A Secret Wine Event with Sparkle

The group of ARSEs!

On a recent Sunday in Central London a gathering of an unusual kind took place. Well, the gathering itself wasn’t strange, it was a group of wine bloggers, but the impetus that brought us together was a secret – literally! Andrew Barrow, author of the blog Spittoon, contacted us through Twitter to invite us to ‘Andrew’s Really Secret Event’ for which he used the acronymic and comically jeuvenile hashtag: #ARSE.

Andrew revealed the location of our meeting place, but intriguingly mentioned that we would then be moving on to another even more top secret destination for a tasting (for which we all brought our own secret bottle).  None of us had any idea which other #ARSEs would be joining in, but as we met for a bite to eat and of course, the requisite bottle (or few!) of wine, the secrets began to unravel…

Soon we were on our way to the tube and heading in the direction of Mayfair…always a good thing! As our caravan of #ARSEs strolled through the leafy streets it was Louis who correctly deduced our destination as the Navy Club, a prestigious private members club.

Riccardo Prosecco

Riccardo Prosecco

As we sank into velvety royal blue armchairs, Champagne flutes and wine glasses appeared and the first mystery of the tasting was revealed! Riccardo Tomadin, a dapper Italian gent, took the floor to introduce us to a range of beautifully presented Prosecco, coincidentally named Riccardo!

These light, lively wines were anything but fruity froth, and showed beautiful layers of soft fruit with just the right amount of sparkle and substance.  We tried the Brut and the Extra Dry, both of which would make for an ideal aperitif and are excellent examples of the stylishness of quality Prosecco.

The third wine was a treat. The Riccardo Cartizze is made from the grapes on the hill of Cartizze which covers only 106 hectares and is divided amongst 140 producers! The market value of one single hectare is over $1 million! The wine was elegant, mouthfilling and crisp yet round. We tasted the 2008 vintage for which we were very fortunate as the stock has nearly sold out and we won’t see another vintage until 2011! The production for 2010 has already been pre-sold and the weather in 09 didn’t allow for a vintage at all!

After these delightful wines had dispelled the mystery of the #ARSE tasting (that really doesn’t sound good!) and we were all happily ensconced in our fancy Mayfair digs, it was time for the rest of us to share our selections.

I brought along one of my favourite wines, the Krauthaker Chardonnay 2008 from Croatia because it’s both different and delicious! (Read more about these wines in a recent post). The other wines we tasted were:

Lucien Aviet (Caveau de Bacchus) Vin Jaune, 1993, Grand Vin de Garde, Jura France (‘interesting’ is the polite word for this wine, brought along by Santa Barbara native, Louis)

Miguel Sanches Ayala La Bota 8 Manzanilla, NV, Spain (after the first wine, anything would have been an improvement – thanks Rupert! This was a lovely example of Manzanilla although I must confess to not being a sherry fan)

Springfield Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Robertson, South Africa (a fantastic example of the zingy, crisp, interesting Sauvignons coming from South Africa, this one is perfect for sunshine and easily accessible at Sainsbury’s – thanks Jeanne!)

Jean Marc Lafage, Les Hauts de L’Agly 2006, Cotes du Roussillon Villages (a gesture from Bibendum that I’ve actually tasted before and really enjoy – loads of dark fruit, approachable yet mightily structured)

Casa de Piedra, Estapor Venir Mezcla, 2007, Baja California, Mexico (another Bibendum offering which I thought was excellent! Firstly I loved that it was from Mexico because it’s something a bit unusual and secondly was extremely impressed with the quality! It’s a blend of Petite Sirah, Cab Sauv, Barbera and Zinfandel!  Layers of blackberries, coffee and cloves with supple tannins and pleasant finish – what more does one need from a Mexican red?)

Legaris Reserva, 2004, Ribera del Duero, Spain (absolutely scrummy! Ribera del Duero is always a wonderful alternative to Rioja and this wine was no exception. Hugely powerful aromas on the nose with a medley of red and black fruit on the palate surrounded by liquorice and sweet spice with big, but not overwhelming tannins – great choice Sarah!)

Casa Ronsil, Passito 1555, 2007, Chiomonte, Italy (Douglas brought a delightful dessert wine to wrap up the day’s events and it didn’t disappoint – a blend of grapes including Avena, Becuet, Chatus and Neretta Cuneese it was just the right amount of sweetness – and as it’s not available in the UK, it was an extra special way to end a rather different sort of tasting day!)

My lovely fellow #ARSEy twittery bloggers were: Douglas (Foodguardian), Rupert (RupertJTaylor), Niamh (eatlikeagirl), Jeanne (Cooksisterblog), Sarah (Sarahbb1), Louis (Spiltwine) and our gracious host, Andrew (wine_scribbler). Click their names to check out their blogs for all sorts of delicious wine and food enlightenment.

There’s always time for wine!

Tara – Wine Passionista

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Leave A Reply (5 comments so far)


  1. Douglas
    7 years ago

    A lovely summation. Also a pleasure to meet you.


  2. The dapper Italian gent
    7 years ago

    Beautifully written! What a special afternoon that was. Pleasure meeting you too.


  3. Andrew
    7 years ago

    Glad you enjoyed it Tara; I had a ball!

    I’ve some ideas for future events but don’t want to hold them too frequently or the ‘special event’ feeling will be diluted! But hope you can make the next one…


    • Wine Passionista
      7 years ago

      Hi Andrew – am very much looking forward to the next outing! Being an #ARSE every few months is always something to look forward to! Tara

  4. just busy writing up my account of ARSE (yikes – how late can I be?!) and came across yours. Great write-up! It was definitely fun ARSEing around and I’m glad you liked the Springfield. Hope to see you again soon!

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