The Edinburgh Festival of Wine 2018 is almost upon us and you can see all the wines being poured by our exhibitors, but here’s my run-through just some of the things that have caught my eye (table numbers in brackets). The table layout should also help you plan for the day:
We welcome a host of superb wine producers, giving you a direct line to some of the world’s greatest estates.
We’ll kick off at home in the UK as the renowned Nyetimber (16) and Plumpton College (21) prove without doubt that the quality of English wine now rivals the world’s best. Italy has a particularly strong showing this year with Zonin 1821 (24) presenting its fine Tuscan portfolio with both Chianti and ‘super-Tuscans’. We welcome Toby Owen (28), the British winemaker now also crafting organic wines in Tuscany, who shares table 28 with WoodWinters, today exclusively representing Ferghettina, a top estate of Franciacorta. Terra Moretti (31) also shows its sparkling Franciacorta wines from the Bellavista estate, and back to Tuscany with the super-premium reds of Petra. France is represented by some superb still wine and sparkling producers, with Champagne Deutz (11) and Champagne Piper-Heidsieck (22), two houses on top form, and Domaines Bonfils (5) presenting some gorgeous and affordable wines from their Languedoc estates. Louis Latour Agencies (17) shows Louis Latour wines naturally, but also the Chablis wines of Simonnet-Febvre, and Henry Fessy, king of the Cru Beaujolais. The Iberian Peninsula also has a strong presence this year, with the fabulous Bodegas Roda (9) of Rioja, and Vintage Class (18) which brings together Scottish wine educator Jenni Wilson and two wineries with whom she works closely, Bodegas Gomez Cruzado of Rioja and Bodegas Lagar de Isilla of Ribera del Duero. We have two outstanding Port producers in the shape of Quinta do Noval (11), and Ramos Pinto (25).
All around the world
We’re thrilled that some great global estates are joining us, kicking off in South Africa with Ken Forrester (4), maestro of Chenin Blanc, and the man himself will be there. From Australia, don’t miss Fine Wine Partners (2), owners of six iconic Australian brands: Petaluma, Croser, St Hallett, Knappstein, Stonier and Tatachilla and Howard Park Wines (3) seriously top-end wines from Western Australia. At Thistledown (29) Winemaker Giles Cook MW will be pouring his excellent range of terroir wines, whilst New Zealand is represented by the superb biodynamic Seresin Estate (17). Finally, South America is represented by Caballo Loco (12), super-premium terroir wines from Chile and Santa Rita Estates (13), who straddle the Andes with their Santa Rita and Carmen brands from Chile, and Doña Paula from Argentina.
The One Track Minds
Some of our exhibitors are highly specialised, so a visit to their stands at the Festival is a fantastic chance for an in-depth exploration of certain regions or styles with the friendly experts behind the tables. Joining us for the first time, Napa Valley Vintners (23) will demonstrate what’s new and exciting in the wines of California. I am on record as saying Portugal is one of the most exciting wine countries on earth, and we have local specialist, The Wineline (28), representing select estates from Portugal with white, red, sparkling and Port wines. We have a two Italian specialists for your enjoyment, kicking off with When in Rome (4), whose 2.25-litre boxes of beautifully-crafted fine Italian wines are also good for the environment, then Bat & Bottle (6), where cricket-mad Ben Robson imports directly from some top, artisan Italian producers. Real specialism can be found with Go Brazil Wines (18), the only UK company to specialise in wines from one of South America’s emerging star nations.
The World of Choice
Others among our roll-call of 36 superb exhibitors are demonstrating the breadth and quality of their range, spanning everyday drinking to special occasion splurges. I’ll kick off with everyone’s favourite, The Wine Society (1) with not only the classics, but fine wines from Bulgaria, Turkey, and Hungary, then globe-trotting Barwell & Jones (5) spanning Chile to Portugal and Spain to South Africa. Over at Rude Wines (7), they promise not to be too rude, but do promise some real discoveries, including Portugeuse Pinot Noir and wines from the Judean Hills in Israel. Make sure to investigate Richmond Wine Agencies (10), who represents some cracking producers including Chateau d’Esclans of Provence and Mount Difficulty of Central Otago. With us for the first time in Edinburgh, Slurp (30) is an online company who have selected a dozen from their 900-strong range, with some top Rhône and Burgundy wines for example.
Two big names to look out for are Hatch-Mansfield (19), undoubtedly one of the UK’s most important and prestigious importers, exclusively representing such illustrious names as Taittinger Champagne and Louis Jadot, while Lidl (8) gives a brilliant opportunity for a sneak preview, with six wines from their regular range, plus six that will be in stores from 22nd November for their Christmas Wine Tour. Finally, let’s look at some great local merchants and importers: Harvey Nichols (15) joins us once again, with some beuatifully chosen estates from Greece to Western Australia. New to the Festival is Terroir (20), based in the Scottish Borders and importing artisanal, terroir wines from around the world. On table 27, real Edinburgh favourite for value and service, Great Grog, is today focusing on South America; not just Chile and Argentina, but Uruguay too. Finally, Scottish importer of all things Lebanese, Chateau de Mediterranean (32), are back with us and some top estates of this most fascinating wine country.
Learning, tasting, enjoying!
Plumpton College (21) is the UK’s centre of excellence in professional wine education and will discuss how to turn a love of wine into a successful career, and remember Vintage Class (18) can discuss their wine education classes in Spain, for a holiday with a difference.
It’s going to be an amazing tasting opportunity, and remember almost all of our exhibitors are offering exclusive discounts to purchase Festival wines at up to 20% off for purchases and home deliveries. See Exhibitors & wines.