The London wine fair so far...
Spent a slightly truncated day at the London wine fair today (known as the LIWF). This is the huge annual trade fair held at Excel in London's Docklands each May. It's liked and loathed in equal measure by wine people, but I find it a useful place to organize meetings, and you usually pick up a few paying gigs that makes attendance worthwhile.
Yesterday I began with a debriefing meeting with the organizing team of the http://www.sparklingwinesymposium.com/ that we held in March. Then I had a lengthy meeting with the Nomacorc scientific team to discuss their oxygen in wine project. I followed this by visiting the Portuguese stand, where I caught up with Ryan and Gabriella of http://www.catavino.net/, who are doing some social media work at the fair. I also chatted with Andre Riberinho who is the dude behind http://www.adegga.com/ and also the wine barcode http://www.avin.cc/. All very interesting stuff.
In the afternoon I chaired the closures debate, which was sponsored by Oeneo (makers of the Diam technical microagglomerate cork). We had Linley Schultz, John Stitchbury, Peter Bright and John Worontschak on the panel. It went really well.
This morning I was delayed by some dodgy trains, and began with preparation for an Alentejo food and wine matching session I was running. We matched Serpa and Nisa cheese (soft and hard ewes milk cheeses that were deliciously full flavoured) and two pata negra sausages with a range of six Alentejo reds.
Then I did some wandering and tasting. I tried the M'Hudi wines from South Africa that had featured in the final episode of the BBC4 series on wine. Diale Rangaka of M'Hudi hadn't seen the programme yet, so I have him my press DVD (Peter May, who is working on the South African stand at the LIWF had put out a call on the UK wine forum for a copy). After this I tasted Adi Badenhorst's new wines (AA Badenhorst Family Wines), which were fantastic. This was followed by a visit to the Yarra Valley stand where Steve Webber guided me through some fantastic small production high-end wines that are really breaking new ground.
I finished off the day by spending some time with David Stevens of TFC wines, who are using the spinning cone to produce a range of low and lower alcohol wines that actually taste good.
Tomorrow I'm part of a panel on the Future of Wine Writing!