WARE WINE & BEER CIRCLE
MEETINGS IN 2010
2010
December: Annual Cook and Taste
Due to adverse weather conditions - heavy snow - the Annual Cook & Taste was postponed until 2011.

December: Ware Christmas Festival
Another successful year selling our mulled wine to the cold and thirsty public of Ware at the Christmas Festival in Tudor Square. Despite the very cold weather, the annual event was again very popular. The stalls selling mulled wine did exceptionally well! 13 gallons of red wine, supplemented by orange juice, water and sugar, was heated up in a Burco boiler this year, which unfortunately got slightly temperamental and at one point appeared to go on strike! However, normal service was resumed after Colin gave the gas cylinder a kick! Many people waited patiently for us to start serving again. We couldn't heat the wine fast enough and had a queue past our neighbouring stall for most of the evening. This year we sold out around 7.45pm, again leaving some people disappointed. Although it was cold, it did stay dry all evening (which was a blessing for Peter and Elaine as they did not have to dry the gazebo out the next day). We sent a donation to Isabel Hospice.
Thanks to everyone who helped on the evening, particularly Colin for setting up the infrastructure of our stall and controlling the temperature of the wine, Peter R for mixing up the wine, and also to Helen for obtaining the Isabel Hospice banner.

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November: Australian Wine Tasting by Oscar from Oddbins
Although Oscar no longer works at Oddbins in Hertford, he stepped in to run the wine tasting for us when the Hertford manager was not able to. 19 members enjoyed the wines that he brought along, and even bought the surplus bottles! Margaret provided some Australian nibbles that she had brought back with her from her recent visit to Australia.
The wines were as follows:
Jansz Premium NV 12.5% Chardonnay, Pinot Noit, Pinot Meunier £12.99 Vegemite Damper, Vegemite Twists, Macadamia nuts
Deen De Bortoli Vat 7 13% 2009 Chardonnay £9.99 Prawns with Lemon Myrtle mayonnaise
Brookland Valley Verse 1   2009 Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc £14.99 Chicken marinated in oil & Lemon Myrtle, Yoghurt & Lemon Myrtle sauce
Deen De Bortioli Vat 4 14% 2007 Petit Verdot £9.99 Pork ribs baked in Kakadu plum and sweet chilli sauce
Gemtree "Bloodstone" 14.5% 2007 Shiraz, Viognier £14.99 Beef sausages with Bush BBQ sauce including tomatoes, Eucalyptus Honey Mountain pepper and Aniseed Myrtle, Ostrich sausages
d'Arenberg d'Arry's Original 14.5%   Grenache, Shiraz £14.49 Arnott's Savory biscuits and Cheddar cheese, spicy wild lime (Desert Lime) pickle

Many thanks to Oscar for a different evening, and to Margaret for preparing all the food.
The trophies from the recent Annual Show were presented by the President, Sue, at the end of the evening.

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October: 30th Annual Show
The club returned to the Ware Art's Centre in Ware for its 30th Annual Show. 15 competitors (including the one of the judges who is the President of NAWB) entered 95 bottles in 8 wine classes and 13 bottles in 2 beer classes this year. The food classes were well supported with 12 entries. The bottles entered in the show prior to the day arrived extremely promptly, as did the 3 judges. A prompt start was made on the judging. Judges and stewards partook of a salad lunch after judging prepared by members.
Thanks to the judges and the stewards, and to the members who provided the lunch. Well done to all the winners.

14 members got together in the evening at Kevin's house to eat the food and sample the winning wines.
Click here for results and trophy winners.

Photo Gallery

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October: 'The Great Bed of Ware' by Ken Weeks
18 members and 2 guests were 'educated' by Ken Weeks as he gave a talk on the Great Bed of Ware, it's history, and the Ware Museum's efforts in persuading the Victoria and Albert Museum - where the Great Bed is currently on display - to loan the Bed for a year to the Museum.
The Bed first arrived in Ware around 1590; it's size is approximately a 10' 6" cube and it is supposedly capable of sleeping 8-10 people! For the next 100 years it moved from one inn to another - the bed does come apart; unfortunately most of them no longer exist and have been replaced by banks and building societies. In 1864 the bed was sold to a Mr Hartley for 100 guineas and it eventually ended up in London. In 1983 it was saved for the nation and put on display in the Victoria and Albert museum. It is now valued at £1 million! It is referenced in Shakespeare's play - Twelfth Night (Act 3, scene 2).
Approximately 5 years ago, the Ware Museum contacted the Victoria and Albert Museum to request the loan of the bed. Red tape and lengthy negotiations have meant that the loan has only recently agreed and the Bed will be at the Ware Museum in 2012. The Ware Museum had to build an extension for the Bed to be displayed in, and the Heritage Lottery Fund granted a request for a grant of £113,000 for this. A further grant was made for the costs of removing the Bed from the Victoria and Albert Museum to Ware, security and transportation and it's return.
A replica bed post is being made that the public will be able to touch, as the Bed will be roped off from direct access.
The Ware Museum are looking for volunteers to act as stewards during 2012.

An excellent talk by Ken Weeks; I, for one, am looking forward to seeing the Bed in 2012. Perhaps we should have a club outing?




At the end of the meeting, a presentation of a flowering cherry tree and vouchers was made to Peter and Elaine as a thank you from the club for all the work they have done over the years.

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September: Supermarket Challenge tasting by Kevin Martin
15 members and 2 guests enjoyed an evening comparing wine from Aldi and Morrison's. We compared a Chenin Blanc from South Africa (Aldi Cambala, Western Cape 2010, 12.5%, £3.29, Morrison's Two Oceans, Western Cape, 2009, 12.5%, £3.99);Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand (Aldi Freeman's Bay 2009, 13%, £5.49; Morrison's Nobilo Limited Release Reserve, 2009, 12.5%, £4.99); Tempranillo, Spain, 2008 (Aldi Toro Utiel Requena, 12.5% £3.49; Morrison's Marques de Rinon Rioja, 13.5% £4.99); Shiraz Reserve Australia (Aldi Bushland 2008, 14%, £3.99; Morrison's Buckingham Estate, 2007, 14.5%, £7.99). It was a very close contest this year, with Morrison's winning by 2 points.
Kevin tested our taste-buds with a blind tasting of unusual flavours of Pringles; we tasted kebab flavour, curry, chilli and cheese, and another one that I can't remember. The curry and chilli Pringles did not go down too well. He also tested our brains by giving us anagrams of red and white wines to work out. A busy evening!
Thanks to Peter R for purchasing the Morrison's wines and Kevin for getting the Aldi wines and Pringles and organising the evening.
The first semi-final will take place next year between Sainsbury's and Waitrose.
A competition also took place during the evening of Country Wine kits. As the entries were low - 9 - Peter R judged them. The results were as follows - 1st Eddie H, 2nd Kevin, 3rd Peter B, 4th Colin.

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August: Annual BBQ
18 members, 4 ex-members and 2 guests attended the annual club BBQ, which was hosted this year by Elaine and Peter. The weather was a mixture of sunshine and cloud and there were a couple of light showers as Colin and Peter started to get the BBQs going, which probably dampened the coals a bit before Colin rigged up a cover that he just 'happened' to have in his car (not his van!). It got quite chilly towards the end of the afternoon. Everyone sat outside under two gazebos until all the food was eaten and most retreated indoors for coffee.
Colin did his usual grand job of bbq-ing the chicken and Braughing sausages. Various salads and desserts were prepared by the members.
Thanks to Elaine and Peter for hosting the event, and to everyone for preparing the food.

Photo Gallery

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August: Annual Computerised Wine Drive
12 people, including 2 guests from Hoddesdon, entered 10 bottles in the Annual wine drive.
The members, split into teams of 1 and 2 people, judge one another's wines in a series of comparative tastings, the idea being that each wine is tasted at least once against every other wine, and each team gets to have a chat with every other team. The results are then entered into the computer and a league table develops with the results.
The results were as follows: Joint 1st Commercial, John and Kevin; joint 3rd Colin, Elaine and Peter B; 7th Don Maguire; 8th Keith Barltrop; 9th Peter R; 10th Eddie.
The commercial wine was a Spanish table wine.
For the first time ever, the commercial wine gained top marks, shared with John and Kevin. These results are slightly different from those announced on Monday, as I found an error when checking them, which resulted in Kevin coming joint first. So well done to John and Kevin. On looking at the results sheets, most of the marks were 2-1, suggesting that the wines were all very similar in quality. Looks like better wines are needed for next year!

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July: Annual Walk organised by Ruth and Richard Tite
This walk was the 25th anniversary summer walks organised by Richard and Ruth. On a sunny and reasonably warm evening, thirteen members took part in this year's annual walk. The walk started at the George IV pub in Great Amwell; we walked along a bit of the New River - constructed between 1609 and 1613 - and proceeded along footpaths, which were all dry and easy to walk along, to the Amwell Quarry Nature Reserve. This is described as one of the best nature reserves in the country. We walked to one of the hides - White Hide - and spent some time bird spotting. Most members had brought binoculars with them and a few had bird books as well!  We saw the usual ducks and swans, and also herons, geese, moorhens amongst others. We also spotted a fox.
We walked back to the George IV pub to collect our cars - the pub closes on Mondays - and drive back to Ware to the John Gilpin pub to partake of the usual refreshment; MC was waiting for us and Roger also joined us. We celebrated the first grandchild for David and Pat; Peter B presented a garden voucher to Richard and Ruth as thanks for organising most of the walks in the past 25 years. They have now hung up their walking boots - as far as organising walks are concerned - so volunteers will be required for the future walks.
Thanks to Richard and Ruth for organising the walk.

Photo Gallery

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June: Quiz Nite with Dave and Sue Kenney
15 members formed 4 teams of 3 and 1 team of 4 for the annual quiz nite, with the teams again drawn 'out of a hat', even though Ruth and Helen were absent! There was a theme to the quiz this year, as all the questions were about food and drink. Dave forgot to bring answer sheets with him, so Kevin quickly tore up some scrap paper he had in his car! There was a tie at the end but the winners were the team who had won the most rounds, which was Margaret, John and MC. There was a food break half-way through the evening, with various nibbles supplied by the members. Thanks to Dave and Sue for organising the quiz questions and to the members who brought the food.

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May: Square Dance
80 members and guests of the wine club attended the annual square dance with caller and musician Peter and Chris. The event was held at the Age Concern Hall in Ware and was in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care. Although it was a hot evening, everyone enjoyed the square, barn and country dances. A Ploughman's supper was provided. A donation was sent to Marie Curie Cancer Care.

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May: Beds & Herts Federation Show 2010
Peter, Elaine and Kevin entered the show again this year; Peter judged and Elaine and Kevin were stewards. Peter and Kevin got a 1st place each; between them they won 18 places.
Full report and results on the NAWB web site.

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May: AGM and Italian Wine Tasting
14 members attended the AGM. The treasurer's report indicated that the club is still in a healthy financial position, although a loss was made overall for the year. It was therefore decided to keep the current subscription rate. The members have enjoyed a variety of meetings and wine tastings during the past year, some of them including food, which seems to meet the members' approval. There was a discussion about recruitment of new members and whether members wished to return to Place House for the meetings. All the current committee members were re-elected for another year.
Sue Kenney then announced the results for the Founder's Trophy, as follows - 10th M C Black 1 pt; 9th John Grindell 1½pts; joint 6th Don Maguire, Eddie hunt and Peter Byford 4 pts; 5th Colin Lovett 7pts; 4th David Kenney 7 ½pts; 3rd Kevin Martin 20 pts; 2nd  Peter Robinson 34 points; 1st Elaine Robinson 37 pts.
Kevin Martin then presented an Italian wine tasting.
The wines tasted were from the Percosi D'Altura vineyard and were bought at Tesco:
Pinot Grigio 12.5% 2008    
Muller Thurgau 12% 2008
Reisling 12% 2008  
Suavignon Blanc 13% 2008    
Traminer Aromatico   2008    
Pinot Nero   2007    

Well done to Kevin for an interesting blind wine tasting; the wines were not typical of their style; no one guessed them all correctly.

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April: Blind Wine Tasting (report by Peter Byford and Kevin Martin)
The April meeting was meant to be the AGM; however Peter R and Elaine were stuck in Spain, due to the volcano erupting in Iceland. As Peter R had all the AGM paperwork, it was decided to postpone the AGM to May. Kevin put together a blind comparison wine tasting between The Wine Society and Aldi supermarket. The wines he chose were:
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2009  Aldi £5.99 Wine Society £6.99 
White Burgundy  2008  Aldi (Macon villages) £4.99 Wine Society (Southern Burgundy) £7.50
Cotes du Rhone   2008 Aldi  £3.59 Wine Society (non vintage) £6.75
Rioja  Aldi (Reserva 2004) £5.95  Wine Society (Crianza 2006) £7.50

Kevin had chosen some nice wines and gave a brief talk about each wine. The final voting gave the winner as Aldi (41 to 27) much to our surprise.
Thank you Kevin for organising this interesting and enjoyable evening at short notice.
Well done to Kevin for the wine tasting.

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March: National Show at Weston-super-Mare
Peter and Elaine Robinson were joined this year by Kevin for the annual show at Weston-super-Mare. As usual, a very good, if hectic, weekend. The weather was reasonable for the time of year. See the NAWB website for the full results and photos.
They entered 132 bottles between them and the circle also entered the circle class for 3 bottles of wine for dinner, for which the circle came 2nd. They gained 41 places between them, including 2 1st places. Kevin won the Gerry Sparrow trophy for the general steward with most points; Peter won the Parrack trophy for most awards in the purpose wine classes, the fruit wine classes and the flower, vegetable and mead classes. The circle came 4th overall.

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March: Chilean Wine tasting by Peter Byford
17 members and 4 guests from Hoddesdon Winemakers enjoyed a wine tasting of 8 wines, from Chile, which Peter and Margaret visited in 2006. Peter also showed 2 videos of their trip, one sight-seeing, and one of the vineyards that they had visited. Margaret also made a Chilean snack.
The wines tasted were as follows:
Mont Gras Reserva 14.5% 2008 Chardonnay £7.99
Emiliana Organico Novas 14% 2006 Chardonnay £7.50
Casa Silva Dona Dominga 13.5% 2009 Sauvignon/Viognier £6.99
Cousino Macul 14% 2007 Sauvignon Gris £7.99
Mont Gras Reserve 14.5% 2008 Carmenere £7.99
Viu Manent 13.5% 2008 Malbec £7.50
Emiliana Organico Novas 14.5% 2007 Carmenere/Cabernet £7.50
Cousino Macul Antiguas Reserve 14.5% 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon £8.99


A competition was held - red and white grapes, which a number of members had made last year; there were 11 entries in each class. The results were as follows: white grape - 1st Elaine, 2nd Peter R, 3rd Don, 4th Colin; red grape - 1st Peter R, 2nd Elaine, 3rd Kevin, 4th Peter B.
Well to Peter B for telling us a bit about Chile and for getting all the wines (mostly from Waitrose).

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February: World Beer tasting by Kevin
Kevin brought along 8 beers from around the world for the 13 members to taste. There was a 'Lucky Beer' from China which came in a bottle with a Buddha embossed on it; there were two beers from the Cairngorm brewery in Scotland - Nessies Monster Mash and Black Gold; Robsons Durban Pale Ale came from South Africa and was thought to be a bit high in alcohol at 5.7%. We tasted a Casablanca beer from Morocco, a Ghurkha beer from Nepal, and two beers from 'Les 3 Brasseurs' in France - Brune and Noel - provided by Peter R. All the beers, except for the French ones, came from Beers of Europe. There was also a selection of cheese and home-made chutneys.
An interesting evening; well done Kevin.

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January: Judges Comments and what they really mean by Peter R
Peter showed a slide show of judges comments from various sources relating to commercial wines and home-made wines. These were interspersed with appropriate cartoons from a well-known cartoonist. He also took the members through the judges marking process for home-made wines (from the NGWBJ handbook), the system used in the USA for judging home-made wines and the WSET system for judging commercial wines.
Members then split into three groups and Peter passed round 4 wines for them to comment on.
The first wine was a home-made greengage and rhubarb wine, which was thought to be a bit astringent. The second wine was a 1994 wine from St Nicolas de Bourgueil in the Loire; this was slightly past its best. The third wine was an orange and raisin home-made wine; it had a good bouquet which reflected the ingredients. The fourth wine was a red dessert wine that was a special recipe for the 2000 Stort Federation show; the recipe was provided by John G; John unfortunately could not remember what the ingredients were; it had a good fruity nose but was starting to dry out.
An interesting evening. Thanks to Peter for setting it up.

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