The NEWTS (Newbury Tasting Society)

News of past events

24th May 2019

At the Kings Coffee Shop Tim North presented 9 wines selected by him from personal visits to vineyards in the Loire region of France.  As usual, Marcel and Gino provided an excellent spread of tasty refreshments.

22nd March 2019

At the Kings Coffee Shop David presented 10 wines selected from the Majestic range of Italian wines. As usual, Marcel and Gino provided an excellent spread of Italian style antipasto.

14th February 2019

We held our third Gourmet Dinner at the Newbury College Restaurant. An interesting menu, devised by the College staff, Malcolm Baggott and Cathryn Millward, was accompanied by six wines, chosen and provided by Torquil Jack of Carte-du-Vin. Students of the College worked hard serving us at table and behind the scenes in the kitchen. The evening was a great success with 41 NEWTS members and friends enjoying a lively and convivial evening.

23rd November 2018

At the Kings Coffee Shop David presented 11 wines selected from the Tesco 'Finest' and Sainsbury's 'Taste the Difference' ranges. All wines were chosen from the Decanter magazine website based on their reviews, all wines had a rating between 88-90. As usual, Marcel provided an excellent spread of filled sandwiches and nibbles.

14th November 2018

The much awaited Gin Tasting was finally held on Wednesday 14th November at The Catherine Wheel pub in Cheap Street. We were introduced to 20 different gins by Matt, who gave an excellent account of how and what to taste while managing to keep his voice above the steadily increasing noise from the appreciative audience.

22nd June 2018

At The Kings Coffee Shop we held a Mystery Evening. Starting with a 'Call My Bluff' introduction to the aperitif wine, whereby David, Elaine and Pat Ferguson each tried to persuade everyone that their description was correct. As happened last year, the majority guessed that Pat's description was correct, but not true this time; only Elaine's son supported her accurate description. Given tasting notes for 10 wines, each person then tried to assign the correct identities of 3 white and 5 red wines, which proved a difficult task. Congratulations to Pat who correctly identified 6 out of the eight wines tasted.  Marcel provided an excellent buffet with a good range of filled sandwiches. All wines had been obtained from Newbury Majestic

11th May 2018

At The Kings Coffee Shop at 2, the Broadway, David presented a wide range of wines from Eastern Europe, including Romania, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Bulgaria.  We were surprised at the excellent quality of such wines at relatively low cost.  Marcel from the coffee shop provided a tasty menu.

22nd February 2018

We held our second Gourmet Dinner at the Newbury College Restaurant. An interesting menu, devised by the College staff, Cathryn Millward and Malcolm Baggott, was accompanied by five wines, chosen and provided by Timothy North of Joie de Vin. Students of the College worked hard serving us at table and behind the scenes in the kitchen. The evening was a great success with 37 NEWTS members and friends enjoying a lively and convivial evening.

8th December 2017

At The Kings Coffee Shop at 2, the Broadway, David presented a wide range of Port wines. He explained how port is made from a huge variety of grape types in a variety of styles. This included a fine single quinta 2001 vintage port, and finished with a Madeira wine in the Malmsey style. The new owners provided an excellent buffet with a generous spread of tasty savouries and cakes.

20th October 2017

At our new venue, The Kings Coffee Shop at 2, the Broadway, we welcomed back Sal and Karen Bader who provided us with a good range of wines they had chosen from the Italian islands, Sicily and Sardinia. We returned to the same venue where we held our first tasting evening on 22nd October 2010. The new owners provided an excellent buffet with a generous spread of Italian antipasti.

16th June 2017

At Weavers Coffee Shop we welcomed back Torquil Jack from Carte-du-Vin who presented eight new wines sourced from lesser known vineyards he has visited in South Africa. As usual Torq told us a lot about the vineyards, their location and the winemakers. James provided an excellent buffet in including a good range of cheeses.

28th April 2017

At Weavers Coffee Shop we held a Mystery Evening. The evening started with a 'Call My Bluff' introduction to the aperitif wine, whereby David, Elaine and Pat Ferguson each tried to persuade everyone that their description was correct. The majority guessed that Pat's description was the correct one. Given tasting notes for 10 wines, each person then tried to assign the correct identities of 4 white and 4 red wines, which proved a difficult task. The winner was Hannah (see photo in the Photo Gallery), who managed to correctly identified 5 out of the eight wines tasted.  James provided an excellent buffet in including a good range of cheeses. All wines had been obtained from Newbury Majestic

2nd March 2017

We held our first Gourmet Dinner at the Newbury College Restaurant. An interesting menu, devised by the College staff, Cathryn Millward and Malcolm Baggott, was accompanied by five wines, chosen and provided by Timothy North of Joie de Vin. Students of the College worked hard serving us at table and behind the scenes in the kitchen. The evening was a great success with 34 NEWTS members enjoying a lively and convivial evening.

25th November 2016

At the Weavers Coffee Shop at 1-2 Weavers Walk, David Russell presented a range of sherries while explaining the various styles of sherry and how are they are made. He also used the Coffee Shop's TV screen to show a number of relevant pictures and maps.  James provided an excellent buffet of light wraps, cheeses and homemade mince pies.

28th October 2016

At the Weavers Coffee Shop at 1-2 Weavers Walk, we welcomed Tim North from Joie de Vin.  Tim gave an excellent presentation of wines from the Loire and Southern France, available from his company Joie de Vin.  James provided an excellent buffet of light wraps and cheeses.

10th June 2016

At the Weavers Coffee Shop at 1-2 Weavers Walk, we welcomed Mr Simon Taylor from Stone Vine and Sun.  Simon gave an excellent presentation of wines from Chile with much interesting background into the history of the Chilean wine industry. James provided an excellent buffet of light quiches and cheeses.

26th February 2016

At the Weavers Coffee Shop at 1-2 Weavers Walk, we welcomed Mr Nicholas Corfe for a return visit to present a new selection of wines from Brazil. Nicholas gave an interesting account of how wine production is faring in this year of the Rio Olympics. James provided an excellent buffet with filled tortilla wraps and cheeses.

27th November 2015

At the Weavers Coffee Shop at 1-2 Weavers Walk, Mr Rory Benham of The Wine Treasury gave us a very informative presentation of 8 wines from California. As we tasted the wines we were treated to interesting insights from Rory's personal contacts with the wine makers from each vineyard.  James provided an excellent savoury buffet, followed by cheese and mince pies.

25th September 2015

We return to the Weavers Coffee Shop at 1-2 Weavers Walk. Mr Torquil Jack of Carte-Du-Vin was welcomed back for the fourth time and presented some excellent wines he has discovered from his travels in the south of France. The wines went down very well with those present, which included new members Jenny Eaton, Malcolm Watson and Lisa Absolam.  James provided an excellent savoury buffet, followed by tasty cakes and profiteroles.

22nd May 2015

At our new venue, the Weavers Coffee Shop at 1-2 Weavers Walk. David presented four pairs of similar wines differing in price, and invited everyone to choose their favourite wine of each pair and estimate the price. In most cases the more expensive wine proved favourite.  James, the Coffee Shop owner, provided an excellent buffet.

13th February 2015

Downstairs at the cheese shop 'Just Add Grapes' in Weavers Walk, sadly for the last time as Greg has closed the shop. For a change, David presented a wide range of bottled beers, covering a wide range of styles and countries.  Greg provided a spread of cheeses and patés.

28th November 2014

Upstairs at the cheese shop 'Just Add Grapes' in Weavers Walk, David presented a range of wines, including Champagne and port, chosen from the local Aldi and Lidl supermarkets. They proved to be of surprising quality despite their low prices, but the most popular wine proved to be the only one chosen from the wines available in Greg's shop.  Greg provided an excellent spread of cheeses and paté.

12th September 2014

Downstairs at the cheese shop 'Just Add Grapes' in Weavers Walk, we welcomed back for the third time Mr Torquil Jack of Carte-Du-Vin.  He presented some excellent new wines he has discovered from his travels in South Africa. The wines went down very well with those present, which included new member Tony Hersh.  Greg provided an excellent spread of cheeses and meats.

16th May 2014

Again at the cheese shop 'Just Add Grapes' in Weavers Walk, Mr Nigel Gibbes of Wineservice, a family owned wine importer & wholesaler presented some of Argentina's finest wines, such as Malbec & Torrontes.  New people at the tasting were Jan and Chris Sowden.  Greg provided an excellent spread of cheeses, meats and patés.

14th March 2014

Back to the cheese shop 'Just Add Grapes' in Weavers Walk where we welcomed Saleh Bader, a good friend of Elaine and David from their time living in Leicester.   Salah has owned several Italian family restaurants so was well qualified to present a range of wines from different areas of Italy. (see Archive page for details).  New people at the tasting were Lou and Jean Warner, and of course Saleh's wife Karen.  Greg provided an excellent spread of cheeses, meats and patés.

29th November 2013

With the approach of the Christmas festive season, David toured eight local supermarkets looking for bargains on offer. Starting with Champagne, we tasted two whites, a rosé, four reds and, an LBV port to have with a mince pie.  The Champagne and the port were well-liked, an Aussie Chardonnay had a majority vote for the whites and the Valpolicella ripasso was voted the best red.  See the full list of wines on the Archive page.

27 September 2013

We returned to The Upper Crust for a Mystery Wine tasting evening. Faced with tasting notes for 9 wines, the group of 20 enthusiasts were presented with 3 white and 4 red wines to identify using the notes or whatever other clues they could muster.  Two people, Pat Ferguson and Pam Heath, are to be congratulated by correctly identifying 5 of the 7 wines.   Details of all of the wines tasted can be seen on the Archive page.

31 May 2013

With a change of venue to the new cheese shop 'Just Add Grapes' in Weavers Walk, a group of 25 tasted a selection of cheeses matched with wines.   Greg Brighouse and David Russell gave a joint presentation, details can be seen on the Archive page.

26 April 2013

An attentive group of 27 (a new record!) were treated to a selection of Spanish wines chosen by Torquil Jack at The Upper Crust. We welcomed Hazel Soutar and her father for their first visit, two former colleagues of David's, Prof. Andrew Ellis and Jane Tregoning, and David's daughter Martha and her soon-to-be husband, Neil Prior. It was Torq's second visit to us accompanied this time by his wife Marian and we enjoyed wines selected by Torq from his exclusive catalogue, which can be seen at www.carte-du-vin.co.uk

15 February 2013

The meeting on Friday 15th February at the Upper Crust was attended by a record number of 24, with four 'first-timers'.
Nicholas Corfe of Go Brazil Wines gave an interesting account of the history and current trends in wine-making in Brazil. Naturally this involved tasting and enjoying a variety of wines from his catalogue. As before, Wendy provided an excellent buffet.

19 October 2012

The meeting on Friday 19th October at the Upper Crust was attended by 19 enthusiasts, including two very welcome guests from France, Bruno and Karine who are near neighbours of Elaine and David's house in France, Chez Russell.  David presented 9 wines from the Bordeaux and Cognac regions including Pineau des Charentes, a local speciality.

For the first time we asked Wendy, owner of the Empire Cafe, to provide the buffet and we thought she did a great job.

20 April 2012

The previous Tasting event held on Friday 20th at the Empire Cafe/Upper Crust room was enjoyed by 18 wine enthusiasts.  The speaker was Torquil Jack, on the subject of "Wines from South Africa" and we were treated to an excellent range of four white and four red wines chosen by Torquil from personal visits he and his wife have made to the South African vineyards.  These wines are available through his website, www.carte-du-vin.co.uk.   Look in the Archive for details, and in the Photo Gallery for a few pictures taken during the evening.

24 February 2012

The meeting held on Friday 24th February, "Tour of Europe" by David Russell, was again held at The Empire Cafe.  A wide range of wines from countries in Europe which we have not yet explored, including England, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia and Greece were tasted and generally approved of, although the Hochar Père et Fils 2005 from Château Musar received a more critical reception.