Today was day 1 of the Real Wine Fair, held at the rather wonderful subterranean venue of Victoria House in Holborn. I was there to give a seminar, and also spent a couple of hours tasting. I’ll be back tomorrow for more, but here are some highlights of my rather random sampling of the 183 producers attending.
Marcial Dorado (above) of Quinta do Faital was showing the wonderful Dorado Vinho Verdes. He has an unsulfured Alvarinho 2008 that is fantastic, with real interest and freshness. And the 2001 Dorado showed just how well Alvarinho can age. A really memorable wine.
Also from Portugal’s Vinho Verde, Vasco Croft was showing some really lovely wines. His range has expanded, and has been named Aphros (from Afros) after some confusion in the USA (think big hair!). Stars were the Vinhaos, both still and sparkling. Intense, vivid, fresh and thrilling.
Sticking with Alvarinho, but moving to Rias Baixas, Spain (where it is Albarino), I really enjoyed the Zarate wines from Eugenio Pomares (above). His Tras da Vinas 2009 is a memorable, complex interpretation of this variety. He also has two fabulously drinkable, elegant reds: one from Caino Tinto and the other from Loureiro Tinto. Brilliant.
San Lorenzo from the Marche had a brilliant range. Above is the hauntingly floral-perfumed Lacrima di Morra d’Alba – a thrilling red wine. But their speciality is Verdicchio, and the aged 1998 Marche Bianco is a sublimely complex white of real interest (pictured below). Well done Natalino Crognaletti!
Brothers Marco and Sebastien De Martino (above) are doing some good things in Chile, a country not known for making particularly natural or interesting wines. Highlights include a massively concentrated, fresh Syrah from absurdly high-up vineyards in Elqui, a fresh Cinsault from Itata made in amphorae, a Maule Carignan and a brilliant single-vineyard Carmenere.