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21st November 2018; Gourmet Evening: In Celebration of Good food, Good Wine and Good Company

Forty six of you joined us at East Restaurant on November 21 for our themed gourmet evening “In Celebration of Good Food, Good Wine and Good Company”. On arrival guests were served a glass of Gaintza Txakoli (Spain) with a selection of canapes. The restaurant looked splendid: white table clothes, silver service place settings, discrete flower arrangements and candles.

Our starter, the Tandoori supreme of salmon served with mango salsa and a yoghurt & coriander dressing was partnered with a choice two wines from Argentina both made with the Torrontes grape: Kaiken Terroir Series Torrontes and Bodega Colomé Salta Torrontes.

To accompany the main course of Pan fried fillet & slow braised beef steak, guests were served two red wines - 2010 Lestrille Capmartin Bordeaux Superior (France) and the 2016 Familia Castano “Hecula” Monastrell (Spain). This created much discussion around which of these two wines partnered "best" with the pan fried fillet and which partnered "best" with the slow braised beef steak. Opinions, as ever, differed which is one of the delights of exploring different food and wine pairings.

The Plum & almond tart with vanilla bean ice cream dessert was served with a glass of Henrique & Henrique 5 year old Madeira (medium rich) and received almost unanimous approval as the perfect match.

The evening concluded with coffee & petit fours before guests gave a rousing round of applause to show their appreciation to the front of house and kitchen teams who provided such excellent service throughout the evening.

19th October 2018 - A small number of us gathered at the Ferini Art Gallery on Friday 19th October for our “Wines for Autumn” tasting. We started with three white wines:

- Axel Pauly “Purist”. A dry expressive Riesling from the Mosel region of Germany

- The Crossings Sauvignon Blanc. An award winning wine from the Awatere Valley sub-region of Marlborough, and the overall favourite white of the evening.

- Dedicado Tupungato, a lightly oaked chardonnay from the high vineyards of Mendoza.

According to John Keats, autumn is the season of “mists and mellow fruitfulness” but we took the liberty of adding a glass of red wine which went down nicely the days shortened. The two we selected were:

- Quinta do Infantado Douro Tinta (2013), an undisclosed field blend of port grapes, and

- The Poppy Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles in California which ticked all the boxes and won the accolade of our favourite wine for autumn.

We concluded with a red dessert wine from the Banyuls appellation of France by M. Chapoutier a “vin doux naturel” which you could partner with desserts or blue cheeses.

19 September 2018 - We were delighted our first event with the Royal Norfolk & Suffolk Yacht Club (Royal Plain, Lowestoft) was fully booked within a few days of the announcement of this collaboration. Many thanks to the three dozen of you who will be joining us on Sunday and our apologies to those we were unable to accommodate on this occasion.

Our next tasting at the Ferini Art Gallery is on Friday, 28th September. This tasting marks the 7th anniversary of our collaboration with Michaela & Paul Hobbs and we plan to celebrate in style.

We are also pleased to announce our next Gourmet Evening at East Restaurant will take place on Wednesday 21st November. These evenings are very popular so early booking is recommended.

21 August 2018 - I am delighted to announce that we have today reached agreement with the Royal Norfolk & Suffolk Yacht Club (Royal Plain, Lowestoft) to host our Sunday wine tasting event.

We plan to start with a trial event that will take place on Sunday, September 23rd and, for this event, the cost will remain the same as previously; £24.95.

This tasting will commence at 4pm and our meal will be served at 6pm. We will taste 6 wines and, for this trial event, we will provide a glass of wine for you to enjoy with your meal. A choice of meals will be available and our initial plan is to offer a roast, a fish dish and a vegetarian option: more details of the menu will be available in due course.

We do hope that you will be able to join us for this event on Sunday September 23rd. We look forward to hearing from you and we would welcome your feedback on this trial event as we work together to refine the details to ensure the best possible experience for all.

August 2018

We are extremely disappointed that our long association with the Blue Boar in Oulton has come to an end.

Over the last 8 years we have enjoyed monthly gathering at the Blue Boar and we would like to thank everyone at the Blue Boar, both past and present, for enjoyable afternoons and memorable meals: we wish them all well for the future.

June 2018

“Fishermen or Farmers”, 17th June 2018:

On Sunday 17th June a number of us gathered at the Blue Boar in Oulton to explore wines designed to partner with food choices from both land and sea. Wines were sourced from Chile, France (Bordeaux), Portugal & the USA and, perhaps surprisingly, the two “standout” wines were the 2 wines from California: Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve Chardonnay and Fog Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.

"Identifying the Grape”, 29th June 2018:

On Friday 29th June we gathered at the Ferini Art Gallery in Pakefield to identify and explore wines made from two of the noble grape varieties: Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

Our first wines were an unoaked sauvignon from Chile followed by a lightly oaked sauvignon from Napa Valley. The third sauvignon, a late harvest sauvignon, was our final wine and surprised & delighted in equal measure.

The flavour profile of pinot noir wines can be very variable depending on where the grapes have been grown, the terroir and importantly the intentions of the winemaker Our three examples, from Italy, Chile and New Zealand served to highlight these points.

As always the Ferini Art Gallery was a delightful setting and we were able to enjoy a private viewing of the River Dwellers exhibition.

April 2018

The Secret Life of Blends, 8th April 2018

Blends come in a number of guises but the basic premise is always the same: the sum of the parts is greater than any of the individual components.

Over the course of the tasting we explored blends of 2, 3, 4 and more different grapes. We also tasted a remarkable Malbec made with Malbec grapes blended from a number of locations at different elevations above sea level.

The Italian “Pipoli” made with a blend of Greco & Fiano grapes and the Kilikanoon “Killerman’s Run” Shiraz with a splash of Viognier were the overwhelming favourite white and red wines of the night.

March 2018

California – The Golden State, 24th March 2018

California is bigger than some countries and provides the opportunity to explore different climates, different grapes, different winemaking styles and different price points.

Over the course of the evening, we were able to explore everything from NAPA Valley “cult” wines to one labelled simply as a wine from California. It was a fascinating voyage of discovery and I count myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to research such an interesting area of the world.

Impact of Food on the Flavour of Wines, 23rd March 2018

There is a whole science behind flavours and, until recently, there were 5 flavours that we as humans could taste: sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami. A 6th flavour, the newly discovered kokumi, best experienced by eating a small piece of parmesan followed by a small piece of aged gouda, has recently been added.

The tasting proved to be thought provoking and entertaining. All wines had their supporter which just reinforced the individuality of our tastes. Perhaps the surprise of the night was the Henrique & Henrique 5 year old Finest Dry Madeira, an often overlooked category that surprised and delighted in equal measure.

Exploring Argentina and Brazil, 9th March 2018

This tasting took place shortly after our return from a trip to South America and provided us with an opportunity to explore some of the more unusual aspects of wines from Brazil and Argentina.

Bodega Colome is not only the oldest winery in Argentina but it also claims to own the world’s highest vineyard. Their “Autetico” Malbec from the Upper Calchaqui Valley in Salta presented an intense inky colour, aromas of black fruit and a robust and concentrated palate.

We concluded the evening with a taste of Cachaça. Cachaça is a spirit made by fermenting & distilling fresh sugarcane juice. It is the Brazilian national drink and, particularly outside of Brazil, best known as a component of “caipirinha” – a delicious cocktail of Cachaça, lime and sugar poured over ice!

"Focus on Grapes"; Sunday, March 4th 2018

Using 6 wines from Germany, Italy and Spain we explored some of the subtleties of wine making and the influence the winemaker brings to bear as we sought to illustrate just how the same grape, from ostensibly the same place, can exhibit some very different characteristics in the glass.

Riesling: We started with two 100% Riesling wines from the Mosel region of Germany. Both were by the same producer, both very close in terms of where the grapes were grown but each showing a different character of the Riesling grape. The bone dry Axel Pauly "Purist" was voted favourite Riesling with 18 out of 27 votes.

Corvina/Rondinella: Both wines were from the Valpolicella area of North East Italy and again by the same producer. This pairing was all about exploring different winemaking styles and it was the more complex Alpha Zeta "R" Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore that received an overwhelming majority of votes for the favourite wine in this category.

Monastrell: Our third pairing focussed on the Monastrell grape and the Familia Castano winery located in the Yecla DO of Murcia. The high altitude vineyards are perfect for organic production and the first of our two wines was the Organic Monastrell - unoaked and bursting with fruit. The second "Hecula" wine was produced from older vines and aged in a mix of French & American oak for 6 months. Voting was closer with the Hecula just edging it.

February 2018

"Raise a Glass": Friday, February 23rd 2018

We tasted 6 wines: 2 white, a sparkling blush rose and 3 red wines. All wines had their supporters but the Cotes du Rhone Villages Blanc by "Laudun" a blend of grenche blanc, clairette and bourboulenc was the overwhelming favourite white wine - 15 folks (or 75% for the mathematically minded) voted it as their favourite white wine of the evening.

In true Roman style the sparkling blush rose received an almost unanimous "thumbs up" although I do think we would all have liked to have sampled it on a warm sunny day!

The red wine receiving the most support was the 2012 Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Shiraz from the Clare Valley in Australia although most also enjoyed the somewhat different flavour profiles of the Argentinian Malbec and French Cabernet Franc.

Guests were able to peruse the artworks including the exhibition of 52 paintings by Kate Batchelor which Kate had painted each week throughout 2017. We were delighted to welcome Kate to our tasting and also to hear a little about her 2018 "egg timer" challenge which will see Kate penning a 3 minute sketch each day throughout 2018.

January 2018

"Burns Night”: January 26th, 2018:

We celebrated Burns Night at the Ferini Art Gallery with a tutored tasting of a diverse selection wines from France, South Africa, Australia, Italy and Spain before concluding the evening with a tasting of Scotch whisky.

Favourite wines on the night were the Chateau de Fontenille Entre Deux Mers from Bordeaux and the 2009 Torres “Perpetual” from the Priorat area of Spain.

November 2017

“High End Wines”: Sunday 5th November

A tasting featuring “High End” wines can be challenging not least because “high end” means different things to different people but I shouldn’t have worried. Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to taste a selection of “high end” wines many costing north of £100 on restaurant wine lists. The first wine, a 2015 vintage Pieropan “La Rocca”, got the tasting off to a startling start and we never looked back. Your support and feedback has been overwhelming: thank you.

October 2017

“Expect the Unexpected”

I was definitely taken by surprise at our “Expect the Unexpected” tasting at the Ferini Art Gallery when Pakefield artist, Margaret Parsons, a regular at wine tastings, presented us with her original artwork depicting a wine tasting event. As if one surprise wasn’t enough, said artwork had been turned into a Christmas card marking the collaboration between Margaret, the Ferini Art Gallery and Blyth Valley Wines.

May 2017

Celebrate! East Dinner: May 4th 2017

Thank you so much for your support last night and we really hope that you had an enjoyable evening.

I was speaking with the students towards the end of the evening. They were all very appreciative of the great way you interacted with them, offering encouragement and taking an interest in their progress. Apparently they all really enjoy our evenings and seek out opportunities to be included.

Thanks again too to Graham Philpott who joined us from his base in Norwich

BUT MOST of ALL... Thank you to all of you who joined us to Celebrate Good Food, Good Wine and Good Company!

April 2017

 “Identify the Grape” - Tasting at The Ferini Art Gallery

The Ferini Art Gallery was the perfect setting to “Identify the Grape”, our most recent themed wine tasting.

Chenin Blanc probably originated in the Loire Valley and has been growing there for over 1000 years. In the new world, South Africa has the highest plantings of Chenin Blanc by a long way. We tasted examples of each and opinion was split 13 votes to 11 votes in favour of the Marc Bredif Vouvray.

Our next grape was Nero d’Avola: the most important red wine grape in Sicily and one of the most important indigenous Italian grapes. Both examples were from the Colomba Bianca winery. Firstly we tasted the “Gazzera”, a delicate rosé wine with notes of cherry and strawberry. This was followed by the “Vitese”, a deep red wine with rich, juicy flavours of ripe plum and black cherries, ripe tannins and a spicy character on the finish. The “Vitese” captured almost all the votes and, at less than 10 pounds, provided exceptional value for money.

Our final two wines came from the Veneto area of Italy and showcased the Corvina grape. The Alpha Zeta “C” Corvina was a nicely balanced, juicy Corvina typical of the light to medium bodied red wines of this region – very approachable and easy drinking. Our final wine was a “Ripasso” Valpolicella Superiore made with 90% Corvina. The Ripasso wine is made by re-fermenting a simple Corvina wine on the skins of Amarone grapes once they have finished their fermentation. The resulting wine was full bodied on the palate with supple structure and cherry notes. The length was excellent with a mouth-watering bitter-cherry twist on the finish. This “Ripasso” was another runaway winner.

January 2017

Happy New Year,

Happy New Year was our first themed tasting of 2017 and more than 30 of you joined us to welcome in the new tasting year. The 6 wines were selected with our theme in mind.

We kicked off with two white wines – Seifried Estate Riesling from New Zealand and, from Australia, an Eden Valley Viognier.

No celebration is complete without bubbles and our choice was a delightful Method Traditional Blanc de Blanc from champagne producer M.Moutard.

Our two red wines were the 2012 and 2013 vintage of the Fertuna Pactio from the Tuscan Maremma. The difference between the two was “amazing” and demonstrated how a wine maker can express vintage differences in wines as opposed to blending to a taste.

Last, but not least, we concluded our tasting with a fortified “port style” wine from California: Starboard Batch 88.

Votes were cast overwhelmingly in favour of the Riesling and the 2013 vintage Pactio with the “bubbles” and “starboard” receiving huge “thumbs up”.

Following the tasting we all enjoyed our choice of meal (and wine) prepared by Bobbie, Head Chef at the Blue Boar - his beef stew & dumplings is excellent.

December 2016

Six of the Best,  Tasting at The Ferini Art Gallery.

We concluded our 2016 Tastings with an evening of festivities at the Ferini Art Gallery on Friday 16th December.

Check out the "picture gallery" tab to see the Elves, the winning paper aeroplane and other festive shots.

Winning wines were the Hazy View Chenin Blanc (South Africa) and the Calico Mane Zinfandel (California).

The Holly & The Ivy

Our Blue Boar Christmas tasting on the 11th December featured 9 wines from 6 countries.

The food friendly Domaine Tournon "Landsborough" Chardonnay (Australia) and the A.Mano Primitivo (Italy) receiving most votes in the "favourite wine" showdown.

November 2016

Eleven Months … and Counting Tasting at The Ferini Art Gallery.

Eleven Months … and Counting With just one calendar month to Christmas day we gathered at the Ferini Art Gallery on Friday, 25th November to explore a selection of wines designed to grace any table.

Oveja Negra, an unusual blend of Sauvignon Blanc & Carmenere , displaying lovely aromatic intensity, a soft, rich texture and a dry vibrant finish was the overwhelming favourite white wine of the evening.

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most widely recognised red wine grape varieties in the world and our “Gran Coronas Reserva” from the Penedes region of Spain delighted our 20+ attendees reinforcing why cabernet sauvignon is such a popular grape.

We finished the evening with the Fonseca 2008 LBV (unfiltered) Port and, thanks to GL, a taste of Sake.

Wines of Eastern Europe (near the Adriatic)

A different and, in many ways challenging tasting, that explored unusual grapes and different styles of wine. The 40 or so attendees really entered into the spirit of the tasting asking great questions and debating what made a wine “a good wine” even when it may not have appealed immediately to their preferred taste profile.

Voting for the favourite white wine was a close run thing with the Croatian Malvazija Istarska just edging ahead.

In contrast the runaway “winner” in the red category was the Serbian Vranac, a wine that would partner perfectly with roast lamb, beef goulash or venison.

Stuff the Turkey! Take 2

Last year we focused on wines for wines for Pork, Lamb and Beef and this year we explored wines that would partner well with a range of foods, everything that is, except Turkey & all the trimmings.

Over the evening we tasted 8 wines that would partner with everything from oysters (Cave Geisse 2011 extra brut from Brazil) to spicy, sticky ribs (Brown Brothers Cienna Rosso from Australia).

Voting was interesting with France (Bordeaux) winning out in the white category: Chateau de Fontenille, Entre-deux-mers.

Honours in the red category went to Australia (Barossa) with the 2013 Rockford, Rod & Spur Shiraz Cabernet taking a significant majority of the votes.

Remember Remember – G, T and P

November 6th provided us with the opportunity for an unusual themed wine tasting entitled Remember Remember – G, T and P but instead of Gunpowder, Treason and Plot we focussed on grape varieties.

We kicked off with Hugel Pere et Fils 2013 Gewurztraminer from Alsace before sampling a Torrontes, the signature white grape of Argentina. Pinotage may be the national treasure of South Africa but most had never tried a white pinotage before and were surprised by the complexity of Stephen Richardson's "E".

Our first red, The Crossings Pinot Noir from the Awetere Valley in New Zealand, provided a linkage that took us around the world and reminded us of carefree days of childhood. Our second red, a Tempranillo from Ribero del Duero in Spain was a reminder of the importance of tempranillo to many Spanish wine regions even though in many cases it travels under local alias’. We concluded with a “vin doux naturel” from the Banyuls appellation in southern France. Michel Chapoutier’s example from the 2013 vintage and made with 100% Grenache grapes was much appreciated and received a resounding “thumbs up” from the more than 30 attendees.

White and red wines of the night were the Alsatian Gewurzrtraminer & the “Celeste” Tempranillo but there was robust support for each of the wines.

Following the tasting, guests enjoyed a range of meals accompanied by a glass of wine and convivial conversation.

October 2016

“Wines of Europe”

The Ferini Art Gallery was the perfect setting for “Wines of Europe”, our most recent themed wine tasting.

The tasting took place amidst the impressive textile wall hangings of Hazel Spencer and guests also enjoyed browsing the Anglian Potters Exhibition on the first floor. With 6 wines designed to showcase both the long history and recent innovations of European wines the evening was a resounding success.

Voting was a lively affair with the French blend of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne and Viognier (£8.95) heading the whites. Guests were unable to decide between the Heinrich Red (£12.25) from Austria and the I Muri Negroamaro (£9.50) from Puglia declaring both “excellent”.

At the conclusion of the tasting, guests revisited their favourite wines of the evening, discussed the artwork and enjoyed the company of their fellow guests.

5th Anniversary Tasting at The Ferini Art Gallery.

On Friday, 23rd September we celebrated the 5th anniversary of our collaboration with Michaela Hobbs at The Ferini Art Gallery. The focus was Brasil and we were delighted to welcome Nicholas Corfe to explore the wines of Brasil and to celebrate all things Brasilian.

The tasting proved to be thought provoking and challenged some preconceptions about Brasilian wines. From a delightful 2011 vintage methode champanoise sparkling wine (50:50 chardonnay and pinot noir), through sauvignon blanc, viognier, malbec, tannat and finishing with Concentus (a stunning blend of merlot, tannat & cabernet sauvignon) everyone found something they “loved” as well as something that “surprised”.

We finished the evening with celebratory wine and cakes.

Chile Revisited

Chile Revisited was our theme for a tasting of 8 wines in the centre of Norwich.

We selected wines from different regions, wines made from different grape varietals and wines that enabled us to showcase a range of different styles. Chilean wines have come a long way in the last 10 to 15 years and it’s not difficult to see why wine is now one of Chiles’ top 5 exports.

The star of the evening was the Torres Reserva Pueblo made from the local Pais grape --- the pais grape is versatile and definitely one to watch in the future.

Oceans 8

The oceans of the world are a big influence on some of the best known wine growing regions and the wines they produce.

Starting with a Gruner Veltliner from the Nelson region of New Zealand and finishing with a 5 year old medium rich Madeira we explored this phenomenon in a tasting of eight wines from around the world.

Our tasting concluded appropriately with a meal from the sea - fish pie or haddock & chips. As one guest put it, an afternoon of “good wine, good food and good company”.

May 14th, 2016.

May has got off to a busy start:

 - Cheese & Wine pairing at the Blue Boar,

 - Sampling new wines & new vintages at a number of Trade events and

 - Our Chilean focused gourmet event at EAST Restaurant highlighting Montes wines.

Your feedback on the gourmet dinner has been particularly heart-warming with many of you praising the quality of the food, the level of service, excellent wines and general ambiance. Thank you all for your support.

March 13th, 2016 - “Beat the Blues”

Having spent 6 weeks trekking the length and breadth of Chile it was a shock last week to return to a very cold and wet Suffolk. The trip was amazing and I look forward to sharing some of the highlights with you including the wineries we visited and wines that we sampled.

3 days after our return, thirty four of you joined us at the Blue Boar for our “Beat the Blues” themed tasting. The favourite white was Australian, Shaw+Smith Sauvignon Blanc from the cool climate Adelaide Hills and there was a dead heat for the favourite red between the Trapiche Bonarda (Argentina) and the Southern Right Pinotage (South Africa).

January 10th, 2016 - Winter Warmers (with a Focus on Chile & Spain)

Our first event of 2016 was the perfect opportunity for a Winter Warmer wine tasting and you obviously agreed as we were fully booked before Christmas – thank you all for your great support and also for your feedback following the tasting, your kind words were much appreciated.

We focussed on wines from Chile & Spain and made sure we had some appropriate reds on offer because Chef Bobbie had his famous beef stew & dumplings bubbling on the stove. We kicked off with 2 Chilean white wines - Santa Digna Sauvignon Blanc from the Central Valley and Cordillera Chardonnay from Limari.

Our third wine, and only Rosé, was an old favourite 2014 Santa Digna Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé but in its new livery. This wine received a thumbs up from everyone although thoughts on the new livery were mixed.

We stayed in Chile for our first red, the 2014 Tormenta Carmenere; carmenere being that most Chilean of grapes. Our final 2 reds were from Spain, firstly Torres Celeste Crianza (100% Tempranillo) from Ribera del Duero and last but not least the 2012 vintage of Bodega Roda “SELA” from Rioja.

Voting was interesting and challenging as everyone seemed to think all of the wines were excellent. However, after enforcing our usual voting rules, it was the Santa Digna Sauvignon Blanc and the Bodega Roda “SELA” that carried the day.

November 19th, 2015 - Stuff the Turkey: Wines for Pork, Lamb and Beef

Firstly, credit where credit is due, a big thank you to Bernard for the title of this tasting event.

Secondly, this themed tasting proved a big success. We tasted 8 wines and, as well as discussing each wine, we considered suitable food pairings.

The southern Italian slow cooked lamb and potatoes to partner with the A.Mano Negroamaro from Puglia certainly titillated the taste buds and the idea of serving the H&H 5YO Medium Rich Madeira with homemade Biscotti (Forge House Food) as a dessert resonated with many.

The two white wines were unusual and had very different flavour profiles - Plantagenet 2006 Museum Release Riesling and the 2011 Mas La Mola from Priorat – but in terms of voting, the almost 50 members and guests of Le Plaisir Wine Society present, were split 50:50 on which they favoured. 

November 14th, 2015 - Portugal and Spain Explored

Roger had an outstanding response to his most recent wine tasting with almost 50 villagers & friends coming along to explore the wines of Portugal and Spain with us.

The Pink Port was our “Surprise Surprise” of the night and proved to be a real winner.

Not to be outdone, Roger provided the pièce de résistance, ice cream (supplied by Barbara of Pakenham Village Store fame) to partner with Pedro Ximenez “Triana”, our final wine of the evening.

November 13th, 2015 - Fortified and A Touch of Fizz.

Starting with a Pink Port we worked our way through a range of fortified wines, including a stunning 20 year old Tawny Port and the 1996 Vintage Single Quinta Madalena.

The “touch of fizz” livened up the palate and the team at Presto provided a fantastic Italian themed spread to complete the evening.

November 12, 2015 - Italian Wines & Gourmet Dinner at East Restaurant.

Good food, Good Wine and Good Company defined this event and so you can share in this gastronomic delight you will find a copy of the Menu and Wine Pairings on the Picture Gallery tab of our website.

November 8th, 2015: - "Christmas & New Year Tips" - Themed Wine Tasting and Meal at the Blue Boar 

November has arrived, the days are getting shorter and before we know it, Christmas will be here, swiftly followed by the New Year. What better excuse did we need to explore wine and food pairings in preparation for these celebrations?

Our exploration took us from a light, bright Picpoul de Pinet through to a robust Bordeaux Superiore by way of an oaked Chardonnay, a few bubbles and a delightful Nebbiolo.

We concluded our tasting with the fortified Moscatel de Setubal partnered with locally sourced Biscotti. Tip: try this as a simple but stunning dessert to conclude any meal.

Following the tasting we enjoyed a selection of meals prepared by the Blue Boar team. This gave us another opportunity to pair wine and food and we discovered that the sausage, mash and onion gravy partnered beautifully with the Italian Nebbiolo...

November 6th, 2015 - "Memory Joggers from Around the World" - Fund raiser.

We gathered in an “unusual location” for our recent tasting of 6 wines with the equally unusual theme “Memory Joggers from Around the World”.

The favourite white wine of the night was The Crossings Pinot Gris from the Awetere Valley in New Zealand. This was the first showing for this particular wine and it proved to be very popular.

The red wine with the most votes was a single varietal Cabernet Franc from Argentina. Principally grown for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in Bordeaux style wines, increasingly Cabernet Franc is being vinified alone. Currently in Argentina it is very much a “boutique” wine but increasingly good examples have led some to stick their necks out and declare it to be the new Malbec… One to watch?

October 30th, 2015 - "Remember, Remember" - Wine tasting at The Ferini Art Gallery

Remember Remember was the somewhat unusual theme for our October wine tasting at the Ferini Art Gallery but what a hit it turned out to be.

The favourite white wine of the night was the delightfully named “enchanted garden of the Eden valley” Riesling from Dandelion Vineyards – a stunning dry Riesling from Australia.

The red wine with the most votes was the Argentinian Malbec “Estacion 1883” by Trapiche – ideal to partner with lamb, beef or rich stews.

That said it was The Crossings Pinot Noir that prompted the most memorable (and in most cases amusing) recollections of past experiences of streams, ponds and mud!

October 11th, 2015 - "Robust Reds & Subtle Whites" - Themed Wine Tasting and Meal at the Blue Boar

There is no mistaking the signs that Autumn is fast approaching and, for me, this was the perfect opportunity to explore Robust Reds & Subtle Whites.

On those chilly evening when you need to add another log to the fire and there is a stew bubbling on the stove, you can’t beat a robust red. Similarly, on a still and sunny autumnal day what could be better than a glass (or two) of a subtle - delicate but layered – white wine.

We kicked off our tasting with a Sylvaner from Alsace and followed this with a Gruner Veltliner from the Nelson region of New Zealand. Our third white was a Sauvignon Blanc. Now, you don’t often think of Sauvignon Blanc as a subtle grape but this example from the Maule Valley in Chile certainly fitted our theme.

I decided to classify a Robust Red as one with an abv of 14% or greater and we stayed in Chile for our first red, a blend of Carmenere and Cabernet Franc from Oveja Negra. Crossing the Andes we sampled the Chakana Estate Mabec (Argentina) and last but not least the 2009 vintage of “Revelation” from the Paarl region of South Africa.

Voting was interesting and challenging as everyone seemed to think all of the wines were excellent. However, after enforcing our usual voting rules, just one single vote separated the 3 whites with the Schieferkopf Sylvaner and Vellas Sauvignon Blanc in joint first place. In the red category, voting produced a clear 1, 2, 3 with Stephen Richardson’s “Revelation” taking the honours.

July 12th, 2015 - "European Treasures - An Introduction to Wine Tasting" at Beccles Public Hall

Beccles Public Hall was a fantastic venue and almost 60 guests joined us on Sunday 12th July for our European Treasures - An Introduction to Wine Tasting.

A quiz on Islands Adjacent to the British Isles certainly broke the ice with prizes donated by Beccles Public Hall & Theatre and Blyth Valley Wines: congratulations to the overall winners.

Based on the feedback we received, a good time was had by all.

... "The wines we sampled were varied and lovely, and your presentation was most entertaining..."

... "brilliant Wine Tasting evening at the Beccles Public Hall on Sunday..."

... "will certainly help me appreciate wine in the future..."

... "when is the next one?..."

My thanks to Stu who provided us with photographs and a selection can be seen on our Blyth Valley Wines, Picture Gallery.

July 5th, 2015 -  “Almost American Independence Day” - Themed Wine Tasting and Meal at the Blue Boar

July 5th provided us with the opportunity to celebrate “Almost American Independence Day” with a themed wine tasting with all wines linking to our theme.

We kicked off with an English Bacchus before heading to the Loire Valley in France to sample a Muscadet. George Washington provided an interesting linkage to the Duck Pond Estates 2012 Chardonnay.

Our reds, a Zinfandel and a Cabernet Sauvignon, continued the theme with linkages to The Boston Tea Party, The Declaration of Independence and the American War of Independence.

We concluded our tasting with a Madeira wine. The founding fathers thought Madeira was good enough to toast the Declaration of Independence and we decided it was good enough for us to use to toast our friends across America (you can check out the pictures on our website too).

June 26th, 2015 - “Holiday Destinations" - The Ferini Art Gallery.

Go back to the Middle Ages and there were no holidays in the modern sense of the word: you could say that back then folks only travelled for work, for war or for religious reasons. Even at the end of the 19th Century there were only relatively few skilled workers in this country who were lucky enough to have paid holidays. But things were changing.

Tasting wines from Spain, Italy, Chile, France, America and Argentina we explored the way that holidays, and our preferred holiday destinations, have changed over time.

The Manzanilla sherry from “beside the sea” in Sanlúcar de Barrameda received a universal “thumbs up”.

Of the white wines, it was the Fertuna “Droppello” (white sangiovese) from Tuscany that wowed everyone.

In the red wine category: our “winning wine” was the Trapiche Estacion 1883 Malbec from Argentina.

At the conclusion of the tasting, guests revisited their favourite wine of the evening, perused the artwork and enjoyed the company of their fellow guests.

June 21st, 2015 -  "The Longest Day" Themed Wine Tasting and Meal at the Blue Boar

Twenty of us gathered at The Blue Boar yesterday for our "Longest Day" themed wine tasting and to enjoy an afternoon & evening of Good Wine, Good Food and Good Company!

White Wines: having tasted wines from Chile (sauvignon blanc) and South Africa (blend of viognier, rousanne and grenache blanc) the voting couldn’t have been closer with the attendees split 50:50

Rosé Wines: Bob Berton’s Broken Shackle Classic Rosé was a clear “winner” in the rosé category although the delicate blush pinot noir from Italy certainly had a number of supporters.

Red Wines: we moved into the twilight hours of our Longest Day with 2 red wines from France and Spain - a Pinot Noir from AOC Bourgogne and the Reserva Rioja from Bodega Ondarre. Another tough choice but it was the Rioja that took voting honours in the red category.

Special mention must be made of the excellent Lemon chicken, minted new potatoes and salad prepared by the Blue Boar team to support our wine theme.

Thank you for your continued support

Kind Regards



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