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It's beginning to look a lot like ... Christmas press tasting!



Excellent @Bargainbob, now not only is my basket BURSTING!! So is my wish list now :see_no_evil:. But seriously, great notes and I for one appreciate the effort that goes into writing them up for the benefit of the whole community :+1::+1:.


I second @Leah’s remarks- it’s such a delight to read your impressions and notes, and to imagine what the wines must have tasted like. My wish list is becoming so big, I’ll soon need to employ an administrator to manage it for me.


Thanks to all for these notes! Another one with some hard decisions to make when I get the Christmas cases in. The Martin Wassmer Spatburgunder and the Vignelaure white are straight to top of my list.


Here we go again, tasting notes part deux – the reds and the stickies. Will try not to duplicate too much of what @SPMember and @BargainBob have already added above.
Also, apologies in advance if any of these notes are a bit sparse as I was having so much fun tasting the whites that I realised I would have to speed up significantly if I was going to get through all 72 wines. Still, one has to suffer for one’s art :grinning:

Wine 28….

This is classic beaujolais wine – sharp’ish raspberry and red cherry that then develops sweeter notes and subtle hints of bramble. It has a palate of crunchy red fruit, good acidity and slightly chalky tannins, but is well integrated and just needs some cheese or charcuterie.

Wine 30…

Yes, £6.75! Nice work @Freddy ! This is amazing value for money. It’s slightly pale, brick red colour suggests greater age than it has. Bright red fruits with subtle hints of forest floor on the nose, the palate initially matches but goes on to develop more complexity and richer fruit. It has a relatively short finish, but I had to double check the price – could easily be £16.75 and stood up well in the more exalted PN company it was in. If ever there was a case for a blind PN tasting to embarrass the prices set by our Burgundian friends then this could be an interesting contender. Bargain.

Wine 31….

Very pale, brick red PN with a potent red fruit perfume that leapt out of the glass and slapped you round the chops. The palate is ever so slightly green, but has crunchy red fruits, a lovely length and fine finish. Sweetness emerges to counter-balance the acidity. Very good!

Wine 34…

A lovely Pinot again that clearly demonstrated the complexity and flavours that come from 10 years age. Obviously top quality when made and aging well – the hints of Christmas cake in the description are very accurate.

That was the last of my Pinot Noirs. For me the standout one was wine 33,

and the most disappointing was probably

I really, really wanted to like it but just couldn’t justify its price tag in the company it was in. With high price comes great expectation….

Wine 37…

Grip and tannin but backed up with classic Cab Sav fruit. Oak effect is present but well integrated; this is a good value everyday quaffing wine that I’ll likely come back to again.

Wines 40 to 45 were a vertical tasting of Chateau Fontesteau that Sheila and Bob have already described very well.

I decided to leave these until last and by the time I got to them my palate was knackered! Overall, my impression was of a lot of tertiary flavours and meatiness that overwhelmed much of any present fruit. I may be being harsh and I blame my dead palate as well as Haut-Medoc not really being my thing.

Wine 49…

This is a delightful Nebbiolo and the TWS description is very similar to mine, and I would specifically pick up on the comment on ageing capability. There are good levels of tannins and acidity, and personally I would tuck this away and come back in a few years time rather drinking now.

Wine 52…

This feels like the relatively young Rioja that it is – it has fine fruit and clear oak character, but is developing well and beginning to hint at complexity to come.

Wine 55…

Hello my lovely! This is outstanding, and everything a 17 year old Rioja should be – very smooth, beautifully integrated and just what you’d expect from a TWS Exhibition wine. There are a few Rioja’s on the TWS list at this sort of price, and this will more than hold it’s own.

Wine 58…

This is excellent and Sheila’ and Bob’s reviews are spot on with the descriptions of sweet spices, black fruit and strawberry. However, I thought this to be a little too young and it will benefit greatly from further bottle ageing. Maybe that’s just reflects a preference for styles but nonetheless still great.

Wine 61…

Liquid raspberry ripple with black pepper notes – superb value for money from this Southern Rhone blend. It has a freshness and approachability that makes it delightful drinking now. It’s going in my basket as I type :grinning:

Wine 64…

I noted this down as £16, but it seems it’s on offer today at £12.50 a bottle. I felt it was great value at the higher price and am sorely tempted at £12.50. The black fruit is profound and this wine is smooth and well integrated (more so than the Tahbilk Shiraz also on show). It has great length on the palate and begins to show the graphite notes you might expect from a far more expensive Northern Rhone syrah. Another one for the basket!

Wine 67…

Salinity and nuttiness, just need a bowl of olives and a view of the sea…

Wine 70…

Just what you would expect from Tokaji, lots of lovely apricot and marmalade aromas and palate with sharp, citrus acidity to cut through the sweetness. Lovely long finish.

And that’s it – done! Just leaves me to supply my overall top 3 wines for this half of the tasting on a quality and value for money basis…




Well done to you all for your heroic tasting efforts.
And your terrific tasting notes
I have done enough tastings to know that I don’t enjoy them and about 15 wines is about my limit. After that, my palate gets frazzled.

Happy to see the Exhibition Hermitage Blanc has been released on the coattails of the 2013, last February. That is super value, and cannot wait for the 2015 Exhibition Hermitage red and white!!
Great to see the Suduiraut 1998. I look forward to a taste!?!
I tried a couple of bottles of the Society’s Exhibition Sparkling wine 2013, Ridgeview in another guise. It was not my favourite. But delighted the Boizel 2008 made a good impression, I bought a case when offered not so long ago. Mark that down for this Christmas.

Thank you all!:smile:


Thanks for your efforts in tasting and writing up the notes, a great insight to some treats on the way.

I will be definitely in for some exhibition rioja for my reserves, already got the 2004 slumbering away. Do we know if this is the same source (CVNE?)i

A good opportunity to double down on the LRA 904 2004 too - one of my absolute favourites, particuarly difficult to let the 2004 mature properly as it is so damn delicious already!


Does anyone know when the 2004 La Rioja Alta 904 Gran Reserva will be available?


Maybe @martin_brown might be able to answer that question .


If it is as good as the 2005 it will be a no brainer at that price.


Exactly why I’m asking, and 2004 should be a better vintage, so I’m expecting stocks to go rather quickly. :smiley:

I’m sort of expecting the Exhibition 2001 Rioja GR to go quickly as well. Slightly odd that this is coming into the lists now after the Exhibition 2004 Rioja GR has already sold out (and this is coming at the same price as the that one). However I have the release date for that.


November according to the tasting notes we had, but ‘limited stocks’.


Jamie Goode has some tasting notes on his blog.


Hmmm. So somehow I have 40 wines on my wish list. That’s a bit of a problem given I can’t really afford more than 12 in my next order. What to do…?


Prioritise… good luck :crazy_face:


Indeed! The big question is Hermitage Blanc or Vacqueyras Blanc… :thinking:


This is one of those rare 50-50 decisions where both answers are correct.


I would go for the White Hermitage because of the Chave connection.
The Society’s Exhibition Hermitage White are entirely Chave’s own grapes, no bought in fruit or wine, unlike his red. So it is a proper 100% Chave product.
J L-L gave the proper Chave 2014 bottling 4.5 stars with the caveat that it might make 5 stars by 2020 ish!
I will buy some, it is your decision!?!


It is, yes! :+1:


@Benlarpent it’s a tough choice between those two, they are both excellent. For me I think it would come down to when you expected to drink them; for drinking soon I think the vacqueryas shaded it over the hermitage. The hermitage definitely has the quality but I didn’t feel it was quite singing at its full potential yet.

In the fullness of time I’m hoping to buy both.

Maybe buy both and ditch the other 10 bottles in your order :wink:


Belated thanks for your tasting notes. I have been waiting for the highly rated Ostoros PN to appear on the list, and it has this afternoon, along with other Hungarian wines, so I have ordered some.