The World of Wine at an Easy Click
notes and observations
They've actually let me out of the country for this, and before we start, I'm going to level with you. I'm actually scoping out this event in preparation for a polished and thorough review next year. What you're getting here is my travelogue of the event. So please don't expect any in-depth interviews and reviews.
It’s with a mixture of nerves and excitement that I travel to this tasting. I’m heading from the station nearest to my home in France for the first time, using my SCNF card for the first time, travelling on French railways for the first time.
The train arrives on time, which I’m grateful for because it’s a chilly February morning, my feet and ears are losing the battle with the cold. Wait, I can’t feel my ears!
I don’t know what to expect from this event, except that it’s going to be big. By big I mean huge, and by huge I mean like nothing I've ever seen before! It’s located in Porte de Versailles (some sort of trade exposition city) and is based in six different halls. Most of them are for the French industry, Italy has one hall and the rest of the world seem to be situated in a single location. This rules out the usual walk around the hall, get the lay of the land tactic, and I know I’m going to have to think this one through quite carefully.
In truth, as I've already told you, this is a ‘laying the groundwork for a future trip’ type mission, because to actually do this ‘expo’ justice would take more than the time I’ve got.
With this is mind, it seems that the best tactic will be a walk around to get some of the flavour of the event, look out for one or two people I know will be there, try some wines, some unknown wines, and be on the lookout for something a little different. I just hope that my basic French can hold out and not collapse under the weight of questions.
Among the areas I’m excited about are Bordeaux, Burgundy, Provence, Champagne, Corsica and then a visit to Italy and the Rest of the World. While there are Masterclasses and people I’d like to interview, there doesn’t seem to be the time to spare. Who knows, I might just wing it, get into trouble and see where it gets me by the end of the day!
By the end of the event if felt as though the whole of Paris was in attendance, and though I always felt that there was enough room, there were just too many people to allow one to visit 'off the cuff' so to speak. I know that the organisers have got really high hopes for this event, and I'm not going to argue with what I've seen. I just feel glad that I'm taking this chance to work out a plan for next year.
For somebody who is used to bellying up to a table, chatting with the hosts, taking a sip and then chatting some more, this felt a little bit more formal, and I now realise why I was receiving so many invitations to 'drop by for a' chat.
Most of the producers were sat at ornate tables inside elaborate representations of their brand while waiting to present their wines to various people who they'd invited (the pre-invites now make sense). Very few people were offering casual tastings as one passed by, and I missed this.
There was a massive free tasting zone where you were allowed to wander about at your own pace while tasting what you fancied, but the choice was rather overwhelming. There was also a lack of the big names in this section.
I did think that the event was really well organised, and the facilities were first rate with lots of food venues ready to sooth your weary tastebuds if the tastings became too much. The actual venue/venues were massive and if you’re looking to get your steps up then this might be the event for you. It's easy to meander, almost, aimlessly in the hope that wine tasting might fall into your lap, but this means that you could miss out if you don't respond to the invites. With this in mind I'm just listing a few of the interesting wines I tried below without points being added.
a little background
Vinexpo Paris is one of the world's leading international wine and spirits exhibitions. It was first held in 1981 and is now held biennially at the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Centre. The event showcases the best wines and spirits from over 40 countries, with educational seminars and tastings also available. It is a great opportunity to discover the latest trends in the wine and spirits industry, as well as to network with industry professionals.
a few that caught my attention
2019 Chateau Pipeau - Saint Emilion Grand Cru
I stubbled across this and found the label interesting enough to want to know more.
It's price is mid-range for a wine from this excellent locale and I'm not complaining as the Merlot comes forth with ripe fruits and hints of herb, vanilla and a wisp of smoke.
Stick about for tobacco as you look at the rich colour in your glass, and then there are plums, and an earthy taste waiting for you.
I feel it's a little bit young, but it's interesting.
5.5 out of 7
Piandimare - Montepulciano D'Abruzzo
Sometimes fate takes a hand. I was strolling around the exposition and was made to feel that my life wouldn't be complete unless I sampled this wine.
It's a no-nonsense label for a well above average wine that was, for me, one of the finds of the show. This is a real bargain if you can find it, and I'm expecting it to sell quickly.
There are red fruits dancing with black fruits (raspberries and blackberries) while being applauded by plums and cherries, tobacco and spices.
6.5 out of 7
Julien de l'Embisque. Rosée Estivala - Côtes-du-Rhône.
I seem to be forever on the search for a Rosé that will add to my pleasant memories of how much can be done nowadays, and this wine is a suitable addition.
With summer approaching, you might be looking for something interesting, with good value that you can drink in your garden. Ladies and gentlemen, can I direct you in the direction of this number?
It's very pleasant and has a lot of depth, as strawberries and light red fruit come along.
6 out of 7
2022 Château Pierrail - Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris
I actually thought, from the clarity in the bottle, and the location that I was entering the Entre-Deux-Mer, but there's that Sauvignon Gris dropping by to say hello.
It might seem a little heavy and fruit forward at the beginning, but give it time to work its magic. In moments you're getting crisp green apples, a smattering of grapefruit and tropical fruit like melon and pineapple.
It's zingy, it's fresh, and it's not a boring wine, and I think that this is worth your attention.
6 out of 7
2020 Olivier Ravoire - Châteauneuf-du-Pape - 'Caparaçon'
There can be few wines that I find as reliable as one that has Châteauneuf-du-Pape on the bottle. With a lot of areas, this often means that expectations are so high that it's difficult to maintain those standards. This is a balancing trick the area seem to master quite well.
The price seems a bargain to me, and at first I'm suspicious. That is until I taste what's in the glass, and then boy oh boy am I interested as those dark fruits play flirtatiously with peppers, vanilla and liquorice.
The tannins are there, but they're not getting in the way, and the jammy flavours seem to fit right in.
6.5 out of 7