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Today at the London Wine Trade Fair

Year after year I’ve been attending the London Wine Trade Fair (oh I am so very, back-throbbingly old…). It strikes me, alas, that the density of quality kit on show is getting lower and lower. The spirits section was surprisingly miniscule. However, there were a few wines of interest.

Mentzendorf are blessed with an embarrassment of riches. The 30 year old Hidalgo Sherries (poured by the great Javier H himself; he is one hoopy frood alright) were quite stunning, the Palo Cortado particularly so. Even the nearly-as-old-as-me-but-far-less-generally-shagged-out PX was remarkably drinkable and very nearly not over-whelmingly thick and sugar-tastic. There are limits to the quantity of this stuff one could comfortably neck. The Bollinger flame has distinctly died for me, but the 2000 vintage whips the arse of their previous release (1999) which I thought was distinctly ordinary. And, as ever, it was great to try some Fonseca and Taylors Ports; they rarely fail to deliver the goods. It seems 1985 Vintage Ports are quite a treat to drink now.

I was a tad disappointed with the Jaboulet white Hermitage 2006 that Liberty Wines were showing. It might just be a phase it is going through, but beyond woodiness it was worryingly anonymous. The Mule Blanche white Crozes, on the other hand, was fruity and appeallingly drinkable. Don’t age it though.

Seems like 2009 is a good vintage in Germany, the wines have a lovely acid/fruit balance. Some of the Spatlesen I tried were really scummy. Finely balanced Spatlesen can be oh so tittingly satisfying; even though it hurts I do get a thrill of excitement from acidity.

There was a wasabi flavour vodka on offer which would be wonderful in Bloody Marys, as would Sputnik’s horseradish vodka. Horseradish is an essential ingredient in a quality BM in my book (my book being “The encyclopedia of high-grade libation-related louche larks and dissolute drink diversions, professional fart-around edition”).

I did have an instructive and thought-provoking time at the show, but so many friends and purveyors of fine kit just have better things to these days so I find the experience to be just a smidgen lacking jape-value. Yet, in all honesty, I imagine I’m not going to give up on the show for a while yet.

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