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Thursday Night Club - 11th June - what we drank

Another night of exciting wines, entertaining anecdotes and we were delighted to welcome some new faces.…

In recent weeks there have been a bevvy of unusual and delicious wines presented to the club sourced from London wine merchant Philglas & Swiggot. Inspired to branch out and try something new, this couple opted for the Eclectic mixed case from Philglas – a quirky selection of 12 wines for the special price of £199. Tonight was their first rummage into the case with The Portugal Boutique Winery Boina White 2017 from the Douro. A blend of weird and wonderful indigenous white grapes from 90 year old vines. At first the wine was very steely and mineral driven, but moving it to a bigger glass allowed the wine to really open up showing a lovely combination of cool minerality and ripe peachy fruit. Fresh and very classy, this is certainly a summer white they would revisit. As a single bottle £19.50

Our next drinker has had a few bad experiences with natural wine, often finding faulty wines masquerading behind the title. However, again inspired by another in the group who has shared some really exciting sounding natural wines, she decided to give it one last go. The Cape Rock Wines White Rhone Blend 2017 from the northern Oliphants River region of South Africa was (thankfully) a very pleasant surprise. A blend of Grenache Blanc and Rousanne, it showed lots of ripe yellow peach and had an incredibly smooth mouthfeel. Folks we might just have witnessed the first point of a conversion to more natural wine loving! Oddbins £15.50

From the quirky to the classic, our next drinker had been cleaning out the garage (don’t you love lock down chores) and stumbled across a bottle of The Society’s own Chablis 1er Cru Montmains 2014. It that must have been left in there for about 3 years in sub-optimal storage conditions. It did have some peachy fruit, but was a bit flat, even after a little time to open up. It was drinkable, just definitely not as expressive as it should have been. There’s nothing worse than only having yourself to blame for messing with a wine's mojo! The Wine Society, current vintage 2018, £22

Our next drinkers having been taking us on a tour of Germany in recent weeks (one half of the drinkers homeland) They sort of stuck with the German theme by getting this wine from Lidl! It is a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2018 from Italy and recommended by Lidl’s charming MW Richard Bampfield scoring 86/100. Not really standing much to lose at the price point they decided to give it a go. Not great at first, tight and a bit austere with dominant oak, but they stuck an aerator in and tried again and it definitely became fruitier and more enjoyable. Lidl £4.29

Next up we had an unusual classic. An Argentine Malbec but not as you usually see them. The Matias Riccitelli ‘This is Not Another Lovely Malbec’ 2019 from the Uco Valley is a brilliantly named (and beautifully labelled were we to be so superficial) quirky wine from high altitude, organically farmed vineyards. It is made using 50% whole bunch (a method often seen in Beaujolais encouraging the fermentation to start inside the berry producing a juicy, pure and crunchy style of wine) and aged in concrete rather than oak and is un-filtered and un-fined. It shows beautiful raspberry and wild berry fruit, a hint of florals and a lovely silky, fresh finish. By all accounts it sounds utterly moreish and perfect for the summer. Hic Wine Merchants £14.75

Our next taster found this gem at the Armit Wines tasting, at least he is pretty sure he did. Being a very good tasting the finish and therefore his subsequent ordering is a little hazy. What is clear is that it is an absolute beauty! The Masseria Li Veli Askos Susumaniello 2015 from Puglia is a beautiful, elegant and incredibly fresh red wine filled with crunchy red cherry and silken yet firm tannins from the indigenous Susumaniello grape. It translates as Little Donkey as it was the work horse blending grape, but as is so often the case with a little care and attention it has blossomed to be the star of its own show! Despite already having 5 years under its belt, it’s freshness suggests it will continue to age beautifully. The Solent Cellar, current vintage 2017, £22

Our next tasters were fed up with lock down and yearning for the days they lived in Barnes and spent summer days drinking rosé in the pubs lining the Thames. The identikit wine lists always had the Whispering Angel Rosé so they thought they would crack open a bottle of that and transport themselves back to those balmy summer evenings. Unfortunately the wine (unlike the memories) is somewhat underwhelming. Perhaps without the distraction of friends its simplicity is a little stark, particularly in comparison with the Minuty they enjoyed with us a few weeks ago. It is also pretty expensive for a simple rose. An unfortunate case of all brand and no bang. Majestic £18.99

Our next taster is our resident sommelier and natural wine advocate. The Thibaud Boudignon Anjou Blanc 2016 is a biodynamic Chenin Blanc from the Loire. An unbelievably classy wine that can only be described as electric; it has an incredibly purity and freshness, hints of stone fruit and honey yet a bone dry palate with an incredible mouth watering salinity. It is made in very limited quantities and her description had us all salivating and dreaming of warmer weather! Justerini & Brooks £22

Finally we have another trip down memory lane. Wine tasting through the western cape on a motorbike, we ended the day tasting barrel samples of the Craven wines with Mick Craven, one half of the dynamic husband and wife team behind their eponymous boutique brand. The Craven The Firs Vineyard Syrah 2017 from Stellenbosch is a stunning wine reminiscent of the Northern Rhone with perfumed raspberry and blackberry fruit underpinned by subtle notes of leather, chocolate, pepper and tobacco. The tannins are super fine and the finish is long, silken and beautifully fresh. Epic wines, epic couple, epic memories. Philglas and Swiggot £24

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