Some finds from the 2011 London International Wine Fair

May 25, 11 Some finds from the 2011 London International Wine Fair

Posted by in England, London

Last week was the London International Wine Fair which meant that there were producers from all parts of the world in town to show off their wines as well as numerous launches of new lines and blends to show off to the trade. To say there was a variety of wine on show would be an understatement. White wine, red wine, even one of my favourites, sherry had a stand or two for tastings. Every night after the fair there was an event or 3 going on. The first night, I headed over to Camino in Canary Wharf to check out the launch of Tio Pepe’s Fino Rama sherry. A delicate,dry sherry that is only good for 3 months! It’s the only wine I know of that has a shelf life. The reason it has a shelf life is because the sherry is unfined, unfiltered and drawn from the middle of the cask. The only thing they do to it before bottling is allow it to settle before going into the bottle. This was their second offering of the Fino En Rama and this year’s vintage was much clearer then last year’s. It was a very cold Spring and the wine had two weeks to settle  because it was 2 weeks before they could bottle due to the Easter holidays. A rather delicate wine with yeatsy, bready notes on the nose, citrus and nutty flavours with a dry finish, drinking that with almonds was almost impossible to put down! I was in Croatia recently and so had to stop by the Croatian wine stand at the LIWF. I had to chance to speak with Mladan Rozanic about his red wines as well as try a couple. Besides the 2007 SuperIstrian which I had tried in Croatia, I also sampled his 2007 100% cabernet sauvignon and 2007 100% teran ( a native grape of Istria), both were monsters of rich dark fruit, the cab having  pronounced mineral notes on the nose. The teran was a...

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WineTalk

What would you think of a “virtual” wine fair? At first glance, it may seem a bit ridiculous. How do you taste wine if it’s virtual? But that’s not the goal of this particular wine fair. It’s a strictly professionals only affair. The aim of the 3D Wine Fair is to get wine professionals together, without the hassle and expense of travelling to some far flung destination, and do some serious business. How does it work you might ask. It’s a very straightforward proposition. The website is 3D and uses the latest interactive communication tools from web cams, to audio conferences to chat, it’s all there. Each virtual stand has a plenitude of information about the producer and his/her wines via videos, technical sheets, borchures, etc. The exhibitors post a schedule when they are available so that prospective clients know when to contact them. The Fair is from the 14th to 18th of March, today is the last day but you can still check it out here. As part of the wine fair, the organizers have been running a wine talk show with many notable winemakers who have embraced social media, including Randall Graham of Bonny Doon, Oscar Quevedo of Quevedo Port and Jeff Stai (El Jefe) of Twisted Oak, as well as social media mavens as guests. I was invited to join in on the chat regarding social media and wine blogging. You can hear what myself and David Honig, founder and publisher of Palate Press , an online wine magazine, have to say about interacting with social media from a winebloggers perspective. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Barber’s 1833 Reserve Vintage Cheddar and cider brandy!

English mature cheddar cheese. Until I came to England, I had no idea what mature cheddar cheese was. Sure I’d had SHARP cheddar cheese (and didn’t really care for it, too sharp!). I have to admit, my favourite cheese used to be Monterey Jack – no snickering, please. In my defense, our tastebuds do advance with us as much as any other part of our bodies and I’ve long since moved on but English mature cheddar I could never really get my tongue around. A wee tiny bit was all I could stand. That is,until…duh,duh,duhhh…Barber’s 1833  Vintage Reserve English cheddar. I was on a weekend trip to the Somerset and it’s environs last week and our first stop was Barber’s Farmhouse where they have been making cheese since the early 1800’s. They still use the traditional cheese cultures from them and quite frankly, don’t know what exactly constitutes their yeast mix. They can guarantee though, that they are indigenous yeasts.They use about 16 different cultures to make their cheeses but as they are undefined mixtures, they can never replicate the cheese exactly. They believe that their cheeses should reflect the diversity of the organism. Let nature take it’s course, so to speak. The lovely fellows of Barber showed us first how to “iron” cheese. Basically it’s a tube that’s been cut in half lengthwise with a handle on one end. You plunge the sharp end into the cheese and pull out a cylinder of cheese. Much like winemakers use winethieves to sample the wine in barrel, the iron is the same with the cheese. We first “ironed” their 3 month old aged cheddar. It was mild and buttery, very subtle flavours, kind of reminded me of American mild cheddar. The next one we tried was a year old. Now were talking. More cheesy flavours coming through but still quite mild and creamy. The next cheese was aged 1 year and much more intense cheesy flavours. A rich buttery-ness washing over with a slight nutty...

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Nye-TIIIIMMMMMBER!! or do Londoners ever venture to Kent to eat?

“Denise, might it transpire that you could accompany me to a dinner on Friday in the deepest, darkest hinterlands of Kent for a repast of succulent British cooking paired with the ever so delightful English Sparkling wine, Nyetimber. We will be dining at the Michelin starred restaurant, Chapter One, on the outskirts of Bromley.” Ok, that’s not exactly how my friend Douglas (Intoxicating Prose) worded it but you get the idea. He is so eloquent and he actually does speak like that! I deeply admire someone who can use words like transpire and succulent in everyday speech. He had me at ‘Michelin starred’, but Bromley?!? This I had to see to believe. Pulling out of London Bridge with a half bottle of Pouilly-Fuisse to sustain us on our train journey to Bromley or therebouts we were off to the wilds of Kent. Chapter One is actually between Bromley and Orpington in a place called Locksbottom Common, anyway you look at it, it’s not London, which is a bit of a shame because it is excellent. They are one of the few restaurants in England that currently hold a Michelin star and we were there to review a spring menu that Executive Head Chef Andrew McLeish had paired with each vintage of the award winning English sparkling wine, Nyetimber. Finding it was a bit of a chore. Once off the train and onto a local bus we were directed to get off the bus “when it passes the big Sainsbury’s,” which is a fine marker if the big Sainsbury’s was on the main road instead of tucked about 200 metres off the street behind an even bigger building. Luckily, the locals are very friendly to “foreigners” and helpfully shouted to us and the bus driver when we were supposed to disembark.  A short walk up the hill, negotiate a very busy 4 lane  road and we were there! I’m beginning to see why Londoners don’t venture out. Happily, we were greeted with big smiles and...

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A case study and responses to BYOB in London

When I put out my little post asking why there wasn’t more BYOB in London, little did I know what a reaction I’d get! I seemed to have tapped into a wellspring of  discontent with the state of restaurant winelists and the ridiculously high markups that it seems many restaurants enforce. The response was incredible. Both via comments on my blog and via people tweeting me. Many people commented that if restaurants allowed BYOB that they would be more inclined to go out. Coincidentally, the day after I posted that questions, I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal detailing how restaurants in San Francisco are now doing away with the corkage fee altogether in an effort to attract customers (and it looks like it’s working). My Aussie readers were incredulous that London establishments did not allow BYOB, it being almost universal in Australia. The wine trade weighed in as well, commenting that perhaps restaurants had gotten too greedy. Many don’t seem to have realized that we no longer live in the boom years of the last century and should change their policies accordingly. I also got plenty of recommendations for restaurants that I had neglected to add to the list. Check out the comment section of the BYOB post to view the recommendations. I also heard back from various restaurants and one in particular (Kitchen W8) wrote to me with their experience of BYOB in London. I’m publishing it here because I think it really does show that not only customers but also restaurants can benefit greatly from a BYOB policy. What Kitchen W8 wrote about their BYOB experiment in Nov. 09: BYO returns in January 2010   We had a phenomenal success with our BYO offer in November. All manner of interesting wines were brought in, with many an intriguing story attached  to the bottles drunk. There was a fair amount of bottle sharing amongst different tables and very generous tastes being offered to both our staff and other customers. Of course, there was a large...

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What a year it’s been! So long 2009, Hello 2010…

I’m not really one to look back, I’m either daydreaming about the future or looking forward to tonight’s wine – more or less the same thing. But I saw one of Niamh’s tweets about her year-end round-up and it got me to reminiscing about my vinous adventures this past  year. The great thing about a blog – I’ve got a record of many of my favourite drinking adventures. Not all of them mind you, because many I just never got around to blogging about but I did manage to put up almost 120 blog posts this year! I would have done more but I was computer-less over the summer after my laptop was stolen in June. This was definitely the year that The Winesleuth embraced video in all it’s gory messiness. Whether the videos made any sense, well, I’ll let you decide but I sure did have a lot of fun making them. I’d like to get a bit more creative in 2010 and maybe even, dare I say it, a bit more professional. My favourites of the year include ones I made with my good friend and fellow wineblogger Wine90 – she just cracks me up. Here we’re reviewing the Balfour Brut Rose…. But Bibendum Dan was another excellent foil, here we are talking about hairy armpit wines… Fun events, as when Catavino came to town and their winetasting at Vinoteca… [viddler id=74e84e69&w=437&h=333] or the Naked Wines Argentine wine auction….. [viddler id=f70e4865&w=437&h=392] and then there’s just amusing and charming winemakers…Etienne Hugel of the Alsatian winemaker Hugel & Fils… [viddler id=9fe1ae3d&w=437&h=392] and Neil McGuigan of the Australian McGuigan Vineyards, to name a few… [viddler id=49575c47&w=437&h=392] And, of course, the vids of my wine reviews, my favourite has to be one I did in S. Carolina while I was on holiday – every time I see it, it reminds me of what a great holiday I had… Of course there was Twitter as well and the Foodies, most especially Eatlikeagirl with whom I did the...

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