2012 in Ribera del Duero was a vintage that had to deal with ‘off the scale’ heat (40ºC and more) and yet it has produced interesting wines. Geoffrey Dean attended Tim Atkin’s master class at the annual Ribera del Duero tasting in London and saw Atkin contrast the 2012 with the far cooler 2014 vintage with some spectacular results.
In boardrooms across the drinks industry there will be a noticeboards with the word “craft” written on them, quickly followed by a question mark. Craft beers and spirits might be all the rage, but how do you define them? Who better to ask than the founders of Brewdog, arguably the most famous craft beer brewers and now global bar operators, James Watt and Martin Dickie. In this extract from their new book they give their definition of what they think “craft” really means.
Mike Turner puts in a good word for wine co-operatives – big operations that tend to get bad press. Slowly but surely the image of the big, bad, uncaring co-operative is being dispelled from Mike’s mind as he talks to grape growers that have no intention whatsoever, or the wherewithal, to make wine of their own.
For James Millton it is one thing to look at your soils, your terroir for the inspiration of how to make wine in a particular vineyard or another. But to really create a wine that is true and in balance to the nature around it then you have to look upwards as well as downwards. Upwards to the sky and the stars and the moon and the seasons that dictate how vines, the weeds and insects that live around them all live and interact. That’s what biodynamics is all about.
Outside of the natural wine debate is there a more contentious issue than the one that surrounds the type of closure you have in your bottle of wine? To assess what leading on-trade buyers and sommeliers now think about closures we teamed up with Vinventions, one of the biggest suppliers of all types of closure from cork to screwcap, to make the issue of closures the latest topic in our Buyer Debate series.
Every wine as soon as it is made puts its self up for judgement. Be it the end consumer who wants to drink it with their dinner, or the trade buyers and wine critics looking to score, assess and adjudicate on whether it is suitable for listing in the first place. But nothing ventured, nothing gained and Castelnau Wine Agencies was happy to put its range of wines from producers all over the world up to the test in our latest Buyer’s Case project with leading on-trade buyers and influencers in the trade.
The Buyer has been set up to help drinks producers and leading on-trade buyers better understand their needs and where possible work closer together. This is best demonstrated by The Buyer’s Case initiative where we link up with a wine producer or importer and ask leading buyers to taste, assess and offer professional feedback on their wines. Here we turn to the Languedoc-Roussillon and present wines from leading producer, Cave de Vignerons de Saint-Chinian to leading on-trade decision makers.
France might be the best selling country in the UK on-trade, but that does not mean it could not sell. To help better understand the opportunities and challenges facing French wine in the premium on-trade, The Buyer linked up with Les Vignobles Foncalieu and leading buyers from the different types of operator, including high end restaurants, independent wine merchants and national wholesalers all working the French category in the north west of the country.
New Zealand’s enormous success in the UK off-trade, where its Sauvignon Blanc has created a category of its own, has not always been reflected in how many of its wines are on premium on-trade wine lists. The Buyer teamed up with Villa Maria, and its UK partners, Hatch Mansfield, to ask a panel of leading UK buyers to set out the challenges and opportunities for New Zealand in the premium on-trade
The Buyer’s Case is a new initiative that gives producers the chance to show specific drinks to key buyers in target channels of the on-trade. For our first Buyer’s Case we teamed up with Les Vignerons Foncalieu and selected key buyers in its main distribution areas in the UK on-trade to show their wines. Here are the results.
The Buyer teamed up with Virginia Wine and some of its key producers to help them better understand the needs of the UK premium on-trade and how buyers might relate to their wines with both a business roundtable debate with key players and a study tour of leading London restaurants, wine bars and merchants to see the kind of offers they have and where their wines might fit in.