The Wine Tasting Society that meets each month in Christchurch University will be celebrating its 30th anniversary later this year so congratulations to Keith and everyone for that. I have been going along every year for the last ten or so, so they must think I am doing something right. They are a great crowd: they always want Rhone wines which, of course, I am happy to give them and they are very knowledgeable about both wine and what they want from it. That all makes my job extremely easy.
Highlights included the mature 2002 white Chateauneuf from Domaine Grand Veneur: "La Fontaine" is 100% old-vine, barrel-aged Roussanne and it is quite stunning. The secondary characters have taken over now and the wine is very much enjoying its (relative) old-age.
The most popular reds were probably the 2009s: Bressy-Masson's Cotes du Rhone (more like a Rasteau Village wine), Cristia's Cotes du Rhone "Garrigues" (100% old-vine Grenache aged in small barrels) and Domaine de la Charite's Christophe Coste's new venture in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Chateau Capucine (also 100% old-vine Grenache aged in small barrels but very different from the Cristia wine: more classic, less oaky).
Other wines were also well-received including Laurent Brusset's 2007 Cairanne "Chabriles" which is a rich, spicy blend of equal parts Grenache and Syrah, Coudoulet de Beaucastel 2007 and Charite's "Dame Noire", a pure Mourvedre cuvee. A brief mention of Christophe's ice wine from the south of France aroused curiosity too.