I mentioned last month how the London Wine Fair had moved from the wastelands of the Excel Centre to its old, comfier home at Kensington Olympia.
This year, the Wine Gang, of which I am part, was charged with hosting a pop-up tasting there. We selected 50 wines we thought had offered good value for money this year. We chose 10 each and since it was one of the successes of the fair (I know, I would say that, wouldn't I?), I thought it would be useful to cherry-pick a small selection of the most summery we tasted...
Significantly, we kicked off with three English sparklers – and no Champagnes. The three Cuvée Brits were a rich and apple-bitey 2009 Furleigh Estate, £22.65, Four Walls Wine; a tangy, dry 2009 Digby Fine English Brut Reserve, £39.99, Selfridges; and, my personal favourite, the brilliantly rich and intense newcomer, 2010 Langham Wines Estate Classic Brut Cuvée, from Dorset, £22, which triumphed over 93 other English sparkling wines at the 'Judgment of Parsons Green' earlier this year.
We also put forward the 2013 Duo des Mers, Sauvignon-Viognier, £6.50, The Wine Society; the crisp, seafood-friendly 2012 Wittmann 100 Hills Dry Pinot Blanc, £11.50, Oddbins; a super-fragrant and intensely lime-zesty 2010 Isolation Ridge Riesling from Frankland Estate in Western Australia, £17.99, AG Wines; and a surprisingly convincing, rather refreshing 2013 The Exquisite Collection Côtes de Provence Rosé, £5.99, Aldi.
Pay a little more and you'll find in the 2011 Rudolf Fürst Silvaner Pur Mineral from Franconia, £22.45, Bancroft Wines, a dry white of considerable stonefruit flavours and great elegance. While Chanson's wonderful 2013 Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Les Caradeux, £37.50, El Vino, is a meursault in all but name: immensely rich with the nutty complexity of a fine white Burgundy crafted by the stirring of the lees in the barrel. And, calling all sherry lovers, I have little doubt that the yeasty and fresh, sometimes even salty, Bodegas Hidalgo Pastrana Manzanilla Pasada, £15, Majestic, will float many a boat this summer.
To reds, where bargains are to be found in the elegantly claret-like 2012 Domaine de Gournier Rouge, Vin de Pays des Cévennes, £8.15, Haynes, Hanson & Clark. And the fragrantly strawberryish 2013 Cramele Recas Calusari Pinot Noir from Romania's Ville Timisului, £6.99, Hennings Wine Merchant. On a more serious note, don't miss out on the surprisingly peppery 2010 Anton Bauer Feuersbrunn Zweigelt, Wagram, £13.50, Vinoteca. Or, indeed, the richly concentrated red pepper and cassis-laden 2010 Pulenta Gran Cabernet Franc, £22, winetrust100.co.uk.Reuse content