Chatting with Steven Spurrier about the 2011 Decanter Wine Awards

The winners of the 2011 Decanter Wine Awards were announced at the recent London International Wine Fair. I’ve always been vaguely aware of the awards but never really paid much attention to them, I must admit. Oh sure, I would register the Decanter stickers on wine bottles in the shops but it never influenced my buying decisions in any significant way. That is until I  got the chance to chat with founder of the awards, Steven Spurrier at the LIWF. What I found was that the awards were not devised as some sort of wine trade accolade but were begun as a way for consumers to be assured they were buying quality wines in the marketplace. Steven pointed out that Decanter is a consumer magazine so it only makes sense that they give out awards that reward not only quality and value for money but also flag wines that might otherwise be overlooked. They look for wines that are the “new kids on the block” and so would be of excellent quality and good value for money at the same time. He sees the awards as the “engine that powers the wine trade, (the awards) are the engine room of the wine trade ship.”I asked him what were the surprises of this years awards and he was very enthusiastic about China (“…they’ve got 5000 years of history, it’s no fluke that they got a gold medal this year, they deserved it”), India (“getting better but no gold medal yet…”) and Thailand and Cambodia (…”extraordinary wine culture. The awards are here to recognize quality at any stage of the game…”). I’d like to point out that I tasted and wrote about the Thai winery GranMonte  a few months ago when I had the pleasure of trying their wines during Bordeaxu en primeur. Their wines won 2 silvers, 1 bronze and 1 commendation in the 2011 Decanter Awards. It won’t be long now before winemaker Nikki Lohitnavy gets a gold, I think. This year Decanter received...

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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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