Burgundians have got a reputation for keeping themselves to themselves – even when it comes to getting along with their immediate neighbours. So how come that the only official exchange programme they have run with another wine body is with the wine region furthest from them – in New Zealand’s Central Otago? 12 years on Peter Dean listens to what has been learned from the Central Otago Burgundy Exchange programme and why Aubert de Villaine says “it has started a sparkle that has not stopped”?
Producing your own distinct style of wine in an area that is famous for just producing one grape variety is hard, but for the Sandro Fay family it is all about putting the focus on developing Nebbiolo grapes that are as sustainable as possible and using the individual characteristics of single vineyards to really make your wines stand out from even within their own estate. Find out for yourself at today’s Nebbiolo Day tasting in London.
He is one of the most influential winemakers in New Zealand, put Cloudy Bay and Marlborough on the map in the 1980s, and was making single vineyard and oaked Sauvignon Blancs before ‘Class of 2019’ was out of kindergarten. A man of few words but many ideas, Kevin Judd opens up about how the past 10 years have been making wines for his own label Greywacke, and why he has stopped wearing a watch. Peter Dean is all ears and tastes through a decade of Greywacke.
If you have grown up enjoying the many adventures of chefs Keith Floyd and Rick Stein (and many others) on TV then we all have the producer behind the camera to thank for making those programmes possible. Sadly David Pritchard died in January from cancer, but he leaves hours of wonderful TV moments behind him. In a personal tribute Bordeaux winemaker, Gavin Quinney, recalls many years of friendship and making films with Pritchard and Stein, including their most recent outing to his home and winery at Château Bauduc where he ended up acting as their local tour guide, setting up shots and arranging which restaurants and vineyards to visit. It’s just a pity the final meal of roast lamb, courtesy of Gavin himself, did not go quite as well as the rest of the filming. Here’s to you Mr Pritchard.
It might look like a space ship hovering over the vines, but it is actually the rather novel way of feeling as though you are part of the vineyard as you taste wine at Ceretto Wines in Alba. Ahead of next week’s Nebbiolo Day tasting in London we talk to owner Alessandro Ceretto, part of the third generation of the family that is looking to make wines true to the region. Which for Alessandro means not just a heavy focus on Nebbiolo, but a dedication to biodynamic winemaking as well.
Harry Crowther reports back from Louis Latour Agencies annual portfolio tasting in London where he had the chance to escape to Tuscany thanks to a special masterclass from Castello Banfi where he was able to taste for himself the fruits of all the hard work that goes into the handling, picking and sorting of the right fruit for each of its classic wines. He also picks out some of the highlights from the new range of wines launched at the tasting.
Piedmont is time and again one of the key wine regions that sommeliers are turning to for some of the most dynamic wines coming out of Italy. It is a reputation that the relatively new Réva winery in Langhe is certainly playing its part to live up to. Here winemaker, Giana Luca Colombo, shares his passion for what it is trying to do and why its Nebbiolo wines are so important to help build its own identity.
Sicily’s Mount Etna completely dominates the island’s skyline and its wines are increasingly having a similar impact, with its indigenous varieties winning acclaim around the world for their unique volcanic character. Christina Rasmussen meets passionate local producer Filippo Mangione and gets the chance to taste his ‘Ayunta’ range and find out how he creates fine, artisanal, vibrant wines on the slopes of an active volcano.
Nebbiolo has been an integral part of the history of the Piemonte region in north west Italy ever since the Romans were picking the grapes. As part of our countdown to the second Nebbiolo Day tasting taking place in London on March 5 we talk to one of the producers taking part, Paolo Rovellotti, whose family have been making wines in the region for over 400 years. He explains why Nebbiolo is very much part of his and the region’s DNA.
Ask most wine buyers what would make their lives easier and somewhere near the top of their wish list would be able to work with fewer suppliers who could meet more of their needs. Which is very much what Famille Helfrich, the independent merchant and on-trade division of the Les Grands Chais de France group, wants to offer. It’s a message that Chris Davies and his team will be getting across to restaurant buyers, sommeliers and wine merchants at the company’s first standalone trade tasting later this month. Here he explains what else is going on at the group, including more wines from around the world and an exclusive new on-trade wine range from Calvet.
As we look ahead to next month’s second Nebbiolo Day tasting The Buyer will be profiling and talking to some of the key producers taking part in the event to find out how they are each working with this key grape variety that is attracting such interest around the world. We start with Franco Massolino, who with his Massolino Vigna Rionda wines is the fourth generation winemaker to make wines in the estate.
After the success of the inaugural Nebbiolo Day in 2018, it’s back in 2019 with a bigger tasting and focus on these ever intriguing and popular styles of Italian wine that are the beating heart of the Barolos and Barbarescos so loved by buyers and sommeliers alike. Who better to explain what is in store for this year’s event, and to give his own personal take on why he thinks Nebbiolo deserves such focused attention, than Italian wine specialist and founder of Nebbiolo Day, Walter Speller.
2018 was an incredibly busy year for Ben Walgate, winemaker and co-founder of Tillingham. They launched their first wines onto the UK market, planted 10,000 vines by hand at their farm in Peasmarsh near Rye in East Sussex (the fruits of which will see the light of day in 2021), took part in the biggest and best harvest probably in UK history, and began work on converting the farm outbuildings into a fully functioning winery, rooms, restaurant and shop (amongst other things). Here Doug Wregg from its UK distributor, Les Caves de Pyrene, reports from his latest visit to the winery.
The whole movement towards premium Prosecco got a shot in the arm three years ago when Canevel Spumanti sold 60% of the company to Valpolicella giants Masi Agricola. The joint venture is a smart commercial move in that it enables useful synergies for both parties but it has also led to an impressive array of innovative production techniques from two companies that are renowned for making quality wines with maximum respect for the land the grapes come from. With the release of three of Canevel’s wines into the market three months ago, Peter Dean caught up with Carlo Caramel, chief executive of Canevel, and Andrea Dal Cin, technical director and winemaker of Masi, to find out what’s happening in the hills of Valdobbiadene and how the JV is faring now it’s had time to bed down.
The Zsirai Winery covers three of the most important wine regions in Hungary: Tokaj, Somló and Villány. Each region has its own winemaking teams producing authentic wines from that area. Founded in 2005 by the late Csaba Zsirai it is now run by his daughters Petra and Kata and a small team who want to carry on and bring to life his dream of producing wines from indigenous Hungarian wine varieties. Here Mate Csanaky, export director, how they are going about it.
As a former managing director of Bargain Booze Keith Webb knows how to promote and sell beer. He also knows a good business opportunity when he sees one. So when he had the chance to ask a question at a Q&A session with his favourite band, Wolf Alice, he asked if they would like to come on a tour of the local Manchester craft brewery, Seven Bro7hers that he is helping to advise. When they said they “yes” it was the start of a relationship that has seen the launch of Wolf Alice’s very own craft lager – Yuk Brew. Here Keith explains how it all came together…
For the UK wine trade, January marks not only the start of a new year, but when all our attention turns to Bourgogne Week and the chance for buyers, merchants, sommeliers and retailers to discover and taste the latest vintage available on the market. After a disappointing 2016 harvest in volume, the double good news for all buyers is that production levels for 2017 were much better and, just as importantly, quality levels are good, says the Bourgogne Wine Board’s (BIVB) François Labet.
2017 was a year to forget for most wine producing countries, but particularly in Italy where frosts and rain did so much damage to many of its iconic regions. Like Soave. But thankfully conditions are back to normal in 2018 and the region is back on the front foot driving not only a quality agenda, but putting the focus firmly on biodiversity and working on the long term future of its vines, as Aldo Lorenzoni, director of the Consorzio di Soave explains.
If you are going to invest in a winery in Hungary then you are giving yourself every chance of success by doing so in Eger, widely recognised as one of the country’s most premium winemaking regions. It is known locally as the ‘Hungarian Burgundy’ and even has its own Grand Cru and Premier Cru classification vineyards producing a range of international and local varieties including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Franc and Furmint and Kékfrankos. The Buyer talks to Nimród Kovács, owner of the Kovács Nimród Winery.
For his first ever job in wine, Orin Swift’s Dave Phinney turned up for the interview for the position of ‘Temporary harvest worker’ in a suit and tie. He can still hear the laughter many years on. Phinney has never looked back, however. A true iconoclast, Phinney went about setting up Orin Swift, one of the most exciting new wave wineries in California and has been making wine in a style entirely of his own making – dividing the critics with his striking Californian blends that can have controversial images on their ‘surfer dude’ labels. Chris Wilson hooked up with him in London for an in-depth chat about where American winemaking style is at right now, how he fits into the business of wine and how the E&J Gallo buyout got him out of a very tight corner.