A unique tasting which sees three of the southern hemisphere’s biggest wine-producing nations join forces is returning to the UK this month.
Held over two days, The Beautiful South tasting will see Wines of Chile, Wines of Argentina and Wines of South Africa unite to showcase wines from more than 250 producers in what has been dubbed a “Festival of the South.”
The inaugural Beautiful South tasting took place last year, and the 2014 tasting – set to take place at London’s Kensington Olympia on 10 and 11 September – promises to be an even grander affair.
Alongside four free-pour themed tasting tables bringing together wines from each of the participating nations, the event layout has been updated so that exhibitor stands will be grouped in “country islands” making it easier to navigate.
Visitors will also be able to get closer to the winemakers from each country thanks to the series of Winemaker Sessions that are due to be held daily. Compered by journalist and broadcaster Nigel Barden, the sessions will see two winemakers from each country present two of their wines on themes such as “Pushing the Boundaries”, “Old Vines”, “10 Years Apart” and Family Owned.
A Sommelier Festival Trail, whereby on-trade buyers can pair up with industry experts to explore the tasting, is also planned, while blind tastings will be hosted at the event’s main bar. The Sommelier Tasting Zone will see restaurateur-turned-consultant Martin Lam host daily tastings for sommeliers, focusing on new, eclectic and food-friendly wines.
In an environmentally friendly yet artistic twist, all visitors to this year’s fair will be asked to contribute to the creation of a piece of artwork using corks pulled from the thousands of samples opened over the two days. And that’s not the only nod to the environment: this year, all stands will be created out of recycled cardboard so that they can be re-used in the future.
Chilean producer Viña Errázuriz will be showcasing 13 wines from its range including new vintages of the Errázuriz Estate Series Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Aconcagua Costa Chardonnay 2013, Aconcagua Costa Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Aconcagua Costa Pinot Noir 2012 and Don Maximiano Founders Reserve 2011. Caliterra, one of the first wineries to receive Chile’s Sustainability Certification, will be introducing two new additions to its Edición Limitada range. Furthermore, Viña Ventisquero will unveil two new “boundary breaking” ranges with winemaker and Pinot Noir expert Alejandro Galaz set to attend. For those with an interest in biodynamic wines, Alvaro Espinoza’s Kuyen Cabernet Carmenere 2011 and Antiyal Carmenere 2009 will be available to taste. Espinoza was one of the first pioneers of biodynamic and organic wines and one of the first to experiment with concrete egg fermenters. Having recently doubled the size of its agency portfolio, Barwell & Jones will be showing off producers from each of the three countries, including the pioneering Chilean winery Morandé. Alongside its core range, this producer will show the Edición Limitada Black º Mediterráneo del Maule 2011 for the first time in the UK
Buckingham Schenk will use the tasting to launch new brand Parilla from Viñalba. Promising a “fresher and more fruit-driven style of Malbec”, it has been made by winemaker Hervé Joyaux Fabre. Luxury giant Moët Hennessy will show wines from its three Argentine estates, including Chandon, the sparkling wine which launched in the UK earlier this year; high altitude experts Terrazas de los Andes; and Cheval des Andes, the joint venture between Terrazas de los Andes and Bordeaux’s Château Cheval Blanc. Bodega Norton, Argentina’s fourth largest export winery, will be showcasing its Norton Colección, Finca la Colonia Colección and Temprano Malbec as well as the high-end Winemaker Reserva, Perdriel Colección and Norton Privada. Elsewhere Penaflor will officially launch its Beefsteak Club Meaty Malbec 2013 – a “robust Argentinian Malbec, created with steak lovers in mind”. Meanwhile Martin Kaiser, head viticulturist at Doña Paula will present the results of his extensive six month study into the influence of climate and soil on Malbec wines. There will also be a chance to try Finca Flichman’s new wine, Misterio Bonarda/Malbec, with CEO Ricardo Rebelo making the transatlantic trip to attend the event.
Winemaker Samantha O’Keefe from Lismore Estate Vineyards in the emerging cool climate region of Greyton will attend this year’s event, bringing with her three wines recently added to Hallgarten Druitt & Novum Wines’ portfolio. Californian O’Keefe will show a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc Fumé and Viognier from vines planted at 300m. Groot Constantia, one of South Africa’s oldest wineries, will show off its latest vintages of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinotage and Shiraz, as well as the Gouverneurs Reserve 2011 and Grand Constance 2011 pudding wine. Accolade Wines will welcome its group winemaker in South Africa, Bruce Jack, to the company’s tasting stand, which will exhibit wines from all three of its brands: Kumala, Fish Hoek and Flagstone. Danie Steytler Jnr of Kaapzicht Estate will present a 2014 Chenin Blanc made from vines planted in 1947, as part of a limited release to celebrate 30 years of estate bottling. Over at the Cape Legends stand, Carina Gous, CEO of newly established parent company Distell Vineyards & Estates, will be present to lend her support to the group’s strong premium focus.
One of the most significant features at this year’s event will be four free-pour tasting tables with wines grouped under four themes:
Champions of the South. Featuring wines that have been awarded a gold medal, trophy or five stars in leading 2014 competitions including the Imbibe Sommelier Awards, International Wine Challenge and Decanter World Wine Awards.
Tales of the Unexpected. A tasting table featuring the more unusual wine varieties from each country including “rare plantings” and the “unexpected”.
New Kids on the Block. This table will showcase wines in their first or second year of commercial release.
Beautiful Bubbles Featuring sparkling wines from all three countries, from every day fizz to traditional styles capable of competing with the best in the world.
When: 10-11 September 2014 Where: Kensington Olympia, London
Timings: Wednesday, 10am-6pm; Thursday, 9.30am-5pm
Programme: Replacing the alternative of a weighty catalogue, this year’s event will feature a “build your own” programme. This will see guests being given a file containing only essential information on the tasting, to which they can then add pages collected from each winery stand they visit for reference. The full version can be found online at winesofthebeautifulsouth.co.uk