One of the main attractions at Imbibe 2010 was the large French Wine Zone, which showcased a selection of over 170 French wines available to the UK on-trade. The free-pour tasting area attracted a huge number of visitors across the two days of the show, with wine buyers and sommeliers keen to explore the diverse range of styles and grape varieties on offer.
‘The selection was made with the different sectors of the trade in mind,’ explained Gersende Pommery, senior project manager at Sopexa, which coordinated the multi-regional tasting. ‘There was something for everyone – restaurants, pubs, hotels, caterers and bars – with wines to match all food, occasions and wine lists.’
The choices included small grower champagnes perfect for gastropubs, through to wine list staple Chablis, delicate Provence rosés ideal for alfresco dining, crowd-pleasing Vin de France and premier cru Beaune for white tablecloth venues. Prices ranged across a whole spectrum to suit different budgets, but demonstrating the great value that France offers to the UK on-trade across the board.
Whether it’s an intimate dinner for two, a large birthday celebration or simply grabbing a casual bite to eat with friends, this tasting proved that French wines are versatile enough to offer just the right style for any occasion, thanks to the enormous regional diversity the country offers.
Keen tasters could roam around the French regions from the Rhône and Languedoc-Roussillon to the heartlands of Bordeaux and Burgundy, down to Jurançon in the South West. But there were two particular regional focuses on Alsace and the Loire, with 34 wines available to try from these dynamic regions. If you weren’t able to sample them on the day, read on to find out more about these two regions …