A Wine Writers View on the World of Wine. Formerly Magics Wine Guide and Reviews for Newbies
The world of wine descends on an ever present Excel Exhibition Centre in London as the 2011 wine fair kicks off for three days of seminars and tastings.
So let the ‘glugging’ begin.
Not being able to attend at least two of the days this year, I took it upon myself to start early for once, 10am, and carried on until 5pm. It’s times like these where I begin to wonder ‘how many miles will I walked today in order to sample some of natures finery?’
If you haven’t had the joy of walking around Excel then let me tell you, it’s big. 100.000 square metres to be exact. Now the fair doesn’t take up all this space, that would be obscene. It does on the other hand take up at least half. Let me put that into context for you. The average football field is 7036 square metres which means the fair covers roughly 7 football fields filled with Champagnes, wines and spirits. Like I said, it’s big.
Next year I may take a pedometer with me. That is a lot of hot footing it around sampling wines in 7 hours and it is one of those trivial things that gets me thinking once I get home. And yet I love it.
The LIWF is my Mecca. I make my pilgrimage, like so many others, on an annual basis. It comes around once a year, the choices you have are incredible and it gives me and my colleagues the opportunity to gush over every nuance of wine
Ridiculous perhaps but a hell of a lot of fun.
This is where twelve of Australia’s finest family owned wineries come together and show their flagship or soon to be released wines.
49 wines available, now I wasn’t greedy. I kept it easy and simple. . . I did 31.
Brown Brothers Everton White Chardonnay 2009. N.E. Victoria.
McWilliam’s Elizabeth Semillon 2005. Hunter Valley NSW.
McWilliam’s Lovedale Semillon 2005. Hunter Valley NSW.
d’Arenberg The Stump Jump Riesling Marsanne Sauvignon Blanc 2009. McLaren Vale SA.
d’Arenberg The Money Spider Roussanne 2009. McLaren Vale SA.
Howard Park Riesling 2010. Great Southern WA.
Howard Park MadFish Gold Turtle Flint Rock Chardonnay 2009. Mount Barker Great Southern WA.
Howard Park MadFish Gold Turtle Pinot Noir 2009. Mount Barker Great Southern WA.
Howard Park MadFish Gold Turtle Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. Margaret River WA.
Henschke Julius Riesling 2009. Eden Valley SA.
Henschke Tilly’s Vineyard Semillon Sauvignon Blanc Pinot Gris 2010. Barossa/Adelaide Hills SA.
Henschke Henry’s Seven Shiraz Grenache Mataro Viognier 2006. Barossa SA.
Henschke Keyneton Euphonium Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2005. Barossa WA.
Yalumba Eden Valley Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2008. Eden Valley SA.
Yalumba The Virgilius Eden Valley Viognier 2008. Eden Valley SA.
Yalumba Barossa Patchwork Shiraz 2008. Barossa valley SA.
Yalumba Hand Picked Shiraz Viognier 2008. Barossa Valley SA.
Jim Barry Silly Mid On Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2009. Clare Valley SA.
Jim Barry The Florita Riesling 2008. Clare Valley SA.
Jim Barry First Eleven Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. Clare Valley SA.
Jim Barry The Macrae Wood Shiraz 2006. Clare Valley SA.
Jim Barry P.B Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. Clare Valley SA.
De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate Chardonnay 2007. Yarra Valley VIC.
De Bortoli Riorret Abbey Pinot Noir 2008. Yarra Valley VIC.
De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate Shiraz Viognier 2007. Yarra Valley VIC.
De Bortoli Noble One Semillon 2007/08. Riverina NSW.
Tahbilk Marsanne 2008. Nagambie Lakes VIC.
Wakefield St Andrews Chardonnay 2008. Clare Valley SA.
Wakefield Estate Pinot Noir 2009. Adelaide Hills SA.
Wakefield Eighty Acres Shiraz Viognier 2008. Clare Valley SA.
Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. Clare Valley & Coonawarra SA.
Other wineries present were Tyrrell’s and Campbells. Brief notes available for all the above wines.
For more info visit http://www.australiasfirstfamiliesofwine.com.au
A quick mention to Amy Birch of Howard Park wines. What an absolute joy to meet and talk to. Highly recommend anybody who can spend some time with her. Very enthusiastic about her wines, with good reason too, and a very bubbly personality. Good O.
After my tasting exertions of upstairs I make my way down to try and find an ex colleague of mine, not really helped much by the lack of signal on my friends phone. We find each other in the end and grab a bite before heading back in.
Interesting selection. Both reds and whites were produced using predominantly native varieties with some using the more noble grapes in blends.
On the whole they were very enjoyable. A good mix of light to medium sweet wines. One or two of the whites were ideally suited to summer drinking. This was largely down to the micro zones that the wines were produced in, cool climate.
The more interesting wine for me though was the medium sweet red. I don’t normally go for the sweeter wines, unless top quality Botrytis, late harvest wines, but we were told that this particular wine was the biggest selling wine in The USA (2nd right in the picture). It was very pleasant.
Moving on from here we headed to Hatch Mansfield to sample The Esk Valley wines and CUNE Riojas before finishing at Grupo Cordoniu. I had already tasted some of this agencies wines in the past. Pay particular attention to the Raimat wines from Spain. Their Merlot, Tempranillo, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are exceptional. These are between £8-£10, ready to drink now and have the potential to improve for the next 3-5 years.
Grupo Cordoniu have a very good range including some classy wines from Argentina, the Septima range and from New Zealand the award winning Invivo wines. Another curious wine is the Bella. A low calorie and low alcohol Sauvignon Blanc by Invivo. Light, crisp and fresh. Could be one for the future. Watch this space.
As always the fair was an enjoyable day with plenty for me to think about. Some of the wines tasted today will hopefully find there way on to my shelves
Whence done, all I wanted was a coffee when I got home.
Roll on next year.