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    Jackson Family debate on Californian Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

    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.


    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.



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    • From the Island of Hvar off the Croatian Dalmatian coasthellip
      From the Island of Hvar, off the Croatian/ Dalmatian coast comes this 100% Crljenak. Rich, meaty, intense red with aged, slightly dried fruit with fantastic acidity and texture. Very different. Zinfandel by any other name.
    • Impressed by the whites from Lirac  the overlooked AOChellip
      Impressed by the whites from Lirac - the overlooked AOC in the Rhône. Elegant and pure, showing honeyed notes, white flower, yellow fruit concentration, with a nicely rounded mouthfeel with sufficient bite and length to make these a great match for food. This one had a nice fresh, mineral character, slightly lean with a lovely textured mouthfeel. 50% Grenache Blanc, 20% Clairette, 20% Picpoul, 5% Viognier, 5% Bourboulenc For more tips see for a full feature
    • Should that be called Fear of the Pine? Proof ifhellip
      Should that be called Fear of the Pine? Proof if needed that Retsina, from Assyrtiko grown in Thessaloniki, can make a world class wine. Nose of pine (!), fresh sun-dried herbs, lemon thyme, oregano, palate is full and well defined, Sicilian lemon, rind and pulp, fine grained woody texture, elegant finish. Delicious. Would serve as a great by-the-glass wine.
    • Light golden 100 2016 Bourboulenc from the Languedoc Ctes duhellip
      Light golden 100% 2016 Bourboulenc from the Languedoc, Côtes du Brian don’t ya know! Honeysuckle and fennel in the nose, quite full mouthfeel, off sweet citrus - lime zest - quite tannic, fair bit of heat despite the 13% ABV. Really outstanding and good to try this on its own.
    • 2015 was always going to be good for the Languedochellip
      2015 was always going to be good for the Languedoc and so it is proving for this flagship cuvée from Gayda, that picked up a gold at Millésime Bio. Attractive nose of blackberries, blueberries, fresh herb; on the palate lovely backbone of acidity keeps the14.5 ABV finely balanced. This vintage has a bit more intensity and is more easily accessible than some vintages. Standout wine at VINISUD.
    • Best value Pinot in the market? Hard to beat andhellip
      Best value Pinot in the market? Hard to beat, and stands its ground amongst illustrious company. I know cause we tested this blind amongst a bunch of other great Pinots. From Bulgaria with an Italian winemaker this has an inviting nose of strawberries, cherries, cloves, bit of undergrowth. The palate is impressive - nice balance, red fruit, wood, orange rind. Everything is in its right place and good proportion - £12.50!