Smith & Gertrude is the kind of bar that most people would want to have in their neighbourhood. Set up by thirty-something married couple Duncan and Amy Findlater two years ago, it has already become something of a local institution with its winning formula of a great wine selection and a simple bar menu of cheese, charcuterie and salads, all served up in a chilled atmosphere. Helen Arnold met up with the couple to discover what inspires them.
We are blessed in the UK wine trade to be able to attend so many importer and generic tastings. But it is one thing quietly assessing the wines, it is another hearing from your peers what is actually selling in their outlets. So for last week’s Wines of Germany tasting The Buyer helped host a debate of leading buyers from top restaurants and bars to see how well Germany is performing in their outlets.
To have your own vineyard supplying the wine, and a farm producing the meat must be the dream for many restaurateurs. Richard Gladwin, managing director of the Nutbourne group of London restaurants, that includes The Shed in Notting Hill, Rabbit on the King’s Road and Nutbourne in Battersea, is not only in this fortunate position, but he runs it along with his two brothers, as Helen Arnold discovers.
Melanie Brown can take a little more credit than any other Kiwi living in the UK for the continued success of New Zealand wine in our supermarkets, bars, restaurants and pubs. Her wine bar and merchants in Brixton, the New Zealand Cellar, does exactly what it promises and showcases some of the best New Zealand wines available in the country. Here she shares her average week…
It is quite possible to look at the on-trade scene, particularly in London, as pre and post Vinoteca such has been its impact on eating and drinking out since it opened its first site in Farringdon in 2005. Would the likes of Vagabond and Humble Grape or Hangingditch in Manchester or more recently Corkage in Bath have taken off if they had not been inspired by what Charlie Young and Brett Woonton first devised? Twelve years on we assess what it is that makes Vinoteca stand out and why the wine bar chain is now very much a sector in its own right.
Mike McGinty of Edinburgh’s Voyage of Buck, was crowned the first ever Global Patrón Perfectionists Cocktail Competition winner with a cocktail he invented called Bell of Jalisco. Here we talk to him about the growing importance of tequila as a category, what he looks for from suppliers, the importance of training and just how good it was gaining international recognition.
Roger Jones, our Michelin-starred roving reporter, attends the Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino Investiture annual dinner held at London’s Dorchester Hotel. For the past 33 years this prestigious event has been held to promote the high quality of wines from Spain. The climax is the ordaining into the fellowship of Caballeros, individuals who have made a particularly significant contribution to promoting wines from Spain.
They may fly under the radar somewhat, but Drake & Morgan has quietly become one of the leading pub and restaurant groups in the country with outlets in London, Manchester and Scotland. We talk to wine buyer, Fleur Gomez, about the challenges of creating drinks and wine lists that cater for all tastes, but have enough flair to keep them fresh and interesting.
The Cape Wine Auction is the third major South African auction to be held by the wine industry and it is carving out a niche for itself as being the most philanthropic. This year, only its fourth, the auction raised R22.3m and 100% of the money is given to needy causes. The Buyer was there and talked to the auction’s creator, Mike Ratcliffe about his vision, how it works, past successes and hopes for the future.
Plaimont Producteurs has just hosted the annual blending of their flagship cuvée, Le Faîte, with guest blenders Olly Smith, wine writer, columnist and TV presenter and Serge Dubs, world’s best sommelier 1989 and head sommelier of l’Auberge de l’Ill (three Michelin stars for the past 50 years). Giles James, of Noble Inns, accompanied the group from the UK on-trade side.