I have been to a few wine tastings but I have never been to a wine fair! I have never been surrounded by so much wine. It WAS amazing.
Oh and not just any wine. This was the RAW wine fair (that felt like a festival) celebrating all that is organic and biodynamic in wines around the world. These were the craft beers of the wine world – small growers who really care about their product. We received our pack and our tasting glass and then launched ourselves into it. There were over 20 countries represented and more than 200 stands so deciding where to start was tricky. The patriotism in us bore out and we headed over to the English representatives (especially as they were the first on the list). Only three but they were very good ones. We tried Davenport’s dry white, Albury Organic’s Monty’s Pet Nat (from near Guildford) and all three of the Charlie Herring Clos du Paradis. What was interesting about these wines, and some of the others as well, was their not unpleasant mustiness. They had the cloudiness that I associate with ‘good’ cider and a similar aftertaste. The Pet Nat (naturally bubbly) particularly stood out as being very different from wines I would normally drink but that I would happily try again.
There were far too many stands for us to visit them all (especially as we were drinking the wine rather than just tasting) and we tried far too many wines to write about each. We made a game plan to try a few regions we wouldn’t normally taste, as well as some of our favourites and well-known varieties. As you can imagine France and Italy were dominant, and there was plenty of representation for New World wines too, as well as appearances from places you might not expect like Slovenia and Slovakia.
I have to admit, some of the wines from these regions less well known for producing the stuff, I did think should probably stay that way, but some of them were a nice surprise. One of my favourite stops was the Georgian wine area where we sipped some delicious Orange wine (Georgia is where this is believed to have originated from). It’s not the first time I’ve tried it, and I liked it the second time even more than the first.
Over the day we tried a good split between red and white (and orange), although, the place was sweltering, and with so much liquid around it got quite humid and the white wines suffered somewhat because of it.
Also, as my palate matures I can discern in what situations a wine would be best enjoyed. There were several varieties we tasted that we didn’t exactly enjoy at the time, and yet could imagine it matching perfectly if we had some cheese, or a specific type of meal so it was a good way to bear in mind future pairings.
Each vendor was more than happy to have a chat about how the grapes were grown and what makes them unique. As a place for discovery of lesser known wines, this festival really couldn’t be beaten. There were even ciders and spirits to try as well!
Wine Wine Wine 🙂
I got there at about 4 pm and the two hours before it shut just flew by. Educational, impressive and tasty. I would highly recommend it for next year – just make sure to pick up the booklet that details all of the wines so you can make notes and remember which wines you particularly liked!