This week is the most important week of the year for wine lovers in the UK. It’s the annual London Wine Week, 18-23 May, starting on Monday with the 3 days of the London Wine Fair at Kensington Olympia.
This is probably one of the biggest and most important trade Wine Fairs in Europe. Everyone in wine trade will be there: every producer who wants their wine to appear on the shelves of British shops this year, every commercial buyer, restaurateur, wine critic, wine writer or blogger. The Champagne Girls of course will be there too. This event is not to be missed. I’ll give you the highlights of the fair next week and will discuss who made the biggest buzz, who is new and whose wines will be the hottest thing this season.
But the London Wine Fair is just one of many events associated with wine that are taking place in London this week. Quite a few are free as well, so if any of you have no plans yet for the coming weekend go here: http://www.londonwineweek.com/ and see if you would be interested in any of the events.
Last year, mostly because of the upcoming World Cup, everyone’s eyes were on Brazil. Yes, I know when I hear Brazil, the last thing on my mind is wine, I think Samba, Caipirinha on a beach or football. But Brazil has made successful wine for over a hundred years, particularly since the Italians made their way there. They are mostly sparkling, low alcohol wines, produced in the cooler south-eastern parts of the country.
The first time I came across a Brazilian wine was around six years ago at a friend’s 40th birthday party in a swanky bar near London Bridge. A waitress handed me a glass of lovely “champagne,” and you can imagine how great was my surprise when I went to the bar for a top-up and discovered that the “champagne” I was drinking was actually a Brazilian sparkling Sauvignon Blanc. Since then I have seen a few rare Brazilian bottles in posh wine shops but until last year there was not much to talk about. Now they are almost everywhere.
Because of all the buzz about the London Wine Show, where there will be plenty of exotic wines, and because my husband got a bottle of Brazilian sparkling wine last weekend which triggered my memory – which is probably the main reason for this post – I have three different Brazilian wines for you to try this week.
First is the Chardonnay Brazil 2013 Serra Gaucha at £8.99 from Waitrose. This is a very decent, classic, unoaked chardonnay, crisp, fruity and round. I wouldn’t call it mind blowing stuff but for the price it’s a really good buy: easy to drink, refreshing and with a long enough finish to satisfy most wine snobs.
The second is my favourite of the trio. Coconova Brut sparkling wine, £9.00 from Marks & Spencer: dry, crisp and fresh fizz made from 3 grape varieties : Chenin, Sauvignon and Vedejo. The bubbles are a bit big but the flavours of green apple, peach, fresh melon and citrus on the palate balance this little imperfection nicely. Very good value for money and definitely an enjoyable spark, especially if you are drinking it at lunchtime on a sunny afternoon.
Lastly, Aurora Muscatel Serra Gaucha, at £9.50 in Oddbins. This is very much like Italian Asti, medium to sweet, light, delicate and low in alcohol (7.5%) – perfect for a picnic. Plenty of ripe apple flavours, white grapes, elderflower perfume, and sweet lemon aroma. Well balanced sweetness with sky high acidity makes this fizz mouth-watering and easy drinking. You could have it with desert as well, served with a fruit salad or light cheesecake.