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Natasha Hughes on her favourite wines from the London International Wine Fair

Published:  19 May, 2009

Wines from the London International Wine Fair, 12-14 May 2009

Wines from the London International Wine Fair, 12-14 May 2009

Clos de Gat's Chanson 2007 (approx £12 ex VAT, Maison Sichel) is an unusual blend of 75% Chardonnay, 15% Semillon, 7% Viognier and 3% Chenin Blanc from Israel's Judean Hills. While the nose shows the influence of the Chardonnay and Semillon, the palate is dominated by ripe apricot fruit derived from the Viognier in the blend. There's plenty of minerality, too, as well as enough racy acidity to hold the fruit in check. A delicious summer wine, ideal with shellfish dishes of all kinds.

Argentina's Valle de Uco is not normally associated with wines made from a blend of 75% Tokay Friulano, 15% Pinot Gris, 8% Chardonnay and 2% Torrontes, but François Lurton's Gran Lurton Corte Friulano (approx £9 ex VAT, SAF Lurton) is just another example of how iconoclastic this producer's global portfolio of wines can be. It's a rich, complex wine with subtle oak and a fresh seam of minerality. Mouthfilling and generous, it would be a terrific match for roast pork Italian-style, cooked with fennel and garlic.

Looking for a chunky, honest house wine for autumn? You could do far worse than Rigal's The original Malbec 2008 (£6 ex VAT, Enotria). A Vin de Pays du Lot, it's made from Malbec grown in two different vineyards around the Cahors area. The first vineyard, located on the region's clay limestone plateau, gives grapes with higher tannins than the fleshier, fruitier grapes grown on alluvial soils in the Lot Valley. Blended together, they create a balanced wine showing plenty of crunchy cherries and plums, tinged with a touch of spice.

A tasting of West Australian wines put on for the Circle of Wine Writers on the first morning of the fair revealed an impressive line-up of wines. The undoubted star of the selection, however, was Cullen's Diana Madeline (£29.55 ex VAT, Liberty), a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The current vintage is 2006 - already an elegant, seamless wine - but if you have the facilities to cellar it, it repays ageing. We tasted a very pure, layered 1995 that clearly had plenty of life ahead of it yet.

Another of the seminars at the fair focused on New Zealand's 2007 vintage, which many feel has produced the country's best red wines ever. Neudorf Vineyards' Moutere Nelson Pinot Noir 2007 was certainly a stonker, full of silky, perfumed fruit with a herbal twist and a long, haunting finish. It will be a while before it comes on stream here in the UK. Until it does, the 2006 (£17.35 ex VAT, Richards Walford) is currently available, and is a great match for duck-based dishes.