The 2018 London Wine Trade Fair was held under new management at Kensington Olympia from 21 – 23 May. I went there on Day 1
Ben & Emma Robson of Bat & Bottle were there for the first time, showing their fine Italian collection. Ben made me taste his new Tuscan range and Etna Bianco from Moffete, a producer he discovered recently. “He has a fantastic winery and tasting room about 600m up the side of Etna” he enthused. “You should visit him on your trip ti Sicily next year and I will arrange it.“
I tasted Costanzo Moffete Etna Bianco (a blend of 70% Carricante, 25% Catarratto and 5% Minnella and Trebbiano) and Rosato – both aromatic, mineral and pleasing. Ben’s Tuscans are excellent.
Quality Muscadet producer Bernard Chereau of Chateau Chereau-Carre is an old friend. I visited him in the Loire many years ago and seem him at the Fair every year. “This is the little girl you saw when you visited me in the Loire years ago” he said, introducing me to his 18 year old daughter.
Mion, with vineyards situated right next to Cartize Hill in Valdobbiadene had some of the best Prosecco on show.
Red Squirrel Wines have an ‘inspiring’ range but I was interested only in their wines from Azores.
I tasted the Boekenhoutskloof range with Michael Edwards at the New Generation stand. “I could do a tasting for you in Harrogate” he said.
Spain had extensive stands and a large La Rioja section showed almost everything from the region. I was pleased to taste the excellent 2004 Urbina, a wine I have admired for a long time.
I was not aware that Uzbekistan had a wine industry to talk about. Few easily forgettable wines were tasted at their stand.
Eldar Mildiani from Tbilisi showed his Georgian wines with his young daughter. Their qvevri Saperavi was impressive. I told them about my extensive tours of Georgia since 2011. “Please visit us next time you come to Georgia” they said.
The most impressive new wines I tasted at the Fair were from Armenia. During my tour of Armenia in 2014, the wines I tasted were terrible. “Things are a lot better now” Jean-Paul Berger, the head winemaker of Voskevaz Wine Cellar told me. Voskevaz is one of oldest wineries in Armenia, established in 1932 under Soviet rule. They have done what Azerbaijan did years ago and have employed overseas winemakers who are now producing excellent wines. I told Jean-Paul about my visit to Armenia’s 6000 year-old Areni caves, the oldest winery in the world. “Ours is a bit better” he laughed.
Just before I left the Fair in the late afternoon, I sat down for the first time that day and ate a cheese pasty with salad and new potatoes at one of the Show cafes. It was a a long overdue and welcome break.
- “Ben and Emma are sweeties. And always show interesting wines.” – Sian Gamble, (Harrogate – on Facebook)
- “Good afternoon Dr Dias. Very well received. Thank you. Hope to see you soon. Best regards.” – Bernard CHEREAU, Chasseloir 44690 Saint Fiacre sur Maine FRANCE, www.chereau-carre.fr