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Rare wines lead biggest Decanter Fine Wine Encounter

Two thousand people attended the 19th annual Decanter Fine Wine Encounter in central London over the weekend for a chance to meet some of the world's best producers and taste rare and top wines.

It was the largest Decanter Fine Wine Encounter in the history of the event, which celebrates 20 years in 2017.

landmark hotel, dfwe 2016

The entrance to the Landmark hotel, home of the Decanter Fine Wine Encounter 2016. Credit: Cath Lowe / Decanter

Visitors to this year’s Decanter Fine Wine Encounter packed masterclass rooms to taste top vintages from some of the world’s best known estates and including several older vintages.

masterclass, dfwe 2016

Masterclass guests learn about Champagnes Salon and Delamotte. Credit: Cath Lowe / Decanter

Highlights included a magnum of Champagne Delamotte 1970 and Salon 1988, led by president Didier Depont, plus Château Figeac 1986 in a tasting hosted by MD Frédéric Faye and estate president Hortense Idoine-Manoncourt.

dfwe 2016, Champagne Delamotte and Champagne Salon

Champagne Delamotte and Champagne Salon formed the first masterclass. Credit: Cath Lowe / Decanter

There was a host of Rioja wines through the ages going back to Marques de Riscal, Reserva 1948.

Rioja riscal 1948, dfwe 2016

There were also verticals of Bordeaux’s Château Palmer from 2004 to 2014 inclusive led by the Margaux-based estate’s CEO, Thomas Duroux, as well as a range of Figeac wines, including 2005, 2009 and 2010, plus Eduardo Chadwick of Chile’s Seña presenting 10 Sena vintages between 1996 and 2014.

dfwe 2016, palmer

Masterclass guests were treated to top vintages from Palmer, Figeac and Seña. Credit: Cath Lowe / Nina Assam / Decanter.

Several guests travelled from overseas just to visit DFWE 2016. Ladislav Smelik came to taste Palmer from Prague, where he has a cellar of around 2,500 bottles.

Daani Jonker, from the Netherlands, has been coming to Decanter Encounters for seven or eight years. ‘I love this event,’ he said after tasting Rioja through the ages with Sarah Jane Evans MW. ‘I think my favourite was the CVNE, Imperial Gran Reserva 1976.’

Outside of the Masterclasses, guests at the Discovery Theatre enjoyed top Amarone wines with Raffaele Boscaini, seventh generation o fhte Boscaini family – founders of Masi.

amarone, dfwe 2016

Wines in the Expressions of Amarone class. Credit: Cath Lowe / Decanter

A separate class showcased a range of Napa wines from the lauded 2012 and 2013 vintages, including the highly reated Joseph Phelps Insignia 2013 and joined by wines from Silver Oak & Twomey Cellars and Long Meadow Ranch.

napa wines, dfwe 2016

Napa Valley wines on show at the Discovery Theatre. Credit: Cath Lowe / Decanter

Early risers enjoyed a Discovery Theatre with Pepe Raventós Vidal, winemaker for Raventós i Blanc, who spoke about the impact of terroir on sparkling wine.

raventos, dfwe 2016

Pepe Raventós Vidal talks through the wines with Discovery Theatre guests. Credit: Cath Lowe / Decanter

And the Discovery Theatre sessions were rounded off with a range of single vineyard Tokaji wines with Christopher Donaldson MW, Royal Tokaji sales director.

tokaji, dfwe 2016

Single vineyard Tokaji wines. Credit: Cath Lowe / Decanter

Hundreds of visitors to DFWE 2016 were also able to walk through three grand tasting rooms full of some of the world’s best wines.

It’s a great opportunity to learn more about wines from producers.

dfwe 2016, gramd tasting

Many producers were happy to answer questions.

dfwe 2016, grand tasting

Award winners from the Decanter World Wine Awards 2016 were also on show in enomatic machines.

DWWA, dfwe 2016

DWWA 2016 winners at the Encounter. Credit: Cath Lowe / Decanter

It is traditional to end the Decanter Fine Wine Encounter with a Port tasting and the Portuguese stands found themselves pretty busy after 4pm.

Port, dfwe 2016

Alongside the wines, visitors at DFWE 2016 got to taste a range olive oils at the The Oil Merchant. Other exhibitors included the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), wine tour group Arblaster & Clarke, luxury wine cellar design and installation group Spiral Cellars, Root7 and its Corkcicle flasks that claim to keep wine cool for up to 25 hours and food specialist Tray Gourmet.

Meanwhile, WaterAid was present to talk about its charity work and partnership with DWWA. And Waitrose was on-hand to talk about its wine range, with Riedel also displaying its range of wine glasses and decanters.

Guests could get their Corkcicle flask engraved at the Encounter. See below.

They could also have a go at playing the World of Wine board game. One visitor from Bermuda ordered a game to take home.


Decanter staff were also on-hand to offer subscription deals to the magazine and a range of the best recently published wine books.

The Decanter bookstand at DFWE 2016.

The Decanter bookstand at DFWE 2016. Credit Cath Lowe / Decanter

Rosemary George MW and photographer Andy Katz were on-hand to sign their books, Wines of Faugères and The Club of Nine respectively.

A big thank you to our partners Riedel and Belu on the day for supplying hundreds of wine glasses and bottles of water respectively. 

See details of the next Decanter Fine Wine Encounters

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