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The View from Vinexpo, Pt. 1

The View from Vinexpo, Pt. 1

The View from Vinexpo, Part 1

Well now that the dust has settled following an incredibly busy visit to Bordeaux for last week’s Vinexpo 2015, I thought it would be a good to pick on some of the highlights of the trip.

Launched In 1981 by the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vinexpo originally had a very local focus, but today it is truly international and has grown to become the world’s largest wine and spirits trade fair.

Held biannually the fair takes place in the truly gargantuan “Parc des Expositions” complex which covers a 30ha peninsula in the centre of a man-made lake which lies on the outskirts of the city.

In fact I may even have understated it when I said gargantuan earlier, the fair is spread across three halls, hall one alone covers a floor space of 50,000m2, which is an area roughly equivalent to seven football pitches!

But to really get an idea of the scale of the event, have a look at some of the figures below.

2,350 exhibitors from 42 countries across the 5 continents

48,000 buyers from 151 countries

120,000 clean tasting glasses were required each day

This doesn’t even begin to take in to account the dozens of other events, celebrations and parties taking place all throughout Bordeaux during the week.

So with all of this going on we certainly had a very full schedule for the fair, in total we walked more than 45km just getting around the halls and we tasted over 230 wines in the three days.

These wines were a healthy mix of the new vintages of some old favourites along with some exciting brand new finds.

Don’t worry though; I’m not going to work through all 230 tasting notes here, I have just selected a few highlights from some of our Burgundy producers to give you a sense of it all.

For a masterclass in Pinot Noir on Wednesday we had a 9.15am appointment with Thibaut Marion, of Domaine Seguin-Manuel. Thibaut’s family has been connected with fine Burgundy winemaking for ten generations now, and all that experience is clear to see in the wonderfully pure cherry fruit and extremely elegant structure common to the entire range.

Next up was Jean-Marc Brocard; few producers in Chablis have such an extensive range of brilliant wines as Brocard. From basic right up to Grand Cru they excel. These are wines for the real Chablis lover, balancing wonderfully pure fruit and steely minerality. It was a real treat to taste with owner/manager, Julien Brocard, who not only showed us the latest vintages of his wines but also brought along some stunning older examples from his library, there were some outstanding Premier & Grand Crus in this line up, but the real surprise for me was the 1996 vintage of his standard AC Chablis, Domaine Sainte-Claire; poured from magnum this was incredibly fresh and still showing primary fruit!

From Chablis in the extreme North of Burgundy we moved to right down to the very South to taste the wines of Château Fuissé, widely acknowledged as the best producer the Maconnais. The Château Fuissé dates back to 1604 and has been in the Vincent family for five generations, we were lucky enough to taste the range of Chardonnays with chief-winemaker and estate manager, Antoine Vincent. These class-leading Chardonnays represent the pinnacle of quality in the region and even rival the more famous appellations of Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet and Meursault to the North.

I’m sure that’s enough for now, keep following the blog for further updates.

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