What we tasted in February 2021

In February we hosted a fantastic zoom presentation and tasting with Katie Jones of Katie Jones Wines and Julia Jenkins of Flagship Wines.

Members will remember Katie’s visit to us in 2017 when she presented a range
of her excellent wines based on traditional, often rare, Languedoc grapes. Katie presented three of her wines to us from her home in the Languedoc via Zoom. You may remember that Katie hails from Ashby de le Zouch and she was accompanied by Julia Jenkins, a wine merchant friend of hers who is a UK Wine Merchant and who also hails from Leicester. Julia sells Katie’s wines.

For more information:
Web: domainejones.com
Web: nakedwines.com
Web: flagshipwines.co.uk

The wines tasted were:

  1. Katie Jones white 2018
  2. Katie Jones Along Came Jones Hairy Grenache 2018
  3. Domaine Jones Fitou 2018 

What we tasted in January 2021

In January we were treated to a wonderful Zoom presentation and wines by Laure Columbo of Jean-Luc Colombo and Michelle Barrie of Mentzendorff. We are grateful to Mentzendorff for making this tasting possible.

Jean-Luc Colombo is one of France’s most talented and creative winemakers based in Cornas, crafting first-class wines from the Northern Rhone Valley and Southern France. Laure is Vineyard Manager and Winemaker working alongside her father.

For more information and to order wines, please contact:
For more information:
For more information:
Web: vinscolombo.fr/en/
Web: mentzendorff.co.uk/producers/jean-luc-colombo

The wines tasted were:

  1. Picpoul de Pinet Les Girelles 2018 75cl (100% Picpoul Blanc)
  2. St Péray La Belle de Mai 2016 – Organic 75cl (60% Roussanne 40% Marsanne) 
  3. Colombo Cotes du Rhone Les Abeilles Rouge 2016 37.5cl (1/3 Grenache 1/3 Syrah 1/3 Mourvèdre)
  4. Cairanne Le Pavillon Des Courtisanes 2018 75cl (80% Grenache 20% Syrah) 

Next tasting – Friday 8th January

In January Mentzendorff will be hosting a tasting of Rhone/ Mediterranean wines from Jean-Luc Colombo, one of France’s most talented and creative winemakers based in Cornas. Jean-Luc is the star Rhone producer in the Mentzendorff portfolio, crafting first-class wines from the Northern Rhone Valley and Southern France. We are grateful to Mentzendorff for making this tasting possible. The event will be hosted by Jean-Luc’s daughter, Laure, who is Vineyard Manager and Winemaker working alongside her father.

For more information:
Web: vinscolombo.fr/en/
Web: mentzendorff.co.uk/producers/jean-luc-colombo

Note: This tasting will be presented via Zoom. Members are contacted prior to each tasting to order any wines they wish to try. 

What we tasted in December 2020

Merry Christmas and thanks for a great turnout for our festive Zoom tasting. We were treated to an effervescent presentation by Duncan Murray or Duncan Murray Wines of Market Harborough. This is certainly a time to support your local wine merchant and Duncan would love to hear from you before the big day.

For more information and to order wines, please contact:
For more information:
Web: duncanmurraywines.co.uk
Email: info@duncanmurraywines.co.uk
Tel: 01858 464935
Facebook: Duncan Murray Wines

The wines tasted were:

  1. Mustillant Sparkling Muscadet, NV, Loire, France
  2. Villa Wolf Silvaner, Pfalz (Palatinate) 2009
  3. El Abuelo Monastrell-Tempranillo, 2019, Almansa, S. Spain
  4. D’Oliveiras 5 yo medium sweet Madeira ½ bottle, Portugal


What we tasted in November 2020

Many thanks for another great turnout for our Zoom tastings. We were treated to a really interesting and spontaneous presentation by Leon Solarski of Leon Solarski Wines and Jonathan Hesford of Domaine Treloar, Roussillon, France.

For more information and to order wines, please contact:
Web: domainetreloar.com
Web: www.leonstolarskiwines.co.uk
Blog: leonstolarski.blogspot.com
Phone: 0794 1850178

Members should contact Leon for discounts on the following wines Domaine Treloar which we tasted. Other bottles are available at a 10% discount on the list price

Daltonien 2019 Côtes Catalanes (white)
Le Ciel Vide 2018 Côtes du Roussillon Villages (red)
Le Rescapé 2016 Côtes Catalanes (red) 

What we tasted in October 2020

Many thanks for a fantastic turn out for the AGM and Member’s tasting.  A number of varied and entertaining presentations from our members over Zoom gave us a wonderful opportunity to try some half bottles from The Wine Society.


Solear Manzanilla Barbadillo, Jerez – £5.95 per half bottle

Chateau Bel Air Perponcher Reserve, Bordeaux Blanc 2019 – £5.95 per half bottle

Pinot Gris Classic, Famille Hugel, Alsace 2018 – £7.95 per half bottle


Esporao Monte Velho Tinto, Alentejano, Portugal 2019 – £4.95 per half bottle

Cotes-du-Rhone Rouge Guigal 2016 – £5.95 per half bottle

What we tasted in September 2020

Many thanks to Andrew Hill or George Hill and Co of Loughborough for hosting a Zoom tasting of South African wines.

Details of the wines presented were:

Quando Sauvignon Blanc       

  • The vineyard and winery is owned by the descendants of the original French Bruere family that settled on this property in the 1700’s, Fanus and Martin Bruwer head up family’s wine making business six generations later. 
  • Since we started making wine in 2001 our Sauvignon Blanc has been a real crowd pleaser. It is light green in colour with exotic forthcoming frangipani flower, passionfruit and white peach on the nose. Flinty minerally notes on the pallet follow through with a crisp acidity. Delicious juicy green fruit flavours round it off elegantly.

Jordan Black Magic

  • Gary and Kathy Jordan have been making world-class wines since 1993 on a farm with a history going back over 300 years. He’s a geologist, she’s an economist – together this husband and wife team is a phenomenon. From the Jordan hillside vineyards, one has spectacular panoramic views of Table Mountain, False Bay and Stellenbosch.
  • Their focus is on producing fiercely individual wines that combine the fruity accessibility of the New World with the Classic Elegance of the Old.

False Bay Wild Bunch O V Cinsault

  • Whole Bunch Cinsault Mourvèdre is not cobbled together from off-cuts of leftover red and white wine. Nor is it over-cropped red grapes pressed aggressively to maximise juice yield and confected aromas. The wine comes from low-yielding, coastal vineyards, delicately whole-bunch basket pressed for only the purest juice. A fine wine that happens to be pink.

An update

 The current situation and recent activities

We regret that the Grand Union Wine Society was forced to suspend normal monthly tastings following lockdown. We aim to move back to physical tastings as soon as possible but only when it is safe to do so. Membership will continue to be valid until further notice.

Gatherings of 80+ members in our usual venue clearly cannot take place but we remain very active. Our members and Committee are now in direct email communication via a new central contact point and we have been able to continue our Committee business and wine tastings via Zoom.

Recent Zoom tasting have included Languedoc wines from Gilles Cantons (sourced from Duncan Murray Wines of Market Harborough) and an Italian tasting of wines from The Wine Society.  We were pleased to have 25 screens for our first full Zoom tasting involving at least twice that number of members. Members who do not join us online are still able to buy the wines and every member is provided with a copy of the complete presentation. 

We now have an established online system for orders and payments by members and also for distribution of wines thanks to assistance from Committee and Society members who organise pick-up points in Leicester (with some direct deliveries to members outside the city).

Fully illustrated PowerPoint presentations with tasting notes and details of all the wines to be tasted (with details of the winemakers and wine-growing areas) are produced by the Chairman and Secretary and shared with members online. Online discussion during and after the formal presentation and tasting is valued by members who provide feedback. 

We hope that our wine suppliers may be more directly involved in future Zoom tastings and will continue to share PowerPoint presentations and full wine details with members.

Provisional plans for the rest of 2020   

Our monthly Zoom tastings will take place on the 2nd Friday of each month (our usual day) at 7.30 pm.

Full details of wines, prices, distribution, and final arrangements (including Zoom links) will be confirmed directly with members prior to each event. 

We will support our local Wine Merchants at this difficult time and Committee members are working hard to maintain and extend these contacts. 

August 14th  California (Wines from Simon March of Evington’s Wine Merchants, Leicester)

September 11th South Africa (Wines from Andrew Hill of George Hill, Loughborough)

October 9th      Wines from Northern Italy

November 13th  Southern France (Wines from Leon Stolarski Wines)

December 11th  Christmas event with Duncan Murray

Valued presenters who were in the diary for later this year have agreed that tastings at St James are not currently viable. However these events will be rearranged in 2021 wherever possible.

Be assured that the Grand Union Wine Society Committee will do all we can to continue and extend our range of wine-based activities.

John Malpass, Chairman.

A message from the committee

Dear members,

We enjoyed a memorable tasting on March 13th.

We were privileged to have a superb range of fine wines and a presenter, Olivier Normand, who came to us all the way from Burgundy despite the Covid19 worries. He gave an excellent, expert presentation based on a lifetime of experience of the area and its fine wines.

We were pleased that a good number of members were able to join us but sorry that quite a few could not. We appreciate the responsible stance taken by those who self-isolated on the basis of possible previous contact and are grateful to those who took the trouble to let us know beforehand.

In the current situation (and after contact with Andrew Hill), we have reluctantly taken the decision to cancel the April tasting. We hope to get Andrew back in the not too distant future.

Given recent pronouncements from Government, it seems likely that our May and Summer tastings will also be threatened. We will keep members informed about the situation as it affects us. 

We hope you all stay healthy and safe.

John Malpass, on behalf of all the GUWS Committee.