Cheers’ Barry Starmore 8thJuly 2019

Today’s talk by Barry Starmore, was an intro­duc­tion to wine and spir­its.

Barry has been in the wine busi­ness over 25 years, during which time he has been a Sommelier at the Savoy Group, and worked for ‘Odd Bins’ and the ‘Wig and Pen’ (both no longer in exist­ence). He is now a Director of ‘StarmoreBoss’ in Sharrowvale Rd. where they offer tast­ings of wine and whisky, and talks on how they are made.

 

An Overview.

Distillers and wine makers must have exper­i­ence, and a pas­sion for what they do, as the para­met­ers are ever­chan­ging – cli­mate, loc­a­tion, farmer, vit­i­cul­tur­al­ist etc

A gen­er­a­tion ago, wines were mainly from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Portugal, Italy, Spain, but now they are from all over the world, but, nev­er­the­less, wines from tra­di­tional sources are still very import­ant.

The UK is the biggest importer of wines which come from Japan, Georgia, Holland, South Africa, South America etc……… Australian wines first came to the UK in 1986. However, research is ongo­ing world­wide to locate new ter­rains, grape types and how to farm them.

In the UK there are 503 vine­yards and 133 winer­ies. The most north­erly vine­yard in the UK is at Junction 46 on the M1 at Leventhorpe (near Leeds) and the nearest one is at Renishaw Hall.

Sales of wine in the UK topped £10bn last year and sales of Spirits were sim­ilar. The duty on a bottle of wine is £2.80 plus 20p for the label and bottle, whereas whisky has a duty of £7.50/bottle.

Big retail­ers import wine by the tanker load and bottle in the UK, which is all strictly con­trolled, so it is still good, even when ‘’bottled’’ in mag­nums or boxes.

 The Grapes –There are 5 noble main grapes but 10000 vari­et­ies of grapes in total. Italy uses 2000. The rest of the world diver­si­fies on vari­et­ies to suit their situ­ation.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon with a black­cur­rant fla­vour is the most pop­u­lar as it is slow­est to ripen but good in dif­fer­ent soils. Malbec grapes have medi­cinal prop­er­ties!
  • The soil is treated with manure and the vines allowed to trail, rather than being trained, with, some­times, roses added to the lines of vines, for help­ing the pro­cess. Less chem­ic­als are now used as there are new meth­ods of get­ting rid of bugs.
  • In the Northern hemi­sphere the grapes are har­ves­ted from late August to October, in the even­ing, which stops oxid­a­tion of the grapes. If the fruit is ripe and the sugars high, then they may be picked earlier. They are then put in a cool tank or vacuum for 10 to 12 days to sta­bil­ise them.
  • The pro­cess then includes adding yeast and sugar to the unfer­men­ted grape juice (the must) plus a bit of sul­phur (min­imal nat­ural sul­phur if pos­sible, to reduce the effects on head­aches and pan­cre­atic prob­lems that some drink­ers suffer from).
  • Oak bar­rels are import­ant for fer­ment­ing or stor­ing, as they take out the tan­nins and allow long time devel­op­ment. For Beaujolais Nouveau the grapes are not pressed hard, they are stored and pro­cessed in neut­ral stain­less steel, clay or con­crete tanks and bottled quickly so that they have less tan­nins and more fla­vour.

The Cork

Cork tree bark is har­ves­ted only every 7 to 10 years to allow the tree to recover. The cork must be washed in clean spring water, so as not to leave a taste and to allow it to last longer before drying out. Wine matures better with a cork than with a screw top. Plastic stop­pers are OK but shrink after about 5 years. Glass stop­pers are used by the Australians.

General

Wine should be drunk within 3 or 4 days of open­ing. Some wine brought back from Europe which was good drunk in Europe when fresh, is only designed to last 2 weeks, so it is never as good at home.

Keep wine at 8 to 10 degrees a long time before open­ing. There is no need to turn the bottles during stor­age. Stand the bottle up 2 days before open­ing and decant and filter reds before drink­ing.

Ice wines are made from grapes left on the vine and picked after they have been frozen. They have less juice as they are shriv­elled, and pro­duce a sweet wine.

There were com­ments from the mem­bers about the descrip­tions of wine, writ­ten on the bottles. The palette is most sens­it­ive in the morn­ing, so see if you can taste the wet grass and goose­ber­ries then!

This was a very inter­est­ing and inform­at­ive insight into the appre­ci­ation and making of wine, but there is obvi­ously a lot more to learn.

CHEERS.