I visited the London International Wine Fair at Excel last Monday. It’s a massive trade event with a huge number of growers, bottlers, negociants and big booze businesses all showcasing their wines.
Here are some of my stand-outs:
Chasselas and Swiss wines in general
There were some real surprises, including the excellent Wines of Switzerland stand where I tried a really fantastic Chasselas from Maison Blanche in the Mont-Sur-Rolle appellation. (Don’t judge it by the old-skool website!)
I met the wine maker, Yves de Mestral, who was a lovely and very modest chap.
It’s a sensational white with low acidity and a fruity, floral and dry style.
We did some other tasting on the stand and I predict that Swiss wines are going to be ones to watch (if the pound ever gets stronger – the exchange rate is killer!) in future as they are high quality and easy drinking, but under-appreciated in the UK. Could be the new Gruener Veltliner.
The under-representation of English wines
The lack of a strong English wine presence, particularly at such an internationally well attended event on “home turf” felt like a real missed opportunity to me. We were met at the tube station by imitation Frenchies handing out free croissants, India had a huge pitch for its “wines with mango” (pass, thanks), and even the cafes in Excel were stocked with crappy, bottled Echo Falls.
Given how awesome English wine is, this is just bonkers – we should have been all over this event!
How dominiated the wine trade still is by red-trousered Henrys
I would really like to see some more non-white, non-male faces at these things. And not ones dressed up in promo tshirts handing out samples.
Alsace Pinot Gris is delicious
I stopped by the stand of winemaker Hugel et Fils who make a series of great Alsatian wines. My favourite was the Pinot Gris, which pretty much smacks all the insipid Pinot Grigios in the face with a demonstation of what it could achieve if only it would pull its lazy Italian socks up.
Well worth giving this a go – you can find it for sale in the UK at the Wine Society for £12.50.
All in all, it was a fab day – it’s going to be held at Olympia next year which is much less convenient for a wobbly post-event visit to Westfield Stratford, but that’s probably for the best!
Thanks for reading -