Vinexpo is a spectacular global wine show, started in France in 1981, now expanded across the globe including in Tokyo and New York. Last year I went to the Hong Kong version, but Bordeaux is home base, with a custom built Exhibition Centre on the Northern side of the city. Thousands of wine buyers, journalists and importers converge to sip, slurp, and spit the latest vintages on offer over four days.
The 'Parc des Expositions' has rolled out the red carpet, literally in this case. Alot of it too, as the floor area amounts to 80,000 square meters, stuffed to the gills with trade stands designed to woo both potential and existing clients. In addition there are dozens of masterclasses to showcase wine styles, new regions, and highlight issues facing the wine world like climate change.
The wines represented here come from all around the world, with wines from all the usual suspects like Italy, Spain and France, but also from less common destinations like China, Croatia, Uruguay and the Republic of Georgia. With literally thousands of producers on show it is a matter of where to spend time exploring in order to meet specific goals rather than be distracted by everything on offer.
In some cases many producers from a single region combine together to allow customers to speed taste a wide range of wines from the area, in the case below dozens of Provence Roses.
Most times though, individual stands are manned by attentive agents to guide you through the wares of a particular winery. A good opportunity to reconnect with wineries that we already deal with, like Cave de Tain from the Rhone Valley.
Some of these are particularly lavish, especially for the large multinational companies which makes one wonder at times how much of the bottle price pays for the marketing side of the business rather than the contents of the bottle.
I did permit myself a detour to the 'Grand Vins de Bordeaux' area with a wide range of Cru Classé wines open to taste. Ironically considering the pomp and circumstance of many of the stands, these top end wines were poured across simple trestle tables, albeit with white table cloths. These wines are barrel samples of the 2016 wines, designed for those buying 'En Primeur' to make an early judge of the vintage quality, as the wines are a good 1-2 years away from release. I have confirmed my bias for the bold cedary wines from Pauillac, the wines from Chateau Clerc Milon, Chateau Grand-Puy Ducasse, and Chateau Lynch Bages all looking particularly fine.
Armed with piles of tasting notes and price lists, we retire to consider our next potential investments. From here we will drive South through Toulouse and onto Provence. For my next blog about Provence click here. ... or the previous blog about Bordeaux go here.