Firstly, we spent a wonderful weekend in the Champagne region of France, where we took two cases of our wine for the locals to try, one of Charles Palmer 2009, and one of Charles Palmer 2010. This was set up courtesy of our lovely hostess Malika Florance, proprietor of La Fine Bulle, a high class wine bar, and boutique wine shop in the centre of Epernay. Malika invited several of her friends and colleagues, who are involved in the Champagne industry. We were extremely happy to find our wines very well received!!
Whilst we were there we took the opportunity to look around the region. It was interesting to note that the vines in Champagne, are probably about two weeks ahead of ours here in Winchelsea, in terms of spring growth. I would be interested to know, how much this difference would have been ten years ago. It does bode well for us though, in terms of getting a well ripened crop this year compared to last, when spring was so late.
Only three days after getting back from Epernay, and we were off again, this time to Catalonia in the north east of Spain. Our trip to the Priorat and Montsant regions of Catalonia was amazing. We were invited by the Aguilo Brothers, who have a substantial wine retail business in Falset Catalonia. Every year the town holds a wine fair. Fira del Vi, takes place over the spring bank holiday weekend. We were asked to present our wines in Falset Castle, on the Friday evening. The theme was, white wines of Priorat county, and white wines of the world. We were invited as international guest sparkling white wine producers from the UK. The majority of people attending had never tasted English Sparkling Wine. According to our wonderful host and translator Rachel Ritchie we were the highlight of the evening with large numbers of people enquiring about, and sampling our wines, so much so that we ran out of the 12 bottles that we took with us. We were greatly encouraged by the positive comments and compliments we received.
We had a wonderful weekend, meeting some fascinating people, and tasting a variety of phenomenal wines. The wines of Priorat, seem to be one of the best kept secrets in the wine world. In particular the wines made from Grenache, and Carignan grapes really stand out. The industry is made up mostly of smaller sized producers, who pay great attention to detail, and have tremendous passion for what they do. It seems that the combination of climate, terroir, aspect of the slopes, and choice of grape varieties all come together here to produce some of the best wines in the world. Indeed we felt honoured to be invited to present our wines alongside wines of such distinction. Catalonia, Priorat, Montsant, its wine, and its people, have left a long lasting impression upon us that we will never forget.