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    Tasting: Wine
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    How the UK’s first generic Gavi event proved to be a real eye-opener

    The UK is already the region’s most important foreign market for Gavi DOCG with an amazing 40% of Piedmont’s great white wine exported to these shores. In its first ever generic tasting in London, the Consorzio was clear in its message – that it is focused on quality not quantity and keen to build on this success by educating particularly on-trade buyers on the wine’s complexity and little-known ability to age into a wine with many hidden depths. 

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    Tasting: Wine
    Château du Moulin-à-Vent

    Chris Wilson on the analog pleasures of Château du Moulin-à-Vent 2010-19

    When wine expert and winemaker Chris Wilson was invited to taste through a decade’s worth of Château du Moulin-à-Vent he jumped at the chance. Not just because it’s a rare occasion to sample a vertical of top Beaujolais, but also because it is an opportunity to see a progression in the wines, a story being told of a period of time, with every vintage adding something to the overall story… in much the same way as listening to a music album from start to finish.

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    Tasting: Wine
    PICTURE 1 - Bancroft Tasting

    European classics shine at Bancroft’s 2022 portfolio tasting

    Earlier this month Bancroft Wines welcomed its ever-expanding network of clients and press for a full 2022 portfolio tasting. Taking place at the impressive Royal Institute of British Architects, this was the first chance in a long time for guests, including The Buyer’s Mike Turner, to taste through the nearly 500 wines on show. With so many fabulous and diverse wines on show, it was still (arguably) the European classics that really shone through.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Decanted Hungary

    How Decanted Hungary focused on the top medal winners

    Decanted Hungary was a small, focused tasting aimed at giving a snapshot of where Hungarian wine currently is at – as seen through the lens of the recent Decanter World Wine Awards. Wines on show were only ones which had won Best in Show, Platinum and Gold medals with Caroline Gilby MW explaining the rationale and David Kermode picking his 10 favourites from the range.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Victoria wines

    Roger Jones on the best Victoria wines, producers & regions

    Although Victoria is Australia’s second smallest state it has more wine regions and individual wineries than any other; and there is such a diversity of climates here that every imaginable grape variety can be grown and almost every style of wine made. Australian wine expert Roger Jones gets under the skin of the many wine regions and highlights some of the many excellent producers and wines that you can discover here.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Kanonkop Black Label Pinotage

    Roger Jones on 13 vintages of Kanonkop Black Label Pinotage 

    The oft-maligned grape variety Pinotage, is slowly regaining the recognition it deserves. Much of that change in perspective is down to the work of Kanonkop and its winemaker Abrie Beeslaar who visited London last month to present 13 vintages of its outstanding Kanonkop Black Label Pinotage from the years 2006 through to the current vintage of 2019. Chef and wine expert Roger Jones caught up with Beeslaar, the Krige brothers and tasted through the wines.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Wirra Wirra

    Justin Keay on the enduring appeal of Wirra Wirra

    The 2022 vintage of Wirra Wirra’s Church Block will be its 50th – quite a remarkable success story for a wine that has become McLaren Vale’s top selling wine. Justin Keay looks at the wine and the winery’s appeal, tastes through the range of new wines, and sees how Wirra Wirra is defined by its past as it has all eyes set on the future.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Loire wines

    Tasting special: the impressive current state of Loire Valley wines

    Geoffrey Dean spent four days travelling throughout the Loire – visiting estates and tasting Loire wines from Vouvray, Saumur-Champigny, Muscadet, Touraine, Anjou and many more regions. Here he picks out the domaines and wines that impressed him the most as well as discover how the Loire is making great strides both in organic viticulture and sustainability. Despite a 31% drop in volume for the 2021 harvest, the quality is excellent, and exports have risen from France’s third largest French AOP wine region.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Lady May

    Luke O’Cuinneagain analyses Glenelly’s Lady May from 2010-17

    Luke O’Cuinneagain has been the winemaker at Glenelly Estate since Bordeaux’s May de Lencquesaing first fell in love with South Africa and decided to build this estate in Stellenbosch. Luke was in London to host an eight-vintage vertical of Lady May 2010-2017 which was held to celebrate Mays’ 97th birthday, to launch the 2016 vintage, and to take stock of how the eponymous flagship Bordeaux blend, Lady May, has been changing over the years. Even news that O’Cuinneagain is upping sticks and heading over to Vergelegen, taking over from André van Rensburg in September, was not enough to stop the party.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Champagne Palmer Grands Terroirs 2015

    Tasting the new Champagne Palmer Grands Terroirs 2015

    Champagne Palmer Grands Terroirs 2015 and the Grands Terroirs 2012 in magnum were launched by Champagne Palmer & Co last Wednesday at Skye Gyngell’s Spring restaurant. CEO Rémi Vervier, who is also one of this cooperative’s five oenologists, hosted the dinner in which he laid out the company’s philosophy regarding larger formats and his backing for the on-trade. Victor Smart took one for the team.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Dagaz

    Marco Puyo’s Viña Dagaz ‘world class’ Chilean wines

    “Whilst these wines are no way near the bulk or ‘value’ end of the spectrum in terms of price, they are actually a steal and should be on the radar of any wine buyer looking to improve on their Chilean offering.” So says Harry Crowther about the Viña Dagaz range of wines made by Marco Puyo in Chile’s Itata and Pumanque wine regions. For Crowther, discovering the Dagaz wines was a lightbulb moment – that the often-discussed world class potential of Chile’s wines had actually manifested itself some time ago… and the Dagaz wines are proof positive of its arrival.

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    Tasting: Wine
    credit photo _ we are the good children (3)

    How cuvée Henriot L’Inattendue 2016 is a statement of intent

    Seven years after taking over at the helm of Champagne Henriot, one of Champagne’s last family-operated Houses, Gilles de Larouzière Henriot has overseen the launch of a bold new cuvée, Henriot L’Inattendue 2016. This single vineyard wine will be sourced entirely by whichever of the House’s Chardonnay crus ‘speak the loudest’ during the tasting of the still wines. For its inaugural release it was the fruit from the four plots at Avize which have been the bedrock of the new wine, Peter Dean reports.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Bocca di Lupo

    Antinori’s Puglia’s Bocca di Lupo breaks free from Tormaresca

    Ever since the Antinori empire purchased Bocca di Lupo in 1998 the Puglia estate has helped highlight the exceptional terroir to be found in the region. Now the decision has been made for it to break free from its sister winery of Tormaresca so that the Castel del Monte and Salento areas can be highlighted and appreciated for their character and distinctive identity, and can each bask in their own glory. Geoffrey Dean had lunch with the Antinori team to discuss the changes and taste the new vintages.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Gosset Celebris 2008

    Why Gosset Celebris 2008 really is an exceptional cuvée

    Retired Michelin star chef and Champagne lover, Roger Jones was at the launch of Gosset Celebris 2008 hosted at the Zari gallery, which uses the proceeds of the gallery as a platform for teaching medics and health professionals around the world. There Jones tastes and rates the latest Gosset Celebris accompanied by incredible food supplied by Luciana Berry.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Bryant Family Vineyard

    Tasting legendary cult wines of Napa’s Bryant Family Vineyard

    Bryant Family Vineyard is a Cabernet Sauvignon first released in 1992 which quickly established cult status alongside fellow Napa wines from Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle. From biodynamically-certified Bryant Estate, the wine is made entirely from estate fruit and has picked up more Parker points than many vignerons have had hot dinners – including four 100-pointers… release price is also First Growth territory. But the new team led by Bettina Bryant and winemaker Kathryn Carothers seems less fazed by points and prices than by making balanced wines that speak of the place they come from, as Peter Dean discovered when he had lunch with them and tasted through the range including some impressive library releases.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Roussillon wineries

    Sarah McCleery: 12 Roussillon wineries you need to discover

    Sarah McCleery recently returned from a deep-dive exploration of the Roussillon – finding out what makes it tick, tasting a range of terroir-focused wines that are using organic, biodynamic and sustainable agricultural practices, and spending time with the people who are making these wines. In Part 2 of her special report she focuses on a dozen Roussillon wineries that are making exceptional wines, many of them outstanding good value, and which should be considered for your list.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Zweigelt

    Chris Wilson at Trivet on the many changing faces of Zweigelt

    “When it comes to Zweigelt, a light hand on the tiller is required… think Pinot rather than Pinotage, Valpol rather than Calpol,” writes Chris Wilson who discovers at a Zweigelt tasting at London’s Trivet that us Brits may not be landing the best examples of these wines on these shores. Dirceu Vianna Junior MW hosted the event and he is keen to ensure that we do chime with the grape – but that means us getting the best examples from the best regions.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Villa Maria

    Roger Jones helps Villa Maria celebrate 60 years of winemaking

    The Villa Maria Icon and Single Vineyard ranges were the focus of a special tasting lunch that was held to mark the 60 years since Sir George Fistonich first started one of the most successful wine brands in the Southern Hemisphere. Chantelle Nicholson’s new restaurant Apricity, a troupe of Maori dancers and a new addition to the Icon range The Attorney 60th Anniversary Pinot Noir were all part of the celebrations. Chef and wine expert Roger Jones had a ringside seat.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Canadian wine

    Justin Keay: 10 top Canadian wine estates at its annual tasting

    Back, after a two year absence, was the annual Wines of Canada tasting in London which was the perfect opportunity for Justin Keay to discover first-hand how the Canadian wine scene has changed since its last generic outing – and it all seems to be going in the right direction. Nova Scotia is becoming more than a one-trick pony, Pinot Noir is getting stronger and 10 wineries, in particular, stood out for him as ones which should be on your radar.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Liber Pater

    Liber Pater: the world’s most expensive wine at £30k a bottle

    At £30k a bottle In Bond, Liber Pater 2018 is the world’s most expensive (and controversial?) wine – a Bordeaux red made with rare, ungrafted varieties in the style of Nineteenth Century claret. To launch it, Birley Wine Club hosted an extraordinary evening pouring the 2015 alongside other rare wines. Peter Dean joined Neal Martin and winemaker Loic Pasquet at a once-in-a-lifetime event to taste Bordeaux in the same way that Napoleon did.

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    Instataste

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    • Hugely impressive debut Brut NV from East Sussex newcomers Everflyht which delivers like a classy Champagne – yet has English sparkling wine hallmarks of apple notes and underlying tension. It is split roughly 50/50 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with 6% Meunier, 14% has been aged in French oak (5th fill Burgundy barrels) and some new oak, and 24% of the final blend consists of reserve wine. Based on the 2019 vintage which had a cooler than average September, this has a ripe phenolic profile that translates to breadth on the palate, and attractively dense fruit flavours. The wood adds texture and biscuity notes that is not unlike Bollinger Special Cuvée in style. The colour is shiny gold, the bead is fine and consistent; aromas of fresh apple, lemon shortbread and red summer berries carry across to the palate that is bright, focused and structured but has a delicious depth of
    • Terrific new Blanc de Noirs 2018 from the five hectare family-owned Busi Jacobsohn estate in East Sussex. It’s a vintage, single estate wine made from 78% Pinot Noir and 22% Pinot Meunier, with 36 months on the lees. This is an elegant and classy English sparkling wine which has red berry aromatics and a fresh chalky note; in the mouth the wine is delicious and balanced perfectly –firm acidity apparent but a breadth and complexity that makes it ripe for early drinking. The confidence and refinement in this wine is all the more remarkable when you consider that the estate’s vines were only planted in 2015 – a promising sign that we will be hearing a lot more about this producer and this wine in the future.
    • One of Northern Italy’s truly iconic wines – a unique, elegant Bordeaux blend, made in a Mediterranean/ semi-alpine region. To look at the wine is medium ruby red with red cherry edging; the aromatics are enticing with red cherries, black fruits of the forest, caramelised wood spice, red licorice a touch of Indian spice tin; in the mouth the wine is soft, warm, rounded and nicely balanced, it feels light on its feet with ripe, plush tannins effortlessly integrated, the finish has a chalky texture with a note of small wild red cherries. Beautifully elegant and drinking perfectly now although it will develop over the next two decades. The blend is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Carmènere, 10% Merlot, fermented in concrete vats, then matured for two years in French oak – a mix of new, once and twice-filled.
    • Five grape field blend from Portugal’s Casals de Douro near the Pinhão valley- a new venture by Boekenhoutskloof’s Marc Kent and Portuguese winemaker Rita Marques. It’s a full-bodied, full-flavoured red that is easy to like and approach at a young age and delivers a good deal of complexity for its £15 price point. Black fruits, floral aromatics and a dried herb note on the nose; the palate is round and velvety at first then structured and intense with the considerable ripe, dense tannins powering in. The wine is punchy but balanced with enough acidity and freshness to carry the concentrated dark, brambly fruits.
    • Some of the many, many highlights of the extraordinary tasting tonight of the best of the legend that is Hermitage
    • Nude Pink is a new organic-certified vegan rosé from Provence’s Mirabeau that has been made and packaged with the environmentally-conscious customer in mind. It’s an holistic liquid-to-label approach that delivers an excellent and classy gastronomic pink that has lovely touches – local cork, paper collar instead of tin capsule, and 100% recycled glass. The wine delivers too! Pale peach skin pink, the aromatics are pretty with a range of ripe, small red berries, cherry blossom and waft of salty sea air. The palate is ripe and juicy but nicely balanced with texture, bitter lemon skin and a salty freshness. Aperitif or paired with food this is a serious, mindful wine, that deserves to be in an ice bucket near you soon.
    • Pale gold/ straw; pretty and complex nose which features yellow stone fruit, apples and pears, wild sage and fresh unroasted nuts; the palate is rounded, ripe and balanced, a slight oleaginous quality, and finishing on a dry, slightly bitter lemon note, mixed with a mineral saltiness that beckons for another sip. Massive length and great value at circa £20. Serve at cellar temperature.
    • First vintage of this Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé estate since its conversion to organic agriculture. Medium to deep purple; the nose has ripe berries, spices and earth on the nose; in the mouth the wine is lithe and silky, ripe tannins supported by a grip and texture, creamy summer pudding fruit on the mid-palate offset by a tart redcurrant coulis and crushed-rock mineral quality; saline on the finish. You can feel the limestone here from the nose through to the drive on the palate. Very young now obviously, best drinking in 5-10 years.
    • The first English sparkling wine to be made by a Champagne house, this is a Traditional Method fizz made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown in Hampshire. Pale straw, steady bead of fine bubbles; pretty aromatics of white flowers, comice pear and apples; some leesy complexity with fresh bread and hazelnuts; in the mouth the wine is finely judged – a nice balance between crisp fresh orchard fruit, bright citrus acidity and a medium-bodied, textured sparkler. This is an innovative, new wine that really comes across as exactly what it is - a cross between English sparkling wine and a Champagne.
    • Nicely judged medium weight Chardonnay from the NZ producer best known for its Sauvignon Blanc. Light straw gold, the ripe aromatics feature pears, white peach and a warm hay note, a touch of gunflint; the palate is delightful and perfectly measured – first you get a bite of fresh lemon, then it becomes smooth and rounded in the mouth. Great balance with pretty punchy fresh acidity and the ripeness of the fruit and a hit of saline on the bitter chalky-lime finish. This is just a pup and will age for a decade at least (at its best in 5/6 years time?) but is a good match with seafood and vegetable dishes.
    • An elegant 100% Aglianico from the Irpinia region of Campania, these are some of the last grapes to be harvested in Southern Italy, as the variety is late-ripening and the vineyards on ancient volcanic soils are so high and cool. The wine uncoils in the glass revealing a gorgeous bouquet of violets, wild red cherries, red liquorice, spice and earth. In the mouth the wine is velvety and plush with nicely defined crisp black and blue fruit, crushed rocks and minerals, some blue plum skin, a lovely elegant, refined palate with beautifully-integrated oak and aged tannins, dry finish. Very classy
    • From Eminent Wines, the same company that brought us Roger Daltrey’s own brand of fizz and the UB40 red wine, comes this Brut Blanc de Blancs Centurion – so named as it celebrates 100 years of the British armed forces charity The British Legion – 10% of the sales going to the Legion. The wine is light gold to look at, an energetic mousse settling down to a steady, fine bead. There is an attractive nose of ripe apples, blossom with some hints of nuts and pastry, a waft of chalky freshness; the palate is fresh, quite rounded for a Brut BdB, with orchard fruit, tarte au citron and a salty, chalky finish. One of three special commemorative Legion cuvées, this is a fitting fizz to toast the Queen’s own celebrations seeing as she is the patron of the charity. £55 RRP
    • Wonderful new pet nat from one of the front runners in Austria’s dynamic wine scene. 100% St. Laurent. Pretty fruit but balanced in every department. Massive mousse obvs. Leesy but, like the rest of their range, there is a lovely purity singing through the wine. It’s a lot of fun and it’s 11% - what’s not to like?
    • Fresh and new – an Austrian wine that speaks with a French accent. Zweigelt Nouveau 2021 is the first vintage of this new take on one of Austria’s most popular red grapes from Dorli Muhr who’s best known for her outstanding single vineyard Blaufränkisch. From old vines on the Spitzerberg, the Zweigelt fruit is picked early, foot-trodden, some whole bunch, half the wine aged in steel the rest in old oak casks. It’s a real glou glou wine this – fresh fruit, bright acidity, crunchy plum and blueberry, fine-boned tannins, lovely texture. Fun and affordable.
    • Fresh, textural Blaufränkisch from Austria’s Burgenland that manages to bring elegance and finesse to the grape without a mouthful of chewy tannins. Intense purple; complex and wild nose offering mulberry and cranberries, herbal nuances, liquorice. On the palate the wine is fresh, medium-bodied, lots of sour cherry and blueberry, pomegranate, fine, just ripe tannins sitting nicely in the background, with a chalky texture that amplifies on the sloe-dry finish. Picking it just ripe, and through careful and long vinification/ maturation first in open top fermenters and then large format Austrian and German wood where it sits for two years, one on full lees, brings out the best in the variety.
    • Muscular, full bodied Bordeaux blend from Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand that was showing superbly and has possibly another decade in the tank. 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc and 34% Merlot – the nose shows its evolution with pencil shavings, cassis, sous bois and sweet spice. The mouthfeel is concentrated with decent intensity, ripe, rounded tannins and good bedrock of acidity. Long finish with a green, slightly sappy finish, 14.5% abv showing itself a little. Possible slight taint detected also but it didn’t spoil the enjoyment. Wishing I had another bottle to try in a few years.
    • This is a great example of the AOC Cotes du Rhone can do with its deep, luscious white blends. From  @chateaulanerthe  in the heart of Chateauneuf du Pape this Le Cassagnes de la Nerthe is a heady blend of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Viognier and Roussanne organically made. Lovely textured wine with plenty of body, rich mouth feel and ideal for food. Available from  @bancroftwines . It is part of a new selection of AOC Cotes du Rhone wines that have been chosen to show the best the region can do across both rose and white wines that clearly sit in the shadow of its red wines. To find out more go to  @cotesdurhone_uk  RS  #cotesdurhone   #whitewines   #rosewines   #wine   #winetasting   #frenchwine   #sommeliers   #independentwine   #winemerchants   @thebellevillecollective 
    • 2015 was a sun-drenched vintage which shines through in this fruit-driven, elegant and hugely versatile Champagne. Medium shiny gold, the wine has an energetic, fine bead and delightfully complex nose. As it opens out in the glass we find apple blossom, ripe orchard fruit, gingerbread, nougat and candied orange peel. The attaque is nicely balanced, rounded and vibrant with mouth-filling mousse to begin with and then the structure and the tension of the acidity shines through. This is a fruity wine, elegant and easy to like – you can pick out ripe pear, yellow stone fruit, poached rhubarb, the finish is dry, mineral-charged and a salty tang that leaves you craving more. Serve solus or with a range of gastronomic uses, including dessert. The blend is 59% Pinot Noir/ 41% Chardonnay, with a dosage of 4 grams per litre.
    • Full-flavoured dry white Bordeaux blend (85% Semillon, 15% Sauvignon Blanc) from classed growth Sauternes estate Château d’Arche, with the wine partially aged in old Sauternes barrels for extra texture and complexity. Pale gold in colour, the wine is ripe with an attractive mix of ripe apples, peach, pineapple and lemon grass. In the mouth the wine is rounded, oleaginous, ripe fruit with bags of citrus and a moreish dry, grapefruit note, balanced by a hint of sweetness coming from the Sauternes’ wood. RRP in the UK under £14.
    • The new Blanc de Blancs 2008 from Champagne Billecart Salmon. To look at the wine is shiny platinum gold, fine bead; the aromatics are pure and fresh with sea spray, crisp white apple and a sense of wet chalk, after 30 minutes more complexity reveals itself – more fruit and fresh nuts; in the mouth the wine is tense with tingly, mineral-driven acidity, ultra-fine texture, fresh, bright, beautiful balance with pure Sicilian lemon, a touch of aspirin; the finish has you wanting more – it finishes dry, mineral and chalky, with lemon zest.