Claret gets to London the old fashioned way – by boat

May 23, 11 Claret gets to London the old fashioned way – by boat

Posted by in France

What better way to end the London International Wine Fair then on a boat on the Thames, sipping claret (how the English used to and sometimes still do, refer to red Bordeaux) at the foot of Tower Bridge. Tony Laithwaite of Laithwaites thought that was as good a way as any and so we stepped onto a water taxi at Canary Wharf for the short trip up the Thames to Butler’s Wharf where Tony was waiting with the 2009 La Voyage du Chai au Quai. The Irene, a restored 121 ft wooden sailing freighter had set out 11 days before from the quayside in Bordeaux with their cargo of 9000 bottles of specially made, limited edition claret, the way it was done for over 600 years until the advent of railroads when it became cheaper to send the wine by train. Tony wanted to recreate the voyage, complete with a 100 foot sailing ketch, her hold full to the brim with claret. Tony joined the boat in Guernsey for the final leg of the trip,but Le Chai winemaker, Mark Hoddy was on the entire trip and tweeted/blogged daily. You can find their exploits here . The arrival of The Irene was not only to bring claret to London the old fashioned way but also raise awareness and funds for the Macmillan Cancer Support charity. There was an fine wine auction that evening at the Arches and Laithwaites hopes to raise £10,000 from the event. The wine is a modern claret, not too heavy on the tannins with good fruit, primarily plums and blackberries, fresh on the palate with well integrated oak notes but beware, the wine is unfined and minimally filtered so it’s probably best to decant before drinking. It comes from one of the lesser known appellations, the Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux AOC which makes it exceptional value. It also hails from the chateau where Tony got his start in the wine trade as a student washing bottles. A good wine to have...

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Slide show from the LIWF, London 2009

Last week was the London International Wine Fair and to say I had a great time would be an understatement. It was 3 perfect days of discovering, tasting and non-stop talking about wine, wine and more wine. I truly never get bored of talking about wine. This is the third year I’ve gone and even though it seemed to be familiar territory, there’s always something new. I also managed to make it to the Distil show this year, which was all about the spirits. This year in particular, my wineblogger friends from Catavino and Adegga were there to promote the winebloggers conference taking place in Portugal this Autumn. Needless to say, the European Winebloggers conference stand became my home away from home during the 3 days of the fair. I met lots of great producers, tried some interesting and fabulous wines and hung out with both old and new friends. I’d like to shout out to Andrew from Spittoon, Jean from Cooksister, Bibendum Dan and Bibendum Erica, Rob (Wine conversation), German winemaker Patrick  Johner, Ryan and Gabriella Opaz (Catavino), Andre R. (Adegga), Penny from my fave Chelsea winecellar, The Bluebird, The winemaestro, and my friends from Oddbins, Eleanor and Ana and all the wonderful peeps I met at the fair this year. During the next few weeks, I’ll be posting videos from the fair so keep an eye out for interesting, informative and (I hope) entertaining videos. Until next year’s wine fair…Cheers! Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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EWBC, Social Media at the London Wine Fair09 -video

Last year (2008) saw the launch of the Winebloggers Conferences. The European one (EWBC)  was in Rioja, Spain and the North American (WBC) one in Sonoma, CA. The goal of the bloggers conferences is to enable  all of us in the virtual world to get together and exchange ideas in the real world. I mean, even if we’re all computer geeks, we still like to get out now and then. This year at the London International Wine Fair, and have gotten together and put up an information stand about the conferences. I had a brief chat with Gabriella and Ryan (and special guests) to find out what they hope to achieve at the LIWF. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Vineyard in the City

London doesn’t automatically spring to mind when one thinks of growing vines but the good folks from McGuigan Vineyards in Adelaide Hills, Australia have transplanted some to the heart of the City (check out the site here). The vineyard will be open for 3 days (July 9 -11) and admission is free, although there will be a Cellar Door Shop where you can purchase all the lovely wine you’ve sampled. I think it’s a cool idea, transplanting a vineyard and giving people a taste of what it’s like to hang out with the grapes. The vineyard is situated  at the Broadgate Arena which is right next to Liverpool St. Station. The winemakers, Brian McGuigan, Neil McGuigan and James Evers have set up a miniature vineyard and will be around to answer questions, talk about the winemaking process and of course, give out samples of their wine. Due to strict quarantine regulations, the vines are not actually from Australia, but the winemakers were able to gather 80 50-year-old Sauvignon blanc vines from across Europe and plant them in London. It’s a brilliant marketing tool and seeing as the Australians are rapidly losing marketshare here in the UK to other New World competitors, it’s great to see Aussie innovation  coming up with eye-catching ideas like this one. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Wine in a (peli)can

Last week was the London International Wine Fair and what a fair! I love going to this event. Checking out all the new products, finding new wines, revisting old favorites, talking to producers  or just admiring the sleek bottles, artfully arranged, sparkling under the Excel Center lights. Walking into that place, I felt like a kid in a candy store. Remember that scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when the kids are let loose in the candy garden? I know exactly how those kids felt.  I didn’t know where to turn or which stand to go to first. It really can be a bit heart-stopping. First stop was a Friui tasting seminar that I’d signed up for earlier in the week. Lately I’ve been really interested in  Italian wines so I thought this would be an interesting seminar. It would have been if the speaker didn’t insist on speaking in a heavily accented dry monotone. The Friulis, from Northern Italy were mostly light and fruity with a striking tone of  minerality that I really enjoyed running thru all the samples we tasted. The most interesting thing that I came across from the show was the new brand Wild Pelican, wine in a can. According to their website, …”Our aim was to differentiate from the wine in cans already on the market…by taking a consumer perspective…creating a brand that allows (them) to explore some of the best wines…” in the world. So far, so good. What’s differentiates this brand from others, is that the wines are still, not sparkling. Caroline, the rep, gave me a couple of cans to take home and try. I have to admit, it’s a bit unsettling to pop open a can of wine but once it’s poured into the glass, you’d never know the difference. These are very well made wines. The first was a chenin blanc from S. Africa. Now, you know I’m not a big fan of S. African wines but this one was clean and...

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