Paul Mabray is one of the most important and influential voices we have in the wine and drinks industry. Primarily because he stands with one foot firmly outside the sector as a technology and consumer trends expert looking to offer services and solutions as an observer and analyst of what is going in the wine industry rather than be involved in producing or directly selling any wine himself. Here is his take on what the big challenges and opportunities facing all those in the wine and drinks sectors are in 2019 and why being able to sell directly to consumers at home is going to be the real game changer.
Last week, London has been awash with Burgundy, as the trade had its first comprehensive sampling of the new 2017 vintage. Berry Brothers and Rudd, and its on trade division Fields Morris and Verdin, chose One Great George Street for its tasting, attracting an impressive number of its vignerons to talk about their latest releases. David Kermode, aka Mr Vinosaurus, was there to find out how the wines were showing.
Let’s face it we all have a cupboard, or a drawer in our office, that is full of old training manuals from some management course we have been on in our time. But how often have you ever opened it since coming back from that course? It’s a challenge that faces the training team at Bibendum PLB every week, but as they explain designing and delivering an effective training programme requires as much thought and planning as might go into creating a wine list and then selling it to your customers.
2017 is not the vintage to be buying top-rung reds argues Peter Dean, who points out the lower-tier wines where the real value for money is to be found. This is the year to be checking out lesser known appellations, going for the entry level wines and picking up some Volnay and Pommard which have both been in short supply of late and never tasted so good so young. Oh, and the whites are spectacular.
After a week where the wine trade’s focus has been just over the other side of the Channel in Burgundy, this week it’s time to turn our attentions a little further afield. To New Zealand and the first of the major New World generic tastings of the year. To help mark your card for what you can expect and what sort of year New Zealand had in 2018, here’s Chris Stroud, New Zealand Winegrowers’ marketing manager for Europe, to take you though next week’s tasting at a time when the county is taking a long hard look at how it is preparing itself for the future.
A new winemaking style, new cuvees, new brand marketing, a new look, new HQ, new faces – there is hardly anything about Nicolas Feuillatte that has stayed the same in recent months. Number one Champagne brand in France, number three in the world and unbelievably a company that is still only 40 years old, Peter Dean was granted a rare audience with the key movers and shakers who are set to make a significant impact on the UK on-trade
The Zsirai Winery covers three of the most important wine regions in Hungary: Tokaj, Somló and Villány. Each region has its own winemaking teams producing authentic wines from that area. Founded in 2005 by the late Csaba Zsirai it is now run by his daughters Petra and Kata and a small team who want to carry on and bring to life his dream of producing wines from indigenous Hungarian wine varieties. Here Mate Csanaky, export director, how they are going about it.
After the big structure of the reds in 2015 and 2016, Burgundy 2017 will be noted for the round, silky tannins of the Pinots, the fact that producers didn’t over-crop and that, after a couple of warmer vintages, 2017 was a return to a more classic style of red Burgundy. The whites – from Chablis to the Côte d’Or – have a nice balance between ripeness and tension. Here’s Bibendum’s wine buyer Robert Mathias’ take on the 2017 vintage.
The Chardonnay produced in South Africa’s Hemel en Aarde has long been considered world class – but just good is it really? Wanting to put this to the test our roving contributing editor and world class chef, Roger Jones, decided to blind-taste the best Hemel en Aarde can offer, alongside the rest of the New World – wines from California, New Zealand, Australia and Chile, amongst others.
Miren de Lorgeril is blazing a trail as the first female president of the CIVL, the Languedoc wine region’s generic body. As chief executive and co-owner of the family estate, Maison Lorgeril, she is well placed to oversee the ongoing development of the Languedoc, France’s largest wine producing region, as well as the world’s biggest centre of organic wine production. Passionate about sustainability and the further development of organic production, she tells Helen Arnold about her plans for the region.