Whisper it gently but natural and orange wines are slowly establishing themselves in their own segment of the mainstream wine market and appearing on more premium and Michelin star wine lists. Albeit in the same way that Echo and the Bunnymen always looked a little out of place on Top of the Pops. Here Doug Wregg, one of the initial driving forces behind the rise in natural wine in his role at Les Caves de Pyrene, examines its recent success and looks to explain, re-define and assess its unique place in the overall wine market and why natural wines still continue to inspire him.
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What happens when a famous producer of sought-after, fine reds turns to making skin-fermented whites? Anne Krebiehl MW meets Gernot & Heike Heinrich in Austria’s Burgenland whose conversion to biodynamics 12 years ago set off a series of changes. First, they became much more aware of their terroir and its potential and then they started falling in love with skin-fermented white wines – a combination that has changed their entire approach to winemaking and made them feel like starting over again.
Walk into any high end bar and you can be pretty much guaranteed the bar staff can tell you anything you want to know about the 100s of bottles of spirits they have on their back bar. How they are made, where they are made and which combinations work best together. But ask them about wine and the conversation is likely to be a little shorter. Which is why wine consultant, Harry Crowther, is staring a new wine training course to help even the best bar staff get more knowledgeable and excited about wine.
Churchill’s Port has been going for 37 years as a brand and using its own grapes for half that time. Victor Smart met up with Churchill’s head honcho to taste through a variety of library vintages and find out why this relatively new port house sees itself as on a cusp between old school tradition and modern day drinking.
We are so used to talking about, promoting and selling fine wine, but how often do we actually stop and ask what a fine wine actually is? Look it up in a dictionary, or even a wine compendium, and you will not find an absolute definition, for fine wine is mostly in the eye of the beholder. Or is it? It was the subject of much debate at the recent Fine Minds 4 Fine Wines conference in Champagne. Cathy Huyghe was there to give her take on what fine wine can mean.
Another week another new gin brand launches onto the already-crowded market. But Palmers Dry Gin is different – this is the ‘own brand’ of Langley, a distillery that makes over 350 different gins and which David Kermode describes as the ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ of gin-making. Kermode travels to Birmingham and meets master distiller Rob Dorsett, the man charged with masterminding the blend and coming up with the USPs of this new gin brand.
So why do we have an urge to order a Bloody Mary when on an aeroplane? Do you know when to stop when telling a story? Has 50 Shades of Grey changed your life as much as it has for Meininger magazine’s Felicity Carter? And where in the world can you sell five million mobile phones in five seconds? Questions that might not come immediately to mind, but are just an example of some of the illuminating facts, figures, debates and tastings that took place at last month’s MUST Fermenting Ideas conference in Portugal. Thankfully Sorcha Holloway was on hand to pick out the best bits…
Ventoux is a region of the Southern Rhône that is best known for its towering mountain – a Holy Grail for cyclists and a climb that claimed the life of the first British world cycling champion Tom Simpson. It is also an important wine producing region, representing over 1,300 wineries across 51 communes. Previously known for making high alcohol ‘rustic’ table wines, things have been changing there and the quality has been improving as Mike Turner discovered when he went along to a Ventoux AOC tasting.
Now into its 13th year the influential and, let’s face it, fun tasting event the Mamba Riedel Decanter Awards, proved what strength and depth there is in Australian Sparkling wine and Cabernet Sauvignon at a wide range of price points. Peter Dean hopped on the charabanc to The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, score card and tastebuds at the ready.