After over a decade's exile at Excel it is great to be back at the London Wine Fair in its spiritual home at Kensington Olympia. It's true that the venue is less commodious and the temperature control is a bit iffy but it feels like home and that counts for a lot. Re-acclimatising to our W14 digs we have assembled an elite team of veteran vignerons who are cool under fire and all speak admirable English.
Located in the promising new 'Esoterica' gallery on stand numbers 156 and 157 we have a line-up of wine-makers whose wares should stimulate even the most demanding palates. From Champagne we have our old chum Gilles Dumangin who has a spring in his step because Decanter magazine has just nominated his prestigious 'Vinothèque' 1996 bottling as one of its Top Ten 'Late Disgorged' Champagnes alongside the likes of Dom Perignon's legendary 'Oenothèque' - in the same vintage.
Representing the Loire Valley with a range of superb cool-climate Cabernet Francs is Fredrick Filliatreau whose relaxed demeanour belies his scrupulous cellar and vineyard management. His organic, red Saumur 'Château Fouquet' is one of our favourite wines for Summer drinking - it is packed with ripe, red-berry fruit flavours and should prove an unashamed crowd-pleaser.
Despite becoming a mother for the first time last year Emilie Boisson has hot-footed it over from Châteauneuf-du-Pape to show her fabulous range of fruit-forward, Grenache-based red wines as well as her acclaimed white Châteauneuf' 'Domaine de Père Caboche'. The latter wine amply illustrates that the Southern Rhône can deliver finesse and aromatics as well as power and concentration.
Last but not least we have charming Christine Campadieu from Collioure who is exhibiting her rare, white 'Les Canadells' - an exotic blend of Rolle, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Macabeau and Roussanne, as well as a couple of stonking Southern reds and a beguiling sweet Banyuls.
So if you are a sommelier, journalist, wine buyer or just a blogger with the ability to blag your way in to a trade show - roll up and pit your palate against our wares in west London. We promise you a good time or your money back!