Thursday, 24 May 2018

London Wine Fair - French wine, English beer, amazing art and much much more

There was just so much to see, and so many people to chat with at London Wine Fair; it really demands more than one day to appreciate all on offer.

My previous posts - Familiar Faces and West to Eastern Europe have covered many of our tastings however there were a few others beginning with Sud de France Top 100.

This stand could easily have taken a day in itself to discover all the wines on offer - I didn't have the chance really to appreciate it all. The stand had 31 white wines with Les Vignobles Montagnac being at number one; Cave de l'Ormarine Preambule placed first in the 10 rose wines; and Chateau les Bugadelles Bergerie top in the 58 red wines.

A panel of judges chaired by Tim Atkin MW reviewed and placed theses wines in this Landmark Competition focusing on wines from Occitanie. It was a delight to see some of our favourite Southern French wines in the lists, namely Paul Mas Estate Marsanne and Domaine les Yeuses Syrah les Epices.

Staying in France stand D22 was Castelnau Wine Agencies presenting some beautiful champagne from Reims. Centrally located in the capital city of Champagne Castelnau produces champagne from its 900 hectares across the region.

All of the champagnes were superb, fine bubbles, elegant flavours with fine finishes that lingered long, something I wish I could have done. Castelnau offered five bottles of fizz; Brut, Reserve, Rose, Blanc de Blanc and Millesime; could I choose a favourite? They were all so lovely but if I had to choose it would be the Reserve.

I am very much hoping Castelnau will be one of the houses we visit later this year as part of our Champagne holiday.

Our holiday is initially in Epernay where Champagne Esterlin is located on the famous Avenue de Champagne, the most expensive road in the world with its treasures in the caves beneath. Esterlin's Brut Eclat was a lovely glass of bubbles made from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier; I would have loved to have tried their Blanc de Blanc Eclat but unfortunately social media held more attention for Monsieur, maybe we'll get chance this summer in Epernay.

Louis Jadot and Joseph Mellot also both had great wines on offer, I am particularly found of Joseph Mellot's Sancerre. With Sud de France Top 100, Castelnau, Esterlin, Louis Jadot and Joseph Mellot I could have happily spent all day in my favourite country - France.

However home calls - English beer from Robinson's Brewery who are based in Stockport. Nick and I both enjoy a glass of beer and have toured many of the UK's breweries, however we have not ventured north so Robinson's beer was a new discovery for us both.

Light Brigade is a golden hoppy beer, quite refreshing; 5p from each bottle is donated to Help the Heroes. This beer was crafted by Iron Maiden's vocalist and Robinson's head brewer.

The other three beers we tried were all 'Tom's' - Blonde Tom, a sweet and fruity blonde beer; Old Tom Ginger, a dark oak beer with ginger and peppery notes; and Old Tom full of rich dark chocolate. My favourite was definitely Old Tom, i really enjoy a dark beer and the more chocolate the better; Nick like a more hoppy beer so preferred Light Brigade from our tastings.

The whole day was pure enjoyment for us - a superb chance to meet old friends including two members of the Majestic Guildford team, and a great opportunity to meet new producers and make new discoveries. It was a day full to the brim with wine as these photos show.

One stand at London Wine Fair just took our breathe away, it was amazing. Not a wine, not a label, not location or producer but an artist; an artist who paints using wine!

Edgar Lizarazu Shiosaky was born in Bolivia but moved to Japan in 2001 to develop his painting. Painting with wine as a medium that needs extra care and the canvases have to be treated with a UV fixative.   Edgar's work is so intricate and once finished needs keeping away from sunlight which could bleach his work. It was amazing to watch him at work, a very different aspect of wine.

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