Friday, September 23, 2011


Normal service will resume for Wines of the Week shortly, but in the meantime here’s something to fix in you diaries: The Wine Gang Christmas Wine Fairs In London and Edinburgh ­– the tasting events of the season. We’ve got a brilliant line-up of wines and exhibitors at each, together with sit-down Masterclasses with great speakers and great wines and the inimitable Wine Walks led by the five of us – so that’s Tom, Anthony, Jane, David and me let loose in the hall at pre-ordained times with a gaggle of followers visiting stands to taste favourite wines – everything from the great classics to the fascinatingly quirky. As for the Masterclasses, they’re a bargain, which is why Bollinger was an instant sell out. Sorry about that, but it still leaves Michel Chapoutier, Yalumba icons and Bodegas O Fournier in London, Chablis (including grand cru), the gems of Chile, magnificent Malbecs and hidden Portugal in Edinburgh. Once you’ve bought a ticket for the relevant fair, you can book any or all of them. The Wine Walks are free (because we love doing them): all you need to do is sign up on the lists on the day.

You can get all the details and buy your tickets for London here and for Edinburgh here, but these are the vital statistics:

Saturday 29 October 2011, 12 noon to 6pm, Vinopolis, London SE1.

Saturday 12 November 2011, 12 noon to 6pm, The Merchants’ Hall, Edinburgh.

Earlybird tickets, £15; full-price tickets £20.

London Masterclasses, £15. Edinburgh Masterclasses, £10.

Once you have a ticket, you can come and go during the day, so, if you want to nip out to Borough Market, get lunch or whatever, you can.

There will be more than 600 wines open for tasting in London – and last year the average price per bottle across the 600-plus was not far short of £14. That’s how seriously our exhibitors take visitors to The Wine Gang events. In Edinburgh there’ll be 300 wines priced from £6 to £80. As I say, that’s how seriously exhibitors take you – and us.

You can see the complete list of exhibitors here but, to give you a taster, exhibitors at both include The Wine Society, Majestic, Waitrose and M&S, generic bodies such as Wines of New Zealand and Wines of Argentina and producers such as Blason de Bourgogne, Yalumba and Concha Y Toro. In London, we also have the likes of Lea & Sandeman, Armit, Liberty Wine and Corney & Barrow. In Edinburgh we’re welcoming Valvona & Crolla, Great Grog, Lockett Brothers and House of Menzies among others.

You don't have to be a member of The Wine Gang to come to our Wine Fairs, but it helps! Join here

Thursday, September 1, 2011

WINES of the WEEK, 1 September 2011

If anyone thinks that Portuguese white wines start and finish with Vinho Verde, they’ve got a treat in store. Portugal is terribly underrated as a white wine producer. These two are from The Wine Society, but they’re not the only good ones they have – nor the only good Portuguese whites out there. The Sauvignon is a new one from the south west and gives the Loire a run for its money. All we need now is some good weather.

2010 Herdade do Esporão, Verdelho, Alentejo, Portugal

Very floral and perfumy but also smoky; ripe and fairly full-bodied, with an exotic smokiness, lime-cordial intensity and satisfying, refreshing acidity. Delicious. Made down in the south from estate-grown, unoaked-verdelho by Sandra Alves, under the eye of David Baverstock. 13.5% abv.

£8.50, The Wine Society

2010 Dão Sul, Cabriz, Dão, Portugal

Sweet citrus, spice and herbs on the nose and mouthwatering, stony-mineral, smoky, herbal flavours with tangy acidity. Medium-bodied. Very restorative. A blend of malvasia fina, encruzado, cerceal branco and bical (just as you thought). 12.5% abv.

£6.95, The Wine Society

2010 Sensas Sauvignon Blanc, Côtes de Gascogne, France

Really aromatic sauvignon from the Gers – all gooseberry, grassy, herbal aromas with vivid gooseberry fruit on the palate, a nicely chalky texture and a zesty finish. It’s an Alain Grignon wine made by Xavier Roger, a native of the Loire, a region where they know a thing or two about sauvignon. 12.5% abv.

£7.49, Majestic