For those of you that don’t know me so well, I’d like to share a little secret… I absolutely love wine!
My former non-glamorous-wine-trade-life gave me the pleasure of trying so many fabulous wines and the opportunity to meet winemakers and importers. Since leaving almost 2 years ago, these opportunities are few and far between. Through this, I was able to see their passion and get their honest input. Personally, I do not choose a wine on the label. Never, ever. Wine goes beyond the label, to choose a wine and truly appreciate it’s nice to see beyond that glossy packaging.
I was recently invited by Laura Clay to The Love Wine Festival at the Burlington Hotel. As I mentioned, I absolutely love wine and on reading up on the Love Wine Festival, it seemed to be the event for me.
Although the event is hosted at the Burlington, one of the most prestigious hotels in Birmingham, the event is relaxed, informal and lots of fun. I went with a group of around 6 and there was enough for each and every one of us to find something that appealed to us. If you are still in the early stages of learning about wine, finding out what you like and dislike, or just looking for new additions to add to your home cellar or Christmas wine wish list, this event is for you.
The one day event is run by Laura Clay and Richard Bampfield MW (Master of Wine) of ByWine; with over 35 exhibitors displaying over 250 wines, some spirits and artisan nibbles, there really is something for everyone.
The event was split into two sessions 12-3pm and 4pm-7pm, I went to the first one. I arrived at about 12.15pm, was handed an empty wine glass and had a quick flick through the handy wine booklet. The booklet lists all of the exhibitors and their wines on offer. I immediately went to the Hard to Find Wines stand, their big welcoming smile was hard to miss.
Knowing where to start with over 250 + wines can be daunting, however with masterclasses and wine walks on offer the path isn’t so scary. The wine walks were presented by ‘Ab-Fab’ Helen Lederer, can you believe it? On offer were masterclasses on Bordeaux, Champagne and English wines. I went to The Diversity of Champagne class presented by Laura Clay. We had 4 really different Champagnes, all delicious, however my favourite was the Alfred Gratien. The class lasted 30 minutes, with the opportunity to ask a few questions at the end.
I really like the the mission statement behind Love Wine “have fun finding out more about what you love and why you love it; wine is all about pleasure and enjoyment and you’ll find bucket loads of both at [the] Love Wine [Festival]”.
If wine isn’t your thing, there were a handful of stalls with spirits to warm the cockles of your heart. As we approach the festive season, I would recommend the Williams aged sloe and mulberry Gin from the Williams Chase Distillery. A dash of that with your favourite fizz, whether it’s Champagne, Cava, Cremant or Prosecco will make for a nice aperitif on Christmas Day or for New Years.
On a final note, I enjoy coming away from events like this with a new favourite. My favourite wine of the day was from English winery Three Choirs. Siegerrebe 2014, is aromatic and spicy, with notes of grapefruit and tropical fruits.
All in all a really enjoyable day at the festival, I just wish I had 30 minutes extra to taste. Although, there probably is never enough time!
I’d love to know what you will be drinking this Christmas?
Thank you Love Wine Festival for extending the invitation. As always, my writing and my honest views.