Home of the oldest University in the English speaking world, a town ethnically diverse, bustling with tourists, home to the TV detectives Morse and Lewis and a town where a group of us spent a brilliant weekend at Wolfson, the largest graduate college in Oxford.
Why were we there? Was it for some seminar on humanities, social or natural sciences or something more close to our hearts? Yes, you guessed it, wine !
My wife Agnes and I, along with some of our wine buddies who are members of the Tesco Wine Community Ed (PV), Clive (CliveC ) & Julie, Steve (Saunderss) & Steph were kindly invited to a weekend of wine tasting organised by Clare (Aimetu) a fellow blogger and Community member along with her husband Nick- http://aimetus.blogspot.co.uk/ and finally our host and co-organiser Jackie (jackieang), another Community member who is involved with the college Wine Society.
We arrived Saturday morning. Although some of us have met before, it was great to finally meet the others that we’ve only talked to virtually online. We were all put up in comfortable guest rooms on campus overlooking the river Cherwell.
Once settled we were taken to the conference/meeting rooms reserved for us which was to be our tasting headquarters, where glasses, decanters etc were all laid out. As well as wine, all of us brought a selection of food which included Pates, meats, biscuits etc and this was all set up ready for the afternoon. Before the wine started to flow our host Jackie escorted us into town for a quick mini tour and lunch.
After a whistle stop tour and a bite to eat we all assembled back at the tasting room.
Once back and to get proceedings underway a magnum of ‘Lanson White Label NV Champagne’ -35% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir, 15% Pinot Meunier, courtesy of Helen McGinn aka Knackered Mother who kindly donated the bottle to the cause and brought along by Steve & Steph to toast our get together. This was a great start, the Champagne was a pale straw like colour, fruity nose with a stream of fine bubbles, slightly on the sweet side tasting of fresh pears and a noticeable minerality.
Before we had finished our glasses of bubbly a special guest arrived, again arranged by Clare, Ben Smith, the head of Communications for Concha Y Toro Uk (CyT UK) brought along 6 bottles from South American and California to talk about and more importantly taste. The wines were….
Casillero del Diablo – 2012 Devil’s Collection white 13%, Sauv Blanc, Chardonnay, Gerwurz. £8.99
Cono Sur – 2013 20 Barrels Sauv Blanc 12.8% £13.99
Bonterra Chardonnay Organic 13.5% £11.50
Cono Sur Bicicleta 2013 Pinot Noir 13.8% £6.99
Trivento Reserve Malbec 2012 14% £8.99
Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec 14.5% £15.99
Around the table all of us seem to enjoy most if not all these, especially the Cono Sur 20 Barrels but by far the most impressive was the Trivento Golden Reserve which brought a collective approval.
After a very good and informative talk and tasting by the amiable Ben, who very kindly left the bottles behind for us to finish, we proceeded to the next part of the tasting, which involved us tasting a white and red selected from our own collections that we brought along.
We all presented our wines individually including a little information on each bottle. Whilst we sat around sipping and discussing, the noise level and atmosphere in the room increased as everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves.
We tasted a fantastic and varied selection of very good wines including French Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay, German Mosel Riesling, Spanish Godello, Australian Semillon, New Zealand Pinot, French Margaux, French Cabernet Franc, Italian Barbaresco, Australian Yalumba Shiraz and a Spanish blend including the lesser known Mando grape.
As the early evening approached we decided it was time for dinner and we all went to a local Chinese and had a fantastic meal booked and recommended by our host Jackie.
After we returned to the tasting room full and weary we sat around chatting again and drinking some more wine, many of which had improved after been left opened for a while. As bed time approached we tidied the room, grabbed some leftover bottles and retired to our guest rooms to finish them off.
Next Morning after a brilliant day and evening we headed off to do different things, some of the guys went to an nearby brewery for a tour, some went home, Agnes and I stayed in Oxford for lunch and a stroll around the centre.
Would we do it again? a resounding yes from all of us echoed around the spires of Oxford
NB : As an extra surprise Tesco supplied us with a Finest mixed party case including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Malbec and Shiraz, this was a very kind gesture by the guys behind the Tesco Wine Community and was much appreciated, big thanks to Charlotte Stebbings (Digital Marketing Executive.)