In February 2019 the Anglican parish of Saint Andrew and Saint Mark, Surbiton held its third wine-tasting evening to raise funds for UKFTSH. A date was chosen that was after “dry January” but before the fasting season of Lent; and this ensured a good turn-out of over 70 people. The tasting was once again led by the vicar, the Revd. Robert Stanier.
On this occasion the theme was a contest between wines from France and those from elsewhere. Three pairs of wine were presented – each pair being of a similar style and selling at a similar price.
The most interesting contrast was between a white wine from the Loire valley and another from California. Both wines were made only from the Sauvignon Blanc grape, but were quite different in character. Many of the tasters had a definite preference for the light and fruity example from the US; but others found this wine to be insipid and characterless, and opted for the greater complexity and structure of the French version. France won by a single vote.
France also won the other two contests. The Wine Society’s claret easily beat a Chilean Merlot, despite the fact that some people thought that the claret was being sold too soon, and needed more time to mature in bottle. The heavier reds were less closely matched in style, although both included Syrah (or Shiraz) in the blend. A French wine in which the Carignan grape was predominant beat one from South Africa in which the Shiraz was blended with Mourvèdre – although the latter won the vote for “best wine of the evening”.
Some of our trustees provided cheese and paté which, together with a raffle for a fine bottle of champagne, helped to make the evening a social success; and together with other donations from church members, it again raised a total of over £1,350 for UKFTSH before Gift Aid.