Before the summer break, Hallgarten, Druitt and Novum’s chief wine buyer Steve Daniel held an intimate, selective wine tasting for six journalists. Rather than show the entire range of wines Daniel cherry-picked 41 wines that he felt showed the diversity and depth of the HDN range.
Premium on-trade in the UK is one of the major export targets for Franciacorta, the Italian sparkling wine that is closer to Champagne in production than its popular rival Prosecco. Geoffrey Dean travels to the North Italian region and visits the top producers we should be looking out for, arguing that the wine is ‘Premier League’ compared to Prosecco’s ‘Championship’.
Christina Rasmussen meets Diana Snowden Seysses, winemaker from Napa’s Snowden Vineyards, to find out how she makes left field wines that challenge preconceptions. Three of the wines are tasted along with two from Domaine de Triennes, a Provence winery that Seysses is the consultant winemaker for.
Chris Wilson visits Domaine Paul Mas in Occitanie and finds winemaker Jean-Claude Mas a driven man, competitive in everything and eager to prove himself in the kitchen as well as the vineyard. After sampling over 80 Paul Mas wines, Chris picks five that stood out to recommend.
Peter Dean took on a blind wine tasting challenge by tasting five 2005 vintage wines in the complete dark – at a total blackout restaurant called Dans Le Noir? The dark allows our senses to run wild but also gives a fleeting glimpse into what restaurant life might be like without sight…like, how difficult is cutlery when you cannot see?
Last week Ben Walton of Ben’s Canteen hooked up with wine writer and PR consultant, Christina Rasmussen and regular contributor to The Buyer, to host a tasting with a difference: based on wines made by women winemakers. It proved a great success. Here we rewind the clock to when Christina and Ben first got to know each other whilst she interviewed him for an article looking at a business driven by burgers, wine and brunch. In that order…
Justin Keay argues that the Jackson Family Wines portfolio of wineries in Oregon is a great help in understanding winemaking in this, the third most prolific wine-producing state in the United States. He samples and lists his pick of the wines from WillaKenzie Estate, Penner-Ash, Gran Moraine, Siduri and Zena Crown. Geoffrey Dean also talks to Barbara Banke and her team as to why now is the right time to start finding allocations of these wines before the Asian market does.
Eric Zwiebel MS, who is from Alsace, was the master of ceremonies at The Harrow at Little Bedwyn last Sunday for a very special dinner created by Alsace wine fan and Michelin-starred chef Roger Jones. Roger had created a special menu which paired some of the very best Alsace Grand Cru wines with a tempting array of plates.
The Alternative Varieties tasting held at Australia House in London showed how well Australian winemakers are coping with making wines from non-traditional grapes – varieties normally associated with largely Mediterranean countries. Justin Keay argues that with the white wines on show, finding the right terroir and climate seems to be far harder than with red varietals such as Tempranillo and Sangiovese.
At an imaginative vertical tasting given by Darren De Bortoli, the Australian sticky Noble One was paired with Dutch and English artisanal cheeses. The wines started with the first ever vintage of 1982, Black Noble and Rare Botrytis Semillon, a wine described by De Bortoli as a wine geek’s wine “journalists love it but nobody buys it.”