A relatively painless journey to Gatwick this morning, where I'm waiting for my Easyjet flight to Geneva, but it meant getting up at 4 am to get the 04.46 bus to Heathrow, and then the 05.15 National Express coach to Gatwick. The sacrifices I make...I'm expecting great things of the Swiss wines I'm going to taste over the next couple of days.
In light of my impending early start, I sloped off early from the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW)annual party. It was kind of Susanna Forbes to introduce me to a range of the membership, all of them interesting people - who knows what will come of the connections made there. I get the impression that the ABSW membership isn't as moribund as that of the Circle of Wine Writers (CWW) - walk into a CWW event (particularly one where there's free booze to be had) and you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in a Darby and Joan Club.
The Richards Walford tasting that occupied my afternoon was pretty good, if a little crowded at times. [And, for the record, I'd really like it if we could have Riedel Chianti classes at all tasting events - the restaurant range stems cost 2.97 plus VAT I beleive, so it's not a hideous expense, and they can be hired, although I have no idea how much this costs.] I had a chance to chat to Jean-Louis Chave (pictured) and Claire Villars, and would have had a nice chat with Gilles Barge if my French had been better (his English is, shall we say, 'emergent'). I enjoyed tasting the wines from Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards, a newcomer to the South African scene, as well as some real oddities from the Jura, two of which I thought were fantastic. Now I've been wine writing for a while, I'm getting to know quite a few people, so it's got to the stage where I have to budget half my time to chatting, half to tasting. It's kind of nice not to be a complete unknown.