Posted by: jmbwineblog | December 19, 2010

Pebbles Charity Events &Wines Part 1.

The Pebbles Project is a charity based in the Cape Area, supporting children of those South Africans who have in some way or another been affecting by alcoholism, and in particular those who have suffered both mental and physically illness from alcoholism of pregnant mothers. The reason that this has been an issue, is because in the past, those who worked the vineyards were not paid in cash but with wine… leading to alcoholism and abuse in certain cases. Luckily this has stopped in the recent past, but it has still left behind a number of young children with specific social issues and illnesses, and this charity aims to help those children in various different ways.

For more information on the charity, don’t hesistate to visit their website

In the UK, Pebbles Ambassador Mr. Keith Prothero, organises many wine-related events with the help of various willing souls, in order to help raise money for this charity. You may remember the La Conseillante Dinner from April, which I helped organise with David Wainwright (who also organises various other such events), Joe Roseman and Ian Amstad, with winemaker Jean-Michel Laporte in attendence helped to raise a considerable amount of cash for this charity. Another link from this blog, to a friends may have shown you the details of a cycling trip from London to Paris in order to raise money for Pebbles, but the real money spinners are those events that the incredibly generous Mr. Prothero organises on his own, and they happen on a fairly regular basis.

Not only does Keith offer some of his own wines to purchase (in exchange for donations to Pebbles) to use at various different wine tastings and events, but inevitably provides all the wines (although he does occasionally get help from friends when wines he wishes to present are not available from his own cellar), for his two main showcase events of the year. His Blind Challenge, and his Grand Charity Dinner. However, throughout the year, there are plenty of other events, such as two lunches for the charity for a large number of people to celebrate the completion of the Peddling for Pebbles Cycle Ride to Paris. This year, I was fortunate enough to attend two of these events this year. The Grand Charity Dinner and the second instalment of the Blind Challenge (as this year it was so popular that two were organised).

Let me start with the Blind Challenge. Sometimes I think that Keith is far too generous for his own good, but having said that Charity comes from the heart and not from the wallet…

Blind Challenge Part 2

Well, as the name conveys, all these wines are shown blind, and the fun is to take wild guesses as to what these wines actually are. A lot of chat and a lot of banter takes place, and the events are inevitably great fun. This time the event was held on the mezzanine floor of 28-50, the wine orientated Restaurant on Fetter Lane just off Fleet Street, ( which is certainly a great venue with an extensive wine list and uncomplicated food that compliments the wines well.

We tasted 20 different wines on this wonderful evening in August, when the weather wasn’t quite so chilly.

Wine 1; toasty, oak, lemon, lime, poised, slightly tropical, crisp, lacks a bit of oomph on the palate, bacon fat, wood, gunflint, lime, precise, length and persistence, minerality. Very accomplished and youthful, (turned out to be= 2006 Soula Blanc) ****(*++)

Wine 2; Rich, sweet, melon, mango, a touch of residual sugar, sweet spice, lanolin, marmalade, mineral, lychee, Alsace?, wood. (turned out to be= 2006 Dry River Gewurztraminer, Martinborough, New Zealand) ****(+)

Wine 3; lemon, crisp, spritzy, linear, poised, slatey, mineral charactar, gooseberry, creamy, grass, lean, restrained, lime. ****(**) (turned out to be= 2007 Munsterner Chardonnay Spatlese Trocken, Weingut Gottelman, Nahe)

Wine 4; wood, toast, rich, cooked lemon, warm, lacking fruit on the palate, a touch of minerality, melon, acidic, toasty and smokey. *****(*+) (turns out to be non other than Kevin Grant’s brilliant 2007 Ataraxia Chardonnay from South Africa, one of my favourite whites, not just from this country but from anywhere, and his Sauvignon is very good as well.)

Wine 5; strawberry, minerally, earth, sandstone, bit of pepper, poised, persistant, bulls blood, herbs, meaty, bell pepper, soft tannins, plum, caressing, plump fruuit, balanced, rosemary, thyme, sandy. Absolutely brilliant wine. ******(*++) (turned out to be= 1985 Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva, Lopez de Heredia, Rioja Alta, Spain).

Wine 6; a horribly corked bottle of 1990 Chambolle-Musigny from Domaine Dujac in Burgundy… a real shame, it should have been stunning!!

Wine 7; ripe, oyster sauce, oyster shell, dense, concentrated, herbs, cassis, mushroom, tobacco, cedar, long and fresh, very polished and persistant, but somehow unexciting and not enticing (a common problem with this vintage of this wine, as it turned out to be 1989 Hermitage, La Chapelle, from Paul Jaboulet Aine in the Northern Rhone), ****(*++?)

Wine 8; cassis, herbs, cedar, poised, precise, concentrated, regal, currants, a touch short perhaps, tough, round and textured, needs more time, but will be a beauty. ****(**+) (and it was a 1996 Chateau Palmer from Bordeaux)

Wine 9; eucalyptus, minty, round, fresh, cassis,pepper, meaty, plum, a bit of a slap in the face, heat and vanilla. *****(*+) cassis, currant jam and a long finish. (it was 1999 Yarra Yerring Dry Red No. 1)

Wine 10; rich, powerful, a bit of a monster, structured, cassis, black plum, big, minty, herby, but ripe, soft but big tannins, very polished but with nice freshness, licquorice, ****(**++) (and this was Verite La Muse, 2000)

Wine 11; mint, oyster shell, cassis, soy, plum, currants, pepper, round, rich, ripe but with a sterness and herbiness. *****++ (this was another good bottle of 1988 Chateau Haut Brion).

Wine 12; deep, concentrated, cassis, pepper, spice, extracted, big, meaty, vanilla, coconut but crisp, herby and balanced. ****(*+) (this was my first taste of a new Cape Winery produced by David Trefford, made from a blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah: 2007 Kearmouth).

Wine 13; plum, cassis, round, wood, ripe, voluptuous, earthy, iron, mint, minerals, leathery, amonian, crisp, pepper, definately Malbec. **** (turns out to be 2004 Cuvelier Los Andes, Leoville-Poyferre Estate, Mendoza)

Wine 14; tar, roses, plum, cherry, definitely a Nebbiolo, round, crispy acidity, high quality. *****(**+), (none other than the 1999 Barbaresco Santo Stefano from Bruno Giacosa).

Wine 15; lean, crisp, cherry, red plum, minerally, sandy, sandsone, strawberry, wild raspberry, bloody, raw meat. *****(*+) (and another excellent showing from the 1990 Vieux Telegraphe, Chateauneuf du Pape).

Wine 16; Raspberry, minerals, sandstone, mouthfilling, balanced, rocky, oak, orange, toasty. Excellent ******+ (the famous 1991 Chateau Musar from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon).

Wine 17; big, rich, cassis, dark plum, grassy, herbs, black pepper, long, persistent, elegant, reserved, round, balanced. *****(+) (this is Jonathan Heresford Languedoc-Roussilon Winery, Domaine Treleor and it is great value. This is the 2006 Montus)

Wine 18; herbs, crisp, restrained, elegant, rosemary, thyme, mint, plum, cherry, youthful, balanced, Tuscan Bordeaux Blend? *****(++), (this turned out to be 1995 Solaia by Antinori).

Wine 19; banana, barley sugar, blue cheese, oily, bizarre, fresh, marmalade, mushroom, jam, medicinal. ***(*) (this was a real stickler, an Apple Cider Wine from Canada, called 2006 Pinnacle).

Wine 20; rich, orange, marmalade, crisp, minerally, really round and mouthfilling. ***** (This was Teddy Hall Late Harvesy Chenin Blanc from 2005 called Rudera).

All in all a great little event, with a few sore heads the following day, but a lovely set of wines, and a lot of generosity from our host Mr. Prothero. In the next instalment, I will take you through the beauty of the Grand Charity Dinner…

More more information on the Pebbles Project, head to and for information on the wine and events, click on

And if you are feeling generous enough to donate to the charity, then please go to the following page:

Until then…

Happy Drinking!!!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: