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Another virtual BYO meetup. This time it's a summery theme to match the weather - hopefully! Bring your choice of an aromatic white, rosé or lightish red. Here is some guidance: Aromatic Whites: grapes which naturally have strong aromas, for example Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Muscat..... Rosé: there are so many styles from all over the world from pale & delicate to dark and flavoursome..... Lightish Reds: black grapes with thinner skins and low tannins which you could maybe very lightly chill, for example Pinot Noir, Beaujolais (Gamay grape), Austrian reds...... Before the tasting please post a comment to let everyone know which wine you will be bringing. On the night we'll all introduce our wine and say something about it. During the evening I will say a bit more about these styles of wines and there will be a Wine Quiz (multiple choice). There will be a 5 minute break at 8.30. We look forward to a fun evening with you. PS You will be sent a ZOOM link within 48 hours before the event. REFUND POLICY - No refunds To ensure we have committed attendees a fee of £2 is charged, to cover zoom costs, Paypal and Meet-up fees (non-refundable). Cheers, Christos
Another of the ever popular Champagne Weekends! I have organised several of these trips in the last few years and have excellent contacts with many small producers - they offer a very personal experience and champagne of exceptional quality and value, and the visits to them are always the highlight of the weekend. If you want to join this tour don't delay your booking as these trips always fill up! You can see the rave reviews of a previous trip in this link: https://www.meetup.com/The-London-Wine-Dining-and-Travel-Meetup/events/236789170/ If you have ever wanted to visit this fascinating area, discover the secret of the bubble, and find out what makes champagne the celebratory drink par excellence, then this is the weekend for you. You will see the miles of cellars dug out of chalk where millions of bottle age gracefully, learn how champagne is made, and discover what makes it so special. The town of Reims where we will be based has many other attractions including a stunning cathedral, fine dining restaurants and lots of lively bars and nightlife. Our hotel is perfectly situated right on the main pedestrian thoroughfare where there are lots of restaurants and bars. ITINERARY We will leave from London Victoria around 7.00 on Friday morning in a comfortable, air-conditioned coach. There will be an option to be collected from Stop 24 service station at Junction 11 on the M20, one junction before the Eurotunnel terminal, where you can park for approx. £6 per day. We will arrive in Reims late afternoon and go straight to visit one of the major Champagne houses for a tour and tasting in their extensive cellars. This evening there may be an optional group dinner or you can explore the town with its many restaurants and bars. During the next two days we will head towards Epernay, the Montagne de Reims and the Cotes de Blancs to visit three family producers - two on Saturday and one on Sunday morning. These producers are all situated in the best villages (1er Cru and Grand Cru) and are hand-picked for the quality and value which they offer. At each one we will taste various champagnes from their range and you will be able to buy supplies at very attractive prices (the coach has plenty of luggage space!). On Saturday at lunchtime there will be free time to wander round the town of Epernay and in the evening there will be more free time in Reims. We will head back to the UK after lunch on Sunday, arriving at London Victoria around 9 pm. The tour includes:- - travel throughout by full size 53 seat executive coach, crossing by Eurotunnel - two nights bed and buffet breakfast at the 4 star Hotel de la Paix in Reims. The hotel is very centrally located, has air conditioned rooms, a trendy bar and a small swimming pool. (See www.bestwestern-lapaix-reims.fr) - visits and tastings at 4 different champagne producers (1 Grande Marque and 3 family producers) - services of Christos Ioannou as wine expert and tour guide The cost is £390 per person sharing a double or twin room, with a single supplement of £70 for sole occupancy. There are also a few upgraded twin/double ‘Privilege’ rooms available for an additional cost of £50 per person (not available for single rooms). If you are prepared to share a twin room with a person of the same sex but do not have anyone to share with, we will try and match you up, but if there is no-one suitable you will have to pay the single supplement. A non-refundable deposit of £97.50 is payable when booking, and the balance is due 8 weeks before departure. Your money will be held in a secure Client Deposit Account and is fully protected. This trip is very competitively priced as another well known UK wine tour operator last year was charging around £800 with a £150 single supplement on a like-for-like basis for their Champagne Weekends! Places will be limited to 35 people and numbers must be finalised by the end of May, but it's likely to sell out well before then so don't delay if you would like to join this fabulous tour. These trips are open to anyone not just members of the Meetup group, so feel free to pass on the details to any friends, family or colleagues who might be interested. HOW TO BOOK: To book this tour RSVP ‘Yes’ and then go to: https://criterionwinetours.com/product/champagne-tour-2020/ where you can complete the booking from and pay the deposit with a debit or credit card (not AMEX) online
The tour is already FULLY BOOKED but you can join the Waitlist. Bordered by the Vosges Mountains to the west and the Rhine River and Germany to the east, the Alsace wine region is undoubtedly one of the most charming and uniquely distinct regions of France. Famed for wine, culture, landscape, history, gourmet food and ‘chocolate-box’ villages, Alsace offers something for everyone. We’ll be based in Colmar, one of the prettiest towns in the whole of France and there will be time to explore the town. The wines are predominantly white and the 4 main grapes are Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Muscat, but there are also reds made from Pinot Noir and plenty of Cremant (sparkling wine). We’ll visit several wine producers and taste lots of their lovely wines, enjoy gourmet food and we’ll also visit a famous local castle. ITINERARY Day 1: Thursday 8th October Meet at Basel airport at 11.05. A coach will meet us and transfer us straight to our first winery appointment where we will have lunch. This afternoon we will visit a 2nd winery. Late afternoon check-in to 4-star Novotel Suites (3 nights). Free evening to explore the town. Day 2: Friday 9th October After breakfast we board our coach and will visit two more producers, including lunch at one. We have a long shortlist of favourite producers (see below) and will confirm our final choices in the coming weeks. Return to hotel. Free evening. Day 3: Saturday 10th October After breakfast we board our coach and head back to the villages of the region to visit two more producers. Lunch today will be at one of the wineries or at a local restaurant. This afternoon we will also visit the medieval Haut Koenigsbourg Castle which is situated high in the village of Orschwiller with stunning views over the surrounding area. Here we will have a tour with a private guide. Late afternoon return to Colmar. Free evening. Day 4: Sunday 11th October This morning is free to explore the beautiful town of Colmar. You may like to visit the Unterlinden Museum, the Food Market, or wander along the canals soaking up the atmosphere. Departing the hotel around midday we re-board our coach for our final group visit which will be lunch at a winery or local restaurant. Late afternoon transfer to Basel Airport (1 hour) to arrive by 17.00 WINERIES: We have along list of favourite wineries which are on our shortlist for visits. These include Joseph Cattin, Zeyssolf, Paul Blanck, Rolly Gassman, Domaine Gresser, Jean Becker, Paul Ginglinger, Sylvie Spielman, Louis Sipp, Leon Beyer, Meyer-Fonne, Bott-Geyl…It will be hard to make a final selection, but they will all be independent family producers who offer quality wines and a warm welcome. END OF TOUR ACCOMMODATION: Novotel Suites in Colmar. Newly opened in 2018, the rooms are spacious and modern. There are indoor and outdoor reception/ seating areas with a bar. The hotel is a few minutes’ walk from the canals and historic centre of Colmar and its many restaurants https://novotel-suites-centre.colmar-hotels.com/en/ TRAVEL: flights are NOT included so you will need to book your own travel to/from Basel airport. The recommended group flights are with British Airways: Thursday 14th May BA[masked] London Heathrow to Basel 11.05 Sunday 17th May BA[masked] Basel 18.40 to London Heathrow 19.20 Price £860 per person sharing a double or twin room. £160 Single Supplement INCLUDES Ground transport throughout in a spacious, air-conditioned coach 3 nights’ accommodation with breakfast at the 4-star Novotel Suites 4 lunches with wine Tours and tastings at 6 wineries Entrance ticket and private guide at Haut Koenigsbourg Castle Services of Tour/Wine Guide from Criterion Wine Tours HOW TO BOOK: go to https://criterionwinetours.com/product/alsace-wine-tour/ to complete the booking form and pay the non-refundable deposit of £215 per person. The balance is due 8 weeks before the tour. Your money will be held in a secure Client Deposit Account and is fully protected.
Think of single malt whisky then think of Speyside! Centred around the River Spey half of all Scottish distilleries are based in this beautiful region. Famous names like Glenfiddich, Glenlivet and Macallan sit alongside smaller, artisanal producers and all have their own individual style. We will be staying in a beautiful private mansion near Forres, where we will have a very special, professionally catered dinner with matching whiskies the first evening – think of it as a private houseparty. We will explore several distilleries, learn about the fascinating process of making single malts and taste more than a few drams! We will even visit a cooper who make the all-important barrels used for ageing the spirit. If you’re a malt whisky lover you won’t want to miss this tour! DRAFT ITINERARY Day 1: Saturday 17th October: Meet at Inverness airport at 11.10 (to coincide with the Easyjet flight from London Luton). Group transfer by coach to Lossiemouth overlooking the ocean (1 hour) where we will have free time for lunch. The first steps in making whisky involve creating a strong beer and so to better understand this process, our first visit will at the Windswept Brewery where we will have a tour and tasting of several beers. Continuing to Forres we visit Dallas Dhu distillery. The distillery is no longer operational but has been turned into a museum where we can step back in time to see and hear how whisky was made in the 1900s. Late afternoon we check into the private mansion, our base for the next 3 nights On our first evening together, we will enjoy a very special whisky and food matching multi-course dinner. A whisky expert will present a tutored tasting of 5 Speyside whiskies from distilleries which are not open for tours. This will be accompanied by a 5-course dinner prepared by a professional chef Day 2: Sunday 18th October: we head to south Speyside to visit Glenlivet in the town of the same name. We will have a tour and tasting followed by lunch in their café. In the afternoon visit Cragganmore distillery, whose 14-year old whisky is part of the Classic Malts collection, for a tour and tasting. Late afternoon return to Dalvey House. Free evening to visit one of the restaurants in Forres or perhaps order a take-away and relax ‘at home’ Day 3: Monday 19th October: This morning head back to Speyside and visit the Speyside Cooperage to experience first-hand the art of barrel-making. We continue to Macallan for a tour and tasting in their remarkable contemporary distillery, followed by lunch in their brasserie. In the afternoon tour and tasting at Aberlour distillery. Late afternoon return to Dalvey House. Free evening to visit one of the restaurants in Forres or perhaps order a take-away and relax ‘at home’ Day 4 Tuesday 20th October: This morning after breakfast we say farewell to Dalvey House and drive to Elgin for a brief stop at Gordon & Macphail, the famous whisky bottlers. It’s a short walk from there to Glen Moray distillery where we will have a tour followed by lunch in their café. Early afternoon head back to Forres for a tour at Benromach distillery. Late afternoon, maybe after a last dram or two in a local pub, we drive back to Inverness airport in time for the Easyjet flight to London Luton which departs at 20.40 END OF TOUR Please note: some distilleries do not accept bookings for tours more than 3 months in advance, therefore some visits are subject to change TRAVEL: you need to book your own flights to/from Inverness -see the 'Travel' tab on the Criterion Wine Tours website ACCOMMODATION: a magnificent Adam-style Georgian Mansion https://www.dalveyhouse.com/ COST: £1050 sharing a room, single supplement £100 or £150 for shared or en-suite bathroom (see Criterion Website). There is a maximum of 12 places. For full details and to book this tour go to https://criterionwinetours.com/product/speyside-whisky-tour/