Red Herring Wine Club

Welcome to The Red Herring Wine Club's website!

 

"London's best value wine society" - Jancis Robinson OBE, Master of Wine

 

Forthcoming events:

 

Monday 22nd July 2024

 

Château Suduiraut, Premier Cru Classe, Sauternes - a vertical tasting of both dry and sweet wines
Monday 16th September Lanson Champagnes tutored by Don Corry
Wednesday 13th November 2024 Santa Rita wines tutored by Sebastian Labbé at the Chilean Embassy

 

CHAIRMAN'S ANNUAL REPORT

 

Louis Pasteur wrote that “Wine can be considered with good reason as the most healthy and the most hygienic of all beverages”.  I hope our members agree after a bountiful of Red Herring tastings.

 

I had no idea that over five decades ago when I founded the Club that we should thrive so well and have such a lively programme and membership so many years later. Flares and flower power were then in vogue; narrow ties and stubby boots are now the theme. Who knows where artificial intelligence will take us wine-wise!

 

Our tastings this year honoured European vineyards but show far more global diversity than in the founding era

 

 

 

Pablo Fallabrino showed not only Uruguayan classics like Tannat but experimental wines made in South America’s third most productive wine country.

 

James Doidge, Master of Wine, guided us across the United States – from dry Riesling in Upper New York State and Chenin Blanc in Washington State to wonderful Pinot Noir and Viognier in California.

 

Closer to home, Chris Hardy reminded us of the joys to be found along the Loire valley: graceful Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, summer-time Gamay from St Pourçain and peachy sweet Coteaux du Layon

 

 

Banfi Castle

 

 

Tuscany has always been a favourite region for Red Herrings, and last June Jgor Marini flew over to show a fantastic range from the house of Banfi.  It included the unusual Albarossa vine (a crossing made in 1938 between Chatus and Barbera) but also the top DOCG, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva and two of Banfi’s finest reds: Cum Laude Toscana and Summus.

 

Membership Secretary Dr Richard Peatfield had the great idea of comparing English and Welsh sparkling wines with Champagne.  This showed just how far UK viticulture has progressed since the first plantings in modern times in Hampshire in the 1950s.  Nyetimber and Ridgeview’s Bloomsbury saw off the competition from Champagne!

 

 

 

 

The Club has been honoured to have welcomed three wine producers who flew here to tutor events.  Apart from Pablo Fallabrino from Uruguay, Etienne Arnaud-Dopff from Dopff “Au Moulin” came from Alsace whilst Adrian Vanderspuy flew in to tutor his Oldenburg estate wines from Stellenbosch in South Africa.

 

 

 

Andy Brown showed the potential in light wines of the Douro, together with some stylish Ports made at Quinta da Pedra Alta.   Bordeaux classics was the theme adopted by Andrew Thomas who arranged all the wines were specially shipped to the UK from the cellars of Borie-Manoux.

 

 

 

Our stunning vertical tasting of the year was of Sassicaia – the icon wine of Italy created from 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc.  Andy Howard (one of three Masters of Wine to tutor our events) guided members through no less than eight vintages.  Individual bottles sell for over £600!

 

Venues

 

 

The Club venues have included the lovely Pall Mall gallery of Panter & Hall, the diplomatic setting of the Portuguese Chancery whose Ambassador and Trade Counsellor are always so supportive and – after a gap of over 15 years – to the London Welsh Centre.

 

 

Committee

 

None of these activities could have been held without a hardworking and enthusiastic Committee. Dr Richard Peatfield, our Membership Secretary, handles our circulars with dexterity and flair.  Andy Dixon keeps the website current and is great with pouring.  Nick Seymour continues as the invaluable first tasting contact for members, uncorking untold numbers of bottles and is a great pourer!  Ros Warwick services our demanding appetites for cheese and biscuits – purchasing, cutting and delivering ever greater quantities.  We welcome Peter Russell as Hon Treasurer in succession to Doug Keating and thank him for keeping our books in order.

 

Although outside the Committee, may I also thank Julia Dixon and Susan Peatfield for their continuing help – and my wife, Helen, for her constant encouragement.

 

As Chairman, it has been a privilege to work with such a team but, above all, I thank members for their continuing support.

 

Conal R Gregory, Master of Wine

Chairman

April 2024

 

 

Latest news:

 

The Club's latest news can be found on the News page.  

 

 

Return to physical tastings:

 

The Club's second physical tasting "Château Mouton-Rothschild" took place at Vivat-Bacchus in Farringdon - a summary of the tasting can be found on our News page.

 

 

The Club's first physical tasting since February 2020 was on the subject "Wines under the Hammer".  Christopher Burr, Master of Wine, tutored a range of wines which were offered by Chiswick Auctions in October.  Prefaced by a wonderfully mature Champagne (Dom Pérignon Brut 1993, bottled in Epernay), the selection included biodynamic Pouilly-Fuissé Château du Lavernette 2018, old vines Maranges 2018 (Thierry and Pascale Matrot) and two rare examples from Margaux: Margaux de Château Margaux 2014 and the island wine made in the Gironde, Domaine de L'Ille Margaux 2016. 

 

 Members were full of praise:

 

Bill Horwood messaged the Club: "What a most enjoyable tasting, especially live and the team worked so hard to ensure everything worked well"

 

Another long-term member, Andy Grainger, said, "I would like to thank all the team for the wonderful tasting.  Apart from the wines which spoke for themselves, it must have been a lot of work to sort out the seating, the welcome at the door, the packets of biscuits, the various Covid measures, the pouring and so on.  I thought Christopher Burr was one of the best speakers we have had.  I'll certainly look at the Chiswick Auctions website".

 

David Rayner CBE was a guest at the tasting and he commented; “It was a hugely enjoyable tasting on Monday and thank you very much for inviting us both.  Very warm and relaxed presentation, full of information, experience and humour, and a most interesting selection of wines rarely available to experience.  Much appreciated.”

 

Our members speak:

 

Following the tasting from within the vineyards above the Alsatian village of Riquewihr, the Club received the following feedback:

 

 "You must have had lots of messages from Red Herring Wine Club members about the wonderful tasting organised for us on Friday evening. It was absolutely outstanding.  Beautifully presented from the vineyard itself and lots of interesting questions answered"  -  member George Sandars.

 

 

Message from Conal Gregory, Master of Wine - Club Chairman

 

New world or old?  Corks or screw caps?  New technology is making itself felt in all aspects of the wine business and the Club felt it was time to launch a website for members.  You'll be able to find all the Club's news, details of tastings and offers on this site and we hope that our New World enthusiasts will find this a more convenient way to find out about the Club's events.

 

 

Following his tutoring of the "Cabernet around the World" tasting, Dr Ben Lewin, Master of Wine, commented:

 

"I liked the impression that the members have a genuine interest in wine, hence some appreciation of the format.  I go to a fair number of tastings in New York where people are more interested in just knocking off the big names or getting bragging rights about cult wines.  So this was a really nice contrast". 

 

 

Don't miss the opportunity to join us in tastings from previously unvisited areas and some special events.

 

 

News:   On-line Payment

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