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    Buying decisions from trend setting trade and The Buyer tastings

    Tasting: Spirit

    Seaweed Martinis galore at the Isle of Harris Gin launch… God kelp us

    The warning signs were everywhere at last night’s London launch of new Isle of Harris Gin. Not only were the G&Ts of industrial strength but drinks consultant Douglas Blyde was at the controls to show us how to make the perfect Martini. That was before the assembled throng were then encouraged to enter a Martini-making competition. Despite how messy it got there was one thing that shone through like a lighthouse beam and it was the spectacular umami of sugar kelp – the gin’s key botanical.

    Tasting: Wine

    5 things we took away from the Official #Champagne Experience Day

    The Official #Champagne Experience Day 2017 had to compete with a number of challenging factors this year: a new venue, a busy tastings calendar, Twitter rage and figures that showed that Champagne sales to the UK, the region’s largest export market by far, were down both in value and volume. Peter Dean casts his verdict and highlights 5 things worth noting.


    Tasting HeavenSake: a new luxury brand sake blended by Régis Camus

    With a ‘fashion’ launch in Paris that featured Japanese rockabillies dancing to Johnny Cash and now a high profile launch at London’s Galvin at Windows, Christina Rasmussen listens to the thinking behind the launch of HeavenSake, a new Franco-Japanese luxury sake brand. Aimed squarely at the luxury market and club crowd, this sake has been developed by famed Champagne cellar master Régis Camus and Japanese sake producers Dassai and Urakasumi.

    Tasting: Wine

    Veuve Clicquot Extra Brut Extra Old: a different Champagne

    Anne Krebiehl heralds Veuve Clicquot’s new multi-vintage Champagne, Extra Brut Extra Old, as a triumph and something unusual for Champagne… something actually quite new. At a tasting with Veuve’s chef de cave Dominique Demarville Anne discovers the secret of this bold new blend – it is made purely from reserve wines spanning vintages from 2010 way back to 1988. As well as tasting the new wine she gives full tasting notes on the base wines that make up the blend.

    Tasting: Wine

    Why wines from Portugal are enjoying their greatest success

    Wines from Portugal have been enjoying impressive growth worldwide thanks to improvements in both the quality and range of wines over recent years. It is the DOC and regional wines that have been driving this growth much more than the entry level wines, and this has also had the effect of delivering a message about Portugal itself – both its regions and its culture. Justin Keay gets the lowdown from Vini Portugal’s Nuno Vale then picks out the highlights from the tasting itself.

    Tasting: Wine

    Peter Dean: my first virtual wine tasting for Malbec World Day

    Three bottles of Malbec were shipped from Argentina to the middle of rural France where I tasted the wines simultaneously with Graffigna winemaker Nacho Lopez 11,000km away. A fun stunt for Malbec World Day, perhaps, but a giant leap forwards for us digital wine journalists the world over. I have seen the future of modern wine journalism and it is virtual wine tasting.

    Tasting: Wine

    Chris Wilson delivers his verdict on the importers’ Spring tastings

    Hundreds of bottles opened, thousands of samples poured (many spat out again, many not), the annual importer Spring tastings season is over and we’ve learnt a lot. As well as tasting some fantastic wines – new and old – there’s a lot to discover at these tastings and many of the logistical elements of the day give a clue to the mindset and ambitions of the company involved. With this in mind, Chris Wilson takes a critical glance at some points of note from the season’s importer tastings.

    Tasting: Wine

    Evaluating the Soave 2016 vintage: the best wines tasted and tested

    As the wine fair Vinitaly opens in Verona, there is no Italian wine more deserving of the attention it is going to get in its home town and indeed a re-appraisal than Soave. But, ironically, it could be events 500 miles away in Northern Burgundy that get the British public to start drinking it again in volume and reinstate it as one of Italy’s flagship white wines.

    Tasting: Wine

    How Dom Pérignon P2 2000 is all about the pursuit of energy

    Anne Krebiehl MW thinks that Dom Pérignon P2 2000 should be made available on prescription. As such we beg Anne to stand for Minister for Health. At an ‘unusual’ tasting with Dom Pérignon oenologist Vincent Chaperon, the P2 2000 was tasted alongside the vintage 2000 and the Rosé 2000 to see how they had changed over time. The difference between them is the difference between ‘ageing and maturation.’

    Tasting: Wine

    How Crémant is getting in on the ‘battle of the bubbles’

    It surely was no coincidence that the annual London tasting of Crémant was held the day before the Champagne Experience, the similar annual shindig of the top producers in Epernay, Reims et al. With sales and value of Champagne falling in the UK last year, and the Prosecco machine proving that us Brits love nothing better than value-for-money fizz are the makers of Crémant sensing that their time has come?



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    • Cracking new gin from new distillery in Outer Hebrides Thehellip
      Cracking new gin from new distillery in Outer Hebrides. The magic botanical is Sugar Kelp, a seaweed that gives genuine umami both in a G and T and in a Martini. The essence of kelp you can buy online and is going to be used in my kitchen as that 'secret ingredient' until everyone catches on. Seriously chefs this aromatic water is something you need to get your hands on.
    • Impressive 100 Petit Verdot from one of Frances largest cooperativeshellip
      Impressive 100% Petit Verdot from one of France's largest cooperatives. Shows how in the premium end the coops are showing real quality and initiative. This had black fruit, meat, slight vegetal, crisp fruit. All for €13 a bottle.
    • A world first for a wine made from a newhellip
      A world first for a wine made from a new varietal. The grape is Cal 6-04 and is a disease-resistant grape being cultivated in Bordeaux. 2of it's 3 'heritage' varietals areSauvignon Blanc and Riesling - and this clearly comes through on the palate. There is a red that is also being launched in a month or two from Cabernet Jura. Ducort is the domaine.
    • 100 Sauvignon Blanc aged in oak Not normally my thinghellip
      100% Sauvignon Blanc aged in oak. Not normally my thing but the oak is seamless and supports the fruit so well. The nose is savoury - almond, there is honey and cream on the palate, nice length. Classy winemaking.
    • Bordeaux clairet is 2 of overall production A deep redhellip
      Bordeaux clairet is 2% of overall production. A deep red Rosé- it is all cherries, berries of the forest, a creamy nose and fine-grained tannins. Very contemporary-tasting.
    • Top of the range Crmant from one of my favouritehellip
      Top of the range Crémant from one of my favourite producers. 60% Chardonnay 20% Chenin 10% Mauzac 10%Pinot Noir. Matured in wood before secondary fermentation. Rich and fresh. Nice notes of fresh dough, hazelnut and fig flower. Clean, crisp and very tasty.