My first impression upon entering Olympia for Imbibe Live 2013 was the energy levels – they were through the roof. There were stilt walkers, people with brightly coloured sombrero’s on their heads and leis draped around their necks and this was still only 11 o’clock in the morning. It already felt very different from the London International Wine Fair that I had attended in May. Imbibe Live is an annual on-trade event and it is attended by some of the best and brightest from the restaurant, bar and hotel scene. My first stop of the day was the cocktails through the year’s session where I sampled my first Porn Star Cocktail – apparently I was the only virgin there. And I learned how to get a small sample of the cocktail by placing a straw in it and tapping the end. A lifetime skill I’m sure.
There were also some great master classes in the Wine World area. Hamish Anderson, Head Sommelier and Wine Buyer for Tate, took us through the crus of Beaujolais; Andrew Catchpole introduced us to some ‘Affordable Luxury’ and Jane Parkinson finished the day in style with six glasses of bubbly from around the world for us to try.
Some interesting things I tried:
Propercorn Fiery Worcester Sauce and Sun-Dried Tomato – I had to beg to get a small bag to take away and it knackered my ability to taste for about half an hour but well worth it.
Belvoir Cherry Pressé– Having gone cold turkey on the Diet Coke and Pepsi Max this is going to be a super thirst quenching alternative – and all natural.
And of course I tried some wines…
SAS Domaine de la Navicelle L’Insolent 2010 – Made from Tibouren and Cinsault, this organic wine was a beautiful rich orangey pink, it really stood out on the shelf. With aromas of dried fig and apricot it would make a great food wine. http://www.domainelanavicelle.com
Château des Jacques, Moulin-à-Vent La Roche 2003 – Aged in 100% new oak without any carbonic maceration this wine was spicy and still had gripy tannins. From the super-hot 2003 vintage this wine had retained good acidity and was rich with a hint of the farmyard.
Moutard 6 Cepages – A Champagne made from six grapes in equal quantity – the three common/traditional grapes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and three grapes that are rarely used in Champagne today Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier and Arbane. It was a lovely rich colour, complex with a ‘sour grapefruit twist’ and earthiness.
Imbibe Live 2014 will be held at Olympia on 1st & 2nd July. http://live.imbibe.com/