I attended the annual LIWF at ExCel on Tuesday18 May. I tried to cram three days work into one, mainly meeting old wine trade contacts and making new ones who could possibly be of benefit to the Wine Society I am responsible for.
An old friend, Willi Opitz, the celebrated Austrian wine producer was at the top of the list. Maria, his wife, was not there, having had minor surgery a few days before but Willi was his usual exuberant self. We discussed the Wine Society’s projected visit to Weingut Opitz in Ilmitz in September and possible tasting dinners in Harrogate. Trevor, his UK agent, is keen to sell the Society Willi’s wines.
Other old friends met include David Ling (Hugel), Jean-Marc Brocard (Chablis), Bernard Chereau (Muscadet), Caroline Lloyd (Austrian Wine Bureau), Yngvild Kaapzicht (Kaapzicht Wine Estate, South Africa) and Peter Finlayson (Buchard Finlayson, South Africa). Marketing teams of the Wine Society’s regular suppliers such as John Fells and Liberty Wines were met and future purchases discussed.
New contacts include producers in Tokaji, heads of Croatian and Georgian Wine and Travel promotion bodies – useful if wine tours to these countries became a reality.
All this left little time for serious sampling but I managed to attend a tasting of Austrian Gruner Veltliner and Pinot Noir using different Riedel glasses and a Masterclass on Chardonnay and Syrah from Chile given by Peter Richards who showed why these two varietals are likely to be the ‘future’ of Chilean wine as the still young vineyards mature. Unoaked Mycas del Limari Chardonnay Reserva Especial 2008 from the Limari Valley and Matetic EQ Syrah 2007 from San Antonio Valley impressed.
At the Fells stand, Guigal’s Rhone range was tasted in depth and the four wines that I found impressive now constitute the new Guigal Offer to the Wine Society.