Tag Archives: Wine tasting
More and more wine producers are turning to environmentally friendly methods, but it is less common for wine makers to apply for full organic or even biodynamic accreditation. Those that do are, however, very passionate about it and one winemaker who typifies this is Sam Weaver of Churton in New Zealand.
Sam has written a short piece for us below and is coming to the UK in a couple of weeks to conduct two tastings - one in Shrewsbury on Wednesday 5th June and one in Bridgnorth on Friday 7th June. He will talk about his techniques and show a selection of top wines from Churton as well as some fine wines from France, which will be very interesting to contrast and compare. The evening will be relaxed and informal and there will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions.
At Churton we have always aimed to have a minimal impact on the environment. The vineyard was planted in 2000 into the natural and long established pasture and we have never used insecticides or systemic sprays. As our experience and confidence evolve we are progressively converting the vineyard to full organic certification in time for the 2014 vintage. We have continually evolved our biodynamic philosophy and practice.
Often, biodynamics is regarded at the crazy end of organic production. What could be dafter than stirring cow dung matured in buried cow’s horn in water for 60 minutes then throwing it about on the farm, and then what relevance do lunar cycles have to farming practices. Yes, we really do this! Are we lunatics or what?
At Churton, I have a strong belief that our biodynamic farming approach is rational and makes complete sense. Above all, it helps us produce better wines that have more individuality and really demonstrate the farm (terroir) where they come from.
As a microbiologist I believe biodynamics works from the ground up. We work hard to improve our microbiology by using composts and various biodynamic preparations (such as the matured dung or an oak shaving mixture buried in a sheep’s skull in a swamp). We run a system that is a polyculture, and actively encourage biodiversity by increasing our plant and animal species. We plant companion species of flora between the rows in the vineyard, raise our own cattle and keep bees. And yes, we do take note of lunar cycles, after all didn’t our grandfathers plant by the moon?
Wine making is an art as much as a science. Growing the best grapes to make the best wine combines both of these disciplines too. Biodynamic philosophy gives us a structure to help understand these disparate approaches and in the end really make our wine sing.
If I have whetted your appetite for finding out more about biodynamic practices and the beneficial effect on the resulting wines, I am coming to the UK in June and will be conducting two tutored tastings at Tanners Wines – one in Shrewsbury on Wednesday 5th June and one in Bridgnorth on Friday 7th June. I will talk about our techniques and show you selection of wines from our vineyards at Churton as well as some wines from France, which will be very interesting to contrast and compare. It will be relaxed and informal and there will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions.
Look forward to seeing you then,
This post was posted in Guest Blogs, Tanners Tastings and was tagged with Biodynamic Wine, Churton, New Zealand, Organic Wine, Pinot Noir, Sam Weaver, Sauvignon Blanc, Shrewsbury, Viognier, Wine tasting
Howard Hutchins (one of our Shrewsbury Cellar Shop Wine Advisers) recently visited Germany to gain a better appreciation of the Riesling grape.
At the end of May I had a great opportunity to go to Germany on a ‘Masters of Riesling’ trip. This trip was about promoting the Riesling grape, an often misunderstood and underappreciated variety.
To say Tanners is big on German wines is something of an understatement as highlighted by us winning Germany Specialist of the year in 2009 at the International Wine Challenge. Tanners has a very extensive range of Rieslings and several members of staff are serious Riesling enthusiasts. I definitely wouldn’t have put myself in that category before this trip, but I can now understand why, for many, Riesling is the greatest grape of them all.
I was in Germany for 3 days, visiting some of the country’s best independent, family-owned estates. I visited six wine regions: Baden, Pfalz, Mosel, Nahe, Rheingau and Rheinhessen, and also tried wines from the areas of Franken and Ahr.
We tried a serious quantity of wines and I was genuinely surprised by the tremendous diversity in styles and large spectrum of sweetness. I had some brilliant dry Rieslings, but the sweeter wines were equally stunning!
I find, working in the shop, that some customers are very anti sweet wines, not entirely surprising as many have a tainted association with nasty Liebfraumilch, but the wines I tried were unbelievably well-balanced and I would definitely urge people to be more adventurous and try these styles of wine, they exhibit a racy elegance, that no one anywhere else in the world can imitate.
Riesling is such a versatile grape, it can exhibit an amazing number of different flavours, and it reflects its vineyard more transparently than almost any grape.
We tried a lot of wines from the 2011 vintage and most producers had made 10-20 different wines with each being quite different, reflecting the terroir. All the producers did appreciate that the sheer versatility and number of different wines did make it confusing for the consumer, but at the same time, it is fascinating, amazing and worth learning about.
Germany has had a number of excellent vintages over the last decade and 2011 was certainly up there with the beset of them. Helmut Donnhoff considered the quality of the grapes as ‘some of the best I've ever seen’. It’s difficult to summarize a vintage for an entire country and all its regions, but all of the producers I visited were saying just how highly aromatic the grapes were, that acidity was lower than 2010 and that most importantly, they were very happy with the results - which I can only agree with.
The reputation of Ernst Loosen as a great ambassador for the wines of Germany is well established throughout the world.
Voted Decanter's Man of the Year in 2005, he has mounted a tireless campaign to promote German wines. He’s a man of strong convictions and isn’t afraid to express his ideas, his wines are also some of the most outstanding in Germany.
Ernst Loosen has an 18ha estate on the banks of the Mosel producing sublime Rieslings from old vines in Bernkastel, Erden, Graach, Urzig and Wehlen.
Helmut Donnhoff is one of the world's top growers producing magnificent Riesling at all quality levels.
Famous vineyards include Nierderhauser Hermannshohle, Oberhauser Brucke and Schlossbockelheimer Felsenberg to name a few.
The best wines from Nahe are said to have Mosel-like minerality and acidity, Pfalz-like fruit, the elegance of Rheingau and the body of Rheinhessen - put simply, they are some of the best wines I have ever tasted.
Fritz and Agnes Hasselbach run this excellent winery, situated on the banks of the River Rhine at the foot of the Rothenberg.
Gunderloch owns 80% of this famed Grand Cru vineyard site. As with the other producers the wines were really diverse although the wines from Rothenberg all seemed to exhibit a beautiful white peach flavour with floral characteristics. The wines showed a great deal of minerality, they were elegant but with real concentration: really fantastic wines.
Johannes Leitz is a man on a mission! Since taking over the family business aged 21, the winery has grown from 2.9 hectares to 40 , with some of the best vineyards in the Rheingau.
He has won a lot of accolades and recognition for his excellent wines that show real elegance and balance (a bit of a reoccurring theme). Johannes is also an excellent cook, his culinary skills superbly highlighting what a great match Riesling is with food.
In conclusion, it was 3 days I will never forget. I left Germany feeling really passionate about Riesling and wanting to learn more.
Riesling is slowly becoming more popular, and as a lot of the producers acknowledge, this is partly due to the success of Riesling in Australia and New Zealand. But without doubt, Germany is the homeland of the variety and I urge people to try some of these fantastic wines - they're really good value when compared to equivalent quality from other countries.
If you're feeling inspired and would like to further your appreciation of German Rieslings then why not join our Masterclass on Thursday 20th September? Tickets are £15 per person and can be purchased here.
This post was posted in Tanners Tastings, Tanners Trips and was tagged with Australia, Baden, Donnhoff, Dr Loosen, dry Riesling, German Masterclass, German Wines, Germany, Gunderloch, Masters of Riesling, Mosel, Nahe, New Zealand, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Riesling, Wine tasting
Book your tickets for an Olympian Wine Tasting in Much Wenlock: Birthplace of the Modern Olympic Games
Pamela Paul (Tanners' Events Manager) is hosting a wine tasting with a difference on Tuesday 19th June at The Guildhall in Much Wenlock - the home of Dr William Penny Brooks, who inspired the modern Olympic Movement.
The Guildhall is a wonderful setting for a tasting as it's a former court house steeped in history, which was in use until as recently as 1985, you can read more about this magnificently historic building on the Much Wenlock Town Council website.
Pam will tutor a tasting of 6 wines and to complement them, delicious canapés will be provided from the award-winning kitchens of the Raven Hotel. So, how do you choose wines to show at an Olympian themed tasting? Well, we've opted for those which deserve medals, have won medals or perhaps have shown themselves to be made with an ‘Olympic Endeavour’!
We hope that it will inspire you to aim high and aspire to drink the best (not necessarily the most expensive) in the fascinating world of wine.
The event will be between 7.00 pm – 9.00 pm and tickets are just £20 per person.
You can book your tickets in three ways:
- Visit the Much Wenlock Festival Website
- Visit the Festival Box Office in person at Penny Farthing, 5 The Square, Much Wenlock
- Call the Festival Box Office on 01952 728165