It was the Judgment of Paris in 1976 that put Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars onto the worldwide wine map, but it was the Napa Valley fires of October 2017 that almost wiped it off. In-between these two dates the winery has gained a reputation as one of the world’s top producers of Cabernet Sauvignon led by Cask 23 the blend of its two single, and highly contrasting, vineyards Fay and SLV. Peter Dean met up with winemaker Marcus Notaro to get the inside track of this iconic winery, and understand how Notaro’s winemaking philosophy keeps Stag’s Leap at the very pinnacle of the world’s top Cabernet Sauvignon producers.
“The big bear Calvet is finally awake after many years of slumber.” That summaries Cruz Liljegren impression of major French wine brand, Calvet, after a educational trip to the company’s facilities in Bordeaux. With an ambitious new consumer campaign, and targeted on-trade range and a fresh liaison with a tattooed TV chef does Calvet have the right mix to drive sales and attract new consumers to what it is doing.
If you are in the lucky position to have money to invest in new businesses and start-ups then it’s easy to see why a wine project would, on paper at least, be so attractive. Particularly if it meant having a stake in a living, breathing vineyard capable of producing wine for you, which is exactly the route that Phillip Addis, former Great Western Wines chief and his business partners took when trying to find backing for their new winery project, in south west France.
When we asked award-winning photographer and journalist Neil Hennessy-Vass to capture the essence of Grandes Pagos de España he needed little encouragement. A fan of Spanish wine, quality tourism and Sergio Leone films, Neil buckled his belt, packed his spurs and headed to Spain to find out how Spain’s association of quality single estates is faring in 2018.
Fifteen years since first visiting Romanian winery Cramele Recas, Justin Keay, returns to find a business that has been transformed from one showing “great potential” into the biggest seller of premium wine in Romania. With Central Europe enjoying a bumper harvest in 2017, where the rest of Europe had one of the worst, business doubled for Cramele Recas and this coming year could be one in which founder Philip Cox and his team further cements this success.
In an average week we probably come across a visiting winemaker on at least a handful of occasions. But do we ever spare a thought for what it must be like to be constantly on the road, telling your same story in the hope you can build distribution and interest in your wine in more markets around the world. To find out we asked Faouzi Issa, co-owner and winemaker at Lebanon’s Domaine des Tourelles, to share memories of his last global trip.
Since 2012 life for winemakers in Turkey has become increasingly difficult with the industry unable to promote or market itself. Muslim staff can refuse to taste the wine, traditional winemaking skills are hard to find and then there is the climate and the challenges of working with indigenous grape varieties. On top of that consultant winemaker Daniel O’Donnell appointed a woman as one of his senior winemakers which, in itself, posed complications with a largely older, male workforce. But, as Justin Keay discovers first hand on a recent visit, many of the wines are now world class.
Where would we be without Prosecco. As the rest of the wine category is flat or in declining sales, Prosecco continues to defy the odds recording year after year of double digit growth. Yet there are many restaurants and sommeliers who actively go out of their way not to list it. Sarah Abbott MW believes they are wrong to ignore a whole category on the basis of some cheap wines, but should, instead, embrace and delight in a category that still has so much potential.
With so many premium Champagnes to choose from how do you pick out the ones that are right for your outlet and your customer? The level of competition is only getting harder even for Champagne Gosset, the oldest Champagne house in the region that dates back to 1584, and its UK importers, Louis Latour Agencies. Here Will Oatley, Louis Latour’s UK managing director, explains the steps it is taking to keep Gosset very much front of mind with top sommeliers and its target customers.
A good deal of the recent media headlines about South African winemaking have been reserved for the New Wave producers as well as the established names that keep delivering the goods year after year. Geoffrey Dean has been visiting the country for the past 25 years and, on a recent trip, decided to visit a large number of wineries that are still under the radar – new wineries that we haven’t yet heard about or ones that are making giant strides forwards.