Winefriend by David Way

Writing about the wines of Piemonte, Italy and France


The wines of the Loire Valley

Entry level grand cru?

The term ‘entry level’ is a very useful marketing and quality phrase, indicating some real quality, affordable price (a relative term itself) and the enticement of something outstanding at a much higher price.  It gets around the problem neatly which you have in Italian where the normal term for entry level wine is ‘base’ wine

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Mission impossible

One of the quirky charms of Overton’s ‘Bring a Bottle Club’ is the practice – usually followed by one of the regular members – of bringing a joker bottle to be tasted blind, like all the wine.  There are not many other places where you could taste a 10-year old English rosé, a Maltese red

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Things can only get better

May’s BBC 1 – bring any quality bottle or the odd joker and taste them blind  – threw up a distinctly mixed bag.  The whites in general,, unusually, did not shine, the one sparkling wine met a distinctly mixed reception and the evening was saved by good company and a high standard in the reds. 

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Sparkling wine in the dark

Andover Wine Friends’ March tasting was designed to have some fun while tasting a range of sparkling wines blind.  It certainly achieved the first aim. The blind tasting part showed some the difficulties of this game all too clearly: 1.  Sparkling pink wines don’t give a lot away Apart from an occasional difference in colour

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Table 1

Art of fine living at the Harrow

February’s meeting of Andover Wine Friends was a spectacular lunch at The Harrow Inn, Little Bedwyn.  They put on a great show for 17 of us, while running the front half of the restaurant as usual.  I was seriously off duty – too much good food, company and excellent wines – so there are no

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Birthday bubbles, streams of Syrah

One birthday at the Overton blind tasting group, marked by the last of three bottles of a special wine. Lively, bubbles, youngish tasting bright fruit, mild nuttiness, noticeable acidity, balanced and attractive – but not really giving its origins away.  One member in the group in the trade thought it was very, very good Cava

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Blind tasting oddities?

Blind tasting of random wines again … I think the best thing is to group the wines by type, clarity after the event being so much easier to achieve than at the time. So off we go with a, er, peculiarity: It’s definitely red, it’s sparkling, it’s slightly sweet … it’s not Shiraz, it’s lighter

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Sancerre meets Roussillon

Andover Wine Friends’ September tasting featured a comparison between two very different French wine regions: Sancerre very much in the middle of this large country in the aptly named ‘Central Vineyards’ and Roussillon, 600 kilometres further south and on Spain’s Mediterranean border.  The contrasts between the two regions are marked: Sancerre Roussillon historic vineyard with

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Twins and triplets

We have been enjoying a number of parties to launch our new garden/tasting room at home.  It replaces a plastic conservatory and is proving a real joy – opening up the entire ground floor of the house, giving lovely views into the garden and creating lots of space.  And of course, we have an excuse

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The guessing game

Blind tasting line-up – with a few interlopers (shop samples) Ah, the monthly challenge of blind tasting … can you tell your Chardonnay from your Chenin, your Syrah from your Sangiovese? This month there were a couple of easy numbers, some real surprises and some that were completely off the wall. It all makes for

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