Raw Wine Fair Preview at the Town Hall Hotel:
Last year I was hoping to go to the Raw Wine Fair but missed out because I was travelling at the time. While I’m not a wine expert at all, I DO enjoy learning a little more about wine – and I’d tried a few natural wines and wanted to find out more. So, being invited along to The Town Hall Hotel for a preview event – a tasting of a few of the wines that will be on show at the Raw Wine Fair, matched canapés from the Corner Room and an introduction to the wines by Isabelle Legeron herself was something quite special.
Natural wines are something different to organic wines, beyond biodynamic wines. Perhaps with natural wines we have wines as they might have tasted a hundred, five hundred, or even a thousand years ago. Or perhaps not, because of course everything evolves – including grape varieties. What is more important though, is that there’s a passion behind the natural wine movement. And for me, passion is what creates great wines.
Part of that passion comes from ‘That Crazy French Woman’, Isabelle Legeron, who seems to have almost single-handedly championed the natural wine movement and brought it in the fine dining world. And part of it, of course, comes from the wine makers themselves.
I loved our introductory prosecco, Malibran Sottoriva. Cloudy, fresh and full of mineral flavours. I’d happily have just had this all evening. But then I do like fizzy wine;).
The Colombaia, Bianco Toscana was a familiar flavour. Just back from Abruzzo, where I’d been tasting a lot of trebbiano wines it took me straight back to the hills and mountains of Italy.
And then we had an orange wine pairing. I’ve never tried orange wine. I’d never actually even heard of orange wines – although I’ve now gone back and read Isabelle’s article on the subject. They are made by leaving the skins stems and pips on white wine grapes during the wine making process. The resulting wine can be complex and deep – richer in antioxidants and packed with flavours that help to pair these wines with creamy meat dishes.
The first was one made by Isabelle herself in Georgia using a qvevri – a kind of earthenware amphora that is buried in the ground for the wine making process. If you want to try for yourself, it’s called Lagvinari, Lagvini and can be bought from Dynamic Vines with a RRP of £22
The second, Mlecnik Chardonnay – came from the Vipava Valley in Solvenia and was for me a rather more delicate wine though still packed with flavour.
There were more to taste – a light Austrian white wine and then two reds from Italy and France. What typifies these wines seems to be distinct flavours – not necessarily exactly what you’d expect from modern production – often slightly less alcoholic yet fuller flavoured. They are often produced in quite small quantities, and because no chemicals are used throughout production the winemaker needs to pay the utmost care to hygiene or risk losing an entire vintage of wine. Raw wines can appear cloudy and the colour of the wine is not always what you’d expect.
We finished with la biancara, recioto – a sweet wine from Veneto in Italy with a delicate elderflower, herb and apricot taste.
I thoroughly enjoyed tasting what was, for me, a completely new selection of wines. And the lovely canapes expertly matched for us by the team from Nuno Mendes Corner Room. And I’m looking forward to finding out more in a few weeks time at the Raw Wine Fair.
Last year the Raw Wine Fair was extremely popular. I’ve already registered – tickets are £20 which includes all tastings for free, a raw wine guide and a C&S Open Up Pro tasting glass to take home.
Held at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, It’s open to the public on 19th May and you can get tickets from the Raw Wine Fair website.