Oh my, what a week! Super busy and super exciting. Lucky me I guess, because London Wine Week usually coincides with my birthday and for me at least, that means a week of fun.
The fun started on Wednesday last week when Ana and I attended the London Wine Fair and finished on Saturday with my birthday. Who says a girl can’t celebrate her birthday for a whole week if she wants?
London Wine Fair: It’s the event I consider most important in a wine buff’s calendar and I have visited it every year for about a decade, without fail.
It’s great event every time. Plenty of people to meet, plenty of things to see and plenty of beverages to try. In fact one has to pace oneself, and rigorously spit every sip if one is planning to survive and get back home relatively sober – “relatively” being the key word here … because how to spit out the best sparkling wines in the UK or top of the range vintage Champagne, or a hundred and something per bottle Barolo?!? Not lightly and not without regret.
In order to get through the whole day, there has to be a plan and a strategy. In theory, what you should do first is reconnaissance, to see what’s where and whose wines to try first, than taste those and spit everything you try, make notes, and at the finish get back to your favourites. In theory…
Going there, we did have a plan, which … we chucked in to the bin immediately on arrival at the first stand, which happened to belong to Chapel Down, now the British royalty of sparkling wines. After a few minutes of chat with their lovely team and few sips of generously poured top of the range sparkles our plan went down the throat and we decided to change our approach, and follow my friend who was there for his second day, and try only the stars of his recommendations. And not to spit so much….
First he took us to try the one of biggest stars of this show, the fabulous Rockford Black Shiraz. Seriously, probably the best sparkling Shiraz I have ever tasted. A masterpiece of Australian wine making, apparently going for more then £100 per bottle – I think it’s worth every penny. At the same stand I had the chance to meet guys from the Vasse Fellix and try their Australian answer to white Burgundies. Their Poully Fuisse equivalent was very impressive; I hope to see it soon arriving on our shelves.
Than we slowly walked around, trying some great Rieslings from Alsace, impressive Altos de Torona Albarinio, very good Lagiosa and Bortolomiol Proseccos, and talked to Antony Terryn from Domino del Bendito and tasted his unusual Spanish wines. We popped to Robert Oatley’s stand – one of my favourite Oz wine producers – and tried their Finisterre range. As usual very good stuff, he never disappoints.
I lost my friends for moment and ended up in the Eastern European section where I tried some impressive wines from the Kir-Yianni Vineyards, and really worth mentioning is the mineral and slightly salty Santorini from Artemis Karamolegos.
When I found Ana some time later she was just finishing tasting superb Cognacs and Armagnacs, where we decided to get some bubbles and finish for the day. We were tired by then and had a last half hour to closing.
We had great fun at the Coupe stand sipping bubbles and watching our friend pouring Champagne into a tower of glasses. When we were leaving I couldn’t resist and went back to take a picture of a particular oddity, the two meter high automatic wine opener. Apparently Stephen Fry has one of those. Not sure how practical that thing is but no doubt a beautiful piece of equipment, if you have the room for it.It was great day and as usual the atmosphere was light and friendly. Everyone was chatty and smiling, and all the stands were welcoming and interesting. We had the chance to try so many beautiful wines, but I think what I valued the most in this fair is the opportunity to meet so many wonderful and passionate people.