Trust.

Firstly, we were invited to be part of the St Nicholas Christmas Market outside the Cathedral, which took place in the late afternoon to early evening. Here, we showcased a range of English wines, with plenty of fizz on offer, giving great party and gift ideas for now and into the New Year!

Our mulled wine (this time alcoholic) was well received by the passing public, as well as those arriving for the Christmas at the Cathedral event!

And it wouldn’t be a Guest Wines market stall without our “Guess the Corks” competition. This time, we charged a fee to help raise money to help bolster the donations for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Those either spot-on or close to the actual amount of corks in the glass, have the chance of winning either a scrumptious bottle of Nyetimber Classic Cuvee 2010 or a signed copy of Oz Clarke’s latest A-Z Wine Guide for 2016!

St Nicholas Cathedral Christmas Market Dec 15

After a quick turn-around, we moved inside the Cathedral and set up our pop-up bar for the event’s VIPs, and stocked with our lovely range of wines, each kindly donated to the charity event from three kind sponsors!

We were able to take a few moments and watch part of the show that took place in front of a packed audience. What a lovely atmosphere!

Christmas at the Cathedral Dec 15

Once the show was over, it was all hands on deck to serve the thirsty VIPs!

Not only did we manage to quench their thirsts, but also gave them a proper Christmas treat!

Nyetimber Cathedral 2015

Corks popped with Nyetimber’s Classic Cuvee 2010. It was great to get the reaction of the VIPs when they learned that it was an English fizz and how lovely it was too! Boy Meets Girl actress Rebecca Root was very impressed and spent time talking about English wine, having just read the recent article about Champagne officially buying into our burgeoning industry!

In order to ensure that we catered for differing tastes, we had two contrasting white wines on offer courtesy of Majestic Wine. The first, the crisp Brancott Sauvignon Blanc 2015 from New Zealand, matched against a Yering Station Chardonnay 2013 from Australia.

Majestic Wine also provided our luscious spicy red in the form of a Marquis de Riscal Reserva 2011 Rioja – this was also a great crowd pleaser.

And what better way to complete this gorgeous range of festive tipple than a Reserve Tawny Port from the folk at Waitrose!

The all-important mince pies where aplenty too!

Christmas at the Cathedral 2 Dec 15

A great night was had by all, and most importantly a fantastic amount of money raised for the all-important Teenage Cancer Trust. It’s never too late to donate, if you wish to raise the bar further then please go to here and make a donation!

Guest Wines wish to thank Christmas at the Cathedral and St Nicholas Cathedral for their kind invitation to be a part of their events. We are humbled!

We would also like to thank our wonderful sponsors for our wines for the VIP after-show bar:

Majestic Wines

Nyetimber

Waitrose

“Thank you!”

Merry Christmas!

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The Wizard of Wine Oz Clarke Extravaganza 2015!

Oz Clarke Masterclass at The Assembly Rooms November 2015

After a quick dash through the busy city centre streets of Newcastle, winding our way around shoppers now intent on doing their Christmas shopping with a real sense of purpose, we arrived at The Assembly Rooms with time on our hands to get everything ready for the final event of the day and of Oz’s visit, our How to Taste Wine Masterclass with Oz Clarke.

We could not think of anything better to while away a few hours around mid-day on a Saturday. Forget that shopping, a wine tasting with wine guru Oz Clarke is more like it!

Our guests promptly arrived and were greeted with a sparkling glass of Nyetimber Classic Cuvee 2010 – fresh red apples jump out amongst fresh baked pastries, this was certainly the way to go! One of England’s finest, and most certainly the estate that pioneered the way for today’s blossoming English (and Welsh) wine industries.

SONY DSCWe had the privilege of being invited to Nyetimber this summer – you can read all about our adventure here

Tapas was served to each of our guests tables so that they could pick at an array of cheeses, meats and other assortments whilst Oz took them through the fab wines that we had lined up.

He began proceedings by demonstrating actually how to begin tasting the wines by using a refined version of what is known to us wine geeks as The Systematic Approach To Tasting. Basically: look, sniff, slosh, slurp and ask: “Do I like this?”

Oz went into some detail about our blossoming English wine industry and how Nyetimber has been a real pioneer. This led nicely onto informing our guests of how sparkling wine is made, and how English wine is made in the very same manner,  using the very same grape varieties and that it was the English who played their part in sparkling wine’s creation in the first place!

In fact, Oz suggested that the climate in the South of England is now better suited to the production of sparkling wine than that of Champagne, and this has led to one or two Champaignois taking the ferry over to Blighty in order to check out potential sites! Things really do seem to have come full-circle!

A Sauvignon Blanc followed, less full-on than the Brancott that we had at last night’s Oz dinner, but still maintained that characteristic fresh green pepper and herbaceous zing. Made by Whitehaven of Marlborough, this family-run operation,  named this wine Mansion House Bay after the cove on Kawau Island just off Auckland where Governor Gorge Grey used to entertain in stately splendour.

Next it was time to compare a Chardonnay, one from the old world, in this case France and the other from the New world, this being Australia.

Oz spoke of how Chardonnay can have a bad tag-line but often folk do not realise that it is the very grape that is used in much of Champagne’s wines and is the only grape variety that is to be found in Chablis, and not to mention most of the fine white Burgundies that are to be had!

Our guests enjoyed comparing the fresh racey Domaine Pico Race Chablis 2014, which had some nutty almond notes due to the time it had spent on its lees (this being dead yeast and other particles leftover in the wine after fermentation, which had purposely been left in the wine for a duration to allow it to develop additional characteristics), alongside d’Arenberg’s The Lucky Lizard 2013.

The latter had more of a rounded feel with less acidity, ripe apple fruit and creamy buttery highlights, and with a touch of oak. 15% of this wine underwent fermentation in French oak barrels, giving it a silky mouthfeel.

Oz explained how Aussie wines have had to adjust themselves to a changing market and consumer trends. Whereas once upon a time, we couldn’t get enough of full-on big oaky wines, the trend nowadays is for something with a bit more elegance albeit without losing that Aussie charm.

Oz Clarke Masterclass Nov 2015

Moving onto our reds, Oz went on to talk about how red wine is made (it’s not just about using red grapes of course!).

We decided to woo our guests with Craggy Range‘s Te Muna Road Pinot Noir. This is a seriously good pinot from Martinborough on the North Island of New Zealand.

Craggy Range were one of the first in the Southern Hemisphere to adopt making single vineyard wines. Hence this wine being aptly named after their Te Muna Vineyard, which contains only Pinot Noir vines. However, the vineyard is sub-divided with up to eight different varietal clones (giving slightly different Pinot Noir nuances), which are then vinified separately prior to careful blending and aged for 9 months in French oak to make this fine wine.

Now it was comparison number two. This time the variety being non-other than the Syrah/Shiraz grape. Again an Old World/New World analogy was used to illustrate perfectly how a single variety can present different characteristics depending on the where it is grown and how the wine is made.

Here we had Domaine Gilles Robin Crozes Hermitage “Papillon” 2014 from the Northern Rhone that displayed black fruits, bramble and cherry spice with a round palate and firm structure matched with a McHenry Hohnen Shiraz 2013 from Margaret River in Western Australia. The latter had rich aromas of of currant muffin, plum, blackberry and smoked ham-hock, tied together with firm but smooth ripe tannins.

David Hohnen is well known in wine circles for once being a part of Cape Mentelle Vineyards (now owned by Champagne house Veuve Cliquot), and  it was he and his family who went on to create Cloudy Bay in New Zealand.

The grand finale to our masterclass and Oz’s epic stay in Newcastle was treating our guests to a glass (or two) of Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes. With neighbours such as Chateau d’Yquem right next door, who could not be impressed by this lush dessert wine and a surprise to many, as dessert wines often get overlooked nowadays though they shouldn’t! Especially not a stunner as this one!

Oz had just enough time to mingle with our guests, sign a few more books and have the odd picture taken before heading of to Central Station and his train to the big smoke.

Wow! What a weekend it has been! Thank you Mr Oz Clarke for entertaining, wining and dining us.

It has been great to hear all the positive feedback from those who attended our events over the weekend and those that helped to set social media alight for us with their wonderful comments and pictures! Thank you!

We would also like to thank our gorgeous partners and sponsors for this event:

Enotria

Louis Latour Agencies

Nyetimber

Waitrose

We would also like to give a big THANK YOU to the Assembly Rooms for their hospitality and making us and our guests feel welcome over the weekend!

Guest Wines are next out and about at Campbells of Leyburn in North Yorkshire – stop by if your in the local vicinity and say hello. We shall have some great English wines for you to taste – a fantastic Christmas present we think!

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The Wizard of Wine Oz Clarke Extravaganza 2015!

The return of Oz Clarke to Newcastle with a dinner and masterclass at The Assembly Rooms

Has a year really passed since Oz Clarke graced our Geordie shores with his enigmatic presence? It sure is! Wow and what a year it has been for us at Guest Wines! A whirlwind in many aspects from which we are still very much spinning!

More than six months of hard work and preparation with blood, sweat and the occasional tear have all gone into (but not into the wines thankfully!), not only making Oz’s second coming possible but also making it a total success with our wonderful customers!

So here we now stood at the doors to The Assembly Rooms in Newcastle with a feeling of excitement that those six months had finally come to fruition!

Things got into full-swing with our “discovery” dinner event that focused on Oz’s latest book: A History of Wine in 100 Bottles. Although we did not have 100 different wines for the dinner – things might have gotten a tad messy, we did have plenty of bottles to go round!

Guests at our Friday dinner were greeted with one of England’s finest sparkling wines, non-other than the mighty Nyetimber and its crisp, fresh and rich-bodied Classic Cuvee 2010. Crunchy red apples, lemon meringue  pie and appealing mousse. Magic in a glass!Nyetimber Classic Cuvee 2010

We had the privilege of being invited to Nyetimber this summer – you can read all about our adventure here

Oz was on hand for a special meet-and-greet for our lucky competition winners Julie and Gary Fletcher who had won two places at our dinner, Sunday lunch at Bon Bar and of course, a copy of Oz’s latest book, which he signed for them upon arrival.Oz Clarke Competition Winners Nov 2015

Speaking of magic, whilst guests mingled with their glasses topped up as and when, local legend Chris Cross kept everyone entertained with a trick or two – even a wizard like Oz could not fathom how Chris managed to bewilder and amaze with his proper magic like man!

Oz Clarke Dinner 4 Nov 2015The dinner got under-way with a refreshingly aromatic glass of Brancott Sauvignon Blanc 2015 served alongside goats cheese with a cherry tomato vinaigrette.

Oz narrated from his book, A History of Wine in 100 Bottles, telling the story of how this wine came about.

Oz Clarke Nov 2015

This is New Zealand’s pioneer when it comes to all things sauvignon, and it is no shrinking violet with crisp acidity, a full-on fruit blast and herbaceous notes. With food it became softer and surprisingly more floral.

In contrast, served next was Yering Station Chardonnay 2014 from the Yarra Valley close to the outskirts of Melbourne in Australia. Here, our sensual experience was taken on a ride of silky textures with pleasing spicy apple, vanilla and butter that coated the insides of our mouths but with enough zip about it to cleanse our palate and leave us wanting for more.

This worked well with the Salmon Mousse as well as the Layered Vegetable Terrine.

Oz told the story of how Australia led the way with varietal naming of wines as opposed to the Old World model of naming wines by place, and how they also pioneered well-crafted but very approachable wines through the use of technological advances and the glory of the winemaker.

Oz Clarke Dinner 1 Nov 2015

Oz now took the time to introduce two other important guests at our dinner. These being non-other than Matt and Nina from Beyond the Wall Vin-Garden – a vineyard in Northumberland! Yes, you read that correctly! Who’d have thought!?! Guest Wines (and Oz) are looking forward to sampling their 2015!

Beyoned the Wall Vin Garden 2015

We then moved onto reds and enjoyed our Rioja red wine risotto, fashioned in the style of Giorgio Lacatelli, whilst sipping on a glass of spicy Marques de Riscal Reserva 2011 and listening to Oz talk about this iconic producer and how they helped lead the way in putting Spain, and in particular Rioja, on the fine wine world map.

You can read more on Marques de Riscal in our blog when we paid a visit to the bodega in 2014.

Oz Clarke Dinner 3 Nov 2015

With the main course of either Lamb Shank with Butter Beans and Chorizo or Mushroom Bolognese, we raced back over to Australia for Penfolds Bin 28 2013. Big on fruit and spice with a hint of chocolate and a touch of muscovado sugar – what a crowd pleaser this was. Smooth but with enough tannic grip to happily hold its place on the table with the food.

Oz continued to read from his book and tell a tale or two about this well-known producer, referring to the Bin 28 as a “baby Grange” – mmmm, more please!

Now almost completely stuffed, we had just about enough room for the excellent Nutty Chocolate Slab served with the Waitrose Reserve Tawny Port – oh yes! Think caramel, candid dried fruits, sultanas and banana wrapped up with a nutty tang! Heard alongside great tales of Portugal with its long history and allegiance to the UK and of course, great port wines!

Oz Clarke Dinner 2 Nov 2015

The night was by now coming to an end, but not until our satisfied guests had had the chance to speak with Oz, who continued to happily sign copies of his books that we had available, and also have the odd picture taken of course!

We finished off the night with Oz downstairs in Bon Bar where BBC Radio 5 were broadcasting live and took the opportunity to have a quick chat with him. The manager treated us to their signature cocktail called The LocomotiveDiageo World Class UK Top 50 Finalist Inspired by George Stephenson; pioneer Newcastle engineer and locomotive builder! Ron Zacapa 23 stirred with Newcastle Brown Ale reduction, Picon Italian aperitif & leather aged walnut bitters. Served on a smoked Macallan whisky barrel shard – a welcome nightcap, before we headed off home and Oz to his hotel in readiness for another busy day ahead of us, which you can read more about in our next epic Oz instalment!

IMG_0044

Guest Wines would like to take the opportunity to thank Oz for making this such a wonderful weekend of food and wine indulgence.

As well as our gorgeous sponsors:

Bon Bar

Majestic Wines Newcastle

Nyetimber

Treasury Wine Estates (Penfolds)

Waitrose Wines

And our official photographers: Mike O’Brien and Anne-Marie Stewart.

And of course our lovely guests. Thank you for your help in making this a fantastic night!

In the meantime, you can catch-up on last year’s adventures with Oz and his visit to Newcastle here.

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Learn How to Taste Wine Masterclass with Oz Clarke, followed by Q&A

The Assembly Rooms, Newcastle, Saturday 28th November 2015

SOLD OUT!

Oz Clarke 2015 -Credit Gary Moyes

Sauvignon Blanc or Sancerre? Chardonnay or Chablis? Syrah or Shiraz?

What’s the difference? Do you know what you’re buying?

Looking for a Christmas Gift with a difference?

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for up to date news on this event!

Why not get up close and personal with renowned wine guru, TV personality, writer, actor and broadcaster, Oz Clarke at this exclusive wine tasting event at Newcastle’s Assembly Rooms to learn more about what’s in your glass. Oz’s down to earth, no nonsense approach to wine really brings it to life!

“Geordie Duo” Ruth & Kelvyn Guest of Guest Wines are proud to announce this exclusive wine tasting event with renowned wine guru, TV personality, writer, actor and broadcaster, Oz Clarke.

“We love Oz’s no nonsense, down to earth approach to enjoying wine, he brings it to life and makes it entertaining. Exactly what we want to inspire in our customers.”

Learn How to Taste Wine with Oz Clarke on Saturday 28th November 2015, in the historic Assembly Rooms, one of Newcastle’s oldest and grandest Georgian buildings. Let wine expert Oz Clarke guide you through a carefully chosen selection of wines over lunch with this exclusive wine tasting masterclass followed by a Q&A. Be inspired and entertained as Oz guides you around the world for just £55.

We have a fantastic selection of wines for you including Nyetimber Sparkling English wine, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc & Pinot Noir, Australian Chardonnay & Shiraz, alongside classics from France such as Chablis & Sauternes. All this served with a charcuterie platter & English and Continental cheese with accompaniments.

Oz’s formidable reputation is based on his extensive wine knowledge and accessible, no-nonsense approach. His tasting skills have won him an international reputation and he is acknowledged as having one of the finest palates of anyone writing about wine today. He brings a refreshingly unorthodox wit and directness to the subject and has won all the major wine writing awards both in the UK and the USA many times over.

Oz’s frequent TV and radio appearances are broadcast internationally. Oz is well known for presenting on the long running series Food & Drink and more recently he has made three successful BBC Two series with co-presenter James May and appeared as a guest in episodes of James May’s Toy Stories, as well as two series with Hugh Dennis. Not just a TV star, Oz is an actor and singer, appearing in the West End in shows such as Evita playing General Peron and he famously appeared in Superman and Superman II, being the first villain apprehended by Superman in 1978.

Oz’s best-selling books include Let me tell you about wine (2014), Wine Atlas, Grapes & Wines (2014 with Margaret Rand), and Bordeaux. His popular annual guides: Pocket Wine Book and 250 Best Wines Wine Buying Guide are published by Pavilion Books.

Oz can regularly be seen at wine and food events around the world and is also currently touring the UK as one of the Three Wine Men.

So book your ticket now to ensure you don’t miss Oz’s exclusive visit to the North East.

Ticket price just £55! – Scroll down to book

Exclusive offer! 20% discount on Oz’s new A-Z pocket guide 2016 (normal retail £11.99), only available when you book to attend this event! Order here and quote coupon code a-z offerSimply pick the book up on the day, which Oz will be more than happy to sign for you!

Our Gorgeous Sponsors & Partners!

bon-bar-logo-white- Connoisseur Logo EnotriaNEW logo Majestic Nyetimber louis-latour-logo TWE logo Waitrose logo

Would you like to be wined, dined and entertained by TV wine personality Oz Clarke? Click here to read more about this special evening and Discover the History of Wine with Oz Clarke on Friday 27th November, just £99 including 6 wines with courses to match. Payday Deal – Pay just £33 now to guarantee your place!

Discover the History of Wine with Oz Clarke,

The Assembly Rooms, Newcastle, Friday 27th November 2015

SOLD OUT!

Oz Clarke 2015 -Credit Gary Moyes

Fancy a night out with a difference this Christmas? Dinner with friends, family, work mates? Looking for a different gift idea? This is a great excuse to get your party outfits on and get ready for Christmas!

Indulge in great food and great wine with our Discovery dinner.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for up to date news on this event!

SPECIAL OFFER DISCOUNT 15% OFF BOOKINGS OF 4 OR MORE PEOPLE!!!

Enter Coupon Code SPECIALOFFER when you check out 

Bringing wine to life our guest host is renowned wine guru, TV personality, writer, actor and broadcaster Oz Clarke. Oz’s down to earth approach to the enjoyment of wine brings it to life.

“Geordie Duo” Ruth & Kelvyn Guest of Guest Wines are proud to announce this discovery dinner,

“We love Oz’s no nonsense, down to earth approach to enjoying wine, he brings it to life and makes it entertaining. Exactly what we want to inspire in our customers.”

What better way to celebrate the run up to Christmas than be captivated and entertained by Britain’s most popular wine writer and one of the world’s leading wine experts, with great wine and great food too.

Discover the History of Wine with Oz Clarke on Friday 27th November 2015, in the beautiful Chandelier Suite of the historic Assembly Rooms, one of Newcastle’s oldest and grandest Georgian buildings. Who better to take you on a journey through the history of wine than expert Oz Clarke. From its beginnings in 6000BC in Georgia up to present day controversies which have rocked the whole wine world! Be inspired with tales from Oz’s new book on the History of Wine in 100 Bottles as Oz wines and dines you through history for just £99.

Oz Clarke Dinner Menu 2015

On arrival, you will receive a sparkling English wine that rivals Champagne to get your tastebuds tingling. Followed by a five course dinner with carefully paired wines, our guest speaker Oz, will introduce to you The History of Wine whilst also sharing some of his escapades in wine.

The menu for the evening will be prepared by Assembly Rooms dedicated team and dietary requirements will be catered for. The dishes will be created especially for this evenings dinner, inspired by the countries and regions that each wine hails from. The 5 wines to match will be specifically chosen by Oz himself.

Corporate bookings for tables of 10 are welcome. Please contact us directly to enquire.

Oz’s formidable reputation is based on his extensive wine knowledge and accessible, no-nonsense approach. His tasting skills have won him an international reputation and he is acknowledged as having one of the finest palates of anyone writing about wine today. He brings a refreshingly unorthodox wit and directness to the subject and has won all the major wine writing awards both in the UK and the USA many times over.

Oz’s frequent TV and radio appearances are broadcast internationally. Oz is well known for presenting on the long running series Food & Drink and more recently he has made three successful BBC Two series with co-presenter James May and appeared as a guest in episodes of James May’s Toy Stories, as well as two series with Hugh Dennis. Not just a TV star, Oz is an actor and singer, appearing in the West End in shows such as Evita playing General Peron and he famously appeared in Superman and Superman II, being the first villain apprehended by Superman in 1978.

Oz’s best-selling books include Let me tell you about wine (2014), Wine Atlas, Grapes & Wines (2014 with Margaret Rand), and Bordeaux. His popular annual guides: Pocket Wine Book and 250 Best Wines Wine Buying Guide are published by Pavilion Books.

Oz can regularly be seen at wine and food events around the world and is also currently touring the UK as one of the Three Wine Men.

So book your ticket now to ensure you don’t miss Oz’s exclusive visit to the North East.

Ticket price just £99! Scroll down to book.

Exclusive offer! 20% discount on Oz’s new book The History of Wine in 100 Bottles (normal retail £20), only available when you book to attend this event! Order here and quote coupon code history offerSimply pick the book up on the night, which Oz will be more than happy to sign for you!

Read more about Oz’s visit to Newcastle last year here.

NEWS – WE HAVE A WINNER!

Congratulations to our competition winner Julie Fletcher who has won TWO PLACES at our Discover the History of Wine with Oz Clarke Dinner plus Sunday lunch at Bonbar plus a signed copy of Oz’s new book.

Our Gorgeous Sponsors & Partners!

bon-bar-logo-white- Connoisseur Logo EnotriaNEW logo Majestic Nyetimber louis-latour-logo TWE logo Waitrose logo

Would you like to learn more about what it’s like being a professional wine taster? Learn more about your own wines tastes and what foods work well with which wines? Click here to read more about our special How to Taste Wine with Oz Clarke Masterclass on Saturday 28th November, just £55 including at least 6 wines and food.

Discover English Wine Evening

Experience English Wines

Join us as we journey through the UK, sampling English wines from across the country.

English wines are improving all the time, and tonight we will taste some of the best England can offer showcasing a range of fabulous English Wines both still & sparkling to show you exactly why England is becoming a real player in the wine making world!

There are just over 450 vineyards producing wine throughout England with some of the best quality vineyards in Sussex, Surrey & Kent as well as Cornwall and the west.  Our Sparkling Wines are something to be proud of with Nyetimber being a regular favourite at our champagne and sparkling tastings and with an increase in the consumption of English fizz, we’re set to rival Champagne!

Wines to be tasted will include;

The Bacchus Gricer (The Full Monty) 2015

Now it really was the final countdown with our hols at their close, but what a time we have had! So what better way to finish then to begin with a tasting of Eastcott‘s Classic Cuvee 2013, and privileged we were to be able to give our verdict on it! And we must say that it does show promise! A nice colour and plenty of soft foamy mousse, leading to lemon sherbet and baked apple aromas with a touch of autolytic notes and holds itself together nicely. We await in anticipation to see how this develops after a bit of ageing.

We also got the chance to taste tank samples of both the still rose (think tinned strawberries) and latest sparkler (red currants, cranberries).

Eastcott 12

So all that was left to do was a bit of stripping! Thankfully, this simply meant getting together with a bunch of volunteers on the Sunday on the final day of our stay, to go out into the vineyard and continue to de-leaf the Rondo and some of the Pinot Noir!

It was great fun, all the family got involved including Aubrey, who seemed to enjoy a more supervisory role!

Eastcott 13

Afterwards, everyone was treated to a hog-roast, prepared by Richard and washed down with a glass or two of Eastcott wine, and with all on show from their range, well it turned out rather nice!

In order to show our gratitude and sincere thanks for our wonderful time at the vineyard and for our lovely accommodation, then it only seemed fitting to share with our hosts our Nyetimber samples. Thank you Richard and Hilary – you are real stars – keep up the good work and keep winning medals – you deserve them!

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The Bacchus Gricer (in the beginning was Nyetimber!) 2015

Having briefly posed outside the estate only a year ago, a day that we had very much been looking forward to was our invite for a private tour and tasting at the one and only Nyetimber!

So it was with much excitement, and a very early start that all the family (yes, mum wanted to come along for the ride!), set off from Devon on a long drive all the way across the south coast to reach Sussex and our destination.

Things got off to a fantastic start with the most incredible sun-rise, witnessed over Northlew, giving birth to rays of sun that would follow us and shine all day long!

Eastcott 11

We arrived in the village of Pulborough just before 11am in order to drop Ruth’s mum off with baby, preferably in the village tearooms. However, not only was the tearooms fully laden with folk but the high street was a tad busy with traffic and the pathways narrow.

This now posed a potential issue as Nyetimber was expecting two of us not four and especially not a 4 month old baby! Kel offered to remain in Pulborough with son whilst Ruth and mum went on to the tasting. However, mum knew that Kel would have been disappointed if he didn’t get to go, so asked Ruth to give Nyetimber a call. Therefore, she spoke with Iain (Nyetimber Ambassador and our guide for the day) and explained our predicament, who had no qualms with the whole family coming along – not only a first for Nyetimber we believe, but certainly it was for us!

So without further ado, we arrived on time and were promptly greeted by Iain.

We could not have asked for a better guide, Iain was incredibly knowledgable about the vines, the wine making process, Nyetimber’s history and of course, about the wines.

We began with a tour in the vineyard and a certain one in particular, the actual vineyard that was planted by the Moss’s in the late 1980’s – the very first vineyard set out specifically to make sparkling wine from Champagne varieties! A scheme that most thought at the time would fail but instead became the catalyst for today’s English (and Welsh) wine industry, moving away from its hobbyist image to one of prestige and high-standing and able to stand up against the big guys at competitions, including Champagne. And for this we are indebted to Nyetimber!

We then went on to the well laid out and airy tasting room, where Iain took us through a range of Nyetimber’s fizz including a 1998 Blanc de Blancs, alongside the 2007 release, both fantastic in their own rights. The limited edition single vineyard Tillington 2009 was also on show as was the 2009 Rosé, the Demi-Sec NV and the latest 2010 Classic Cuvée release. All absolutely fabulous Darling!

The Demi-Sec is NV being from two vintages, 2005 and 2006, and both the Classic Cuvée and Rosé are also to be produced as NV from the next release as Nyetimber now have enough reserve wine. This shall no doubt bring another dimension to these wines.

So the verdict on the wines: For Ruth it was the 1998 Blanc de Blancs and Tillington 2009 that popped her cork and for Kel the 2007 Blanc de Blancs and the Demi-Sec. Ruth’s mum Carmel, enjoyed the 2010 Classic Cuvée and 2009 Rosé, so all-in-all, not a bad tasting. As for Aubrey, well, he stuck to his milk and graciously passed out on the tasting room sofa! Nyetimber

We chatted over lunch, with Iain remarking that his father used to be a member of MI6 – we aren’t sure whether we should therefore be actually writing about this – so if no more blogs are posted – you know why!!! This brought Kel to remembering an occasion when Ruth reported as to having been approached for potential “recruitment” to be an actual spy! Yes, it’s true! And this just happened to occur in the Flares bar of all places in Newcastle, whilst she was on a night out with her friends, when approached by a young gentleman eager to “recruit” her! Well fancy that!

What a fantastic day we were having so far! We really enjoyed our visit to Nyetimber and would like to personally thank Hannah for the invite and to Iain for being a real gent and making us all feel very welcome. Great wines, great hospitality!

There wasn’t much that was going to beat this but a grand finale to the day was had with a stop-off at Bournemouth on our way back to Devon. This had particular meaning for Ruth’s mum (and Ruth!), as this was the place where Ruth had apparently been created!  Carmel returned a year later when Ruth was one but had not been back since, so it only seemed right that now with grandson onboard, we should all go back together!

And lovely it was, the sun was still shining and the four of us relaxed and enjoyed the evenings rays, which concluded with a fantastic sunset!

Bournemouth

What a day!

We are also proud to announce that Nyetimber have been kind enough to sponsor three of our past events, two featuring  Mr Oz Clarke! Please click HERE and HERE for more details! The third is our annual stint running the VIP Bar at the Christmas at the Cathedral charity event Newcastle! Thank you!

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English Wine Week 2015

English Wine Week is upon us and to celebrate this Guest Wines got out and about in the fine city of Newcastle to promote English wines and got the public enthused about this wonderful local(ish) product.

The weekend got off to a good start with one of our regular in-store tastings at the Waitrose store in the city centre. Waitrose are now one of the largest stockist of English wines – check out their Cellar to see the full monty!

In-store we chose to keep things simple. However, what a great start to the day it was by cracking open a bottle or two of Nyetimber’s 2009 Classic Cuvee! The shoppers were certainly  went on their way with a cheery smile after sampling such great fizz.

On the still front, Waitrose had selected Chapel Down’s Bacchus and Flint Dry still white wines. These went down nicely with locally sourced goats cheese.

The rest of the weekend continued to be spent in the city and within the main shopping mall, that of intu Eldon Square, who just happened do be holding a cookery event entitled The Big Treat, where we joined in to showcase some fab English wines to go with all that wonderful nosh!

It was great to get the publics opinion on the wines. They were given an English wine tasting on the Saturday afternoon, hosted by Kelvyn. Samples where also on offer at our nicely laid out stall.

We also had our popular “Guess the cork” competition on, where one lucky person shall have the chance of winning a bottle of Herbert Hall fizz!

English Wine Week 2015

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