Ever stopped and wondered what makes you buy one shampoo or conditioner brand over another? Or what toothpaste you trust for your teeth? A large part of that decision making will come down to the power that brand has over you in terms of the messages and values it stands for. Yet in wine the vast majority of products all look and feel the same. It does not have to be that way, says advertising consultant Alex Ririe, who has helped a raft of major drinks brands stand out from the competition.
Visiting a country for a large number of winery visits and tastings often leads to a series of exciting discoveries, and so it was when Geoffrey Dean visited Chile last month. Aside from the iconic wines that he expected to find, he wasn’t prepared for the huge diversity of wines that are now being made in the country at the very highest level. Here he picks out his Top 10 wines that totally captivated him as well as wines that show of Chile’s diversity.
Whilst mainstream Prosecco sales in the UK appear to have reached their maximum growth levels, the good news for the overall category is that the focus is finally turning towards the more premium and foodie styles of Prosecco – from the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG – that are so common in the restaurants of Venice and increasingly finer restaurants and bars in the UK. It might only still be a tiny segment of the total Prosecco market, but it’s the one that deserves most of our attention.
It has been a few years coming but the Pol Roger Portfolio tasting last week certainly made up for the wait – Drouhin, Josmeyer, Staglin, Gallica, Sinskey, Artadi, and not forgetting the Pol Roger Champagnes of course. Some big name winemakers were there pouring the wines and our Chef Editor, Roger Jones, was there taking copious tasting notes and getting a heads-up on which of the new vintages are really singing – and what to serve them with. If you didn’t manage to get there, fear not, let Mr Jones give you a few pointers.
We hear and read a lot about the power of peer to peer recommendations, so it follows that we are far more likely to respect the opinion of someone doing the same job as ourselves when it comes to exploring and understanding different wine countries and styles. Which is very much the approach Wines of Germany is taking with its new series of training and education events, the Somm Sessions, which bring together sommeliers across the country to look at different styles and aspects of German wine, all of which are hosted by the award-winning sommelier, Jan Konetzki. Helen Arnold went along to the first Somm Sessions held recently at Hide in London where Konetski and his panel of sommeliers delved into the myriad world of German Riesling.
With an absence of a generic Champagne tasting event in the UK this year, the gap is being filled by a variety of privately-run events. Cue The Wine Gang’s Champagne and Sparkling Wine Festival which takes place on April 25 in Central London in which, for the first time, the four wine experts will be pitting Champagne against all manner of other sparklers – including fizz from Croatia and Japan. Anthony Rose, one of the original members of The Wine Gang, explains the thinking behind the event and what makes these four ‘Mousse-keteers’ such a special group of wine experts.
What happens when you take heat-loving grapes and plant them somewhere cool? Or when cool-climate regions start to get warmer? Christina Rasmussen takes us on a tour of rotundone in cool-climate pockets around the world, and delves into the wine growing and winemaking techniques that could help us combat the effects of global warming.
If you take a walk down the average supermarket aisle then you will easily recognise all the household brands we have grown up with from Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Heinz Tomato Ketchup to Persil washing up powder, but what you probably won’t realise is the vast majority of those brands are all owned by an increasingly smaller group of giant, all encompassing brand owners. It is also slowly happening, but to much less of a degree, in wine. Like the recent takeover of Spain’s Freixenet by Germany’s Henkell & Co to create at a stroke the world’s biggest producer of sparkling wine. Richard Siddle looks at why the deal came together and what it means in the UK for Henkell’s UK business, Copestick Murray and the newly formed Freixenet Copestick.
The premium on-trade will have a field day with the latest wines from Oregon and Washington states be they a pet-nat sparkler, an orange Gewurzt or a ‘cab-mac’ Pinot. Pinot Noir dominated the reds as you might have expected, but there were some interesting Cab Francs and Bordeaux varietal/ blends from Washington as well as some top Pinot Gris and Blancs, made in a fascinating variety of styles. The eleventh hour addition of wines from New York State only added to the eclectic nature of the tasting with the whites particularly strong. Chris Wilson picks the wines that should be on your buying radar.
Getting to know and understand any style of wine or spirits takes dedication and commitment. But if Katie Canfield was to really get to grips with mezcal and find out what makes it tick she was going to have to find out the hard way – and that meant long, hard, off road drives into the heart of Mexico. But it was clearly well worth it as she reports directly back from visiting some of the most influential mezcaleros at their palenques (distilleries) who are producing some the mezcals we can find on the back bars of the most stylish cocktails bars in the world.