These past two days London has been more than usually packed with vignerons, sommeliers and importers from near and far, all with one goal in common; The 5th edition of RAW Wine fair with all that it entails.
My first day was spent revisiting producers whom I know or have a connection with from before. My plan for the second day of the fair was to cover some unknown territory and speed-taste through much of the rest, both goals that I utterly failed at.
The wines from Austrian producer Gut Oggau were excellent as always. The frost two weeks ago has of course hit them hard, and if unlucky over 70% of this years crop will be lost. The 2015 Theodora is still in tank and Winifred has just been bottled and is showing it, but 2013 Josephine and Berthold were just as blood and iron driven as I like my Austrian reds. In fact – Berthold even moved me so far as to start drawing likenesses to Edgar allen Poe and ravens before I could stop myself…
A new aquaintance was Vinho Verde producer Quinta da Palmirinha. They showed some excellent Loureiro with 2014 as the stand-out vintage, a non sulphur white blend that was quite delicious and some pretty decent vinhão.
Juraproducer Didier Grappe has been a bit unsteady between vintages lately, so it was a pleasure to see his 2015 Chardonnay and Savagnin Ouille drinking so well.
A winery I can’t believe I haven’t tasted before is Old World Winery, founded in Russian River Valley in 1998 by Derek Trowbridge. My favorite among the lot was Abundance 1890 Block; a wine made from 6 varieties planted by Dereks Italian great grandfather containing grapes as famous as muscadelle, abouriou, zinfandel, mondeuse noir, trousseau gris, and chasselas.
It’s not everyday you get the chance to taste a 1989 Zinfandel, and one in such good shape none the less. Producers Coturri & Sons are based in Glen Ellen in Sonoma, California. They source fruit from different vineyards both within and outside of the AVA and may even set a standard rivaling Ridge when it comes to aged zinfandel, at least if this bottle is anything to go by.The Tinte wine, produced by sustainable agricultur farm Vidacycle in Loncomilla Valley, Chile. This wine is just unabashed drinking joy. The 2015 (the 2014 has a bit of residual sweetness and is more interesting as an indicator of things to come), produced from 100% Pais grapes, has an immediacy and mouth feel that makes it childishly good to drink. So much so in fact that I immediately set about trying to convince them to export to Norway.
Radikons wines were a delight as always. The 2014 Slatnik is still a bit young and unruly, but the Pinot Grigio is already incredibly balanced and dense. The 2009’s are really in a lovely drinking window right now, and I can’t but gloat over the 2005 and 2007 whites I have in my “cellar” (read: crowded wine fridge threatening to burst) at home.
Other memorable producers this year were of course Elisabetta Foradori and Ampeliea. The 2015 Ampeleia wines show great promise, and 2013 Granato from Foradori is going to be a show stopper as long as it’s allowed to mature a few more years.
Frank Cornelissens 2014 vintage was very sleek and austere, almost to a fault. My personal favorite aside from the Magma was actually the CS or Chiusa Spagnola, which showed a lovely bouquet of roses, violet and sweet pea coupled with great balance and structure.
Emidio Pepe brought a strong line-up as always, including the 1984 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo which I had never tasted before. It’s been a while since they showed the pecorino and rosato though, and I couldn’t but help but miss them at the tasting.
Istrian wine producers tend to increase the use of new oak with quality of the grapes, but producer Roxanich showed a range of juicy and fresh reds and elegantly macerated whites. The wines still had a few rough edges, but the Roxanich is definitely a producer to keep ones eyes on in the future.