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    Special Report: Sonoma County Vintners London Wine Bar Tour

    Organising a wine tasting where all your guests are sitting in one place can prove to be a challenge at times, so you can imagine the potential for things to wrong if you then invited those guests to go on a tour of restaurants and bars around London, tasting different wines, matched to each outlet’s food along the way. It certainly made for a very different, fun, highly informative and memorable day for wineries from Sonoma County Vintners and our panel of “tour-ists” willing to go on the adventure with us.


    Closures Debate: what do you want to put in a bottle of wine?

    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.


    The Buyer’s Case with Castelnau Wine Agencies

    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.

    Tasting Tasting: Panel Tasting

    The Buyer’s Case with Cave de Vignerons de Saint-Chinian wines

    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.


    The French debate: putting France under the spotlight with Foncalieu

    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.

    Insight Tasting Tasting: Panel Tasting

    New Zealand Debate: the opportunities and challenges

    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

    Insight Tasting Tasting: Panel Tasting

    The Buyer’s Case with Les Vignerons Foncalieu

    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.

    Insight Tasting Tasting: Panel Tasting

    Virginia Wine Project: bringing producers and buyers together

    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.



    Tasting with pictures View All
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    • Big and petrolly on the nose then a sumptuous mixhellip
      Big and petrolly on the nose, then a sumptuous mix of fruit flavours - lime, yellow stone fruit, honey, orange peel - the 20 g/L giving this single vineyard Riesling wonderful balance and the perfect spot between sweet and off dry. Crisp acidity on the finish completes the package.
    • Fascinating 2015 Syrah from Waiheke island in New Zealand Warmhellip
      Fascinating 2015 Syrah from Waiheke island in New Zealand. Warm climate, volcanic soil, steep slopes, high diurnal range, windy maritime site with low yielding vines - all leads to a big fruity wine that is fresh and beautifully textured at the same time. The wine is spicy, savoury with a weighty mid-palate and bags of ripe black fruit. I’d love to try this with some age on it.
    • A discovery for me at yesterdays Flavours of New Zealandhellip
      A discovery for me at yesterday’s Flavours of New Zealand tasting in London. 2015 vintage - medium bodied, dry Chard with delicious fruit flavours, balance, and structure. Minimum intervention and one assumes when the fruit is this good you don’t need to do a lot with it.
    • Shown alongside the new vintage by Pierre de Benoist athellip
      Shown alongside the new vintage by Pierre de Benoist at yesterday’s Corney&Barrow tasting to illustrate what happens with age to an Aligoté Doré that was grown in a vintage that follows a very warm year - ie. ‘16 followed the ripe 15, 10 followed 09. It was sensational. Lifted notes of Grapefruit peel on the nose, on the palate spiced pear, golden delicious, mineral, almost Chablis like. Yes AP Villaine is the same DRC co-owner who helped set up Bouzeron AOP, the only communal-level Burgundy appellation for Aligoté-based wines.
    • When needs must Faced with such a shortage of grapeshellip
      When needs must. Faced with such a shortage of grapes in 2016, Chablis producer Samuel Billaud could only produce 3 of his usual 9 Chablis so came up with this new entry level wine using 50% of grapes from Macon.
    • Puligny Montrachet producing some fine whites in 2016 Boillot thehellip
      Puligny Montrachet producing some fine whites in 2016. Boillot the highlight of the  @laywheeler  tasting. Lovely balance, nice clean, fresh tasty Burg. Tiny bit of reduction on nose but these have only just gone into bottle. This and Les Referts the pick of the bunch. Not as crisp and classic as 14 or as rounded as 15, but good.