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St JohnThis week, Rafael Vivanco of Dinastia Vivanco was in town to attend the Bibendum Annual Tasting, so I thought it would be a great opportunity for him to meet a few people outside our usual “trade” circles.

Trade lunches and dinners are extremely interesting as I get to talk to some of the most influential sommeliers in the UK, and they have the pulse of the market, particularly at the top end of the business.

Of course we love showing our wines to buyers and sommeliers who can then go on and spread the word to their customers. However, the buzz in the air at the moment is “Social Media” and using new platforms of communication to reach new audiences. So, as well as our excellent lunch at Galvin at Windows (now getting heavily involved in Social Media themselves – follow them on twitter), and meeting the incredibly nice Angus McNab of Clos Maggiore too, I thought I’d put Rafael in the same room with a great bunch of London food bloggers … and see what happened.

What happened will be better recorded by them, so I’ll include links below to the excellent round-ups as they post them. It also meant that there were more cameras and bottles of wine consumed that there were diners.

I’ll leave the experts to comment on the food and restaurant (we dined at the always excellent and innovative St John in Clerkenwell, and booked just before they announced the Michelin star). To save them looking up the details though, here are the wines we tried on the night:

Dinastia Vivanco CrianzaVivanco Blanco 2007: this wine’s freshness surprised many of the bloggers, especially as many had not tried white Rioja before. It paired well with the starter dishes, many of which, being cuts of pork, had high fatty contents and the crisp acidity helped to liven things up.

Dinastia Vivanco Rioja Crianza 2005: the 2005 Crianza has just been released and has a wonderful violet perfume that lifts this wine. It matched well with the warmer meaty starters (like bone marrow salad!) and the more modern, fruity style of this wine appealed to lots of us.

Dinastia Vivanco Rioja Reserva 2001: the Reserva was saved for the main courses. This is now a mellow, mature Reserva with the toasty, balsamic aromas and tastes from its longer ageing. I think this group probably preferred the younger wines in truth.

Coleccion Vivanco Rioja 4 Varietales 2005: talking of younger wines, this is still an infant and benefited from decanting for a while and larger glasses for enjoying it fully. This is a style of Rioja wine most of the bloggers had not tried before; a powerful, modern wine, unfined, unfiltered and amazingly concentrated and I can say it went incredibly very well with my (shared) Steak & Kidney Pie.

Follow this link for pictures and more technical details on all the Dinastia Vivanco wines.

So in short, what happened was that Rafael Vivanco has a much better understanding about the exciting possibilities of Social Media interactions between wine and foodie types, and we are working on some pretty exciting projects along these lines already. Also, I hope, food bloggers now see wine as a new topic of interest and not something that anyone should be frightened of – and in particular, have a greater love of good Rioja.

Thank you very much to everyone who came, and you can share some more of the experiece by checking out the great reviews and photos below: [I’ll update the blog links to their reviews of the evening as they post them]:

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