Steve Daniel at Hallgarten & Novum is a wine buyer who always has his finger on the pulse, none more so than at the New Wave Spain tasting he held in London’s boho Shoreditch district. It was here that wine expert Harry Crowther discovered a range of exciting wines using revived old grape varieties, limited production and innovative winemaking. It’s a far cry from traditional Spanish winemaking and all the more exciting because of it.
It might be the biggest success story the UK wine industry has seen in a generation, but is there a more misunderstood wine category than Prosecco? For all the restaurants, bars and hotels that thrive on the back of Prosecco there are still many professional buyers in the trade who question its quality and value to wine industry as a whole. So where better to go to challenge those perceptions than Venice and the surrounding Valdobbiadene wine region where Prosecco heralds from. Over the rest of this week The Buyer will be teaming up with leading premium Prosecco producer, Mionetto, and its UK partner, Copestick Murray to take a group of leading buyers and influencers show how the local Venetians and Italians enjoy their greatest ever export.
As a wine writer and wine consultant Harry Crowther is usually drawn to the ins and outs and challenges that come with with the vagaries in winemaking. But at a specialist tasting hosted by Torres Chile into different styles of pisco, he discovered a drink that also relies enormously on the growing environment of the wine grape varieties that go into a pisco base spirit, that makes it such a fascinating style of drink to discover.
It was billed as ‘Battle of the Winemakers’ – an evening to determine which wines paired best with a selection of dishes from Mayfair’s 28-50 Mayfair kitchen. Rafael de Haan and Núria Altés, the husband and wife team behind Herència Altés each suggested wines for each course, Núria using wines from their estate, while hubby used wines that he has launched through his négociant business, Bodegas Abanico. Forget the World Cup for a minute if you can as we play oenological ‘Mr and Mrs’.
It’s nice talking about and throwing the spotlight on new wine regions and emerging styles of wine and little known grape varieties, but at these times of the year restaurant and bar customers are looking for the classics and the tried and tested. Which is why for our latest major debate we teamed up with Jackson Family Wines to look at what leading wine buyers, sommeliers, distributors and merchants think about Californian Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
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.
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.