California Wines

California Wine Fair 2017 London

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I T ' S T I M E T O D R E A M B I G A N D F A L L I N L O V E W I T H C A L I F O R N I A N W I N E S I can still remember the first Californian wine that captured my imagination – it was Diamond Creek, the state's first property to be planted exclusively with Cabernet Sauvignon. It fascinated me because of the way in which the soils and micro-climates in the estate's three vineyards imparted distinct characteristics to the wine. It triggered a lifelong affection for California, opening the door for me to great bottles from the likes of Ramey and Ridge. That's why it's such a thrill for me to welcome members of the trade to Dream Big, the most exciting Californian wine fair ever staged in the UK. Today, guests will have the chance to try some 600 wines, from producers already being imported and wineries seeking representation. I'm looking forward to catching up with some of the classics from Cliff Lede, Inglenook, Jackson Family Wines and Silver Oak, as well as trying as many of the 2012 and 2013 Cabernet Sauvignons as I can. I'm also keen to taste some of the great value wines from producers such as Byron of Santa Barbara, Louis M Martini in Napa and Sonoma, and Hilltop's selection of growers from Lodi. Then there are the novel varieties imported by the likes of Flint and Roberson, including Stolpman's Sangiovese and Kings Carey's Grenache, or Tatomer's Gruner Veltliner and Broc Cellars' Valdiguié, and not forgetting Birichino's Jurassic Park Chenin Blanc, all of which demonstrate California's diversity. And I can't wait to sample some of the wines that will be new to me, including those from Dierberg Star Lane. We'll also learn more through our seminars, with acclaimed author Kelli White guiding us through Napa's mountains and valley floor, while Karen MacNeil, award winner and author of The Wine Bible explores cooler climate coastal wines. Yet today is about more than simply wine alone – we've teamed up with Visit California to create a multi-sensory experience, bringing the sights, sounds and smells of the Golden State into the heart of London. There'll be food and wine matching, with chefs designing dishes to match Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and some exciting white varieties. Plus, there'll be live music over lunch and the chance to chat over a flute of sparkling wine at the Bubbles Bar, where we'll be raising a glass to our colleagues in Dublin, who are holding their own California wine fair tomorrow. So, make sure you leave yourself time not just to try the wines today, but to also enjoy a taste of California too. Justin Knock MW California Wine Institute UK

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