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Stars out in force at 15th Decanter Fine Wine Encounter

The elegant Landmark Hotel opened its doors at the weekend to over 100 of the world's most renowned wine producers – and nearly 2000 wine enthusiasts for the 15th annual Decanter Fine Wine Encounter.

The stand list was a roll call of the finest names in wine. Chateau Cos d’Estournel, Schlumberger, Chapoutier and Skalli, Ridge and Ravenswood, Klein Constantia, Penfolds, Pieropan and Rauzan Segla just a handful of the producers on show.

And that’s not counting the Masterclass programme both in the main Drawing Room and in the smaller Discovery Theatre.

This year Masterclasses included a number of historical vertical tastings, featuring a host of library vintages fom the like of Chateau Pichon-Lalande, Krug, Ridge Vineyards, Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and Chateau Canon, fronted by wine luminaries like Charles Chevallier, Eric Lebel, Sylvie Cazes and Marchese Nicolo Incisa della Rocchetta.

Where else would you get Paul Draper [of California’s Ridge, and a Decanter Man of the Year] standing next to John Kolasa [of Chateau Rauzan-Segla]?’ asked one guest. ‘This is simply the best wine event of the year.’

‘It is important because it is the most professional of the wine events,’ May-Eliane de Lenquesaing, former owner of Chateau Pichon-Lalande and now proprietor of Glenelly in Stellenbosch said.

‘I have been many times. It shows that Decanter is not only interested in selling magazines: this is done for the knowledge of people, independent knowledge.’

Some guests come back year after year. ‘I’m a veteran – this is my fifth or sixth Encounter,’ said Decanter subscriber James Wickstead, at the Marques de Murrieta stand. ‘I try to taste as many new wines as possible each time.’

For the first time this year, the weekend encounter extended through to Monday, with a dedicated trade tasting of winners from this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards.

The next Decanter event will be the Spanish Fine Wine Encounter in February, which also takes place at the Landmark Hotel in London.

Coming soon: All the action from the weekend including video highlights, masterclass reports and more.

Written by Decanter staff

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