In Bordeaux for Vinexpo, some highlights

Just on my way home from Bordeaux, and a quick one-night stay for Vinexpo, the huge bi-annual wine trade fair.

These Castel girls were unloading a palette of gift bags every few hours, which – inexplicably – punters seemed keen to snaffle. But what was in them worth snaffling?

The scale of Vinexpo, with it’s multitiered stands and kilometre long exhibition hall, is quite daunting. It’s not really a place for journalists to come to taste wine; it’s more about doing business.

I was here to present a masterclass on Loire Sauvignon. I can’t comment on my own performance, but the wines that were on show – 14 of them – were really good, and showed just how high-quality and diverse Loire Sauvignon is these days.

I also spent some time tasting wines – mainly Portuguese and Austrian.

An impressive Blaufrankisch from Weninger. Just beautiful: rich yet quite elegant.

A new producer to me: Malat from the Kremstal. Amazing freshness and precision in the wines.

The wines of J Reinisch, from the Thermenregion, were a nice surprise. Loved this Northern Rhone-style St Laurent. Striking stuff.

Tried through a large range of sweet wines from Tschida. This was the best: just beautiful complexity and balance. Remarkable.

Great German Riesling: such pure wines from Schloss Johannisberg in the Rheingau.

A really great wine from Joao Portugal Ramos. Ripe but very fresh, with great definition. This is seriously good.

Also from JPR, this Foz d’Arouce Vinas Velhas 2009 is a remarkable Baga. A paradox of a wine: ripe, sweet fruit, but also amazing structure and precision.

I’d never tried the wines of Pocas before, so I put that right today. This, their Simbolo 2010, is really striking. It’s quite savoury, with a bit of sternness, but there’s good fruit here too. It’s a proper wine, I reckon, and could age well.

And, finally, last night I dined at Brasserie Bordelaise with Ben Smith, previously of Enotria, now of Concha y Toro UK, along with a couple of Ben’s colleagues. We had a great time, and ended up in a pub drinking weissbier, served by an Aussie bartender who is related in some way to Amelia Jukes.

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