The social season kicked off with a whump at Decanter’s World Wine Awards dinner at the Royal Opera House (than whose glitz few can hardly be glitzier)—plenty of great wines and winemakers, and a few surprises. There was a huge roar when the International Trophy for “best sparkling wine” was announced—it went to Ridgeview, a British wine producer, based in Sussex (southern England, of course). The wine’s made 100 percent from Chardonnay, and it is indeed refined and vivacious. It won a
regional award from the original panel, and thus was eligible to be re-tasted by an all-star panel for one of the Best in Show awards. The Roberts family, who have worked hard to establish it, are now being overwhelmed by the world’s media; just shows what can be done with a lot of effort, and global warming. . . The other surprise of the night came when Israel’s Carmel Winery won best Red Rhône Varietal, but of course Shiraz/Syrah is a seasoned traveler by now.
Then, a few days later, came what’s always the most fun, Decanter’s “Tastes of Argentina.” There were 40 producers pouring half a dozen wines apiece at Vinopolis, but there were also tango demonstrations, London’s brilliant artisanal ice-cream maker Freggo (banana, dulce de leche, and Malbec ice creams featured), a steak-and-Malbec tasting sponsored by Gaucho Grill, and snacks of empanadas, ceviche, Argentine chorizo, and humitas. Great wines, great vibes. Details to follow. . .