Whilst most major wine producing countries or regions would be more than happy to have an average price point of around £10 to £15 a bottle, never mind the giddy heights of £20 plus. But for premium Californian wineries, £20 is not to far off what they might see as being their entry price positioning. Which is good news for major retailers such as Oddbins who are now working closely with major branded players, particularly E&J Gallo and its new, extended Californian and US premium wine range, to bring both excitement and new wines to its portfolio which is helping it see real growth between £20 to £40.
In July, The Buyer’s Victor Smart travelled to Champagne Henriot to get the thinking behind the house’s eagerly-anticipated new Cuvée Hemera 2005. This month saw the UK launch in London and our resident Queen of the Bubbles, Anne Krebiehl MW, met up with chef de cave Laurent Fresnet and his team to taste the new Cuvée and give us her verdict.
Italian whites might well be creeping onto more wine lists, but they tend to be more for your everyday favourite selections rather than for their premium, ageing quality. Those spaces are reserved for Italy’s far more prestigious reds. But as Anton Moiseenko discovered during a recent tasting of 10 year old and plus Verdicchios that there is some stunning quality to be found if you are prepared to look.
The lack of wind was a problem with the 2018 harvest, especially when the rains came. It was a case of all hands on deck with six helicopters, at one stage, being used to dry the vines. The end result is a good one, though, with the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc from Cloudy Bay as vivacious and succulent as you’d expect. Operations winemaker Daniel Sorrell was at the LVMH headquarters in London for the UK launch to give Sarah McCleery the full SP on the story behind the vintage.
If you want to be taken seriously as a premium spirit brand then you have to be listed in all the key style bars in the country, that’s when you know you have a critical mass to take to the next stage. It’s so much harder in wine as there are simply too many alternatives in your category to choose from. But for English sparkling wine, which very much wants to play in those premium circles, being listed in all the right bars and restaurants is now very much a given, but few outlets take English wine quite as seriously as the Coral Room at the Bloomsbury hotel which, as Helen Arnold discovers, claims to have one of the largest – if not the largest – selection in the country, both by the glass and the bottle.
It all started as a brainwave that Miguel Torres had – was it possible to save all the grape varieties that were becoming extinct in Catalonia? The answer was yes, after they managed to identify 54 different varieties that were shortly due to disappear completely. A lengthy, expensive and arduous process then followed where the most suitable varieties have been replanted with climate change in mind. Marina Ray travelled to the stunning setting of Montserrat to visit Purgatori, Torres’ latest winery that has just started releasing the wines from this fascinating project.
Whisper it quietly but German wines are very much back in vogue, or at least they are amongst the cooler, hip and happening ends of the wine market, particularly amongst younger wine drinkers not exposed to some of Germany’s less flattering exports in the 1970s and 1980s. In fact Germany is enjoying such a renaissance that it can put on a tasting featuring 51 producers (and their 150 plus wines) that are not currently represented in the UK. Producers that have been selected by a pre-tasting panel made up of UK buyers, merchants and sommeliers, some of whom have kindly shared what we can expect at next week’s Get It On tasting on October 25.
2018 was a great vintage in Chile with winemakers reporting plenty of bright, ripe fruit and a lack of any weather issues. As a result, anything with a 2018 vintage attached to it was singing in the Wines of Chile tasting, held this year at London’s OXO Tower. There were plenty of older vintages too to get excited about from the 350 wines presented by 37 wineries. Chris Wilson worked his way through them and recommends 5 classics and 5 that are more ‘out there’.
Japan may have been making wine for nearly a 100 years, but unlike so many of its other home grown products, very little of it has ever had much success in potential key export markets. But with the number of serious, premium wine producers now reaching critical mass the time has come for Wines of Japan to have a concerted effort in bringing its wines to key markets like the UK. Like its main London tasting taking place next week on October 23. To help set the scene The Buyer joined the recent benchmark tasting session, led by Wines of Japan’s UK ambassador, Sarah Abbott MW, to assess what key restaurant wine buyers think of the wines and the best ways they might succeed in the premium on-trade.
A man walks into a bar…. and when that man is author and drinks specialist Henry Jeffreys you know that a good time is guaranteed – the booze will be plentiful, of fine pedigree and the repartee, second to none. His just-published second book, The Home Bar, explores the history of bars, how they were shaped by various socio-politico and economic events and how we all started to love drinking at home. A lot. In conversation with Peter Dean, Jeffreys covers a lot of ground from the Gin craze, pre-mixed cocktails, Christmas TV-advertised fruit liqueurs and his favourite ‘Man walks into a bar’ joke.