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What the wine experts drink

Laura Clay and Richard Bampfield are the founders of the original Love Wine Festival in Birmingham – and thanks to its massive success the festival last year opened in Guildford as well, organised and run by Heather Dougherty of Surrey-based Red White and Rose.

It’s a one-day wine festival for lovers of wine and other fine drinks to come together to learn more, taste and buy. This year’s event is at Guildford’s Harbour Hotel on Sat 23 March with two three-hour sessions throughout the day.

Wine at the event comes from near and far – from local heroes Albury Vineyard and Denbies Wine Estate, to wines from Brazil, Georgia and Moldova – and just about everywhere in between. As well as wine there will be artisan charcuterie from Somerset plus Champagne, mead and more. With over 20 different exhibitors, there’s plenty to explore.

And because we love you lot so much and we know you love your wine, we’ve got five pairs of tickets to give away. Enter here to go into the prize draw – you’ve you’ve got til Wed 27 Feb.

In meantime, we’ve collared the wine experts Heather Dougherty, Laura Clay and Richard Bampfield to find out what they like drink.

Okay – it’s Muddy’s round and money’s no object, what would be your absolute dream wine to share over a special dinner?

Heather: I love Champagne and people might be surprised how great it can be with food – and how the best ones can age so well. One that stopped me in my tracks recently was Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Elizabeth Salmon Rosé 1990 – I would just love to taste that one again – and I’m sure you would love it too!

Laura: After deliberating for an age and risking you withdrawing your generous offer, I would reluctantly reject Charles Heidsiesck Blanc de Millenaires 1995, Dom Pérignon 1996 and a heap of other stop-you-in-your-tracks, jaw-droppingly-delicious wines in favour of Château Margaux 2005. Have we got a date?

Richard: Giaconda Chardonnay, Beechworth, Australia. Partly because the wine is sublime and partly because it is the one wine I have seen grow from a single, tentative barrel in the 90’s to the consistently outstanding experience it delivers now.


And now we’re going cheap. It’s pizza, trashy boxsets and wine for a tenner.What’s your bargain pick?

Heather: Hmm, contrary of me, but probably not an Italian wine. I’d head for Spain – specifically a great value red from Valencia called Setze Gallets Garnacha Monastrell. Big, bold flavours, but refreshing and ripe enough to drink on its own – and an absolute bargain at £7.50 a bottle.

Laura: It’s got to be red with pizza and Rioja is often a bargain around that price point. You can get a lot of complexity, smoothness but most importantly, drinkability from Rioja.

Richard: Lidl’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. And, if I’ve got a tenner to spend, I’ll make it two and half bottles, thanks.


The Love Wine Festival is at Guildford Harbour Hotel on Sat 23 March. Tickets are £20 for Session 1 (1-4pm) or £25 for Session 2 (5-8pm). Groups of four or more can buy tickets for £15 for Session 1 or £17.50 for Session 2.

Muddy discount: Muddy readers have been offered 20% off the general admission price for single tickets – using the code Muddy20. (The Muddy discount is not available for the group rates.) 

Buy tickets online at

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