Classic Wine Events – 2012

Harrogate Medical Wine Society holds at least one wine event a month, mostly seated, tutored tastings. Tastings are open to Members and guests. Dry biscuits, water, tasting sheets and spittoons are provided. Complimentary tea and coffee are available after the tasting. Tickets cost £15. Here’s the 2012 programme:

Rhone Revisited

January 19. Presented by Dr. Mike Toop.

  • Domaine du Vieux Telegraph 2000, 1997, 1996
  • Chateau de Beaucastle 1995, 1994, 1989
  • Domaine Thalabert 1998, 1995.


  1. “We went to Mike Toop’s Rhone revisited tasting last night which was interesting as his cellar is very cold and the wines have aged more slowly than those that Jancis Robinson had tasted. I personally was not too thrilled by them and strangely enough the oldest one (1989) was the most palatable. Most people agreed on that. It was quite a quick tasting as we had 3 glasses at once, I suppose a vertical tasting really and we were finished well before 9pm.”
  2. “It was a very interesting tasting, as it showed the potential for elegance as well as power in good Chateauneuf du Pape. The 97 Telegraph and 89 Beaucastel showed this with their lighter style, while the 96 Telegraph was a great example of the brooding power that can impress with food. Getting these wines into your cellar now would be an expensive exercise, so good luck to anyone holding them.”
  3. “Good evening with Mike Toop tasting wines that we could never afford. One bottle clearly corked; good education.”

G’Day Oz

February 23. A selection of quality Australian wines Presented by Dr. Alisdair Stewart

  • Knappstein Clare Valley Hand Picked Riesling 2010
  • The Florita 2008 Clare Valley Riesling
  • Tyrrell’s Hunter Valley Semillon 2009
  • Tyrrell’s Hunter Valley Vat 1 Semillon 2003
  • McWilliams Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon 2005
  • Pierro Margaret River Pinot Noir 2003
  • Torbreck Cuvee Juveniles 2009
  • Vasse Felix Cabernet Merlot 2009
  • Pierro Margaret River Cabernet Merlot 2003
  • De Bortoli Noble 1 Botrytis Semillon 2007


“Of the two Rieslings, about half preferred the younger livelier Knappstein to the older more   petroly Florita 2008. Of the three Semillon, McWilliams Mount Pleasant 2005 scored highly. Both Rieslings were preferred to the Semillons. From the Reds, Vasse Feliz Cab-Merlot 2009  was favourite and regarded as good value at £12.49 from Majestic. The De Bortoli Noble Rot Botrytis Semillon 2007 was lovely and prompted reminders of a superb visit to Chateau d’Yqem.”

“My favourites were McWilliam Elizabeth Semillon 2005 and the Vasse Cabernet Merlot 2009 which was excellent value for money.”

Rioja – A new Look At An Old Friend

March 29. Presented by Ian Botwright

Rioja Vineyard: The 63,593 ha terraced Rioja Vineyard in the 40 km wide Ebro Valley with a mixture of Atlantic and Mediterranean climates, rises to a height of 700 metres above sea level. 400 litres of rain fall on each square meter of chalky-clay, ferrous-clay and alluvial soils in each of the three sub-regions – Alta, Baja and Alavesa. The vineyards produce 6500 kg of red grapes and 9000 kg of white grapes per hectare.  The wine region’s annual production currently stands at 280 to 300 million litres, of which 90% is red, the rest being white and rosé.

The grape varieties that are currently authorised by the Regulations of the D. O. Ca. Rioja are:


 There are four types of Rioja wines, depending on the time spent in barrel:

  • Young: Wines in their first or second year
  • Crianza: Wines in their third year, with a minimum of one year in casks. For whites, the minimum cask is 6 months.
  • Reserva: Aged for a minimum of 3 years, with at least one year in casks. For whites, minimum ageing is 2 years, with at least 6 months in casks.
  • Gran Reserva: Selected wines with at least 2 years in cask and 3 years in bottle. For whites, the minimum ageing is 4 years, with at least one year in cask.

Tasting List

  1. Vina Cerrada, Blanco, 2010
  2. Ijalba, Maturana Blanca, 2010
  3. Abel Mendoza Viura, 2009
  4. Domeco de Jarauta,Vina Marro, Vendemia Selectionada, 2007
  5. Valloberra, Reserva, 2004
  6. Marques de Murrieta Tinto Reserva, 2004
  7. Martinez Lacuesta, Ventilla 71, 2008
  8. Vina Ardanza, La Rioja Alta 2000

Wines of Alvaro Espinoza and Von Siebenthal

April 19. Presented by Andy Barton.

Alvaro Espinoza:

  • Novas ‘Limited Selection’ (Casablanca) Sauvignon Blanc 2010
  • Novas ‘Winemakers Selection’ (Casablanca) Chardonnay/Viognier/Marsanne 2007
  • Novas ‘Winemakers Selection’ (Colchagua) Syrah/Mourvedre 2006
  • Coyam (Cochagua) 2008
  • Kuyen (Maipo) 2004
  • Antiyal (Maipo) 2004

Von Siebenthal (

  • Carmenere 2008
  • Parcela 2007
  • Carabantes 2007

Champagne –The Old Degorgments Case by Bruno Paillard

May 27 – Presented By Dr. Bernard Dias

Starting in 1983, Bruno Paillard wrote the date of disgorgement on every bottle of champagne he produced. “He   saw the post-disgorgement ageing time as critical for the wine to recover the balance between freshness and softness of the dosage.” He thought the wine passes through 5 or 6 stages in its development: Age of Fruit, Age of Flower, Age of Spices, Age of Toast and Age of Fullness. “It takes a minimum of 4-5 years after disgorgement for a wine to develop spiced notes and even decades to attain full maturity.” To illustrate the variation that post-disgorgement ageing can create, Paillard has released an “Old Degorgements Collection” with the NV Brut Premiere Cuvee having the same assemblage and dosage (7g) but disgorged 6 months, 3 years, 6 years, 8 years and 10 years before release. (source Sommelier Journal, Link:

In November 2011, I visited Champagne Bruno Paillard in Reims, met Alice Paillard and purchased a case of Old Degorgements Collection. This is the case of champagne that will be tasted in May 2012 by a maximum 12 enthusiastic members of the HMWS.


  1. Crawford river Young Vines Riesling 2010, Western Victoria
  2. Tre Uve Blanco 2010, Valpanera, Aquileria, Friuli
  3. Vasse Felix Chardonnay 2010, Margaret River
  4. Coli de Serrapetrona Collequanto 2008, Marche
  5. Palataia Pinot Noir 2010, Pfalz
  6. Petalos 2008, Bierzo
  7. Guigal Cotes du Rhone 2009
  8. Guigal Gigondas 2006
  9. Chateau Barreyres 2009 Haut-Médoc
  10. Vinalba Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Mendoza
  11. Guardian Peak Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Stellenbosch
  12. Adelia, Recioto della Valpilicella 2008, Mazzane di Soto, Veneto

Biodynamic Wine

This tasting presented by Bernard Dias was held at St-Robert’s Centre in Harrogate on Thursday 12 July starting at 7pm. It was followed by a light supper. The following biodynamic wines were tasted:

  1. Vouvray Pétillant 2007, Cuvée Brut, Domaine Gaston Huet
  2. Champagne Lahaye NV, Brut Nature
  3. Riesling, Alsace Grand Cru Brand 2004, Josmeyer
  4. Riesling, Alsace Grand Cru Schlossberg Cuvée Saint Catherine 2005, Domaine Weinbach
  5. Clos de la Coulée de Serrant 1999, Savenniere
  6. Volnay, Vendanges Sélectionées 2007, Domaine Michel Lafarge
  7. Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2010, Central Otago
  8. Petalos 2008, Descendientes de Jose Palacios, Bierzo
  9. Sutton Grange Estate Syrah 2005, Victoria


“Many thanks for a superb tasting. Standout wines for me were the Vouvray Petillante, the Coulee de Serrant and the Sutton Grange. Astrological considerations aside the tasting underlined for me the prime importance of soil maintenance, and the fact that nothing can substitute for attention to detail. As you mentioned at the start of the tasting, most of the vignerons were making great wine before they became biodynamic. Thanks again.” – Ian Botwright, Ripon

“Very much enjoyed all the wines. The biodynamic business was interesting and reminds me of a group of my patients who feel the need to take a complex range of vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy. I am more of a steak man myself and try and enjoy daily wine despite the power of the cosmos!” – Dr. Peter Goulding, Harrogate

“A most enjoyable Master Class on Biodynamic Wines. First rate presentation from an enthusiastic tutor.
Even though you wished to remain neutral in the debate, the wines were certainly excellent. Supper afterwards was a fine ending to a super evening. Thank you.” – Drs. Alisdair & Elma Stewart, Harrogate

“Some lovely wines, others not so much to my taste. Especially liked the Volvay Pinot Noir. Biodynamics involves a lot of stuff I can’t get my head around but it also seems to follow a lot of common sense. I think I’m still making my mind up, and probably will be for the foreseeable future.” – Rhiannon Owen, Huddersfield



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