Small harvests in a number of regions, plus cost-of-living pressures are driving consumers to ‘drink less but better’. And never has finding out about good value wines with a fascinating story and provenance been more key. These were some of the themes of Justin Keay’s visit to Jeroboams’ Autumn Portfolio tasting where he got the lie of the land from the company’s key players plus tasted through the range, highlighting 12 producers that caught his eye in the all-important £10-£30 bracket.
Wine communicator, educator and consultant John Downes MW found himself in lockdown with some time on his hands. So he decided to take on a new skill – animation. Within a few weeks it opened up a whole new world for him and a great, innovative and engaging way to tell wine stories and bring wine education to live. He is now producing a regular series of what he is calling Downes in Two – short animated, education videos on different countries, regions and wine issues.
“Journalists want to force Chenin into one style, but it is such a chameleon.” That’s the view of Heinrich Stipp, sales and marketing manager at Stellenrust Wine which has 15 different styles of wines from its range. As the wine world’s attention turns to the opening of Cape Wine in South Africa today we take a close look at Chenin Blanc, one of the country’s main calling cards and in particular what is happening in Stellenbosch and its influence on how Chenin Blanc is being produced across South Africa and arguably around the world. Here Richard Siddle talks to leading Chenin producers about what styles they think are going to succeed now and into the future.
Despite an erratic supply side, horrific shipping costs, exchange rates and glass shortages, there is plenty to be optimistic about in today’s market argues Hatch Mansfield CEO, Patrick McGrath. At 19 agencies, his portfolio is covering all bases and in manageable proprtions. Kate Hawkings talks to McGrath and MD Ben Knollys about the ‘state of the union’ and picks out 10 new wines that she thinks you should consider for your list.
Taking over as a chief winemaker for a major producer brings to mind the challenge – and opportunity – that awaits any new football manager, or rugby and cricket coach, taking over a top team. You might not be able to bark orders or move your vines around the vineyard, but the decisions you make will have a direct impact on how they perform. It’s the situation that Tomas Muñoz finds himself in as the new chief winemaker for Viña Errazuriz, in charge of its Estate Reserva, Aconcagua Costa and Max wine brands amongst others, and the responsibility of ensuring the high standards achieved in the past are carried forward.
“Communication requires more attention by professionals interested in selling, promoting, teaching and even making wine, as it clearly affects every aspect of the sector.” Those are the thoughts of Steve Kim, founder and the creative thinker behind the breakthrough wine2wine event that is back in November for its first post-Covid in-person event. It’s also why she and her team have decided to put “wine communications” at the heart of what will be the ninth wine2wine event with a series of talks, seminars and debates designed to share what wineries, producers, businesses, writers, influencers and communicators are doing to tell their stories about wine in their own creative way.
A photo of a French Antarctic expedition from 1904 in which the team is seen drinking Mumm Cordon Rouge was the inspiration for an extraordinary new champagne cuvée, Mumm Cordon Rouge Stellar, which has been made to be drunk in space. Crazy publicity stunt or a genuine attempt to put some fizz back into space travel? Quentin Sadler met the team in Paris, got the lowdown on this five year quest and even got to taste the new champagne.
What do you get when you give a Master of Wine free rein to hold a tasting in a ‘wine cellar’ containing over 10 million bottles of fine wine worth over two billion pounds? The Octavian wine cellar tour tasting, of course. This was a tasting where the wine list was sent ahead on the invite and caused palpitations and no lack of envy amongst those unlucky enough to immediately receive a WhatsApp snap of the list accompanied by the caption ‘Tomorrow’s Lunch Wines’. Peter Dean got a Golden Ticket….
Armit Wine has one of the most enviable portfolio lists in the business. MD Brett Fleming celebrates three years in charge this November, and its Autumn Portfolio Tasting gave the team (and those producers that could get away from harvest duties) the chance to showcase their wares to an expectant client base of private clients, restaurants, and well-heeled independents. We sent Mike Turner along to get a taste of what Armit has to offer.
“Pinotage is emblematic of our country and the region of Stellenbosch. As a variety it is also just at the beginning of its own journey.” That’s how South African wine academic Jonathan Steyn describes just how important Pinotage is not just to Stellenbosch but to the country as a whole. A grape variety that has long been misunderstood outside of South Africa, but is now gaining the respect it arguably deserves. Richard Siddle talks to some of the most influential Pinotage producers to find out just where they want to take Pinotage next.