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Wine Festival 2014 – sold out

Winemakers Garden Party – sold out

We apologise to customers who have been unable to buy tickets to our 2014 summer wine festival on June 6th. Unfortunately we have had to cap numbers at 120 this year and tickets sold out quickly.

For those of you who are coming, we look forward to seeing you at 7pm – we suggest you wear comfortable shoes, you can look in vessi waterproof shoes for men and women to check great styles (no high heels, ladies!) and dress for the outdoors.

Also – for those of you driving, please park at The Yew Tree and leave cars there until morning!

Our wine festival in the garden this year is on D-Day –  D-Day`s  70th anniversary – so we will be remembering our heroes and the fallen during what will be our best ever wine festival, meeting the winemakers and tasting their wines. It promises to be a fun Friday night, with delicious wines and our Summer deli platters for grazing until 9pm.

Carry on the Party

Afterwards, for guests who would like to `carry on the party`  we`ll have a paid-bar until 11pm so you can kick back with a beer or a bottle of Champagne or whatever your fancy! Drinks at the bar will be sold at shop prices. We`ll also be providing one of Tony`s fabulous Chilli Con Carne  suppers from 9.30-10pm, which guests are asked to book in advance to be sure of a serving! This is an extra £5, advanced bookings only.

The line-up of winemakers includes New Zealand`s Larry McKenna (Escarpment) and Steve Pellet (Stanley Estates) PLUS from South Africa, Peter Finlayson (Bouchard Finlayson) and  Cathy Marshall (of Catherine Marshall Wines)…… to name a few!! We promise you won`t be disappointed.

Our thanks to the team at The Yew Tree for supporting our summer wine festival by once again providing guests with parking. 

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Delicious New World Wines – with food to match

April`s tasting was a relaxed, fun evening – the food by Charlie Stocker was superb and the wines fabulous. Here`s what was on the menu with our notes:

Guest Speaker: Jane Macaulay – Host: Anthony Borges – Chef: Charlie Stocker

 The Subject: Delicious New World Wines

 Frost Pocket Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand 2013, £11.99 (aperitif)

 Deliciously crisp and fresh, packed full of vibrant and long lasting lime, gooseberry and tropical fruit flavours.

  Ken Forrester Old Vine Chenin Blanc Reserve, Western Cape, S. Africa 2012, £14.99

Full bodied and well rounded with a complex structure. Bursting with flavours of dried apricots, pineapple and hints of vanilla and honey that last long on the finish.

 Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Viognier, Marlborough, New Zealand 2012, £13.99

  Bright lemon in colour showing notes of fleshy white peach, cashew and honeysuckle. The palate is full and textured with complementary notes of spice and  a fine mineral acidity that provides length.

Vina Leyda Chardonnay, Falaris Hill Single Vineyard, Leyda Valley, Chile 2012, £14.99

Falaris Hill Vineyard Chardonnay has a refined and complex nose with ripe citrus character and mineral notes. Subtle oak influence combines with lemon and dry wheat aromas. Fresh and dense in the mouth, with a creamy texture in the mid palate and a lively acidity further back, providing freshness and length to a toasted almonds aftertaste.

 J. Lohr Wildflower, Monterey, California, USA 2012, £13.99

A vibrant, red-purple in color with bright aromas of boysenberry, bing cherry, raspberry and banana. The fruit complexion on the palate is equally bright, dominated by boysenberry and raspberry. 100% Valdiguie grape,  luscious fruits with a fresh, lingering acidity.

 J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, California, USA 2011, £16.99

Dark ruby-red in colour with aromas of cherry, blackcurrant, blueberry and violets. The bouquet is an elegant blend of vanilla, chocolate, truffles, cedar and thyme. Showing ripe and velvety soft tannins with a plump structure supported by good acidity that balances the ripe fruit and helps create an elegant and lengthy palate.

 Ken Forrester The Gypsy Grenache Syrah Mourvedre ,Western Cape S.A 2010, £28.99

 The character is somewhat wild, a little brambly with hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, dark spices, with vanilla scents and a distinct, concentrated red-fruit focus. Wonderful wine. 57% Grenache, 29% Syrah, 14% Mourvedre.

  Henschke Keyneton Estate Euphonium, Barossa, South Australia 2010, £34.99

 Deep crimson in colour. Lifted aromas of spicy sweet plum, blackberry and cassis with hints of cedar and tar. Sweet, rich ripe and lush on the palate with great intensity and structure. Fleshy in texture, the wine has excellent depth and complexity.

63% Shiraz, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc.

 Peller Vidal Icewine, Ontario, Canada (37.5cl), £39.99

A gold yellow colour with an aromatic bouquet of lemon marmalade, carmelized oranges, golden pineapple and a touch of honey. A rich, medium to full-bodied wine with explosive flavours of honey, golden pineapple, star anise and brown sugar. Sweet citrus and star fruit linger on the finish.


40 degree salmon, burnt aubergine, grapefruit ‘ caviar’,  sorrel

Mersea sea bass , roasted mushrooms, salsify, wild garlic panacotta, shellfish and lemon foam

Layer Marney lamb, slow cooked rump, crispy breast, buttermilk gratin, salt baked roots, burnt hay jus

Cheese Platter


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Easter Wine Treats

Easter Wine Treats


2012 La Ciboise Blanc, Luberon, Rhone, France, M. Chapoutier, £9.99

Pale, green and yellow reflections with aromas of white blossom, lemons and exotic fruits. Excellent balance, freshness and vinosity. Produced with Grenache Blanc, Vermentino, Ugni Blanc and Roussanne.

2011 Macon-Charnay Clos Saint-Pierre, Burgundy, France, £12.99

Pale yellow. The nose is immediately intense and appealing, hinting of peaches and cream. The palate has an exceptional balance of rich, creamy fruit and elegant complexity. A fine single vineyard Burgundy of exceptional value. Expressive of its terroir. 100% Chardonnay.

2012 Schieferkopf Slyvaner, M. Chapoutier, Alsace, France, 13.99

Gold-tinged wine, verging on onion colour. Citrus and floral aromas lead to an attack of freshness on the palate with fleshy citrus fruits and a refined minerality. Fine terroir-driven wine by the great  man Michel Chapoutier in his latest wine venture.  100% Sylvaner.

2010 Rully, Chanson, Burgundy, France, £19.99

Pale yellow, bright colour.  Floral fragrances mixed with exotic fruit and green almond. Linear, tight and well-balanced. Beautiful aromatic freshness with a delicate minerality. Fine white burgundy. 100% Chardonnay.


2013 Whispering Angel, D`Esclans, Cotes de Provence, France £18.99

Pale salmon pink colour. Delicate, super-fresh nose of strawberry and summer fruits, bright red fruits on the palate, again super-fresh, precise and with a wonderful summer fragrance, finishing dry. First class Rose, produced with Grenache, Rolle, Syrah and Cinsault grapes.


2011 D`Arenberg The Stump Jump Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia, £11.99

Ruby,  purple-tinged colour. The nose open, fragrant, of fresh blackberries, cherries and chocolate sprinkled with spices. The palate is surprising light and silky-soft. 100% Shiraz.

2011 St-Amour, Domaine de la Porte du Paradis, Beaujolais, France£13.99

Bright ruby colour. Appealing aromas of fruit compote and perfumed with hints of violets, ripe redcurrants abound on the palate which has a delicate minerality and wonderful freshness. A good Beaujolais Cru. 100% Gamay.

2011 Wildflower, J. Lohr, Monterey, California USA, £13.99

A vibrant, red-purple in colour with bright aromas of boysenberry, cherry and raspberry. The fruit complexion on the palate is equally bright, boysenberry and raspberry. The luscious fruit and lingering acidity make this wine ideal as an aperitif. Like a super-charged Fleurie. 100% Valdiguie.

2011 Seven Oaks Cabernet , J. Lohr, Paso Robles, California USA, £16.99

Dark ruby-red in colour with aromas of cherry, blackcurrant, blueberry and violets. The palate is plump and velvety smooth with cassis, vanilla, chocolate, truffles and cedar. Ideal with the Easter lamb. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

2010 Beaune, Nuiton-Beaunoy, Burgundy, France, £24.99

Pale ruby colour. On the nose soft, savoury Pinot Noir, a hint of earth and vanilla. On the palate red fruits and a light touch in weight terms, yet a savoury richness and minerality which lingerss. Classic red  burgundy. 100% Pinot Noir.

2009 Journey`s End Merlot, Stellenbosch, S. Africa, £18.99

Dark blue-red hues, a full nose of herbal eucaplyptus and fruit cake, followed by a mouth-filling, fleshy wine, with plum, cherry and prune and an earthy quality. Its velvet texture  gives it a luxurious mouth feel. 100% Merlot.

2007 D`Arenberg Fortified Shiraz, Australia, 13.99 (375ml), £13.99

Dark, purplish colour. An Australian version of Port from McLaren Vale. Aromas and flavours of sweet, black cherry, raspberry, dried fruits and liquorice. Serve with blue cheese. 100% Shiraz.

A selection of delicious wines from New and Old world.

If you would like to invest in any twelve of these wines for Easter we would be delighted to give you 10% discount. For example:

A case of twelve, one bottle of each wine listed (4 x white, 1 x Rose, 6 x Red, 1 x 1/2 Sweet): £190.88 – 10% = £171.79

Quality guaranteed.

For enquiries please telephone Anthony on (01206) 271 236, Mon-Sat 10am-6.30pm, or email:

Or browse the wine list on our website

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Tax Increases on wines

Price Announcement

Dear Customers

The Chancellor has confirmed in his 2014 Budget that the duty escalator will be scrapped for all alcohol. Instead the excise duty will be increased only in line with inflation. This year, as of March 24th, our costs on wine will increase by 60p per case of twelve bottles, exclusive of Vat. Regrettably it is also this time of year, coinciding with the Chancellor`s March budget, that a good many of our suppliers pass on their increased product costs to us, thereby further increasing costs to us, which inevitably at some point we are obliged to pass on to you, our customers.  We are conscious of the need to remain competitive with our prices, of course – especially in these difficult times (despite talk of green shoots! ) – therefore we have decided to absorb most of the cost increases for the Spring and Summer months, effectively reducing our margins, until September 1st. There will be a few we simply can`t avoid, but our promise to you is to keep these to an absolute minimum. We hope this will go some way to assisting you, our customers, while making us an even more attractive proposition for your weekly wine shop!

Meantime don`t forget our fantastic March bin end offer: still over 100 wines available at unbeatable prices!

Anthony Borges




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26th April, Local Col United fans welcome

Colchester United are  taking Colchester Town by storm, colouring it white and blue [their Take Over The Town campaign]. We thought we would do our bit for the Rural fans within the community – so we are arranging for a cask of local Greene King ale to be on tap at The Wine Centre from 1.30-2.00pm on the day. That`s Saturday 26th April, here for 1.30pm! The idea is that local fans going to the match that day meet up at The Wine Centre for a quick beer before we all set off together to the ground in a colourful procession. Fans wearing Colu regalia will be given a complimentary beer.  The Standard will be covering it so come on fans, let`s make a  hullaballoo as we walk the brisk mile [or two] to the ground in our blue and white colours. Please let us know if we can expect you… email Anthony on  or telephone 271 236.

Walking with us will be three former Colu players, Steve Dowman, Phil Coleman and Barry Smith.

We will be fundraising for Colu`s chosen fundraiser, the Tom Bowbridge Foundation:

Gazette: Foundation launched in Tom's memory

The Tom Bowdidge Foundation was launched on Monday by his parents Nikki and Richard and sister Emma at Heathlands Primary School, in West Bergholt. Tom died in October aged 19 after battling with a rare stomach cancer. The foundation’s launch coincided with Tom’s 20th birthday. Little ones at the school, where Mrs Bowdidge is a teacher, dressed in blue to mark the occasion. They were also given tubes of Tom’s favourite sweets, Smarties, to eat and re-fill with donations to the foundation. Mr Bowdidge, 46, said: “It has been a lovely way to launch the foundation. “Tom was a pupil at Heathlands and we’ve really been blown away by how it has been received.” Mr Bowdidge’s company, Tyser & Co Insurance Brokers, in London, also held a Wear it Blue Day on Friday. He added: “We’ve already seen one client tell me they happened they’re holding a dress down day with a blue theme and they’ve pledged the money they’ve raised for the foundation. “The reaction from people in general has been humbling.” The foundation’s first step is to raise £5,000, which means it can apply for charity status from the Charity Commission.

Please all join us for the walk on April 26th …. whether you are going to the match or not! Just wear blue and white, and bring a little change for the pot please!!

Anthony Borges

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March Bin End Sale

Prod. No. Product Description Shop Price Per Bottle Special Offer Price
Style/Bin  Prices include Vat
 Just a few left available in April
W/01 Sold
Sold £23.99 £17.00
R/03 Sold £15.99 £12.50
W/04 Sold £19.99 £15.00
W/05 Sold £43.99 £30.00
W/06 Rully, Jean Claude Boisset 2008 £19.99 £15.00
W/07 Sold £13.99 £8.50
W/08 Bourgogne Domaine Faiveley Chardonnay 2009 £13.99 £8.50
R/09 Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Nuiton-Beaunoy 2010 £13.99 £8.50
W/10 Sold £90.00 £65.00
W/11 Sold £15.99 £12.50
Bordeaux (claret)
R/12 Sold £45.00 £36.00
R/13 Sold £24.99 £18.75
R/14 Sold £11.99 £9.50
R/15 Sold £58.00 £49.00
R/16 Chateau du Tertre, Margaux 1998 (singles, or twelve in a wooden case) £62.99 £53.00
R/17 Chateau Beaulieu, Lalande de Pomerol 2010 £20.99 £17.00
R/18 Chateau Teyssier St Emilion Grand Cru 2008 (singles, or twelve bottles in a wooden case) £26.99 £20.00
R/19 Chateau Clerc Milon, Pauillac  Grand Cru Classe 1999 £55.00 £38.00
Bordeaux White
W/20 Grand Bateau 2010, Dry (75% Sauvignon, 25% Semillon) £11.99 £9.50
CH/21 Sold £38.99 £30.00
CH/22 Sold £55.00 £49.00
CH/23 Sold £55.99 £38.00
CH/24 Sold £60.00 £48.00
CH/25 Sold £39.99 £29.00
CH/26 Sold £49.99 £37.50
CH/27 Belle Epoque, Perrier-Jouet 2004 £120.00 £90.00
CH/28 Sold £125.00 £100.00
CH/29 Sold £245.00 £185.00
CH/30 Sold £125.00 £100.00
W/31 Sold £33.99 £27.00
W/32 Sold £36.99 £30.00
W/33 Sold £13.99 £9.50
W/34 Sold £26.99 £22.00
W/35 Turckheim Pinot Gris 2009 £11.99 £9.25
W/36 Sold £23.99 £18.00
W/37 Sold £20.99 £16.00
W/38 Sold £20.99 £16.00
W/39 Sold £9.99 £7.00
R/ 40 Chinon, Domaine Brunet 2010 (Cabernet Franc) £9.99 £7.00
W/41 Sold £10.99 £8.50
Southern France
R/42 Jean Orliac`s Le Loup dans la Bergere, Val de Montferrand Rouge 2008 £10.99 £8.00
W/43 Sold £12.99 £9.00
W/44 Sold £10.99 £8.00
R/45 Sold £13.99 £10.00
W/46 Sold £28.99 £20.00
R/47 Cornas Les Murettes, Domaine Michelas St. Jemms 2011 (will benefit from cellaring) £48.99 £39.00
R/48 Sold £65.00 £52.00
R/49 Sold £55.00 £44.00
W/50 Sold £11.99 £9.75
W/51 Sold £21.99 £17.00
W/52 Sold £36.99 £29.00
W/53 Sold £16.99 £13.50
W/54 Sold £22.99 £18.00
W/55 Oppenheimer Krotenbrunnen Spatlese 2008 £6.99 £5.00
W/56 Weingut Brundlmayer Kamptaler Terrassen Gruner Veltliner 2009 £15.99 £10.50
R/57 Santo Espelt, Emporda 2006 (Grenache, Carignan) £13.99 £10.50
R/58 Urban Ribera, Tinta del Pais, Ribera del Duero 2007 £11.99 £8.75
W/59 Con Class Verdejo, Rueda 2009 (shop offer £8.99) £11.99 £7.50
R/60 Sold £13.99 £10.50
R/61 Jaros, Ribera del Duero 2005 (Tempranillo, alias Tinto Fino) £27.99 £20.00
R/62 Sold £34.99 £25.00
W/63 Vinas Viejas Verdejo, 2008 £24.99 £18.75
R/64 Sold £13.99 £10.50
R/65 Sold £12.99 £9.50
R/66 Anta Banderas (A4), Ribera del Duero 2008 (Tempranillo) £13.99 £10.50
R/67 Darien Rioja Crianza 2009 £11.99 £9.50
R/68 Darien Rioja Reserva 2007 £18.99 £15.00
W/76 Sold £15.99 £11.00
W/77 Sold £9.99 £7.25
Rose/78 Montes Cherub Rose de Syrah 2009 £9.99 £7.25
R/79 Sold £24.99 £18.75
R/80 Sold £37.99 £29.00
W/81 Sold £13.99 £10.75
R/82 Anakena Enco Reserve Pinot Noir, Leyda Valley 2011 £10.99 £8.50
R/83 Anakena Enco Cabernet Sauvignon, Cachapoal 2011 £10.99 £8.50
R/84 Anakena Tama Carmenere, Cachapoal 2011 £10.99 £8.50
W/85 Anakena Tama Viognier, Cachapoal 2011 £10.99 £8.50
R/88 Sold £14.99 £10.75
R/89 Urban Maule 2009 (50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 5% Carignan) £9.99 £7.75
R/90 T.H. Syrah Limari, Undurrago 2009 £16.99 £12.75
New Zealand
R/95 Sold £26.99 £22.00
Rose/96 Man of War Rose 2009 (Merlot) £13.99 £9.25
W/97 Ata Rangi Craighall Chardonay, Martinborough 2007 £33.99 £25.00
R/98 Sold £28.99 £22.00
W/99 Vahalla Chardonnay, Waiheke Island 2009 £28.99 £22.00
W/100 Sold £20.99 £17.50
R/101 Sold £15.99 £11.50
W/102 Sold £21.99 £16.50
R/103 Sold £26.99 £22.00
R/104 Sold £28.99 £24.00


Subject to limited availability, sold on a first come-first serve basis.  Please contact us to confirm availability

About our Bin End Sale:

In total a massive 177 Wines on Sale – now reduced to a scattering of bin ends which will during April be located in the bin end rack in the corner of the shop.

A fantastic time to stock up……..

This is a genuine bin end offer with massive discounts, to clear the way for new wines coming to The Wine Centre this Spring. Additionally we have thrown into the mix some great deals and promotional wines, so if you like a bargain there has never been a better time to come to The Wine Centre than now.  Saturdays through March we`ll also have some of the promotional wines for you to try in the shop, with our usual deli offerings for you to nibble alongside tasting the wines. We look forward to welcoming you – however, please do not delay in scrutinising the list and placing your order. Quite a few – being “bin ends” – are in short supply, and at these prices they will no doubt sell quickly. This list is our opening list, as of March 1st. We can, if you like, email you an updated list  in excel format with the number of bottles in stock, as of the morning of your email. Otherwise simply email us what you would like and we`ll confirm what we can do for you.  If you are unable to pick up your order we are pleased to arrange FREE local delivery to your home for orders of twelve bottles or more and £100+. For deliveries outside the CO postal code – or for orders of less than twelve bottles – a delivery charge is added of £9.95.  Our trading terms are available for viewing in the shop or on our website. Please note, for further information about the wines ask for Anthony or browse the wine list on the website.

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Wines of Argentina a big hit

The line up: Guest Speaker: Mike Unsworth – Chef: Tony Bell – assisted ably by Abbey, with Janet and Kate as front of house! Thank you all… Mike and Tony, you especially were inspirational on this night, well done both of you.

It was an excellent evening and the wines all showed very well, except, if i`m being ultra critical, the La Linda Malbec not showing at its best on this occasion (having a bad day, happens to us all!). On the positive side,  this only served to show the Luigi Bosca Malbec in a an even better light! What a delicious Malbec this is!!

However, the first wine to impress on the evening was the first wine to be served: the unoaked Chardonnay. Lots of flavour here, yet refreshing. Those who don`t like Chardonnay might want to give this a try, because without the oak this is pure fruit. In food terms this might well be one for roasted chicken. The viognier with the prawn dish worked well, however it was the third white which really thrilled – barrel fermented Gala 3, simply superb, would on another occasion be a great white to match with our Pinney`s smoked salmon, or even their smoked chicken.

But it was the reds which, for me, shone most of all – a delicious, refreshing Pinot and then that Malbec! These were served with the beef, the Malbec matching it better than the Pinot. And by the way, Tony, what fabulous Layer Marney beef!!! The second helpings were very much appreciated by us all, thank you for that.

The gnocci was a treat, absolutely delicious and  my first ever,  an Italian dish which is popular in Argentina. However, the cheese platter which was served simultaneously was the better match with the next two wines. These were the two Galas, 1 and 2: beautifully crafted reds with an intensity and ripeness which matched the cheeses brilliantly.

The dessert was a sensation and the ginger and cinnamon in the wine was matched by the dish – but the banana  was too sweet for the wine – boy was it sweet – rendering the wine slightly too dry. One of those things. Fortunately Tony warned us, so we made sure to taste the wine first, on its own. A lovely Gewurztraminer.

Incidentally, after all the clearing up (in the small hours)  i found a another  pot of the crumble in the fridge. It was even better cold!!!

The Menu:

Pork & tamarind glazed prawns, quinoa salad

 ‘Chilli-water’ basted rump of Layer Marney Beef, chimicurri and salsa para asado

 Four cheese gnocchi

 Dulce du leche and banana crumble

The wines:

Chardonnay, Finca La Linda, Mendoza 2013 , £9.99 (aperitif)

Dark straw colour. Herbal aromas plus peach, lemon. Fresh, sumptuous and ample on the palate

Viognier, Finca La Linda, Mendoza 2013 £9.99

Bright, clean, with apricots and fresh flower blossom leaping from the glass

Gala 3 Viognier Chardonnay Riesling 2011, £19.99

Brilliant golden yellow colour, exquisite floral aromas combined with white peach with a balanced acidity

Malbec, Finca La Linda 2012, £9.99

Characteristically intense red colour, slightly muted aromas of black cherries. On the palate a little tight and ungenerous which is atypical of this wine. We`ll be monitoring the situation, but usually this is a charming   fruity red with blue fruits and violets. Mike thinks it needs time to settle, having not long ago arrived from Argentina.

Pinot Noir, Bodeaga Luigi Bosca 2012, £13.99

Fresh, silky body, red berries, light cocoa and spice notes. Delicious. Great Summer wine with our deli – alternatively a better food match would be white roasted meats or juicy lamb.

Malbec, Bodeaga Luigi Bosca 2011, £13.99

Deep ruby-red, aromas of ripe red and blue fruits, spices and black pepper, a violet/floral note, charming wine, great with the beef.

Gala 1 Malbec Petit Verdot Tannat 2011, £21.99

A muscular, elegant wine. Deep colour, with rich aromas of red fruit and delicate spiced notes. Perfect ripeness and intensity to match our cheddar.

Gala 2 Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc Merlot 2011 (Magnum), £45.00

 A remarkably structured and elegant wine. The concentration of black fruit and toasted aromas contributed by 14 months ageing in French oak casks. Delicious with the cheeses – and what a great looking bottle!

Gewurztraminer Reserva 2010 (50cl), £13.99

Good body and deep gold colour. Aromas of berries, lychee, tropical fruits and musk, with light floral touches of rose petals and violets. Harmonious structure, unctuous, spicy (ginger and cinnamon). Wish we had tried this with the cheeses – or a fruit tart, perhaps.

Last but not least, thanks to all our guests for joining us. You were great company! Cheers everyone


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Our belated Christmas party, and a chance to do some Serious Research

It was The Wine Centre’s belated Christmas party on Saturday and a great time was had by all. We ate at The Treble Tile in West Bergholt and even made sure we were all wearing our Christmas hats! It was also a great opportunity for us to do some ‘research’ into some of our wines, and here is what we thought of them:


The Perfect Evening – five classy wines, four newly invigorated wine merchants!

Collezione Privata Chardonnay Toscana 2010, Italy £34.99

Isole e Olena

An exceptional wine – and a great aperitif to start our flight of five wines for the evening. A deep golden yellow colour, gleaming bright. The nose an inviting bouquet of exotic fruit and brioche. On the palate unctuous, layered and rich, with lovely acidities, tangy and fresh. The flavours intriguing: almond, butter, brioche, peach, apricot, orange. Lovely.



Another deep colour, golden, bright. Now this is a wine I would normally reserve for Thai.  Tonight however I had it with chicken liver pate and spiced apple chutney. At first I wondered if the wine would be over-powerful. Certainly the nose was bold, with powerful aromas of roses and lychees. On the palate, however, it was beautifully restrained, infused with an extravagant display of exotic fruit and a myriad of floral scents, yet not overblown at all, in fact quite minerally and finishing delightfully dry, fresh to the end. A truly fine example of its type, rich and harmonious, liquid Turkish Delight, yet perfectly restrained and well honed. Probably not the absolute best match (for me that`s still Thai) but nonetheless it worked well, the creamy richness of the pate blending in neatly with the richness of the wine. Another hit – with everyone except Merrill, that is, who doesn`t like Gewurz (I had forgotten! Sorry Merill)


Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru Clos des Marachaudes, Domaine du Pavillon, Albert Bichot 2009, £53.99

Bright ruby-red, lovely colour, translucent and star bright. The nose was fresh, a delightful scent of blackberry pie, on the palate a silky richness, raspberries, strawberries and more of that blackberry pie, and just a touch of cocoa and spice on the finish. Lovely suppleness, ripe silky tannins, and super fresh. Gorgeous Pinot Noir, ticked all the boxes for me, thoroughly enjoyable on its own before the main, though would have been a good match with the pate as well, I`m sure.


Chateauneuf Domaine du Vieux Telegraph “Crau”, Rhone Valley 2008, France £53.99

My favourite wine of the evening.  The food match was venison burger, and tasty as it was, the wine really deserved the best possible cut of steak, or better still, a rich venison stew! In the event the wine over-shadowed the dish. Dark, very deep shades here, ruby-garnet verging on black. This is a classic blend, two-thirds old vine Grenache, the rest Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault.  Boy was it was impressive: on the nose complex, rich and savoury with dark berry fruits and  fascinating aniseed-liquorice-herbal notes. A hint of Asian spices too, I`d say – yet the methanol note dominating. Finally vanilla-spice as well. The wine just keeps evolving. I remember it from the last time I had it – impressed me then too. On the palate bright, with plum, prune, fig, black cherry and dark chocolate. And a long, long after-taste. Truly memorable complex wine.

2008 Chateau Dereszla Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos, Hungary (500ml), £26.99

A great finale: deep orange hue, the nose of dried apricots and peaches – some citrusy fruits there too, really fresh and lovely. On the palate, intensely sweet, exotic fruits, yet with bright acidities which gave it a delicious freshness. Fantastic wine with my rhubarb and ginger crumble, the sweet wine contrasting magnificently with the sour fruit. I had this wine once before, ironically with chicken liver and chutney (our starter last night) and it worked fabulously well then too.

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An Evening with Mark Bingley, Master of Wine

Thank you those of you who joined us for our Italian wine tasting. What a feast we had. Gareth Boothby of Chimneys did a fantastic job, well done Gareth! A delicious Crayfish & Lemon Risotto starter –  how the L`Altro Chardonnay complemented it. The venison casserole dish provided the perfect backdrop to the reds – the great finale that stupendous Barolo by Pio Cesare – the dish beautifully succulent and rich, served with borlotti beans, pancetta, wild mushrooms, artichoke, olive alforno and sweet, tasty roasted parsnips. The cheese platter (Janet`s work, using cheeses from our fridges, figs, dates, grapes etc) was enjoyed alongside  the three valpolicellas, the Ripasso, Amarone and Recioto,  increasingly concentrated wines, each of them fiendishly moreish! Finally, the pear and almond frangipan, a lovely crunchy, intensely almond finish, with tasty small strawberries – and the gorgeous sweet Recioto again, by jove.  By the time coffee and Chimneys` homemade fudge was served, customers were remembering that warm, full feeling they last had, after the pud on Christmas day! And all the while  tutored by Mr. Mark Bingley, Master of Wine,  who we all agreed was great entertainment. Thanks Mark, already looking forward to next time. Alsace, right?

Here`s the list of wines with Mark`s tasting notes:

Guest Speaker: Mark Bingley MW – Host: Anthony Borges – Chef: The team at Chimneys

  The Subject: Wines of Northern Italy

 Gavi, Cortese di Gavi, Pio Cesare 2012, £18.99 (aperitif)

Looks: Pale green. Smells: Ripe fruit with a clean savoury fragrance.

Tastes: Complex flavour, smooth and silky, slightly aromatic.

  L`Altro Chardonnay Pio Cesare 2011, £18.99

 Looks: Bright, golden, green highlights. Smells: Aromas of stone fruit, white floral and spice.

Tastes: The palate is fresh and lively. Flavours abound of nectarines & peaches. Good length with delicate texture and a hint of vanilla.

 Chardonnay Piodilei (single vineyard) Pio Cesare 2011, £36.99

Looks: Straw hue. Smells: This wine opens with a bright nose of fruit and floral aromas of honey blossom that lead to earthy bread dough and hazelnut.

Tastes: white fruits with a honey note with balanced acidity and long spicy finish.

 Rosso di Montalcino, Castiglion del Bosco 2011, £22.99

Looks: Ruby red  Smells: pure bright ripe red fruits, slightly exotic.

Tastes: Full bodied without heaviness, pleasant and harmonious with a lingering finish.

 Brunello di Montalcino,  Castiglion del Bosco 2008, £42.99

Looks: Deep brick red. Smells:  An intense nose of warm perfumed fruit with floral tones.

Tastes: In the mouth it has firmness and power with a harmonious and lingering finish.

 Barolo, Pio Cesare 2009, £49.99

Looks: Deep ruby. Smells: Smokey red fruits and hint of aromatic vanilla.

 Tastes: Excellent structure & harmony. Firm tannins give power and length balanced with ripeness of fruit.

 Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore Tommasi 2011, £22.99

Looks: Dark ruby  Smells: Smokey tones linked with cherry fruit.

Tastes: Smooth dry texture leading to a sweet ripeness brightening the long finish.

 Amarone della Valpolicella, Tommasi 2009, £43.99

Looks:  The colour is dark purple red. Smells: Rich intensely ripe red fruits with dark cherry notes

Tastes:  Rich powerful dark fruit with freshness and intensity, finishing dry.

 Fiorate Recioto della Valpolicella, Tommasi 2010 (half bottle) £23.99

Looks:  The colour is a dark brick red  Smells: Sweet dark confit fruits.

Tastes: Warm, sweet and intense with hints of prune and cherry. Full bodied and velvety

    10% discount offered on these wines during February – code ref: Mark Bingley MW