This is a seated, tutored tasting for a maximum of 32 tasters by John McEvoy of Austrian Wines Direct at 7pm on Thursday 11 April at St. Robert’s Centre in Harrogate.

The Society held a tasting of Austrian wines several years ago, tutored by Austrian expert and wine writer Philipp Blom. There have been three wine tours to Austria over the years, staying with Willie Opitz in Illmitz and visiting the Wachau and Kamptal in addition to Vienna.

The tasting list is as follows:

White Wines

  1. Hebenstreit Grüner Veltliner Fuchsenberg Weinviertel 2010 £11.45
  2. Küssler Welschriesling Sonnenberg 2010 £12.20
  3. Dreisiebner Roter Traminer Select 2009 £14.85
  4. Hofbauer Neuburger Halblehen 2009 £11.50

Red Wines

  1.  J. Heinrich Zweigelt Siglos 2010 £13.99
  2. Mariel Blaufränkisch Steingraben Burgenland DAC 2009 £13.29
  3. Lang St Laurent Classic 2009 £10.75
  4. Seher Roter October 2008 £12.59



“The Wine Society – Variety & Value” by Dr. Alisdair Stewart – 7pm, Thursday 21 February 2013 at St-Robert’s Centre in Harrogate. Tickets £15 pp

Tasting List:

  1. The Society’s Brut Cava: Made by Sumarocca, a small family estate in Penedes with Parellada, Macabeu, Xarello and Chardonnay
  2. The Society’s Bordeaux Sauvignon 2011
  3. Picpoul de Pinet 2011, Domaine Felines Jourdan
  4. The Society’s Exhibition Riesling 2009 from Josmeyer
  5. Brindisi Rosso Vigna Flaminio 2008, Vallone
  6. The Society’s Claret. Unoaked Merlot base claret from Maison Sichel
  7. The Society’s Exhibition Crozes Hermitage 2009

“The Wine Society – Variety and Value” was the subject of last night’s meeting of the Harrogate Medical Wine Society. After a brief history of the Society’s 22 years, Alisdair Stewart presented a selection of the Society’s wines accompanied by photos taken on HMWS trips. The opening Brut Cava Reserva, three whites and three reds were all acceptable and represented good value though The Society’s Claret was disappointing (but what else could be expected for £6.25?) Members enjoyed voicing comments and opinions of the wines and estimating the cost – or what one would be prepared to pay. Picpoul de Pinet Domaine Felines Jourdan 2011 (£7.50), the Exhibition Riesling 2009 from Josmeyer (£11.95) and the Exhibition Crozes Hermitage 2009 (£9.99) were voted the best of a fun evening.


Thursday 8 November at St. Robert’s Centre in Harrogate

This tasting explored the concept of terroir and its place in Champagne through the wines of six celebrated ‘terroir champagne producers.’

Bubbles and dosage make assessing balance, complexity and length in champagne difficult. Blending destroys sense of place and champagne, by the very nature of the product, is not meant to express terroir. Base wine to which reserve wines and sugar are added to “makes a whole that is greater than its part,” is green, highly acidic, virtually undrinkable and has no resemblance to fine wine.

Over two decades ago, a new generation of grower-producers grouped together to produce what they called authentic, terroir driven champagnes. For a wine to represent its terroir, the vine must grow in vineyards that are not poisoned with chemicals, grapes must reach physiological maturity and there should be minimum human intervention in the cellar. These pioneers ploughed the land to encourage vine roots to penetrate the soil, shunned chemicals in the vineyard, practiced Massal selection, kept yields low, harvested late, used natural yeasts, blended only wines from identical terroir, allowed wine to mature slowly, kept the bottle pressure below average, added little or no dosage and bottled wine unfiltered and without fining. Some went all the way and embraced Biodynamic viticulture and winemaking. They realised that it is the grapes and base wine that delivered quality in champagne and not dosage. There’s are wines first and champagnes second.

Tasting list:

  • Egly-Ouriet Tradition Brut Grand Cru Ambonnay (£42.50 Lea & Sandeman) – 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay, on lees for four years, no fining or filtering, 6 g/l dosage.
  • Larmandier-Bernier Terre de Vertus Non Dose Premier Cru (£36.75 Lea & Sandeman)
  • Pascal Agrapart Les 7 Crus Brut (£29 The Wine Society)
  • Jacques Selosse Brut Initial Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru (£115 Berry Brothers & Rudd)
  • Roger Coulon Premier Cru Brut Grand Reserve
  • Pierre-Gimonnet Cuis Premier Cru

The last two wines were from a member’s private cellar.


“Writing to thank you for a brilliant and thought provoking champagne tasting. Even when I didn’t find myself agreeing with you I found your arguments, as ever, well informed and stimulating. Although sadly out of our price bracket, I found the Selosse to be the best champagne I have ever tasted. Number 5 (don’t have my tasting sheet to hand!) on the other hand I found mouth puckeringly acidic and I doubt that I would ever be able to cultivate a taste for this. Number 4 was certainly an excellent wine and the Coulon and Gimmonet wines were also very good – and much more in our price range! Thanks again for an educational and most enjoyable evening.” – Rob Buckley, 9th November

 PS “Pauline also thoroughly enjoyed the evening and, unusually had similar views of the wines except that she didn’t care for the Selosse – which was good for me as I got a top up!”

“Thank you for the tasting last night. Pat and I really enjoyed it. You indeed helped to demolish a few myths about Champagne. It was especially interesting to taste the more ‘commercial’ offering as the first one and then to move forward to some delightful others. I particularly liked the Egly-Ouriet and the Pierre-Gimonnet.” – David Morris, 9th November

* * * * * * *

Pickhill Bordeaux Tasting & Dinner at Nags Head (3 October 2012)

Tasting List:

  1. Ch. Grand-Puy-Ducasse 2005, Pauillac
  2. Ch Dauzac, 2005, Margaux
  3. Ch.Talbot, 2005 St.Julien
  4. Ch.Jean Faure, 2005, St Emelion
  5. Ch.Haut Veyrac, 1998
  6. Nederberg auctions : 2000 Cabenet /Merlot  Private Reserve


  • Beetroot Cured Smoked Salmon, Pickled Vegetables, Citrus Aioli or Ham Hock & Leek Terrine, Garden Apple & Rosemary Chutney, Granary Bread
  • Salt Baked Lake Trout, New Potatoes, Wilted Red Chard, Hollandaise Sauce or Pan fried breast of Young Yorkshire Grouse, Dry Cured bacon,mButtered Mash, Victoria Plum Compote & Red wine sauce
  • Lemon & Fresh Lavender Pot, Raspberries, Honeycomb, Toasted Pinenuts & Lemon curd ice cream or Dark Chocolate Ganache, Shortbread Biscuit, Salted Caramel & Lime sorbet
  • Coffee, Cream & Chocolates


  1. The Ruins Chardonnay/ Viognier 2012, Robertson,  RSA
  2. Casas de Bosque Carmenere Reserva 2010, Rapel Valley, Chile

* * * * * * *

“Another Look At English Wine”

This was a Tasting Dinner tutored by Julia Trustram Eve of English Wine Producers and was held at St. Robert’s Centre in Harrogate on Wednesday 26th September.

Tasting List:

  • Sparkling: Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2008 @ £24.99
  • White 1: Atlantic Dry, a lovely crisp wine and a blend of 60% Bacchus, 20% Reichensteiner and 20% Chardonnay.
  • White 2: Chapel Down Pinot Blanc 2010 @ £12.00 (More textured and full on the palate than most English Wines whilst still retaining characteristic freshness. Highly versatile with food. – Richard Bampfield MW)
  • Red 1: Denbies Redlands 2010 @ £9.50
  • Red 2: Bolney Wine Estate Pinot Noir 2011 @ £15.99
  • Late Harvest: Astley Late Harvest 2011 @ £11”


  • Smoked salmon tart with dill sauce
  •  Guinea fowl with smoked bacon, grapes and Noilly cream sauce, Fondant potato, Green beans with shelled broad beans and cheese crumbs
  •  Individual bread and butter pudding with caramel oranges and orange parfait
  •  Coffee, tea and chocolates


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