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On the road searching for new wines

Last week I had a productive three days of tastings in London, where you can find the widest choice of the finest wines from around the world.  With so many trade tastings at this time of year it is important to be very focussed on where and what to taste when looking for wines for future collections. My aim is to discover wines that truly reflect the best each country, region, producer can offer; wines that have something of a ‘wow’ factor that will be a real pleasure to drink.

It is always fun to find a good wine made from a lesser known grape variety.  This was the case with Ciro Bianco Greco Librandi, from Calabria, a poor agricultural region in the southern tip of Italy. I am told that this is the oldest and most famous winery in Calabria. The wine itself has lovely citrus aromas,  crisp and fresh with grapefruit flavours and a long finish.  I also tasted the very impressive Crossroads Gewürztraminer from Hawkes Bay in New Zealand.  I don’t usually associate Gewürztraminer with NZ, famed for its Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir as well as Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. This wine was a real aromatic gem with tropical fruits flavours, smooth with a hint of rose petals. I am a fan of Pinot Noir and tasted really liked the elegant Omero Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon, in the north west of the United State.  It will be interesting to compare this wine with the Fromm Pinot Noir from New Zealand that is in the current selection.  I will post my tasting notes of what I tasted in the next blog.

I am now preparing my next buying trip.  This time I will be with buyers from all over the world at Prowein in Dusseldorf, Germany, where nearly 5000 exhibitors from 47 countries will be showing their wines.  Prowein is the best international professional wine fair in the world with nearly 100,000 visitors from around the globe descending on the capital of the North-Rhine Westphalia state, better know for its beer and contemporary art scene, from the 15 to 18 March to taste the new vintage wines from the northern hemisphere countries while at the same time evaluate the new wines from the Southern hemisphere.  Following Prowein we have Vinitaly in Verona, 22 – 25 March, where another 4000 producers, mostly Italian will be exhibiting their wares to more than 150,000 visitors.

Huge gatherings like these highlight the best and worst of being a wine professional. On the one hand it is very convenient to have all the top producers in the world exhibiting, it is also a great opportunity to network and keep in touch with friends and contacts from the industry.  On the other hand it can be overwhelming in the sense that there are only so many wines you can taste and there is a lot to get through.   Still there are many worse things that one could be doing!  More to follow on how I get on in the weeks ahead.

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I am a Northern Irishman based in Valencia. My career in wine began more than three decades ago, in London. I am the founder of TheWinePlace.es, an online store, where wine enthusiasts can enjoy a selection of international wines and Verde Marte, a company dedicated to exporting Spanish wines. Also, Thewineplace.courses, an "approved program provider" of the courses of the prestigious WSET. I share my passion for wines through my media work writing weekly columns for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo and 5 Barricas, an online wine magazine.

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