Vinexpo 2015 in picturesBy Lucy Shaw
The great and good of the wine world descended on Bordeaux this week for Vinexpo. Run for the first time by new CEO Guillaume Deglise, the restaurant offering was vastly superior to previous fairs. This hot pink cow stood proudly outside the Corsican-themed restaurant run by a Michelin-starred chef that offered local veal among other delights.
We’re a little worried that this fine filly hinted at the meat on offer at this restaurant…
Music was in abundance at the fair, with this quintet livening up the walk over the wobbly bridge.
In a move that would make Marie-Antoinette proud, the fountains ran red, though we’re not sure whether they were filled with wine or Ribena.
Our first meeting of the fair was with father and son duo Aurelio Montes Sr. and Jr., who spoke excitedly of their latest vineyard venture – a small plot near the 15th century Inca site Machu Picchu in Peru’s Cusco region.
During the fair we caught up with the team from Chilean winery Emiliana, including its president Rafael Guilisasti (third from left), who spoke of booming organic wine sales; a move he believe was initially sparked by the emergence of organic baby food on the market. The team gave us a sneak preview of Emiliana’s new organic sparkler (left) and Azur (right), a traditional method fizz from Limari named after the fact that the region is rich in lapis lazuli.
We also caught up with the team from Villa Sandi Prosecco, including head of external relations Manuela Oregna (left), who guided us through the range from DOC to Cartizze.
The first evening was one to remember – Château Margaux hosted a spectacular gala dinner at its beautiful estate.
The black tie event saw a magnificent marquee erected in the château’s garden lined with Grecian columns.
Before the dinner, owner Corinne Mentzelopoulos introduced Lord Norman Foster, who she enlisted to design Margaux’s new tree-inspired chai in time for the estate’s bicentenary – an extension of the eastern wing of the original cellar finished in 1815 by Louis Combes.
Making the most of the early evening sun, before dinner guests milled about the courtyard enjoying glasses of liquid gold from top Sauternes estates.
db’s Rupert Millar and Lucy Shaw made the most of the opportunity…
The shadows had us seeing double
Among the many canapés on offer were cubes of foie gras on parsnip crisps that proved dangerously moreish
During the dinner, cooked by Michelin-starred French chef Guy Savoy, which included his famous artichoke and black truffle soup, we were treated to a plethora of fine wines including Château Margaux 1985, which delighted with its silky texture and combination of power and elegance.
The evening ended sweetly with Yquem 1988
To help guests find their way home, the tree-lined path was lined with candles when night drew in
The next morning we spotted wine communicator Robert McIntosh (far left) preparing to release this colourful bunch of balloons into the sky.
db’s Lucy Shaw was delighted to find that the Vins de Corse stand matched her outfit. Keen to promote the island’s flagship wine – rosé – the marketing team were on hand to give out hot pink trilbies and sun glasses.
wine handbags in varying hues
The fair drew a number of big gun winemakers to Bordeaux, including Jacques Lardiere of Louis Jadot, who, in addition to his Gevrey-Chambertin, was also pouring his Oregon Pinot Résonance.
We also spotted Ernie Loosen in the crowd sporting a fine pair of burnt orange trousers.
Keeping it in the family, Marimar and Miguel Torres were pouring their wines from California and Spain.
While Clovis and Pierre-Emmanuele Taittinger fought it out for the most impressive hair award…
During the show we attended a vertical tasting of Don Maximiano hosted by Errazuriz president Eduardo Chadwick and chief winemaker Francisco Baettig during which both spoke of a change in direction for the estate back to the more elegant and restrained style of the ’80s.
We aso bumped into cycling fanatic Adlofo Hurtado of Cono Sur who was wearing a baby blue shirt dotted with bikes.
Continuing with the sparkling wine theme, we caught up with rising stars Pauline Lhote of Domaine Chandon in California and Pierre Casenave of Veuve Clicquot.
Frédéric Rouzaud was also on hand to pour the delicious 2008 vintage of Louis Roederer.
We ended the star-studded tasting at “Z” with Zonin, where Francesco Zonin (centre) encouraged us to try Octagon 2010 from Virginia made by Luca Pashina (left), and Rocca di Montemassi 2011 made by Stefano Ferrante (right).
Nestled among the cru classé clarets at this year’s Vinexpo were some rather different drinks, from a cherry vodka courtesy of Penthouse Spirits (above) to a new launch from the Czech Republic: a Queen Bohemian Lager. Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy…?
Our final evening took us back to Margaux, only this time to Château d’Issan for a dinner hosted by owner Emmanuel Cruse on behalf of Bollinger.
The evening kicked off with flutes of Bollinger Special Cuvée enjoyed with foie gras dipped in raspberry sauce.
The fine wines continued to flow, peaking with magnums of d’Issan 2000, which tasted like a dream
The food was equally impressive, with this lobster and citrus dish particularly delighting.
The final flourish came in the form of magnums of Bollinger R.D. 1988, which were marched in to the room to the sound of the Bond theme tune.
Before jetting back to London The Drinks Business team hosted its Lifetime Achievement award with the Institute of Masters of Wine. Wine writer Hugh Johnson deservedly scooped the award and proved a popular choice, receiving a standing ovation from the MW-filled crowd. Afterwards, bottles were cracked open and oysters enjoyed from a boat.
Among the wines on pour at the lunch was Pichon Baron 2008, generously donated by attendee Christian Seely.