Vinisud is a bi-annual wine fair held in Montpellier and features all the wines of Languedoc, Rhone and southern France in general. There is a smattering of wines from other regions, but the focus is the south of France. It is always well run, not too big and Montpellier is no great hardship to visit, so it is one we like to go to.
As well as catching up with producers we already work with, we were on the lookout for some new wines, at the cheaper end of things, needless to say. So, while everyone imagines us standing around sipping Cote Rotie and Chateauneuf du Pape, the reality is rather more mundane and a lot of time is spent scrabbling around the Vin de Pays end of the market.
Anyway, we found some useful options at the house wines level and some interesting Rhone wines as well. We never make a decision at the wine fair; we insist on getting samples back to Ireland and we will do a big blind tasting of the samples against each other and against their peers in the market and, only if they perform well in the blind tasting, will me make a decision to import. It's a bit long-winded, but it works and we haven't made too many bad importing decisions as a result.
The mood at the fair was very upbeat with lots of deals on offer and everyone keen to do business after a poor 2009. It was a relief to get some optimism into the head - I recommend a weekend out of the country....
I will report on the results of the blind tasting.