Wine Club

25 November – serious preparation for Christmas

Moleside’s last wine tasting before Christmas checked out whether the right circumstances can make certain wines taste even better ….

Experimenting with some Debussy – followed by a little light rock – there were some members who felt that the classical performance could be enhancing their enjoyment derived from a modest claret. But wine is a personal thing and, though everyone  concentred seriously on the experiment, others were far from convinced that the music made any difference at all. 

Everyone did come up with some timely thoughts on what might grace a festive table at a moderate price. Italian Fiano is currently making its presence felt amongst white wines and the message from the Moleside tasters – don’t discount the younger vintages if you’re faced with a choice. 

Amongst the reds Tesco’s Finest Priimitivo de Chieti feels like an up front, fruity bargain at £7 – but our reporter’s palate made his pick of the bunch The Wine Society’s Valpolicella Ripasso – delivering real class at £10.50.

Finally the group sampled a sweet, chilled Spanish Moscatel which was a delight, even for those who stay clear of sweet wines. This Vina Araya Moscatel de Valencia sells at a ridiculous price of £5.35 from Sainsburys. A must for Christmas pudding with the Ripasso supporting for the main course.

And our thanks to David Owen for his report and fine photos 

 14 October 2021 –The Wine Group’s first Post Lockdown Tasting

Live Wine Tasting has kicked off again at Moleside and our first session after more than 18 months proved both welcome and surprisingly revealing.

Our expert mentor Trudy brought along the selection of wines we would have tasted had lockdown not prevented our sampling them in March 2020.  And they came with a surprise for all of us.  A New Zealand pinot noir from a top class maker that she had, a year and a half ago, noted as ‘brilliant’ we all found disappointing – including Trudy.

Those of us who believe that time in the bottle tends to improve a wine found that it’s not always as simple as that and we will in future remember that when a wine really tastes brilliant there’s no harm in enjoying it there and then.

But most of the March 2020 selection had kept well including a white Fiano from Puglia. That was a nice surprise for us devoted Puglian red afficionados; and we were delighted with a couple of really great reds, including a Sicilian, and a cracking sweet white wine from Portugal.

Although the weather does not generally play a large part in our tastings, the need to keep The Steeples’ windows prudently open made us appreciate the warm sunny conditions. Not sure how we’ll fair when it gets colder – we may have to try a gluhwein / mulled wine session…

Just out of interest – The Wine Group’s recommendations for last Christmas 2020

After a year with only a few opportunities early on to sample together in The Steeples, our regular lockdown newsletter The Corona Times invited the Wine Club regulars to share the favourites that have emerged from their more recently imposed isolation.  Most of us will find something in what they have discovered this year which will surely delight us.

First off – interestingly the only White suggested by our members.

Acacia Tree Chenin Blanc – fresh citrus and peach with a zippy, refreshing finish.

It’s available widelyand is currently stocked by or in quantity on line. 


Available from Majestic  – the supplier who featured most strongly in the club’s recommendations

Passimento by Pasqua – thanks to the Apassimento technique it concentrates all the sugars in the grapes, making its texture seriously lush and velvety.

Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso, La Casetta- a Valpolicella that’s enhanced by its Ripasso concentration which transports it into another dimension of flavour. tangy red cherry. plum and dried fruit. Recommended by more than 1 member.

Rioja Reserva, Marques de Riscal  only using grapes from vines at least fifty years old makes for flavours incredibly rich and concentrated, full of summer berry, red-fruit flavours and liquorice, vanilla spice. This, it’s suggested, is a classic RiojaRecommended by more than 1 member

Luis Filipe Edwards, Gran Reserve Merlot – coming from vineyards at a particularly high-altitude, 900 meters above sea level in the Chilean Colchagua Valley with its slightly cooler micro-climate, this merlot  has incredible intensity.

Cotes du Rhone, E Guigal – the winemaker’s passion for Syrah means this has a higher than usual proportion in a Côtes blend, making it extra red fruity and warmly spicy.

1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel Zinfandel – ageing in small oak bourbon-whisky barrels imparts delicious slathers of charred vanilla and caramel on the hedonistic black-fruit

Copper Kingdom Barossa Shiraz -a seriously hearty wine, full of blackcurranty, blackberry flavours sublime with a meaty casserole.  Majestic calls this ‘a real hug in a glass’.

Available from Waitrose – the Wine Club regulars offer fewer suggestions from The Partnership but its shelves have produced the bottle that comes out on top.

First off in the nominations Triade – a wonderful blend of southern Italian red grape varieties including Primitivo that offers spicy red fruit flavours and attractive aromas of liquorice and rich coffee.

And our winner for 2020 is another of Waitrose’s offerings – a prize in Wine Club competitions in the past and now the recipient of 4 firm recommendations as well as several positive mentions from other Club members – and very clear enthusiasm from Trudy herself who includes it in her 3 recommendations below..

Created from grapes grown in Puglia this is a wine with an intense ruby-red colour, aromas of rich dark fruit, a silky texture and big bright spicy flavours of dark cherries, vanilla and chocolate. This is the first organic Primitivo to be made 100% by the Appassimento method

The Moleside Probus Wine Club’s Wine of the Year is Terre di Faiano Primitivo Organico

Now honourable mentions for 2 recommendations which at the turn of the year appeared to be sold out, but may well prove to be interesting tips for the future –

Don Solis Tempranillo – Laithwaites reports the 2019 vintage is all gone but some of us will surely be looking out for the new arrival when we read that the winemaker’s secret behind this recommendation is the combination of top cuvées from renowned Iberian sources –  Toro, Valdepeñas and La Mancha. The result – power with a delicate, elegant fragrance that can also manage to be juicy and fruit filled.

And another recommendation on which we have had to be patient –

Christian Patat Primitivo Naked Wines tells us, this is created by a consultant oenologist who travels all over Italy helping lesser mortals make their wines taste amazing. That means he knows where all the best grapes hide out, and is in the box seat to snaffle them before anyone else can get our their cheque book. A large number of wine lovers agree with this Moleside  recommendation – so keep your eues open on this one.

PS. Our thanks to Trudy Welsh and to all the enthusiastic members of the Moleside Wine Club who helped our Corona Times team consolidate this encouraging timely guidance from which we all still stand to benefit.