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    Buying decisions from trend setting trade and The Buyer tastings

    Tasting: Wine
    Fields, Morris & Verdin

    Cape Wine revisited at the Fields, Morris & Verdin South Africa tasting

    Boasting 74 wines from 11 producers the Fields, Morris & Verdin South African tasting was an opportunity for those lucky enough to have gone to Cape Wine 2018, to re-taste the wines and see if they matched up to first impressions. Dubbed the ‘Back to the Future’ tasting, this was also an opportunity for those who did not attend Cape Wine to see what all the fuss was about. Chris Wilson put his tasting glass to good effect and comes up with 12 wines you simply have to try.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Barry

    Exploring five vintages of The Armagh with Peter Barry

    The Armagh is described by Peter Barry as an “elephant in ballerina shoes” and there’s no denying that this Clare Valley Shiraz is big, but it is the freshness and ‘laid back’ style that brings it balance, argues Justin Keay. Meeting Barry in London for a tasting of the new 2013 Armagh vintage, Keay hears how Jim Barry Wines is still very much a family affair and how a well-timed holiday to Santorini paid enormous dividends.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Hugel

    Hugel Schoelhammer: 1st three vintages plus more tasting treats

    Given that Hugel was founded in 1639, its Schoelhammer Riesling is a very new addition to the story. It was first launched just three years ago in 2015 when the 2007 vintage came out and has already become a classic Alsatian Grand Cru Riesling. Chris Wilson attended the launch of the new 2009 vintage where Marc Hugel and his nephew Jean-Frédéric brought along the first two vintages for comparison, plus some extraordinary wines from their personal library.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Cypriot

    How new wave Cypriot wine still relies on its ancient varieties

    The Buyer hits the road again and this time it’s destination Cyprus as Geoffrey Dean returns to the island three years on to discover how Cypriot wine is becoming premiumised. The bad old days of bulk wine exports to the Soviet Bloc have long since gone and now a new breed of internationally-sussed winemakers are using a mix of international and indigenous grape varieties to make fabulous wines with great sommelier appeal.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Tenuta Perano

    Frescobaldi reveals its 1st vintage from Tenuta Perano estate

    When you’ve been making wine for eight centuries you can get away with speaking confidently. For Lamberto Frescobaldi, head of the winemaking dynasty, 2018 is set to be a cracking vintage in Tuscany, and the 2015 vintage of wines from his new estate Tenuta Perano also delivers. Victor Smart was there at the launch of Frescobaldi’s seventh estate, tasted the two new wines and heard how Tenuta Perano is one of their most significant acquisitions to date.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Ksara

    How Château Ksara is putting Bekaa Valley back on the map

    Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley used to be mentioned more in the International news pages than in wine columns but that is all changing thanks to the likes of Domaine des Tourelles and Château Ksara. In continuing to search for the ‘grape unknown’, our intrepid explorer and consultant editor, Roger Jones, catches up with George K Sara, co-owner of Lebanese wine producer Ksara, firstly at a private lunch at The Harrow at Little Bedwyn and then at a press tasting and lunch hosted at the splendid Hovarda restaurant in London to hear his remarkable story and taste through the range of wines.

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    Tasting
    rebecca-gibb

    London Wine Competition: Early bird entries & more MW judges

    If you are looking to enter the London Wine Competition 2019 then it makes sense to act now and take advantage of early bird pricing for entries that runs out on December 14. The competition, now into its second year, looks to reward wines that are really connecting with consumers through the quality of the wine, but also how they stand out on shelf. Six leading MWs have also now joined the already impressive line up of professional judges including many leading sommeliers.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Bruce Jack

    Bruce Jack on giving wine some ‘Top Gear’ consumer appeal

    You might remember him as the poster boy of Accolade Wines or you might simply have heard about Bruce Jack Wines and wonder whether they are any good or not. Whatever’s the case, there is no denying that when Bruce Jack makes a splash, people sit up and notice. After last week’s launch of Jack’s new wine venture, Roger Jones assesses the strategy behind the three-tier portfolio, tastes through the range and comes up with his recommendations.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Otago

    How Felton Road Chardonnay is crafting a Central Otago style

    If you are making Chablis you will probably have several generations of the family to consult and 1000s of different expressions to try, across different terroirs, altitudes and in different vintages. For Felton Road’s Blair Walter, making Chardonnay in Central Otago has no such history. Unfairly overlooked, because of Otago’s excellence in making Pinot Noir, the region is slowly developing its own distinctive style, argues Anne Krebiehl MW.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Viña Pomal

    Maturana Tinta gives new Viña Pomal wine Compromiso its USP

    Bottling in market is not entirely new – Viña Pomal was once so popular in the UK in the post-war years that bottling used to take place in Charing Cross. It was also, apparently, Winston Churchill’s favourite Spanish wine. Winemaker Alejandro Lopez and the rest of the Viña Pomal team were back in London, this time to launch their new wine Compromiso 2015. A five-variety Rioja blend, it is the Maturana Tinta that gives the wine its point of difference, says Geoffrey Dean, who tasted the new wine along with the rest of the new vintages of the rest of the range.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Bulgaria

    Why ‘anything goes’ in Bulgaria means exciting new wave wines

    From amphora-fermented Chardonnay to sparkling wines made in a bat cave, it feels that there are no rules in Bulgarian winemaking these days. Which is a good thing. Bulgarian wine is in a state of flux right now with a new wave of winemakers mixing the modern and the traditional and making some very exciting wines in the process. Justin Keay tasted through the portfolios of 23 producers and picks out eight you need to have on your buying radar.

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    Tasting: Wine
    De Martino

    Chile’s De Martino: the balance between scale and quality

    The wines of Chile have suffered in recent years through the giant strides being made in winemaking in other areas of the globe. But for winemakers like De Martino it is about getting the balance right between scale and individual cuvées that illustrate how remarkable Chilean terroir can be. This is one of the reasons that Berry Bros. & Rudd has picked up the De Martino wines for distribution, as Geoffrey Dean explains.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Moss Wood

    Roger Jones: the enduring appeal of Margaret River’s Moss Wood

    Roving contributing editor Roger Jones has an audience with Keith and Clare Mugford from Moss Wood, focussing not only on their aged fine wines from Margaret River in Western Australia but also discussing the Semillon Gris mutation of Semillon and whether it affects the wines. With Moss Wood celebrating its 50th anniversary next year and Keith also marking 40 years as head winemaker, this was a perfect occasion to consider the enduring appeal of the wines and how they age.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Out the Box

    Top sommeliers’ picks make Out the Box 2018 a rare tasting treat

    Rare grapes, imaginative winemaking and a special free pour room with wines chosen especially by top sommeliers made Out the Box 2018 an unmissable event, says Chris Wilson. Always with a tasting strategy up his sleeve, Chris decided to tackle the 300+ wines by picking one red and one white from each of the 9 importers. And what a selection they make….

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    Tasting: Wine
    Cristal Vinothèque

    Anne Krebiehl MW tastes ‘Eternal Youth’ with Cristal Vinothèque

    For the first time ever, Champagne Louis Roederer’s Cristal Vinothèque was shown in the UK. Jean Baptiste Lécaillon, Cristal’s chef de cave, talked to Anne Krebiehl MW about the DNA of Cristal as he poured the Cristal Vinothèque 1996, Cristal 2008, Cristal 2002, Cristal Vinothèque 1995, Cristal Vinothèque 1996, Cristal Vinothèque Rosé 1995 and Cristal Vinothèque Rosé 1996. It is what is known in the trade as a ‘hot ticket’.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Nicolas-Jay

    Jay Boberg: producing R.E.M. to making Pinot Noir at Nicolas-Jay

    From the sound studio producing R.E.M. and Mary J. Blige to an Oregon vineyard and the wines of Nicolas-Jay: while music executive Jay Boberg has changed his focus fundamentally, the creative process is still the same. For him, the worlds of music and wine overlap. Mind you, not just any wine: Pinot Noir, of course, and a teensy bit of Chardonnay.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Frédéric Panaïotis

    Ruinart’s Frédéric Panaïotis labels 2018 “amazing & worrying”

    Ruinart’s cellar master Frédéric Panaïotis came to London last week to launch his latest vintage release, Dom Ruinart Blanc De Blancs 2007, which arrives in the UK early next year. David Kermode, aka Mr Vinosaurus, was there to taste it, alongside a non-vintage Blanc de Blancs and the established 2006 vintage.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Tyrell's

    How a top flight of Semillon helped mark 160 Years of Tyrrell’s

    The wonders of aged Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Semillon is a wine trade secret, of course; stunning quality that is still so modestly priced. To celebrate 160 years of the winery, Chris Tyrrell was in London with a flight of Vat 1 Semillon (2017-1998), a flight of the Johnno’s plus some amazing Shiraz. Our roaming contributing editor Roger Jones was on hand to pick out his favourite vintages.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Saint-Péray

    Why Saint-Péray is the under-the-radar gem of North Rhône

    On a recent tasting visit of the Saint-Péray AOC in the Rhône, Bart Feys is excited by the quality of the current crop of white wines and their potential to develop into complex ageworthy wines. Recent years have also seen the resurgence of sparkling Saint-Péray, a unique wine with a long history. With a string of recent successful vintages, now seems the ideal time to explore this little forgotten corner of the Northern Rhône.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Santa Tresa

    Stefano Girelli: Sicily is ‘organic heaven’ for Cortese wines 

    One of Sicily’s organic pioneers, Stefano Girelli has won critical acclaim for his Feudo Di Santa Tresa wines. Now he’s expanding his reach, having taken on another ancient vineyard that had fallen on hard times. As he prepares to launch his ‘Cortese’ wines into the UK market next month, he tells organic nut David Kermode, aka MrVinosaurus, why he was keen to take on another punishing project, how he believes the future of wine is all about getting back to basics, and why the island is “grape heaven”.

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    Instataste

    Tasting with pictures View All
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    • Tasted from Double Magnum this classic Margaux had none of
      Tasted from Double Magnum this classic Margaux had none of this vintage’s acidity that is still bothering some collectors. The tannins and structure are still well balanced with the wine tasting fresh with a good deal of finesse - ripe, plump, black cherry fruit, iodine, cocoa powder with light secondary characters (fresh tobacco leaf, cedar). Textbook and hugely enjoyable.
    • Ageing so well with no bricking or overt tiredness The
      Ageing so well with no bricking or overt tiredness. The nose has secondary qualities - currants, earth, hints of tobacco and cedar wood and a pepper quality that makes you feel (wrongly) that there’s Cab Franc in the blend. Medium bodied, fully integrated tannins but so fresh! Unbelievably fresh and intact.
    • Hugely complex and inviting Dorado white wine from Rueda
      Hugely complex and inviting Dorado white wine from Rueda - a mixture of Verdejo and Palomino produced with oxidation ageing (the Montilla style of Rueda wines in the past). Light mahogany; Sherry nose, sweet wood, library book, bitter orange, fresh olive (hints of mushroom); Bittersweet palate, salty, olive, burnt orange with massive hit of sour citrus on the finish. Much tastier than I’ve made it sound!
    • The comparison to Chteau dYquem is inevitable  this is
      The comparison to Château d’Yquem is inevitable - this is a sweet wine of the very highest order - coming as it does from Château Tirecul-la-Graviere in Montbazillac and using both Sauvignon and Semillon that are picked berry-by-berry in only the very best vintages. The 1995 drank with aged marmalade pudding was outstanding, and justifies Parker’s claim that it is one of the finest sweet wines he has ever tasted. Light mahogany in colour, a rich nose of ‘50 shades of orange’ (peel, caramel, marmalade, tangerine, blossom, Rumtopf, etc). Complex, concentrated, rich but maybe in need of a tad more acidity to make it truly profound.
    • Hermitage Blanc drinking perfectly now although it could carry on
      Hermitage Blanc, drinking perfectly now, although it could carry on ageing quite happily. Light amber; On the nose: hazelnuts, poached pear, dried flowers, antique wood; the palate is broad, low acidity, rich and oleaginous mouthfeel, layers of secondary flavours (reminiscent of an aged Chenin without the acidity), a fine-grained texture you get with aged Marsanne, the freshness here coming completely from the soil. Incredible length. Superb. Very true of where it comes from both in terroir and traditional origins.
    • Yotuel Finca La Nava from Bodegas Y Viedos Gallego Zapatero
      Yotuel Finca La Nava from Bodegas Y Viñedos Gallego Zapatero. A relatve newcomer, this winery being set up in 1996. This wine from the 2014 vintage has been hand harvested from 20 year old Tempranillo vines, natural yeasts, macerated for 16 days with malolactic in French oak where the juice remains for 14 months. The nose was quite dumb on the day but the wine shows massive potential – lovely texture, very fresh and balanced between the acidity and the lovely long flavours of black fruit, liquorice and soy.