Events Blog


Another great sell-out event in Tongham Village Hall! For the fifty guests who came and need reminding or for those who couldn’t make it, this is what we served at the Tongham Tapas Fiesta / Spanish Wine Tasting evening.
Wine and Tapas Course No.1
Dry Fino Sherry
DO Jerez. South West Spain.
Marks and Spencers by Bodegas William Humbert
15% - Bone Dry and Crisp. Made from Palomino Grapes.
Olive and Red Pepper Tapas

Ideal or as an aperitif or with Tapas. The salty, green olive and lemon taste goes extremely well with olives and egg dishes.
John’s notes – A really good value Fino Sherry and great pairing.
We served this with Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Omelette), garlic and red pepper Olives and an amazing Chorizo.

Wine and Tapas Course No.2
Val do Salnes Albarino Sobre Lias 2009
Bodegas Castro Martin
DO Rias Baixas Galicia North West Spain
12% - Light, Dry and Fruity. Albarino Grapes.
Available in Marks and Spencers.
Peach & pear flavours and high acidity. Ideal with seafood.
John’s notes – Very good Albarino with a lovely spritz. 
We served this with a shot glass of Gazpacho (Spanish tomato soup) and prawn & seafood tapas (fish was available for those with seafood allergies)
Wine and Tapas Course No.3
Storks Tower Rose 2009
Tempranilla Shiraz Grapes
Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon.
Hijos de Antonio Barcelo
12.5% - Fresh and crisp dark rose. Available in Tesco’s.
Ripe red berry fruit flavours makes this ideal for salmon or spicy food.
John’s notes – Always lovely, an almost perfect easy drinking rose.
Great artisan made Chorizo from acorn fed pigs
We served this with warm Chorizo and garlic mayonnaise plus mushrooms marinated in white wine with chillies, garlic & paprika.
4 of our special wines

Wine and Tapas Course No.4
El Chaparral De Vega Sindoa 2008
Old Vines Garnacha (Grenache) grapes
DO Navarra. Bodegas Nekeas.
14% - Balanced expression of this grape from north Navarra.
Lovely red wine that goes well with any red meat dishes especially those that involve a little spice. Available in Majestic.
John’s notes – A really nice red wine, probably the best Garnacha I have had.
We served this with medallions of pork in herbs and white wine and the classic Patatas Bravas, a spicy potato dish.

Wine and Tapas Course No.5

Marques de la Concordia 2005
DOC Rioja Reserva.
13.5% - 24 months in American oak and a further year in the bottle.
Was available from Majestic wines but they may not have it any more..
A classic Rioja taste that matches well with most red meat dishes.
John’s notes – A typical Rioja taste and good for the price– we got this when on special at Majestic.
We served this with another Tapas classic – Albondigas meatballs plus a side dish of broad beans with onions and paprika.
Wine and Tapas Course No.6
Camins del Priorat 2008
DOC Priorat
Alvaro Palacious – one of the best wine makes of the region.

14.5% - A wine that attempts to bring Priorat to a wider audience.
This wine is made from Carinena, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes. From Berry Bros & Rudd (also available from Waitrose).
A wine to be savoured with good food and cheese.

John’s notes – Wow! Very powerful and really great taste. This will be a contender for wine of the month.
We served this with a selection of Spanish & Basque cheeses. A lovely Maese Miguel Manchego from Sainsburys, a Istara P’tit Basque Brebis from Waitrose and a lovely Mahon from Waitrose.

Wine and Tapas Course No 7
7 chocolate chorizos
Williams and Humbert Sweet Pedro Ximinez Sherry

Bottled for Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference
DO Sherry aged for 12 years.
18% - Luscious Sweet full bodied dessert wine.
Caramel and Raisin flavours.
Silver medal & best in class IWSC awards.
John’s notes – a syrupy prune flavoured delight that pairs well with chocolate. You don’ need much!
We served this with Chocolate Chorizo – an amazing chorizo shaped chocolate confection.

All in all a great night and one that raised over £1,000for Tongham Village Hall
I can’t end this report withouta bunch of thanks –
To Jane and Christine for their wonderful cooking.
To Bob, Patricia and Carol for doing the serving.
To Ruby, Jeremy, Carol and others who worked so hard to prepare the hall.
To everyone, including Hampton Estates, who brought along the raffle prizes.
To Alain Murchison who contributed our auction item that raised so much money.
And to everyone who contributed to the evening’s success. 
Our own master chef Jane
Some comments (gratefully received) from those who came:
Very many thanks Jane and John for a superb night of Spanish wines and
Tapas. Chris and I enjoyed it all immensely and both agreed it was the best
one yet! You and the team did a superb job, and despite no doubt, all the hard
work in preparation, you made it look slick, and professional. Very
well done.We can't wait until the next one.

What a fantastic evening. Great food, fine wine and lovely company -
what else could you ask for? Raising money for an excellent cause of
course! I hope all your hard effort is appreciated - keep up the good work -and see you at the next event.

Well done to you both for a fab evening, we really enjoyed ourselves.

12:54, 14 Feb 2011 by Jeremy Meckiffe

Fun Kwizz & Kurry Nite held on 16th October 2010

Another enjoyable and successful fundraising night was had by all those who attended the Fun Kwizz & Kurry Nite.

With a change from his usual format Derek once again excelled with a challenging range of questions covering subjects that included teasers on local knowledge mingled with entertainment, sport and general knowledge for all age groups, delivered with his usual emphasis on fun.

Margarets curry went down a storm half way through the evening which was finished off with the usual raffle.

In total the evening raised a fabulous £270 toward the Phase II Refurbishment Fund and a big thank you goes to all those who helped with the event but especially those who attended, who's continued support is greatly appreciated.

17:17, 05 Nov 2010 by Jeremy Meckiffe

Monday, 27 September 2010

Champagne Dinner at Tongham Village Hall

We can report back a great success on many levels for our champagne tasting dinner in the Village Hall. Best of all we raised over £1,200 towards Phase II of the ongoing renovation work.   Important also, everyone seemed to enjoy the evening.   For those who missed it –these are the wines you missed -
Voirin-Jumel Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut NV
Since 1945 the Voirin-Jumels are proud to be a Champagne family rather than a brand. If you look at the label it says RM which means Récoltant Manipulant; i.e. they both grow the grapes and make the Champagne. They are based in Cramant, one of the top Grand Cru villages of the Côte des Blancs, the hilly chalky stretch of land between Epernay and Vertus where most of the Champagne region’s Chardonnay grapes are grown. They have grapes growing in ten other villages as well.   This champagne is from their Premier Cru vineyards and is made using only Chardonnay grapes.   This is a good example of a Blanc de Blancs Champagne; it is elegant and delicate with a lovely typical chardonnay flavour.   Do visit them in Cramant, they are on the main road and you can’t miss the village as it has an 8 metre high Champagne Bottle at the entrance to the village! Otherwise their wine is available in a number of French supermarkets including Auchan. This wine is a mix of more than one year’s grapes and thus is NV or non-vintage. Brut indicates that it is dry (less than 12 grams of sugar per litre). I have been drinking their wines for 8 years and highly recommend them for taste and value.  
We served this with scallops, pea puree and pancetta.
Nicolas Feuillatte Millésime 2004 Cuvée Spécial Brut
Nicolas Feuillatte is the brand name used by the oldest and largest union of cooperatives in the region. They have used the brand name since 1986 and it is now well known as they sell 8 to 9 million bottles of Champagne a year including much in the UK. As they represent 82 cooperatives and 5,000 vineyards they have some good grapes to choose from. They are based in Chouilly near Epernay.   You call tell this is a bottle from a cooperative as it has CM on the label which means Coopérative Manipulant. The fact that it has a year and Millésime on the bottle indicates that it is made from grapes from just one year. In the UK we call this a Vintage Champagne. In theory Vintage champagnes are made only in good years from the best grapes. Special Cuvées are meant to be special blends made with excellent grapes and often have fancy shaped bottles as we can see with this wine. 2004 was the best vintage between 2003 and 2006. This one certainly has a nice creamy mousse.
We served this Gaspacho, crab & prawns.
Albert de Milly Selection Brut NV
Created in 1994 by the son of a small wine producer, Albert de Milly have their own vineyards but are classified as an NM, Negociant Manipulant, as they use more than 5% of grapes from other producers.   Most of the big well known Champagne Houses are negociant. This house is based in Bisseuil on the crossroads of the Marne Valley, Cote des Blancs and Montagne de Reims. These are respectively the best areas for growing Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes – the classic varieties used in 99% of all Champagnes. For me this is a really great blend (Guide Hachette seem to agree with me) – I suspect it is about 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay. It has been laid down for 3 years before release (15 months is the minimum for a NV).  
We served this with a fish terrine.
Sainsbury (or Tesco) Blanc de Noir Brut NV
This has MA on the label or Marque d’Achetuer – ie it is an own label brand. These tend to be made for the supermarkets by the big cooperatives and are often much better then the well known Champagne brands.   I am never afraid to serve supermarket brand champagnes at a dinner or tasting and Gordon Brown served Sainsbury’s Blanc de Noirs at his wedding. A Blanc de Noirs is a wine made from just black grapes and the Sainsbury one has 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Pinot Meunier.   They have a bigger taste than other champagnes.  
We served this with mushrooms en croute.
Allouchery Perceval Premier Cru Rose Brut NV
This Champagne comes from Ecueil in the Montagne de Reims area. This is a Premier Cru village (villages get this designation rather than individual vineyards as in Burgundy) which is the 2nd best after Grand Cru. Allouchery Perceval are RC or Recoltant Cooperative, which means they grow their own grapes but get it made at the local cooperative with their own label. They are a small family concern, Lucie, Daniel and Emilien who welcome you into their small home to taste and buy their wine. We have enjoyed their wines for 8 years and served it at our wedding – at this time they were an RM. This Champagne is made from 90% Blanc de Noirs champagne with 10% of red Pinot Noir red wine added for the colour. There grapes come from 25 to 30 year old vines on mid-slope sites and are well elaborated and cellared.  
We served this with a chicken, yellow pepper and sausage meat roulade.
Paul Bara Bouzy Rouge Coteaux Champenois 2002 Grand Cru
Champagne doesn’t make just sparkling wines – it makes a few still red, whites and roses but they are little known outside the region.   This is one of the very best examples from an excellent vintage. This is an RM growers champenois and is 100% Pinot Noir from one of their 30 holdings in the village. It comes from the excellently named village of Bouzy, which is one of the best Pinot Noire villages, hence the Grand Cru designation. Established in 1833 the house of Bara has been handed down through the family over generations. It is now managed by Chantale the eldest daughter of the much respected Paul Bara who died a few years ago.   Bouzy rouge is a speciality but they also make excellent champagne. Their total output is 110,000 bottles a year.  
This was served with a special regional version of a pot au feu.
Edmond Bourdelat Reserve Brut NV
This Champagne is from Brugny in the Marne Valley which is the heart of Pinot Meunier country. This is a blend of 70% Pinot Meunier and 30% Chardonnay and is recommended by the Guide Hachette as well as myself. We were introduced to this RM by some French friends a few years ago and made a visit to the property earlier this year for an excellent tasting of their wines. They have a house at the top of the hill overlooking Brugny with Epernay in the distance and make their champagne under their house and grow their vines in the surrounding countryside – well worth a visit and tasting; Sandrine hosted the best tasting we have had and husband Bruno, Edmond’s son, makes great Champagne.  
We served this with our cheese course of Chaource, Brie and Mature Gouda.
De Castellane Rose Brut NV
This is a wine from one of the large Epernay NM negociants (they actually own no vineyards at all). Their wine is made in a marvelous Belle Epoque building with an iconic 66 metre tower. They are very well known on the continent where they are a well known brand but have been sold in the UK by Bibendum and Nicolas only in the last year. Established in 1895 they are now owned by Laurent Perrier – one of the Grande Marques champagne houses – and now share their winemaker who is famed for his Roses. De Castellane champagnes are easily recognised by their red cross of St Andrew. This wine is a delicate salmon pink colour and is made from 40% Chardonnay and 60% Pinot Noir with a dosage of liquor made with chardonnay and pinot noir for the colour.   This wine has won a number of awards and medals.  
It was served with a beautiful Strawberry Charlotte.
Thanks again to everyone who helped out in one way or another at this event to make it a success – too many to name here but hopefully you know it was well appreciated.   We also appreciated the support in terms of discounts and raffle prizes from both Secretts Farm Shop in Milford and Hunts Hill Farm in Normandy – it is good to have local businesses like this nearby.
13:52, 04 Oct 2010 by Jeremy Meckiffe


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