Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Love Wine Guildford

After such an enjoyable time at Love Wine Birmingham last November I was very excited to have tickets for their first event in Guildford, a first for us too as we had not visited this Surrey town before - but more about that in a later blog, this is all about the wine !

The one day event Love Wine Guildford was held in the stunning Guildhall, such an amazing building on two floors with wooden panels, plaques and banners.

The exhibitors were on both floors and although a small building there was ample room to move around and plenty of opportunity to chat with the many wine experts including Heather Dougherty and Laura Clay (both UK Champagne Ambassadors) and Master of Wine Richard Bampfield.

Before I begin reminiscing about the superb wines I must just say a huge thank you to Heather and the Love Wine Team, not only for a great day but for allowing me to use some of their photos from the day.

Love Wine's photo collage 
There were so many exhibitors, all so knowledgeable, I could have stayed for the evening session too as everything not only tasted superb but there were so many great background stories and histories of the wines. I've really enjoyed re-reading the leaflets and remembering the great wines we tasted.
So much information 
Mid-way through the afternoon Hubby and I joined a few others on Richard Bampfield's Winewalk where he guided us through four specific wines - two whites and two reds. I'll highlight these within the relevant exhibitor paragraph to give full credit to both Richard and the exhibitor ...

photo from
Simply Wines Direct
.... our first being Barwell & Jones where Richard's featured wine was Esporao Branco, a Portugeuse white wine full of apricots and grapefruit.

This wine is barrel fermented giving it great depth and a long finish. It also has a hint of minerality which comes from the volcanic rocky soil, the main feature of it's striking label.

Barwell & Jones also had a lovely Cava, Perelada Reserva full of rosy apples with a yeasty kick, made in the traditional method this Cava was dry but well balanced, lively bubbles and a lasting finish, very enjoyable.

Although the next stand Walkabout Wines are geographically miles away -Australia but not the coast, the high altitude Southern Highlands producing cool climate wine.

Walkabout Wine leaflet
Another sparkling wine caught my eye, Centennial Blanc de Blanc made of course from 100% Chardonnay.

These grapes are hand pruned and cropped; again produced using the traditional method this glass of bubbles is very elegant with lovely grapefruit/citrus notes.

Walkabout Wines' Centennial Reserve Pinot Gris was very refreshing and Hubby enjoyed their Reserve Tempranillo. The other brand they were exhibiting was Southern Highland Wines (SHW) Oldbury Reserve with a lovely Riesling and Pinot Noir.

Our next visit was to Italy with Arthouse Wine - again so many gorgeous wines, one of which had a Love Wine Heart donating a favourite choice. Etna Bianco is from, as it suggests, Mount Etna. A super straw yellow in colour with floral aromas and peachy flavours this wine has a subtle minerality from its volcanic location. It was certainly a favourite for me too.

photo from The Gin Kitchen

Pausing slightly from wine it was time for a G&T - Summer Gin by Dancing Dragontail and Winter Gin by Gutsy Monkey both from The Gin Kitchen.

It was quite a surprise at how different and perfect each was for the stated time of year, light and floral in the summer, spicier and warming in the winter, two great G&Ts.

Back on the wine trail with Les Caves de Pyrene and an orange wine, no that isn't a typo there really was an orange wine. La Stoppa, Emilia 'Ageno' from Italy was amber in colour with an abundance of peaches and apricots. It had quite a heady aroma and was unlike any wine I had tasted before with a intense spiciness on the finish.

Les Caves de Pyrene also exhibited Richard's first red wine choice from a producer who had been highlighted on The Wine Show - Pheasant's Tears. The red focused here was their Saperavi, a Georgian grape full of dark berries, licorice and smokey notes. It was a superb red from a country I discovered at Love Wine Birmingham and will be featuring here too, keep reading!

The second white on Richard's Winewalk was from Joie de Vin who had a wonderful collection of French wine - I'm always drawn and again did not want to leave.

Dom de la Grange Touraine Chenonceaux was not only a hearted favourite in the brochure and Richard's other white wine, it was my 'best in show', absolutely superb.

Joie de Vin also had a very good Ch Montfin Cuvee Margot and back to bubbles Dom des Pampres D'Or Cremant de Bourgogne - I really could have chatted and tasted at this stand all afternoon.

Our final wine on the Winewalk was Kanonkop Kadette from Raisin Social. A blend of Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc from South Africa this deep red was full of dark berries, coffee and chocolate - I just needed a sofa to sink into.

Thank you Richard for a very informative Winewalk - it was so interesting to learn more about the specific wines.

Winewalk with Richard Bampfield

The Wine Society
And so to the upper floor where I discovered our known wine chaps at The Wine Society. We've been members for a few years now.

They had some great wines including:

La Clape Arpége Chateau Rouquette sur Mer from France,
Concho Y Toro Corte Ignacio Rapel Coastal Sauvignon Blanc from Chile
Kipu Mendoza Malbec from Argentina.

Georgian Wine Club
Far too many good wines to mention; it was impossible to taste them all.

Another known exhibitor was Georgian Wine - I was amazed at the new flavours in their wines at Birmingham and I was surprised again.

It is so interesting to hear about how they make their wine using amphoras, clay vessels submerged in the ground. This form of wine making dates back to Neolithic times making this method over 8,000 years old.

All the Georgian wine was lovely but I especially liked their white Badagoni Mitsvane and red Badagoni Mukuzani.

Bolney Wine Estate

There is no better way to finish a wine tasting event than with a glass of bubbles; well ok to start, to have midway too but Bolney Wine Estate English sparkling wine was a super finale to our afternoon.

Jeremy Blood 
Bolney Wine Estate had a very good Bacchus white wine full of gooseberry, green apple and elderflower but for me their bubbly was best and it was hard to choose which one I preferred.

Blanc de Noir 2015, Cuvee Rose 2014 and Bolney Bubbly were all superb, great bubbles, plenty of flavour, not too dry or too sweet, all three were as I said superb.

As well as wine there was cheese, charcuterie ,wine gifts and Surrey Wine School. We had met Jeremy, and his blind tastings, the night before - more about this in my next blog.

It's a shame we don't live nearby as he holds many tasting events, I've quite envious of Surrey folk.

Love Wine Guildford was a great event - thank you to all the exhibitors 


It was a superb afternoon with an added bonus of meeting one of my forum members. Cuvée Reserve is a wine forum for discussing wine from anywhere - I started it in April 2014 and the members have built up quite a Library of wine reviews.

Ian, Nick and I - Cuvée Reserve Members
As I said it was lovely to finally meet Ian, especially at such a great event in such a great setting - all three of us agreed it was a superb day,

 A huge thank you to Heather, Laura, Richard and the Love Wine Team.

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