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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.
Following a very successful wine-tasting event in aid of UKFTSH in 2017, the Anglican parish of Saint Andrew and Saint Mark, Surbiton, decided to see if they could do even better in 2018. On 27 January some 80 people gathered in St. Mark’s Hall to sample wines made from unfamiliar grape varieties.
Everyone was given a glass of prosecco on arrival – and later had their knowledge tested by a quiz question asking them to identify the grape from which prosecco is made. Despite the fact that the vicar and master of ceremonies, the Revd. Robert Stanier, had given them the answer in his introduction, only a few people correctly identified the grape*.
The other grape varieties represented (out of several thousand from which wine can be made) were Verdejo and Falanghina for white wine, Fer for rosé, and Negroamaro and Feteascӑ Neagrӑ for red.
Of these the Feteascӑ Neagrӑ was a clear favourite among the tasters, most of who had never heard of it before – although one person told us that he had recently visited a vineyard in Moldova where the grape is grown. It is an old variety that survived the phylloxera epidemic of the nineteenth century. It produces wine of a deep red colour with a hint of blackcurrant in the flavour.
The event was a success on three counts – all those attending clearly enjoyed themselves; the eyes and taste buds of many were opened to wines beyond those on the standard restaurant lists; and (with other donations, and before taking account of Gift Aid) a total of £1,385 was raised for UKFTSH.
*- Prosecco is made from a grape that used to be called prosecco, but which is now known as Glera.
Our annual carol singing, accompanied by our violinist, took place at Surbiton station on a VERY cold night in December. Lots of friends, both old and new, came to sing and a very harmonious sound was to heard. Commuters joined in with clapping, smiling and singing along, PLUS being very generous with their money. In a hour and a half we collected £635.76 which amounts to £794.70 when Gift Aid is added. A magnificent amount in a short space of time.
Why not join us this year? The date will be advertised on the website.
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