Wine fairs are not for the faint hearted. Your calendar is stacked back-to-back. You’re tasting 50-100 wines per day. There’s no time to get to know people amongst the hustle.
And then sometimes, rarely even, a wine turns up by surprise, and stuns you.
This is what happened when I tasted Francois’ Clos Bonnefare Bergerac.
I met a friend, who runs a wine club in France, at her stand to taste wine from a Rhone producer. Before I left, I asked one question: ‘If there’s one wine here that I can’t leave without tasting, what would that be?’
She produced a bottle with a striking, colourful label. One sniff and I was blown away already. The intense cassis and wild herb on the nose had me drooling. And then the taste - dark, juicy, powerful… just how I like my big reds.
She explained it was made by a guy who used to be a filmmaker. He bought a small vineyard in Bergerac in 2011, and the rest is history.