Posts in Category: 2020

The man from Decanter he say yes! - great wines chosen by a great writer

John Stimpfig

John Stimpfig revisited the club on a cold and damp Thursday evening in February for a memorable tasting themed ‘The Man from Decanter he say yes! - great wines chosen by a great writer’.

John’s earlier career was in marketing and PR (so he would surely approve of the tasting title?). It also included stints at the FT and our familiar friend, the Oxford Times. So how did he get into wine in the first place? It may sound clichéd, but he took a year out in Australia around the time that their wine was really coming into its own.  Before going, he decided to sample some classic fine wines as a kind of exceedingly short and intense crash course. He chose a Chablis and a Châteauneuf du Pape (and the rest was history!). While Down Under, he fell in love with the Hunter Valley and South Australia, and when he got back he somehow fell in love with the WSET, going on to achieve the Diploma! He became a highly-awarded wine writer. Since 1993, he has won a range of prestigious awards for his writing from such as Louis Roederer, Lanson and Glenfiddich. John is clear that he sees himself as a journalist with a passion for wine and the story therein, rather than as a critic.

In what was essentially a desert island wines (John pointed out that he could never narrow it down to  fewer than eight in such a scenario as he wouldn’t get off the boat otherwise, and thus has no singular Desert Island Wine to speak of), we tasted sparkling, white, red and botrytised wines spanning a range of styles.

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A Pinot Noir and Riesling Taste Off

with Richard Bampfield MW

Well known to the Club and a stalwart of the ‘Call my Bluff’ evenings, Richard Bampfield introduced the tasting by confessing that for long periods he had not tasted Rieslings, indeed to such an extent that when he led a visit to Alsace some years ago, one attendee commented that Richard did not know much about the wine! However, in the intervening years he had begun to appreciate greatly the qualities of Riesling and Pinot Noir, in their differing expressions. Richard had recently visited both the Mosel and New Zealand, so his interest in and enthusiasm for these areas directed his selections for the tasting.

The tasting was structured to show the differing aspects of Riesling and Pinot Noir and how they will reflect the terroir, if the winemakers allow the grapes to do so. Richard commented that Riesling is the wine that ‘professionals drink and no one else understands’!

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