Taste of London 2013

Posted on June 25th, 2013 by Robin Goldsmith in Drink, Food, Wine


I had some tasty treats at the recent Taste of London Festival. Many thanks to Scheckter’s Organics Energy Drinks for the complimentary ticket – much appreciated! The venue, in Regents Park, was huge and increasingly busy as the sun showed occasional glimpses in this poor excuse of a summer so far. There were many stalls and products to try and buy, so here are four short paragraphs with my pick of the bunch and a few photos …


The event could have had the strap line “Festival of Colourful Food Displays”, as anyone who headed over to the Thai area couldn’t have failed to notice the vibrant exhibits of Thai food available, especially the fruit and veg.


Purbeck Ice Cream and Simply Ice Cream are two of my favourite producers of the frozen stuff and it’s always good to see them and to sample their delicious flavours. Although they did not have their full ranges available, there was plenty of chocolate ice cream to try, so thanks for the sumptuous scoops.


Hungarian wine deserves to be better known in the UK, as the country produces some great examples and I tried a glass of Royal Somló J white at the JFK Wines stall. This was an unusual dry wine, the colour being reminiscent almost of a Sauternes. The minerality stood out for me (before I’d even sussed that the grapes were grown on volcanic soil) and there were subtle flavours of stonefruit with a touch of salinity too. This is a versatile food-friendly wine which, as I found out, is served in Michelin-starred restaurants.

Digby wine

The word “négociant” will be familiar to wine fans, being a French term for a wine merchant who typically buys in grapes from different vineyards, blends them and sells the resultant wine under their own name. Négociants are particularly commonplace in Burgundy, for example. Digby Fine English wines uses the négociant model to craft their own distinctive brand. They collaborate with quality vineyards in the South of England to produce fine and elegant sparkling wines from Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, using the méthode Champenoise. The resultant wines have an unmistakeably English character, full of finesse and crisp acidity with an aromatic and fruity character. Deservedly, at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2013, Digby Fine English Brut Reserve 2009 won a Silver medal.

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A Fond Farewell to Kemp’s Wines !

Posted on July 18th, 2012 by Robin Goldsmith in Drink, Wine

Kemps Wines

A selection of Kemp’s wines, including the appropriately named “Swansong”

After 26 years in the wine business, John Kemp retired at the end of last year. An extremely talented winemaker in Suffolk, he cites age (72 but looks considerably younger), a desire to do the things he wants for the rest of his life, like kayaking (!) and the rising cost of petrol affecting transportation costs as reasons for stopping. Previous owner of Giffords Hall, in Hartest near Bury St Edmunds, he decided to set up a small winery nearby in three acres of land, approximately nine years ago. Keeping his operation small, he decided to sell wine at country shows and through mail order only. John retires at a time when English wine is receiving an increasing number of accolades and the future is definitely wine-coloured, if not orange.

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English Rosé

Posted on January 30th, 2012 by Robin Goldsmith in Drink, Wine

With English wine coming first in many international competitions, is now the time to stock up on our victorious vino? I explore the rise of home-grown rosé.


Although English wines have been produced since Roman times, there are only around 400 vineyards in England and Wales, compared to France, which has about 27,000 wineries. Previously, English and Welsh wine suffered from a reputation for low quality, which would have been partly due to the lack of choice, in addition to climatic effects, inferior grapes and an underdeveloped industry. However, as someone famous once said, "The times they are a-changin" and retailers and customers are starting to discover the true potential of our domestic wineries.

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