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FRENCH WINE DISCOVERIES
FRENCH WINE DISCOVERIES

IN VINO VERITAS



A pleasant afternoon yesterday wine tasting at Tobacco Dock.The venue itself is pretty spectacular – a grade 1 listed building built in theearly 19 century which, as its name suggests was the entry pointfor the precious cargo which kept the clay pipes of London’s nicotine addicts filledto the brim. http://tobaccodocklondon.com/ This stretch of river frontage East of Tower Bridge is undergoing massiveinvestment and could soon be a vibrant new neighbourhood. London dock is anearby St Georges development which is rising out of the ground and being marketedfor off plan sales and with St Katherine’s dock next door the area already hasan established residential population who have secured the residential prize ofa waitrose store.

Still, neighbourhood and venue aside, the purpose of thetasting was to allow the UK wine trade to discover some producers from all overFrance who had yet to find a representative for their wines. January is a quiettime in the vineyards so its an opportunity for a wide variety of winemakers tosell their produce the hugely important and very knowledgeable UK market. As afan of wine, but not an expert it is a pleasure to be able to attend and tastealongside those with such fine palates and keen snouts. Spittoons wereeverywhere and I mostly manage the art of spitting out my swill withoutdribbling down my chin, apart from one lapse near the end which left myregistration label stained with a very fruity red from which if I rememberrightly was a 100% merlot.

With over 100 producers, it wouldn’t be possible to tastethem all, and I restricted myself to a few exhibitors who treated me well andexplained their wines patiently. The pleasure of these tastings is to meet asingle winemakers from a single domaine who is able to explain why each of hiswines tastes subtly different. Sometimes it’s the soil, sometimes the sunshine,sometimes the cepage, but my uneducated palette is beginning to distinguishbetween the diferent regions and it is often a sheer delight to confront aremembered taste anew as one revisits a region’s wines for a second tasting.

More on the individual wine makers over the coming weeks butone phrase lingers. This from Christian Chabirand at Le Prieure de la Chaume ( www. prieure -la- chaume .com who seeks with his winemaking to express “Le tripe de l’endroitet l’imprint de l’annee” – the guts of the place and the imprint of the year’s sunshine.

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