The London Wine Fair went back to its roots this year and took place, once more, in London's Olympia – and a vintage display they put on, too. One of the biggest successes was a new section called Esoterica, with 62 boutique companies specialising in native and rare grape varieties from a diverse set of countries.
Some, such as Aussie Rules Wine, Eclectic, Go Brazil and Argentine Wine are single-country specialists; others, such as, SWIG, Yapp Bros, Charles Taylor, Vintage Roots are established merchants with mail order or retail businesses. I was also impressed with Top Selection (topselection.co.uk) and Sommelier's Choice (sommelierschoice.com).
Richmond-based Red Squirrel advertises itself as Britain's 'rare grape specialists' and true to that billing, showed a tangy, summer-pudding-fresh 2012 Braucol Rosé, £8.50; a crisply dry, citrusy 2012 Bruna Le Russeghine Pigato, £14.50; and a smoky, pinot noir-like 2009 Altavia Rossese di Dolceacqua Superiore, £14.99.
Carte Blanche Wines, another strong exhibitor (caviste.co.uk is its mail-order arm) offered a stonefruit-rich 2013 Arbousiers, Domaine Réméjeanne, £16.50; an apricot-fruit and mineral-dry 2012 Thörle Saulheimer Riesling Kalkstein, £19.95; and a terrific, off-dry, vouvray-like 2012 Ludovic Chanson, Montlouis, £17.95.
Next I stumbled upon Stoke Newington's Borough Wines (shop.borughwines.co.uk) where I tasted an excellent raspberryish, mousse-like 2010 Llopart Rosé Brut Reserva Cava, £17; an exotically grapefruity 2012 Ode d'Aydie, Pacherence du Vic Bilh, £14; a citrusy-dry Hungarian 2012 Apatsagi Prior Rizling, £14; a mulberryish Pinot Noir, £16; and Thierry Germain's fine cherryish 2013 Saumur Champigny, £14.50.Reuse content