Posts Tagged ‘wine tasting events in London’

Last weekend the elegant premisses of the Landmark Hotel in Marylebone were swarming with wine lovers from all over the world.
A young banker from South Korea indulging in the 20th glass of Bordeaux was not a rarity and a curious wine junkie from the Czech Republic (me) could not miss this magnificent event annually organised by the UK wine magazine Decanter.

Exceptionally wide selection

From over 600 wines I managed to taste 40 and even left with three bottles as a gift from the lovely representatives of Chateau Peyrabon in Bordeaux. I tasted their wines right at the beginning of my long journey through wine regions of the world. Particularly Chateau Peyrabon 2003 with its black currant and mature taste for such a young age surprised me.

Bordeaux, Bordeaux, …

There were many other Bordeaux such as Chateau Beychevelle, Faugéres, Chauvin or the star Chateau Palmer which reshaped my conviction, that Bordeaux younger than 10 years is almost undrinkable. Their 2003 and even 2005 releases were more than pleasant!

New World wines

Another revelation was Napa Valley’s Heitz Cellars with stunning Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004 is perfect for your juicy steak. California really does not stay behind. You only need to search in the immense haystack of for me often boring wines and you discover such treasures like Seghesio’s Zinfandel from Home Ranch Alexander Valley which balanced body with light chocolate entangling your tongue was intriguing.

From the eight winemakers from South Africa I would elevate the Danie de Wet Cape Muscadet 2007 for its exotic li-chi and orange peel flavours are ideal to accompany a peach sorbet. The Decanter Gold medal winner Steytler Pinotage 2006 and Steytler Vision 2006 were fruity and quite sweet. Both are from the Kaapzicht Estate meaning “cap view” as it stems from the wonderful view over Cape Town and Table Mountain.

Fashionable wine

Finally a small revelation. Fashion designers have already made their steps into furniture, hotels, etc. But Roberto Cavalli triumphs over them all as he lets his son Tommaso manage a vineyard on his Tuscan estate Tenuta degli Dei producing Igt wine since 2006. You could buy the classic bottle for £32 at the venue or get a special limited version bottle designed by Roberto himself.

This year’s Fine Wine Encounter was amusing and enriching for me as I have learned there a lot. Furthermore, I could not resist to the special subscription offer from the Decanter magazine and got one year for £29 with a gift in the form of an internationally praised wine guide the Wine Report 2009 by Tom Stevenson (£9.99 at http://www.dk.com ).

Plenty to win

Throughout the event you could enter a draw and win a place at the WSET level 2 Intermediate Certificate in Wines & Spirits worth £355 from the largest global provider of qualifications in wines & spirits the Wine & Education Trust. What more to wish for Christmas as with their 40 years experience in the wine education your knowledge of wines can move to higher spheres. And this is not all! You could win cases of award-winning wines from Decanter and even a two-night luxury break at one of 17 historic country houses from Handpicked Hotels.

Upcoming events

To grasp all the great producers at the Landmark Hotel is impossible just here, therefore I recommend you visiting the upcoming Decanter events in 2010. The hotel will host The Great Bordeaux Fine Wine Encounter on 20 February and Great Italian Fine Wine Encounter on 15 May. For bookings call +44(0)20 31484513 or go to www. decanter.com/events

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Get ready to taste over 600 wines in the Landmark hotel on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd November 2009 from 11-5pm.
The event is organised annually by the top british wine magazine Decanter. While touring 100 top vineyards under one roof in central London you will have an opportunity to learn from experts at one of the six wine masterclasses:
Jewels of Margaux
Château Angélus
Ets Jean-Pierre Moueix
Roederer’s Star Estates
Tickets for these are sold separately and you need to hurry as most of them are already sold out! Also check time of each masterclass as they vary.
The pinnacle of the Fine wine Encounter is a visit of the Gold room, where you can taste the winning wines from the 2009 Decanter World Wine Awards. Saturday has been sold out, though there are still some tickets for Sunday.
Furthermore, you can learn from tutorials at the Discovery Theatre, talk to the producers in person, and perhaps find new friends sharing your curiosity about wines!
If you can’t make it this year, then check my blog next week. I will be there, and if I withstand the 50 wines I set as a target to taste, I will share with you all my impressions as well as try to get some exceptional producer for an interview.
All the tickets can be booked online or you can call: +44 (0)20 3148 4513

Logo – source: http://www.decanter.com

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The first time ever, the Nicolas Wine Fair at The Royal Horticultural Halls in London last weekend was a huge success.

The Royal Horticultural Halls LondonThe elegant premisses were packed with wine lovers eager to taste as much as their bodies could take in. There were many happy faces. The right to meet new friends as everyone wants to share their impressions about various wines.

Diversity of visitors
You could see couples trying to find wine they both enjoy to relish it later together while having a romantic dinner. But also loners, who bravely cruised from one stand to the other, were not rare. Nicolas wine fair London
I was one of them and as a women I stood out. Nevertheless, I was warmly welcomed by each producer I approached and my peculiar questions were answered promptly.

What you could taste

There were over 200 wines & spirits from all over the world. Majority of them from France, therefore I decided to focus my tasting on the French producers.

I started with the Famille Bougrier from Loire Valley. Loire is famous for its crisp Savignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, exotic Muscadet and red Cabernet Franc in Touraine area.

I tried their Savignon Blanc, Grand Reserve from Touraine which couldn’t disappoint anyone. It was crisp and fruity. I liked it a lot. I moved to a semi-sweet Vouvray made from Chenin blanc. Its complex and light sweetness was mouth-watering. I got a detailed explanation of all of the wines as well as information about the family’s wineries.

At just the next stand, there was an Alsace producer the Domaine Schluberger. I admit, I am a big fan of wines from Alsace as they are something in the middle road between the rich German wines and more elegant French wines. A keen producer recommended me a Riesling from a Grand Cru vineyard Kitterle 2004. “It is my favourite, he said.” More minerals than usual and its lighter body were quite interesting, though I preferred the Riesling from the late harvest in 2005 called Vendages Tardives. I was said that Riesling is not usually picked late. In the Vendages Tardives the late harvest resulted in a more sweet taste and an elderberry flower aroma. More typical for late harvest is Gewurtztraminer and Pinot Gris. The former from a Grand Cru resembled more exotic flavours such as pineapple and li-chi.
Nicolas wine fair-Correns organic winesOrganic village

Organic wines are a big hit so they could not be left out at the Nicolas wine fair.

Correns is a village in the heart of Provence Verte, in the South of France, and it is almost all organic! This tradition is nothing new for locals as 95% of the wines from there are Organic. According to their leaflet it was the first village to be designated “bio” .

I have tried a rosé, which the young women next to me considered as the best rosé she has ever had. She said: “I have never liked rosé, but this is the very first time I come to love it!” I thought that it is wonderful to see people liking something they would never have thought they might like.

There was much more to taste, you could spend an afternoon here. Hopefully, next year Nicolas will repeat the success of the Wine Fair and attracts as many producers as this year.

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Ortega- rioja tasting
In London’s rainy fall it is great to hide inside, so why not visit Ortega,a Spanish restaurant just in front of the Smithfield market. For £15 per person you get to taste six different riojas accompanied by typical Spanish tapas.

The staff takes an exceptional care of you as it is for the first time they are doing a wine tasting.
On the table you have set a paper with descriptions of each rioja and tapas accompanying it.


We started with the white Luis Canas 2008 with the famous Tortilla Espanola making it a perfect duo. There is a description next to your glass, though my impression was that I could taste more green apples than citrus. What was interesting was that it resembled the Italian Pinot Grigio.

Rosé wine

Next step was rosé. This was the first time I had rioja in rosé version. I thought it is quite atypical for Spain. The Finea Manzanos Rosado 2008 was crisp, refreshing with hints of strawberries and light sparkle on a tongue. It was served with delicious Croquetas de Champinones.

Red wine

We moved to red wine, which is more common for rioja. The Castillo Clavijo Gran Reserva 2001 reminded me bordeaux style wines. Its powerful and slightly acidic taste with oaky smell absolutely enchanted my Mexican friend. Accompanied by Garbanzos con Espinacas, which basically is a chickpea mash with spinach.

My favourite was the deeply red Verga del Razo Reserva. Its silky, medium bodied and elegant tones with fine tannins were mouth-watering! Savoury taste fit well with Patatas Bravas straight from Barcelona (at least they tasted like that).

Spicy finish assured the red rioja Solmareno from Crianza. Mulberries and soft oak dominated the otherwise smooth flavour. A heavy Fabada Asturiana from North of Spain was just right for this wine. Fabada is beans with ham in a saucy style.

Comparison with other Spanish region

Unfortunately, the restaurant was out of the Monte Clavijo. Instead we tried a Shiraz from the Spanish province Castilla. The Hacienda Casa del Valle 2005 bottled in the estate was interesting in the way that we could compare its full bodied and a bit peppery flavour with riojas based on Tempranillo grapes offering more raspberry and spicy blend.

I recommend you to come around lunch time or during the afternoon so you will have most of the restaurant for yourselves and can discuss your impressions from the tasting with the kind members of staff.

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