Home > Uncategorized > Fine Wine – for everyone!!

Fine Wine – for everyone!!

Thanks for holding out for this one!  Too many distractions to list last week, but they did include suggested paranormal activity in our flat!  Nuff said eh!

Few things to talk about this week including sharing a glass of wine with 2 London Wasps players, restaurant wine lists and a visit to a fine wine fair.

I went to the Fine Wine Fair on Saturday, and it was my first fine wine fair, as opposed to the countless trade fairs I had been to, and generic consumer wine shows over the years.  This was not only all about fine wine, but it was also the first event run by a trade magazine (The Drinks Business), that was aimed solely at the general public – ahem, er sorry, their was a trade session on Saturday morning that me and my winebud Dave attended…but that aside, it was predominantly for the normal folk.  The purpose was to either introduce people new to wine to the wonders it can offer at a level that is pretty high-end, with the intention of them tasting and experiencing wine they would not normally have on a day-to-day basis (to be honest, none of us would!)  The other aim was to engage people (notice I use the word engage rather than educate – frowned upon at the moment!) in wines of the world, and most importantly not just wine from Australia, New Zealand and other places that ‘people’ know of.  This was a proper chance for us to taste some german Rieslings, some Chilean dessert wines, champagnes from some very prestigious vintages and houses and to learn a little bit about pretty expensive wine.

I attend quite a few wine fairs and shows, bur rarely do I get a chance to talk to the wine makers or the people representing the brand/s in a way that allows me to engage with them in a more detailed way.  Basically, I could chat up some of the PR girls and taste some pricey gear with the big wig MD’s of wineries!  I don’t beat round the bush me!

Seriously though, these consumer fairs open to the public are great as an open forum for you  to taste whatever you like, ask the kinds of questions you would rather not ask in a restaurant or a wine shop because you quiver with inadequacy, and mainly for you to experience the cream of the crop.  The cream of the crop for me on Saturday were these:

Wines of Spain

Emiliana (Organic and Biodynamic Vineyards) Chile

Scala Dei – A winery in Spain that is fantastic (Scala Dei literally translates as ‘Stairway to Heaven’)

Spanish wine is quite high on my agenda and always has been really.  I work closely with a spanish brand now and the quality of Spanish wine has been and continues to be so good.  Trouble is, there is so much on offer, and more so that not it is all of a decent quality, unlike many other counties where there is the cheap, acidic, sugar loaded mess right up to the ultra stuff – of course, you do get this pretty much everywhere, BUT Spain always amaze me with price vs. quality – actually, it’s not even a vs. for me, the two go hand in hand; average price = good wine…premium price = excellent wine…ultra premium wine = unreal wine!  That is how it is for me.  Of course we also need to look further from Tesco and Sainsbury’s to get a real grasp of what Spain offers us.

Emiliana – a vineyard that ‘produces a complete portfolio of organic and biodynamic wines with character, faithful expression of terroir and unique personality‘ – there words not mine.  High on the agenda these days is organic wine (lets face it, we are living in a more organic world than ever now) and so winemaking organically, albeit far from widely known at the moment amongst most of us, is a way of life for many.  Organic wine, broadly means that no synthetic chemicals are used in the agriculture.  The less chemical intervention there is the better and healthier the produce, and in my very ‘new eyes’ to this, particularly when talking about wine, Emiliana vineyards do this brilliantly and explain it in a way that is simple to comprehend – from a consumer point of view as much a a professional point of view.   Organic methods yield the strongest, richest grapes possible with the fewest detrimental effects on the environment, and the resulting wines reflect the organic commitment to quality – a simple statement of intent.  More to come around the organic wine topic in the coming weeks

Scale Dei – this was a wine that I tasted that was the best I have tasted…ever!!  The vineyard is situated in the Tarragona province of the north-east of Spain.  Priorat is on of the country’s most traditional and inspiring red wine regions.  Now, when most of us think of Spain, we think of Rioja and thats fine, as it accounts for much of Spain’s wine output (over 14,000 vineyards and 190 wineries) however, regions in Spain that produce fabulous wine, such as Priorat are far less recognised by us, but worth talking about…so i will.  What makes this region unique is that the vineyards are planted on steep hill side terraces or deep within valleys and so this means that the land can only be tended and harvested by hand.  One of the wines I tasted was the Cattoixa Reserva; a fine example of the regions red offerings that are very deep in colour, intense aromas of red fruits, jammy strawberries and some licquorice notes towards the end.  I urge you all to try s red wine from this part of Spain – just ask your merchant to try a red wine from ‘Priorat’.  I actually found out that I had spoken to the PR girl many times in the past, but just never met her, so meeting her on the day was not only ‘a face to a name’ situation but a good chance to catch up – as these things tend to be.  My thanks to Tim Fordham from Montrachet Fine Wine merchants and Patrick Langguth from the Wine Export Association of German Wine Estates for allowing me to share some wine with them on their respective stands!

My champing at the bit to get writing again has overwhelmed me so much that I actually began to tell Dominic Wauldock (Wasps and England rugby player) about it a tasting recently!!  As if he wants to listen to me talk about wine…..BUT actually he did and it was a very engaging conversation too I’ll have you know!  He likes a drop of wine now and then and has a decent palate on him.

Staying with the grub ‘n grapes theme from last week, but this time, rather than talking about matching your own wine with you food at home, it’s all about restaurant wine lists.  My part here is two-fold; what we see and do when given a wine list and what we should be doing instead!  Before I got into the trade I was like many, in that when the wine list was handed to me, to start with I pretended to know what I was looking for in order to look half clued up on what I may choose to order.  At that point, I knew that a Shiraz was a red and a Sauv Blanc was a white, but really that was about it.  One thing I always used to know as well, was that Chilean Merlot was a wine that loads of people at the time seemed to go for.  Currently, Chile is at No.3 in terms of best-selling wines on a restaurant wine list, behind Italy and France respectively – I just thought because everyone else drunk it, that it must be good and really only ever stuck to that.  Worse than this was that despite me always asking for the same thing in restaurants, sommeliers or waiting staff didn’t recommend anything else to me, and in some places I was a regular – even more reason for he waiter to suggest something for me to try!  My point here is this – why do we lack the confidence to be able to ask for a wine list and actually bother to read the full list and ask questions?  Instead we ‘pretend’ we know what we are talking about and in many cases balls it right up and end up with a bottle of Hock with the beef medallions, shallots and fondant potato we just ordered….that cost £25!  So how do we overcome this?  Well, by now we should all be in a place where we are some what savvy about what we like to drink, particularly at home.  This is so much easier than you may think – you know what you like, so simply tell the sommelier what you would usually have – and do not be afraid of talking to them about tannins, legs, tears and all the technical bits that sound poncy – this will only help to make your choice that much better in the long run.  Also, never be afraid to ask to try a sample before you make a decision.  Now some restaurants will not allow this and either get a bit funny about it and suggest in their own unique way that they know what they are talking about and so you should trust them entirely – which is all fair enough, but if you want to try it, then go for it – what is the worst that can happen?  He/she says “No, but I am happy to make a recommendation to you’…simply ask to they the recommendation instead.  Sounds a bit long-winded right, when all you want is a glass of plonk with your nosh.  Trust me though, in order to get this ‘confidence’ we are talking about, this is the type of behavior we should all be adopting in my opinion.  Plus, the sommelier will also be respectful that you do have a comprehension of what wine you like to drink, and argo will converse with you more so that you have taken the time to talk to them and ask the questions.  Like I have said from the very start, wine is totally a confidence based topic when out and about wining and dining – if you know what you like, tell the world and practice what you preach.  There, easy peasy!

Finally this week, I must give a mention to The Wine Store in Chippenham, Cambridgeshire.  I tiny little shop in the same vicinity or setup as a well known farm shop that serves both local people and others from further afield, much due to their diverse range of fresh quality produce.  This place though was as much quaint as it was old school; friendly staff who as soon as we walked in offered us to take part in a tasting of some red and white Bordeaux and Burgundy, which were fabulous by the way!  I must thank them, and although I live in London and this was in the middle of Cambridgeshire, I shall recommend it to those who pass through Chippenham.  Great place – plus a bottle of Tempranillo that I will be cracking open tonight… oh and the receipt, handwritten!!  They don’t do ’em like that anymore!

I have some photos and some other media to share with you tomorrow which should be good – keep ’em peeled peeps.

That concludes the story this week.  Next week, time for a bit of fun, so a couple of things to try at home and some words about my mate being taken to Louis Roderer for a few days –  well, more of a nudge of jealousy actually rather than a nice little comment or two from your truly

Wine is fun, fun is wine drink it young and when you dine.


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Keith
    October 27, 2010 at 08:55

    Hi Scott

    Another very interesting wine blog. However, you must brush up on your grammer!!!


  2. November 22, 2014 at 10:38

    I see a lot of interesting content here, i know writing articles
    requires a lot of time, but i know unlimited source of content for your website
    , just type in google – rewriter creates an unique article in a minute

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