The Presidents Column

Document Sample
The Presidents Column Powered By Docstoc
					The President‟s Column

Back in mid November I drove over the moors to Whitby to
attend that Section‟s Gourmet Dinner at “Red Chard”. I took
with me several bottles of various St. Emilions which I talked
about as we drank them with the very excellent meal. Of the five
different Chateaux, the Ch. Monbousquet Grand Cru 2001 was
outstanding. This chateau was bought by a supermarket mogul
several years ago and I had not tasted it since its change of
ownership. It was expensive at £40 per bottle (from Costco) but it
was flavoursome, velvety and voted the favourite of the evening.

Whitby Chairman, Christine Stevenson, who kindly sheltered me
for the night following the dinner, had bought, on my behalf,
three bottles of Ch. Pavie, Premier Cru Classe 1995, when her
local Co-op sold off all its fine wines last year. At £22.50 a bottle
it was a terrific bargain. We drank one precious bottle “en
famille” on Christmas Day and declared “it‟s a knockout”.

Early in February back at my base section, Scarborough, we
enjoyed a visit from Nigel Green, ex Chairman of Hull. He
introduced us to the art of buying and selling wine at Auction. I
have only bought once this way. St Emilion in magnums or larger
at the 1999 special sale at Sotheby‟s – to celebrate the 800th
Anniversary of La Jurade. Both my son and I were present (we
are both proud honorary members) and we overstretched
ourselves somewhat – it was so exciting. However the wines we
bought that day have been greatly enjoyed over the intervening
years at The White Swan, at the many wine tastings and also
“chez nous”. The Imperial of Balestard la Tonnelle 1983 St.
Emilion Premier Cru Grand Cru Classe I donated for drinking at
the re-instated Tom G. Porter dinner last year came from that sale
and we did enjoy it.
I will end with a personal gripe!! Scarborough Section
Chairman, Howard Hunter, has been trying to persuade the
management of the hotel we meet at to purchase some decent
wine glasses, so far without success. How very short sighted!
They would sell more good wine in their restaurant if they
invested in something better than the Paris Goblets they use at
the present. I have friends whose glassware is lamentable too so
if I have to buy them a present, guess what they get!! To be able
to nose a wine properly you must have the space for plenty of air
in the bowl. It‟s also good for swirling.

That‟s all for now, next time I write my column I should be in
my new home. I am not looking forward to the move, but the
saving grace will be that at long last I shall have a cellar!
Deirdre Buchanan, President.

                 Are you drinking above your station???

Many of you have probably been on Eurostar from the new £800m St
Pancras International station, but did you know it also houses Europe‟s
longest Champagne bar!

Just a few feet from the track at platform level, the bar‟s customers are
separated from the trains by a pane of glass that runs the entire 96m
length of the bar. There are more than 70 Champagnes on offer
ranging in price from £39.50 for De Nauroy Brut to £2,700 for Krug
Collection 1947. 10 are available by the glass from £7.50 for Jean
Paul Deville Carte Noire to £25 for Dom Perignon 1999
Annual Dinner 2007

A good time was had by all at the Annual Guild Dinner on 3rd
November 2007 at The Royal Hotel, Scarborough. It proved to be an
ideal venue with many members taking advantage of the special
overnight rates to make a short break by the sea. Joan Turner, owner of
the hotel, joined us for the evening after hosting a canape reception
with Champagne sponsored by Lanson.

The dinner which followed was a delicious feast. Terry Herbert
supplied two good wines to match each course, to discuss and
appreciate. Mary Sandham (Caistor), kindly donated the Nova LBV
Port. The mystery wine competition was organised by Martin Bayne
(York), not the usual run of the mill grapes but not too difficult. Once
again Greta Henderson, last year‟s winner, was the winner again. Well
done Greta!!

Lively music completed the evening with a crowded floor proving
there is life in the old dogs yet!!

Highlight of the evening was when President Deirdre presented the
Ken Buchanan award to Brian Shipley of Scarborough Section. Brian
is a past Chairman of the Guild and a very valued long time member,
bringing not only wisdom and advice to the committee but a sense of
fun also. He accepted the award proudly and with his special wit gave
an apt response on receiving the Tantalus award.
Hazel Hart, Chairman.
Bingley Section

The usual Christmas Dinner, usually unsatisfactory, was replaced
in December by a “members choice” evening, featuring wines
from Spain, France, Chile, Australia and Italy. The undoubted
starts were two Portuguese Daos from 1986 and 1983.

Oddbin‟s David Caink showed three very different Albarinos in
January and followed these with an interesting experiment with
wines from his own cellar. An 2003 Pinotage/Cabernet from SA;
a 2003 Shiraz/Cabernet from Australia and a 2004 Pinot Noir
from New Zealand – 2 bottles of each wine but with one under
cork and one with screw-cap. The wines were very different and
the screw-cap evidently slowed maturation and gave a fresher,
younger tasting wine. Opinions on which was the better varied
widely, but it proved that screw capping a wine intended for
cellaring is pointless – a not unexpected finding!

Booth‟s supermarket provided the wines in February with a
tasting of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon from around
the world.

Our meeting in March was by HC Wines of York on the subject
of “Hidden France”.

         Sorry no report received from Caistor Section.
Don‟t be surprised.......
The cost of wine is going up by about 10%. Britain‟s favourite wine
country – Australia – has had a poor harvest. In recent years there has
been a surplus of grapes hence much Australian wine “on offer”, but
the drought has knocked the bulk cheaper end of the market on the

It would have been a good opportunity for the likes of Chile to step in
and take advantage but the Chileans say that prices must increase to
reflect the strong peso. Miguel Torres, who has vineyards in Spain and
Chile says that prices are going up everywhere. The harvest in parts of
Spain is well below normal, and France and Italy are reporting smaller
than usual harvests.

It is forecast that bottles will increase by about 50p, bottles selling at
£3.49 will increase to £3.99 and those at £3.99 will go up to £4.49.
There is a knock on effect, for instance prices of Port, Brandy and
Sherry, which are grape based, will also increase.

As I write this article the budget has not yet taken place (due on 12th
March) but predictions forecast a hike in taxes on wine and spirits
amid the concerns of binge drinking. The Wine & Spirit Association
have conducted a survey and the argument is that a 10% rise in tax
would only lead to a 2% reduction in the consumption of wine.

The budget has been and gone and just before the magazine goes to the
printers I can add a note about the budget, although I am sure you will
have read it!!

6% above inflation! Spirits up 55p a bottle; 14p on a bottle of wine,
18p on sparkling. With a further increase of 2% above inflation for the
next 4 years!

The price of a cuppa is also about to rise! Shortages of tea from
Kenya, currently gripped in political turmoil, is to blame. Kenya is
Britian‟s biggest supplier of black tea and tribal violence coupled with
a delay to the rainy season have pushed up prices. Unilever (PG Tips)
have said the increases will passed on o the consumer!!


What ever happened to...........Bulgarian Wine?
It is not often you see Bulgarian wine in the supermarkets these
days. Why? Politics!

Up until 1990 Britian‟s best selling red was Cabernet Sauvignon
from Bulgaria, but Australia was starting to make inroads at
Bulgaria‟s expense. The post-war communist regime in Bulgaria
forbade winemakers to visit other countries in search of modern
ideas and productions methods so the smoother Australian style

Worse still, President Gorbachev cancelled Bulgaria‟s wine order
in line with his anti-alcohol policies. Consequently vineyards
were abandoned and the communists uprooted some of the best

However all is not lost, some vineyards still exist and export to
the West, and branches of the big named Supermarkets have a
limited stock if you have withdrawal symptoms!!
Harrogate Section

Following on from an excellent Christmas party in December at
the Courtyard restaurant when the committee chose and bought
the wines we had HC wines for our meeting on January 15th -
HC wine is John Hattam and Andy Clarke They're a brilliant
double act and gave us a very entertaining presentation and some
extremely interesting wines. The theme for the tasting was
'Hidden France'. Highlights included a deliciously fresh Quincy
(amusingly introduced by Andy Clarke, who happens to be a
pathologist) and a great-value dessert wine from Gascony, made
from late harvest Petit Manseng. The star of the show was their
elegant, fragrant Irancy from Domaine Colinot, a seductive blend
of 95% Pinot Noir and 5% César.

For our February meeting we welcomed Peter Fawcett from Field
and Fawcett who is quite well-known to York members who are
near enough to be able to visit his shop and excellent
delicatessen, we understand run by his wife. He gave a very
informative and interesting talk on wines from Southern Italy
which is obviously along with New Zealand his main speciality
having been involved importing wines from Italy in his previous
job. He obviously knows the area well and since there are not
many of us who know very much about wines from that part of
the World and so many of the grape varieties are really quite
unknown in other wine-growing areas, we learnt a lot about new
varietals and what was being produced with them.

In March we look forward to an Australian testing from Mike
Perry of Nidderdale fine wines followed by Nigel Green in April
who has kindly said he will give his talk about buying wines at
We have we hope a varied and interesting year ahead with a
mixture of tastings and other wine-related evenings along with a
couple of rather more special tasting evenings planned for later in
the year

Hull Section

Mr James Long made a welcome return visit in November and
brought along a selection of wines to compliment Christmas
Fayre. The 2002 Domaine Trignant de Brisset Pomerol was
excellent. All in all, Mr Long maintained his reputation for
entertaining presentations.

In December Hull Section held its annual Christmas Dinner at
our usual meeting place, Pier Luigi‟s.

January was our AGM.

His knowledge and passion for Bordeaux wines were most
apparent at the February tasting expertly presented by Dr Gareth
Morgan of Oinoudidasko Wines, York. For those sections who
have not yet had the pleasure of one of Gareth‟s presentations I
can strongly recommend you add him to your list of “future
Leeds Section

The Christmas Dinner – how far back does that seem now – took
place at Rombalds Hotel, Ilkley. We tasted some excellent wines
chosen by the committee, starting with Champagne and finishing
with a South African “sticky”. Always a great evening.

On January 14th Leeds Section met at Fortune River Cantonese
Restaurant for a tasting of Sicilian wines presented by Paul
Howard of Wine Alchemy. I did not attend myself due to illness
but I have it on good authority from one of our members that
Paul is an excellent speaker, interesting, informative and serving
up some excellent wines. The tasting was followed by a superb
Chinese banquet which is always the case at Fortune River.

On February 11th Leeds Section met at Bar 166, Horsforth where
John Hattam & Andy Clarke provided an excellent tasting of
wines from around the world. We tasted 9 wines in all, kicking
off with a lovely Limoux fizz before moving through England,
Tasmania, New Zealand, Spain, Chile, Portugal, Italy and back to
France for a 100% Petit Manseng non botrytis sweety. A very
good evening followed by a meal of lamb hot pot and a lemon
sponge dessert.
Margaret Hesketh


The things George says......           (do you need a surname???)

“It‟s clearly a budget. It‟s got a lot of numbers in it”

“I think war is a dangerous place”

“More and more of our imports come from abroad”

“Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”
Scarborough Section

We started the New Year in firework style with a cracking tasting of
Californian wines. Chris Mooney of John Fells brought guest presenter
James Tookey who represents The Jackson Estates. Although Jess
Jackson owns all the estates, each one is run completely independently
as individual vineyards.
The whites started with a Pinot Grigio from the Pepi Estate, Napa
Valley and was followed by three wines from the famous
Kendall/Jackson label. One Sauvignon and two Chardonnays. This
label brings together the best of all the estates to produce intense full
flavoured wines. A nice surprise for the ABC club.
The reds started with two very different Pinot Noirs but they did not
win over the Pinot Noir fans. These were followed by an amazing
Zinfandel from the Edmeades Estate in Mendocino County and at
15.4% it certainly warmed the mid-winter evening. The reds finished
with two VERY BIG Cabernet Sauvignons which although stunning
wines require more time but at £15.89 and £22.89 we were not rushing
to fill the cellar. So, I think the winners of the evening were the
Chardonnays and the Zinfandel. A true reflection of our Californian
Linda Ibbotson

Our meeting in February was presented by the new Vice Chairman of
the Hull branch , Nigel Green, who explained the process of buying
wines at auction, a far more involved process than we expected, that is
if you want to secure good wines in good condition at the right price.
Nigel‟s note at the bottom of his tasting sheet said everything "The
truth is not on the label but behind it". Nigel brought along 8 wines he
had purchased at auction for us to taste they ranged from Muscadet
Sevre et Maine Sur Lie at £2 to a 1999 Mersault Les Vireuils from
Oliver Leflaive at £22 the latter together with a Faustino de Autor
Rioja Reserva Especial 1998 were felt to be the best of the night but an
Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico from Tommasi finished the night
on a high note. A most interesting event to be recommended to other
Howard Hunter

Following last year and the positive feedback, printed in this
month‟s Sommelier are the financial statements for last year.
These statements will be presented to the Annual General
Meeting on 29th April 2008 in the Merchant Taylors Hall. Please
remember to bring your copy with you .

The finances remain on a sound footing, so much so that at the
next committee meeting we shall be considering the possibility of
a special refund to sections

The accounts show a very similar pattern to previous years, with
the cost of the magazine reduced and the initial website costs a
one off payment. But more at the AGM.
David Robinson
Honorary Treasurer
Sheffield Section

On Monday 25 February 2008 Quentin Sadler a wine educator
gave a tasting of wines from Villa Maria Estate based in
Auckland New Zealand. The first five wines of the eight tasted
were white and included a Riesling, Gewurztraminer, a
Sauvignon Blanc, a Chardonnay and a Taylors Pass Pinot Gris
2006 - all but one from the Marlborough vineyard. Then
followed a rose Private Bin 2007 from Hawke‟s Bay, produced at
roughly Bordeaux temperatures a lightly flavoured pleasant
drink. The Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 2006 from Marlborough
had a good fruity taste good nose and lightish red. Finally there
was a Reserve Merlot 2004 also from Hawke‟s Bay, deep red
with a blackcurrant taste a well balanced wine having benefited
from standing in new French oak for some 22 months.

All the wines were in the 13%-14.5% range. Mr. Sadler
explained the classifications of Villa Maria wines began with the
Private Bin then the Cellar Selection, the Reserve followed and
finally the Single Vineyard. The Villa Maria Estate has
vineyards in both the North and South Islands and is the fourth
largest wine producer in New Zealand. They have been in
production for some 40 years. Canopy management and other
factors give optimum time for growing makes for quality wine
and play a part in the fact that New Zealand wines can and do
command higher prices than many other wines today. It was
interesting to note all the bottles used were screw tops which
seems to have found favour generally for these wines.

This was a very well presented tasting for which notes were
provided and the 45 members present felt they had certainly
improved their knowledge of New Zealand wine production.
R Roper
York Section

Richard Goodacre presented Wines to accompany Curry at the
Officers‟ Mess, Imphal Barracks on Monday 4th February.

For those with an interest in military history there was the option to
have a private visit to the Kohima museum prior to the main meeting.
The Battle of Kohima in April 1944 halted the Japanese invasion of
India, and the first time they had been stopped in World War II. The
museum houses a collection of items donated almost exclusively by the
veterans and their relatives.

Three different curries of ascending strength were provided.
With a Chicken Korma we tasted:
Alamos Voignier 2007 from Mendoza in Argentina; Beyerskloof
Pinotage 2006 from Stellenbosch, South Africa. Both these wines went
well but the Voignier was considered to be marginally the better.

With the Vegetable Allundam we tasted:
Beringer Fume Blanc 2006 from the Napa Valley, California;
Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel 2005 from Lodi County, California.
No discernable advantage of one wine above the other.

With the Beef Madras we tasted:
Gewurtztraminer Grand Cru Eichberg 2005 from Philippe Zinck,
Eguisheim, Alsace; McGuigan “Signature” Shiraz 2006 (16^),
Langhome Creek, South Australia. Probably the most challenging
course of the evening but one at which the red succeeded in being up to
the match because of the sixteen degrees of alcohol. However the star
was the Gewurtzraminer, long thought of as a wine to go with spicy
foods, this example, perhaps because of the hint of sweetness, won the

Before the deserts we had a palate cleanser of Codorniu brut reserve
n.v. Cava. None of the wines failed to cope with the food, just some
coped that much better. So you lager drinkers please consider wine in
the future. Many thanks to Richard in choosing the wines for this
different occasion.                              Martin Bayne
Whitby Section

Whitby Section returned to Dunsley Hall Hotel for our Christmas
tasting, with a tour around the Iberian peninsula presented by
Peter Hopkins from The Wine Bureau, Harrogate. Peter certainly
did us proud with a total of 11 – yes, eleven! – wines and even
better, he was able to blend tasting of the wines in with the
traditional festive meal which the hotel provided.

We began with an aperitif „Lavit Rosado Brut‟ Cava. Viudas,
with the canapés we tasted a Rioja, a Vina Moçen 2006 and had
a two wines with each course. The final flourish came when Peter
presented us with a vertical tasting of three years of Niepoort
LBV port, 1998, 1999 and 2003 all priced at around £14. A
first-rate evening.

Whitby Section AGM was held at The Moon & Sixpence in
January. The welcome drink was an Endinger Engelsberg
Rulander Auslese 2004 from the huge Badischer Winzerkeller at
Breisach: softly sweet and a good aperitif provided it is chilled, a
snip at £4.94 (at the winery and when the euro was € 1.48 = £1).
After the usual business – the finances are healthy and the
existing committee was re-elected en bloc, much to members‟
relief! – we moved on to a „Call My Bluff‟ style tasting with the

February saw us return to Red Chard on Flowergate for a tasting
of Franconian wine with Martin Bayne. We packed out the
house! 30 members and guests enjoyed an excellent meal
interspersed with intriguing wines from a little-known region of

A „Randersacker Bacchus‟ Kabinett ‟05 from Trockene Schmitts
(£7.25) Two more whites followed: Castell Silvaner Trocken
Krugelspiel ‟05 at £8.00 and Randersacker Marsberg Riesling
Kabinett ‟04 (again from Trockene Schmitts and £7.60) the latter
a dry and fruity expression of the grape in the traditional
Franconian „bocksbeutel‟ flask. Martin gave us a helpful insight
into the wine areas with the aid of a large map.
Three reds accompanied the main course. A Spatburgunder ‟04 at
£14.50; a Blaufrankish ‟04 at £9.25 and a Castell Cuvee „C‟ ‟03
at £15.30. This last was a blend of several grape varieties and a
revelation for a German red being something of a blockbuster. If
one thinks of sweeter wines as one of the German trademarks
then Franconia is no exception. Dessert was accompanied by a
Pfulben Rieslaner Auslese ‟04 at £15.25, the variety being a
RieslingxSilvaner cross similar to the Albalonga grape variety:
very satisfying and quite honeyed with complex sweetness, depth
and length of flavour. Finally Martin pulled out of the hat (does
he have one?) a rarely sampled treat, Casteller Silvaner Eiswein
Kugelspiel ‟02 8.4% alc. at ---- £56 a bottle. Almost
indescribable, an intense nose, huge flavour and depth with a
balance of acidity for the sweetness, it would probably last for
decades. A small glass was sufficient, more would swamp the
palate. Thank you Martin!
Richard Evans

CONGRAUTULATIONS to Richard Evans (Whitby Section)
who won Christine Austin „s fiendish Christmas wine quiz in the
Yorkshire Post. He won a weekend for 2 in Scotland with a
tour round a distillery. Well Done!!
Yes, Your Majesty.....

The Buckingham Palace cellars are the oldest part of the royal
headquarters with seven store rooms they hold 25,000 bottles of
wine, champagne and port for all occasions, from a small lunch
to a state banquet.

Among the reds, mostly French, are racks of Chateau Latour and
Chateau Batailley. In the white section there are more from the
Commonwealth, South African Chardonnays and New Zealand‟s
Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc. Some supplies are “Civil List” paid
for by the Government and used for state events, the rest is
private stock like the Nebuchadnezzar of Champagne given to
the Duke of York by his friends for his wedding in 1986.

In charge of all this wine, The Clerk of the Wine Cellars, which
is an honorary position, is the newly appointed Simon Berry.
The Royal Sommelier, the yeoman of the Royal Cellars is the
person who opens and serves the wine, but it is the Clerk who
draws up the wine list. The Royal Family are not fussy drinkers,
the Queen likes gin and Dubonnet, the Duke of Edinburgh likes
bitter, the Prince of Wales enjoys a whisky and the young princes
like their night club cocktails! However the royal household
must cater to all tastes and the Queen has granted 29 royal
warrants for drinks, from Bulmer‟s Cider to Krug Champagne.

Simon Berry runs his own company Berry Brothers & Rudd from
St. James Street. It is a family company started by Widow
Bourne in 1698 selling groceries to the nobility. In the 18th
century, through marriage the company passed to the Clarke
family and attracted the custom of King George III. Coffee and
Tea were the prized commodities of the day and were weighed
on arrival and departure. The large scales are still in existence
today and it was a fashionable form of Georgian entertainment to
have oneself weighed. There is an old leather bound register
showing people such as Pitt the Younger, Dame Nellie Melba
and personalities of that ilk having their weight recorded,
although Dame Nellie was very unhappy with her findings and it
is noted “ weight not recorded”! The scales are used only on
very special occasions nowadays.

 In the 1790‟s John Berry married into the firm and when his two
sons took over the business became Berry Brothers. In 1903
Edward VII‟s doctor approached the company with an unusual
request. The King had obtained a horseless carriage and required
a “warming cordial” to fortify himself during his excursions in it.
The Berrys came up with the King‟s Ginger Liqueur, (which is
still on sale today at £14.95 a bottle). At 40% proof it is the
world‟s most politically incorrect tipple, having being created for
the purpose of drinking and driving. The King‟s Ginger also
earned Berry Brothers their first Royal Warrant and they have
been granted the arms of every monarch since.

In 1920 Mr Rudd joined as a partner and in 1923 the company
branched out into Scotch by creating Cutty Sark whisky. The
company also became the first wine merchants, in 1994, to
launch a website and the majority of sales are now conducted
online. Several Rudds now work for the company and although
the headquarters are still in London most of the stock has been
moved to climate controlled premises in Basingstoke that
contains, at any one time, 3.5m bottles although there is still a
substantial stock at James Street. The oldest resident is a dusty
bottle of 1834 Tokaji which is not for sale but may one day be
opened when a sufficiently important occasion arises.

The most expensive bottle on the market is a 2003 Domaine de la
Romanee Conti at £6,400. The “best seller” is a good ordinary
everyday claret which retails at £6.48. Simon Berry‟s own
favourite is the company‟s own Reserve Burgundy!
The most powerful person in wine........... and it‟s a lady!!

Mariann Fischer Boel (64) from Denmark is Europe‟s
agricultural commissioner who plans a controversial shake-up of
the EU wine industry. Although Denmark is a non-wine
producing country, she was born and brought up on a farm and
believes that because she is not from a wine producing country
she can look at the problems objectively. Previously she was the
Danish Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries.

As the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural
Development she runs a department involving 2.4 million
producers and 3.6 million hectares and makes decisions which
affect 45% of the world‟s vines and 60% of its production. Her
budget is 1.3 billion euros. Her predecessor took care of dairy,
beef, grain and olive oil and left her to deal with fruit, vegetables
and the trickiest of them all wine! Wine is not the biggest sector
in the CAP, accounting for only 5% of the EU‟s agricultural
output, but it is the hardest to reform.

What Fischer Boel and the EC want to do is:
- Reduce the EU vineyard by 200,000 hectares by voluntary
  subsidised grubbing up
- End subsidies for distillation, storage and must enrichment
- Ban chaptalisation
- End planting restrictions
- Introduce simpler labelling
- Permit the use of cross-border blending

To succeed in her plans she needs the support of 14 of the 27
member states and 255 of the 345 ministers. Sixteen of the 27
member states are wine-producing countries, however if France,
Italy and Spain, who account for 75% of the EU plantings all say
“No” to the reforms it would be hard for her to proceed.
Two potential sticking points are planting rights and
Under the CMO (Common Market Organisation for Wine) the
present planting rights expire in 2010, currently excess wine is
distilled and compensation pay-outs amount to half a billion
euros a year. Those leaving the wine sector and taking payment
for grubbing up will be assessed as to how much they will
receive by various criteria such as what and where the grubbing
up involves, for instance the grubbing up on slopes will be
restricted. Fischer Boel believes that the better winemakers will
continue in business because it would not be worth their while
not to do so.

Fischer Boel states that European wine needs to regain the
market share lost to other countries. For instance in Ireland 75%
of the wine they drink is imported from outside Europe. Quality
needs to improve and the wine lakes need to be drained.

If she succeeds the European wine sector will change
dramatically over the next five years, more competitive, better
adapted to what the market wants and no longer reliant on
subsidies. Her term ends in 2009 but she would like to stay until
2014 to see the results of her reforms! Watch this space!!!
Précised from Tim Atkin MW in Wine & Spirit

Lazzaria Winery

This is one vineyard you would not want to qualify to work in, it
is in a walled area, not a small dry-stone affair like Burgundy, but
tall thick concrete fortifications topped with searchlights and
watch towers! This vineyard is in an Italian prison! So
unfortunately no calling in for a tasting!!

Casa Curcondariale Nouvo Complesso Velletri! The winery
dates back to 1999 when an agronomist called Rodolfo Craia
came up with the idea of planting a vineyard and integrating it
into the life of the prison. The winery now makes 40,000 bottles
of wine sourced from its own two hectares and some grapes
bought in. The wines are sold under the Lazio IGT category. The
winery is small but well equipped, the cellar has plenty of tank
space, its own bottling line, a modern press, destemmer and
crusher and a pyramid of barrels in which to age the best red.

The prison makes five wines, an unoaked Chardonnay called
Luce di Luna; a honeyed Malvasia Puntinate; a smooth easy
drinking Cabernet Sauvignon caled “Il Recluso” (The Prisoner);
a juicy Sangoivese and Malvasia Nero blend called “Fuggiasco
(The Fugative) and the best one, a subtly oaked Sangoivese
called “Le Sette Mandate” (Seven turns of the key). Working
with the wine (and olive oil) is regarded as a privilege, 18
prisoners work for about 6 hours a day in the winery, vineyards
and olive groves in what is known as semi-free status. It is a
medium security prison, housing prisoners for not more than 10

The prisoners are not allowed to drink the wine, but can drink
25cl only if it is watered down to a strength of 10%. The wine is
sold through 2 local wholesalers to restaurants and wine shops in
the area at between 5 and 12 euros a bottle giving the prison
some income.
Are you a recycler??

I am sure you all put your empty wine bottles in the bottle bin,
but there is now a problem in the recycling world!

According to WRAP (a UK government funded agency that aims
to help British business reduce waste) about 2.5m tonnes of glass
packaging enters the UK every year. The UK waste stream
contains about 1m tonnes of green glass. British glass container
furnaces produce about 400,000 of green glass each year, and
600,000 tonnes are imported into the UK. The UK‟s disposal
industry is struggling to cope. There is more green glass waste
than there is domestic demand to enable it to be recycled here,
and an awful lot of glass is ending up in landfill sites.

Then there is the issue of carbon emissions! According to an
Italian environment physicist, each single bottle of wine is
responsible for generating something in the region of 16g of
sulphur dioxide.

What is the alternative? The main contenders are PET plastic
bottles, foil and plastic pouches and Tetra Pak. They are more
carbon efficient as they are lighter and easier to transport.
However each option has its own problems. In the case of plastic
pouches, they are not recyclable. Tetra Pak are poorly recycled
and PET bottles are produced from oil-based polymers and are
dependent upon the ever decreasing oil supplies.

Then there is quality – wine in bottle can remain fairly consistent
(depending on the quality of the wine) for many years, whereas
the other alternatives only give a wine life of a couple of years.

It is not just the bottle – what about the capsule and the closure?
Can packaging ever be really green? The debate goes on!!
Précised from Wine & Spirit
The Water Table

Did you know...... Claridges Restaurant in London now has a list
of 30 waters for your perusal. Gordon Ramsey‟s restaurant
offers a New Zealand water, 420 volcanic at £50 per litre -
£12.50 per glass. Decanter magazine did a blind tasting of 24
waters to see if this water tasted any different from tap water.
Based on the same conditions as a blind wine tasting. Some were
reported as crisp, mine rally, oily etc. here are the results:

1st.   Waiwera – New Zealand £9 litre – Claridges.
       Fat and richly textured. Ripe & refreshing with
       A slightly salty tang.

2nd    Vittel – France 59p litre – Tesco
       Attractive with clean soft palate, fresh purity.

3rd.   Four tied for 3rd place.
       a) Thames Tap Water
       Clear, pure, clean taste and soft texture.
       b) Iskilde – Denmark £9 litre – Claridges
       c) 10 Thousand BC – British Columbia £15 litre
       d) Fiji – Fiji £1.95 litre - Waitrose
Bottom three:

22nd   Bling H2O – USA £33 litre – via internet.
       Heavy, oily, unpleasant

23rd   Glaciana – Norway £1.79 litre – Waitrose
       Salty and harsh, not very elegant

24th   Decanter‟s own filtered tap water
       Dull, lacks character.

Shared By: