It’s been an exhausting and exhilarating two weeks in London so far, and I’m getting properly beat. Today the second of the two natural wine fairs ended, effectively concluding three days of intense tasting and wonderful networking (loved meeting so many of my twitter buddies, thanks for grabbing me!)
Well, it’s not quite over yet. I just got invited to join the organizers and some winemakers from The Real Wine Fair for dinner at Soif, which I’ve been looking to try since I love their “mothership” Terroir.
So, for a quick initial report on the fairs RAW and Real Wine Fair… It’s been great and positively overwhelming. Between the two of them there were almost 200 natural/organic/biodynamic winemakers from all over the globe. Mainly France, Italy, Spain but with a healthy dose of Georgian and Croatian as well as a Kiwi or two mixed in for good measure.
I have a few key thoughts. One is that there is no excuse for a faulty wine. Brett (the yeast that makes a wine smell like a bandaid or a barnyard), volatile acid (a vinegary taint) or unbalanced wines are bad wines, I don’t give a rats ass that they are “natural”. It seems staggeringly difficult to work a vineyard and a winery completely natural, and anyone who tries deserves a lot of credit for sheer guts and passionate energy. However, if you don’t get your wines stable, add sulfur, please. “A wine’s first duty is to be good.”
The second thought I’ve had is that there is some seriously quasi-religious voodoo out there. Energy shifts and the like. I can’t say it’s not true, I can’t say it is. Just please, reconsider before sharing this with the general consumer base or they will write you off as loonies. My tip, that’s all.
Third, and most importantly perhaps, is that these have been the two best large wine tastings I have attended. Sure, I got some help picking out the good ones, but there were really excellent wines here! The focus was not on over-extracted, overripe fat fruit-bombs in the “international style” but on delightfully personal wines, often with much character, minerality and fresh elegance. Unless disguised by that nasty brett (pet peeve, I know), these wines manage to show their place of origin more often than many other wines. So, I’m happy, inspired and have a desire to hit the road again to visit as many of these producers as I can.
Below are a few (of many) favorite producers from the two fairs:
Cornelissen – famous and different, made me confused and gave the urge to drink not spit
Tarlant, Fleury and Francois Bedel – excellent, excellent champagnes. Buy them when you see them. David Leclapart makes good ones too of course, but though I know he hates sugar I wouldn’t have minded to up the dosage a tad.
Strohmeier – can’t help loving the name Trauben, Liebe und Zeit (grapes, love and time) and the complex white wine was beautiful too
Radikon – WOW. Their merlot was just wow. Too pricey for me but oh lordy…
Le Casot des Mailloles – can hardly remember what I tasted or what it tasted, but that their red Soulà (dry) made me want to move to Banyuls sur Mer.
Fattoria San Lorenzo from Marche had a great range of elegant wines at good prices as did Sicilian COS which was amazingly fresh and elegant considering the location.
Domaine Pierre Frick from Alsace made a beautiful non-sulfur Pinot Gris and honeydew-floral riesling that I was just dying to pair with some good asian food or foie gras.
AA Filippi from Veneto – the sweet Recioto di Soave is to DIE for.
Celler Escoda-Sanahuja from Conca de Barbera (I have to google where that is…) was a great spirit and his wines made me smile. His white Els Bassots is exactly what I want to drink this summer, as is the fresh red Les Paradetes. Wine for friendships and long dinners.