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Finally x2: Wrapping Up London International Wine Fair & Movin’ On Up in the Blogging World!!

Heck yes Vinous Readers! The theme for this post is FINALLY!!

For the first ‘FINALLY’ … I am F-iiiiiiii-nally about to wrap up this London International Wine Fair experience! I sort of find humor in how long it has taken me to get to this post, haha, but I have a ‘unique’ sense of humor. I am sure there is a certain friend out there named Alvin who is laughing along with me, because he shares my sense of humor, but I digress.

The second ‘FINALLY’ is that I am now the proud owner of the domain name ‘Vinously Speaking’! I am currently working on the big switch over so bare with me! I will announce when vinouslyspeaking.com will be ‘going live’. I do have a confession to make though, I will be switching over to WordPress.

“Blogger, baby, you and I have had a wonderful relationship with so many wonderful memories. And you know they say you always remember your first love. I will cherish all our great times together. I just want you to know this is not about you, this is just something I have to do for me. I feel we just both want different things in life and are lives are taking different paths. WordPress understands the person I am right now and the needs I have. And I don’t want to deny you the chance to make some other blog writer very, very happy. Blogger, I will miss you, but this is for the better! We can still be friends right?

Feel free to my visit my website before I announce the ‘Grand Opening’, but be sure to wear your virtual construction hat ’cause the website is definitely a virtual construction zone =)

Alright, so we are at the last day of the London International Wine Fair

We had to be there a bit earlier than usual because we were very lucky to be able to soak up some time with this guy …

His name is Sam Holmes and he is the CEO of the Barossa Grape & Wine Association (BGWA). The BGWA is responsible for promoting the Australian region of Barossa as a brand. “It serves as the guardian for communicating the Barossa Vision through highlighting its people and places; eliciting the essence of “Barossa” through emotion, sight, smell, taste, sound and feel; reinforcing our place among the most prestigious wine regions in the world.” You can read more about them on the BGWA website.

Sam spoke to us about the Barossa region and about the challenges they were facing pertaining to promotion of the wine regions and its wines, particularly concerning social media and online presence. He said that not to long ago, of all the wineries in the region, none one of them were on Twitter!! Which is difficult to believe since Australians are big social media users, they’re spending more hours per person per month on social media sites than the US and the UK! (btw, way to go Australia!) Sam Holmes stressed that getting Barossa to embrace social media to help with it’s promotion and regional branding was a major priority for the BGWA.

He also showed us another way that Barossa was promoting itself as a regional brand … well actually I take that back, he was nice enough to give each of us in the masters program … a copy of the new book the Barossa Wine Traveller written by Tyson Stelzer and Grant Dodd (the book in the picture above) which is “an entertaining resource that puts all the attractions and characters of the Barossa wine industry into one package.” Thanks again to Sam for the interesting insight into the Barossa wine region and it was very, very cool of you to offer us the book. Also a shout out to Tyson and Grant, awesome book! (On a side note, Tyson was a guest lecturer at the Master in Wine Business program I am in! Oh ya, we are that cool! =D) Rubbin’ elbows people, rubbin’ elbows!

So the time came to end our early morning chat with Sam, my ‘Holmes-Dog’, (I can call you that right Sam?) and instead of other CEO’s who would just brush you off, Sam had an even better exit strategy ….

“Would you guys like to have an Australian wine tasting?”

Which I followed by, “Umm, let me think Sam … its early in the morning and I missed breakfast … I really shouldn’t … ehhh what the hell, sure, why not?!”

Plus it is totally appropriate to have a wine tasting before 10am if it is for professional reasons. Totally appropriate.

Nothing like the taste of a 2009 Riesling to wake you up in the morning, WOW!!!

After the brutal and unforgiving attack of acidity on my sleeping taste buds, this wine was actually really spectacular. After this day, I decided to heck with washing my face with cold water to wake me up in the morning, I want a shot of young Riesling!!

And the tasting didn’t stop, the wine just kept on flowing and flowing …

and flowing! I stopped taking pictures after the 3rd wine but we kept on tasting about 5 more bottles. I walked away from the Australian wine booth WIDE AWAKE with a hint of a buzz. And before you go on judging me, I totally spit those wines out, well at least the majority of the sip went into the spittoon. I have mastered the art of semi-spitting, hahaha!

Next up was the most fantastic event of my London International Wine Fair experience …

The 80th Anniversary of Chateau Musar: A Tasting From Four Decades!

Now, if you were like me, pre-event, you are probably thinking, “Chateau Musar ?”
And for those of you who are like me, post-event, you are probably thinking, “HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW ABOUT CHATEAU MUSAR ?!?!?”

So here I was, pre-Chateau Musar, walking into a sold out event room. If your name was not on that list, you were not getting in. Luckily my name was on the list.




Told you it was full!!

Then the panel walked out and took their seats, and guess who was there ?!?!?

Steven Spurrier!!! For those of you not freaking out right now, Steven Spurrier is FAMOUS in the wine world!

Do you know why?

Pop Quiz …

Steven Spurrier is famous in the wine world because:
A. he is a British wine expert and a former wine merchant in Paris
B. he started L’Academie du Vin, France’s first private wine school
C. he staged the influential “Judgment of Paris” Tasting of 1976
D. all of the above

The answer can be found here.

I know I am a big dork, but I’m just so excited to see these big names in the wine world!!

But the host of honor was actually this man …

Serge Hochar, with his younger brother, run Chateau Musar, started by their father Gaston Hochar in 1930 and located in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon. Some refer to Serge as a ‘magician’ for making such extraordinary wine but he says he is more of a ‘translator’, just translating what nature is trying to say through the wine.

Man oh man, when he started speaking I literally broke out in goosebumps! He was just phenomenal and inspiring from word one! I couldn’t take my eyes off him, I am pretty sure I had been hypnotized. There are just people in life that are here to inspire, Serge is one of them!

I really encourage you to visit their website and read about the fantastic and romantic history of both Chateau Musar and the region. If you are going to fall in love with their wines, story, and family like I did, then you can’t hear it from me, this is journey you have to make on your own! Chateau Musar is like the secret password to join this secret fraternity of wine connoisseurs! It’s like being invited to hang out with the cool kids of the wine world! So I am letting you on on this secret!

The wines (ranging from 2003 to 1977) were tasted in reverse, red wine first, then white. This may be a unique way to do a tasting, but that is what Chateau Musar is known for in the world of fine wine, as being ‘unique’. Why?

1.) Serge, the magician/nature translator/people charmer/hypnotist.
2.) They only release their wines to the market after seven years of aging!
3.) Their whites are made from unique, ancient varietals known as Merwah and Obaideh, indigenous to Mount Lebanon.
4.) Their wines vary a lot from vintage to vintage because Serge adopts a strict ‘natural’/ ‘hands off’ winemaking philosophy.
5.) Their wines possess a unique character known as brettanomyces, or just ‘Brett’ in wine industry lingo. This is a form of yeast that can be considered by some to be a ‘fault’ in the wine and yet to others it can be an appealing quality in the wine. Personally I am on Team Brett! Yumm! You can read more about Brett and wine here.

And you can see the full video recording (3 parts) from this Chateau Musar tasting on Broadbent Selections Facebook Fan Page. I hope you enjoy!!

Here I am with the panel, Steven Spurrier, Serge Hochar, and Bartholomew Broadbent, US wine importer (Broadbent Selections) and son of the famous British wine critic Micheal Broadbent, the man who ‘discovered’ Chateau Musar and ‘put them on the map’ at the Bristol Wine Fair in 1979.

Photo with Steven Spurrier!! Ahhh!

After the Musar musings, I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and tasting wines. I did however have a quick coffee with the director of the London International Wine Fair, James Murray. He wanted my thoughts on the fair, what I liked and what I thought could be added or changed next year. You know, the Ceci Sipper just chillaxin’ with the director of one of the most important wine fairs in the world. No big deal.

Then it was off to finish the fair in style! I made a mad dash to the Access Zone, a stand dedicated to wine online, because they were having a wine party!! Loads of wine and such a short time to taste them all / finish all the bottles!

But it didn’t end there, we took the party to a wine blogger meet up at the best wine bar in London, Vinoteca!!






The menu was YUMMO!







One of my favorite wines from the wine fair!!



Oh man! Beware when you tell 25+ wine bloggers to BYOW and put them together in the same room, INSANE Chaos will ensue!


Needless to say I ended my trip to the 2010 London International Wine Fair with a bang!! Or perhaps a pop! I look forward to spending 3 whole days with many of these wine bloggers at the European Wine Bloggers Conference in Vienna, Austria in October!!

See you on the next post!

(I can’t wait to write, ‘see you on the next post … on www.vinouslyspeaking.com !!)

Vinously Speaking & Vinously Yours,
The Ceci Sipper!

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