Fields, Morris & Verdin have long had an enviable portfolio of great producers. This was bolstered a few years ago by the acquisition of Richards Walford in 2012, of course, and now the line up of producers they represent is a great and the good of the wine world. So when they do a portfolio tasting, you just have to be there. Of course, there’s a daunting amount of great wine at an event like this, so I just focus on a manageable portion, and spend time being thorough with a small subset of the producers. But what today reinforced to me was just how lucky I am to be a wine journalist in the UK, where we get so many opportunities like this to try great wines.
I had some really good encounters at yesterday’s trade tasting they put on. Here are a few of the people I met. Pictured top is Vincent Avril of Clos des Papes. I really like his wines: they’re the more elegant, Burgundian expression of Chateauneuf du Pape.
Sticking with Chateauneuf du Pape, Isabel Ferrando of Domaine St Prefert is making thrilling wines. No destemming, late-ish harvest, and protecting the wine from oxygen are her hallmarks, and I loved the 2013s she was showing. It’s supposedly a difficult vintage, but the wines are elegant and pure.
It was so nice to meet Veronique Drouhin for the first time. Her Domaine Drouhin wines from Oregon are beautifully balanced and elegant, delivering lovely texture and purity.
John Williams was making organic, balanced, moderate alcohol, dry grown Napa Valley wines before John Bonne finished school. It was great to meet him and to taste his portfolio, plus some older wines that had aged beautifully.
Another first, meeting celebrated Californian winemaker David Ramey. He’s rightly famous for his Sonoma Chardonnays, including some very smart single vineyard wines. These wines are really well balanced, lacking neither richness nor precision.
Great to taste and chat with Rick Kinzbrunner of Giaconda. He’s making some of Australia’s best wines, and we had a lengthy discussion about matchstick notes in Chardonnay. I learned a lot.
And it was so cool to meet Telmo Rodríguez for the first time. He’s making a range of very interesting wines, mainly from north west Spain, picking top sites and expressing them beautifully, without over-ripeness or excessive oak.
I was bowled over by the enthusiasm that Elisa Ucar and Enrique Basarte showed for their old vine Garnacha vineyards in Navarra. Their Domaine Lupier wines are dense and full of interest. Their biodynamic farming practices have transformed these old vines, apparently. Spain has such a heritage of old vineyards, and it’s great to see them in the hands of people like Elisa and Enrique.