This week saw the wine world descend on London for the biggest trade show of the year, the London International Wine Fair. As usual producers from all over the world came to show off the latest releases from their cellars, along with packaging manufacturers and distribution companies. The biggest difference this year was the size of the show, which was remarkably smaller than in previous years, an obvious effect of the global recession. The biggest omission from this years show had to be Constellation, who own brands such as Ravenswood, Mondavi, Inniskillen and Nobilo. Notably, many of the smaller producers shared stand space, instead of spending money to have their own.
We started the day by sampling five fantastic wines, from what must have been the smallest producer there, Terre Di San Rocco. It only produces 40,000 bottles a year, but wow it was good – so watch out for a post on those. Next, we stopped to listen to Adolfo Hurtado the chief wine maker from Cono Sur in Chile, talk about its organic wines. The guys from Brown Brothers, who produce some fantastic, if not a little off beat wines, were also there, showing off its full range. This included its lusciously sweet Patricia Noble Riesling. It had amazing flavours of stone fruit, honey, marmalade and citrus; all balanced with a mouth watering acidity. This is definitely one I’ll be adding to my wine rack!
The highlight of the day, for me, was meeting Ronald Hocher from Chateau Musar in the Lebanon. We spent some time discussing how foolish we thought a leading supermarket had been for delisting his, and many other wines. We also went through a selection of vintages of its Chateaux Musar White and Red, with Ronald revealing that they have vintages going back over 50 years for both wines, which is just amazing.
All in all, it was a fantastic day. It’s great fun getting to see what wines were coming through in the next few months, and meeting some great wine makers! I’ve already booked it in my diary for next year!