March 2017 Newsletter
December’s meeting of Wine Appreciation group 2 departed from its usual format as we celebrated Richard Brooksbank’s 90th birthday and he agreed to supply the wines for tasting. Richard is an accomplished, award-winning home brewer with experience of judging at national wine circle competitions. He treated us to a grand tasting of some of his best wines. We were greeted by a line of glasses and a magnum of sparkling, which poured star-bright to the last centilitre. Made by the traditional méthode champenoise it was a delightful aperitif; fruit and tartness balanced, tiny bubbles.
Next were 2 bottles of white wine from the same recipe, one bottled in November, the other 2 years ago. English grapes need fortifying with other fruit, in this case rhubarb and gooseberry and the young wine still had hints of these on the nose. By contrast, the older vintage had lost this bouquet and, with its well-balanced fruit and acidity, was a contender for a seafood match.
The first red was a beauty. Richard explained that it was a blend of 2 brews; one, matured in a cask, had extracted too much oak flavour, the other a wine needing more body. The blending had been done with care and expertise because the delicious result rivalled many Riojas.
Now for the dessert wines. Parsnip and orange displayed a light tawny hue (reminiscent of a dry Madeira) and drank like nectar, sweetness balanced by the orange zing. A pity it was his last bottle! And lastly, a dessert red (yes!). Deep colour, good fruit and sweet finish, this would go well with a chocolate pudding or fruit pie.
In the best tradition of parties, we had cheese dip, sausage rolls, mince pies and a birthday cake designed by Carole Robinson. That completed yet another enjoyable afternoon. Richard let us in on lots of his brewing secrets and the quality of his wine was a revelation. Thanks go to the bakers who provided the moreish food and Carole for the beautifully presented cake. Happy birthday, Richard; wishing you many more to come.