Every year the Pays D’Oc IGP wine body releases a Collection of wines that displays the very best wines from the region as judged by an international panel of sommeliers, journalists and consultants. Peter Dean travels to Pays d’Oc country and tastes through the 19-strong 2018 range, whittling them down to 10 wines that best show off the quality, creativity and diversity in a region that allows a mind-boggling 58 grape varieties.
Whilst the classic spirits categories are more than standing up for themselves, with ever more innovative and crafted products in their own right, what the 2019 IWSC Spirits Awards demonstrated was just how global the spirits world has become. This year’s competition proved to be a breakthrough, at least in terms of trophies and medals, for growing spirits categories such as pisco, mezcal, baiju and shochu. Richard Siddle takes a look at the awards and picks out the key trends all spirits buyers need to be on top of.
Xinomavro might not be the grape variety that’s the easiest to pronounce, but it is the one that has clearly got the X factor in the continuing renaissance of the Greek wine industry. Described as ‘the bastard son of Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir’ Xinomavro wines have been showing double digit growth with some importers, as much as a 100% year-on-year increase in one case. In the second part of a special focus on the Greek wine renaissance, Justin Keay examines what it is about the wine that makes it so appealing and such good value and recommends five (plus one Mavrotragano) that serious buyers should have on their radar.
Ask 10 people in the wine trade where they are spending their summer holiday and chances are at least one or two will be heading to Croatia. It is one of the most sought-after holiday destinations of the year. Chances are they will also come back raving about the wines… as well as the food, scenery and historic towns and cities. For those in the know are quietly securing their allocations of Croatian wine – they really do taste just as good at home as they do in your holiday villa. Kate Hawkings was certainly blown away on a recent visit.
The market for legalised CBD cannabis products in the UK has an estimated 1.3m users, and could be worth £1bn by 2025. New products across the health and beauty sectors have caught on to the trend, and the drinks industry is not far behind. The Buyer sat down with OTO CBD, one of the many new companies that have been set up to launch their own range of CBD products, or in its case non-alcoholic CBD infused bitters which it hopes opens up a new avenue for consumers to enjoy the increasingly popular cannabis compound.
Vignerons such as Gonon, Coursodon and Gripa have helped re-establish Saint-Joseph as one of the key appellations in the Northern Rhône, producing wines that are the match of many in more ‘esteemed’ neighbouring wine regions. Bart Feys travelled to Mauves, the village at the heart of the appellation, visited all three of these domaines and discovers how care in the vineyards, a desire to make terroir-driven wines and an avoidance of gimmicky in the winery is showcasing traditional winemaking in the very best sense.
Simon Woolf first fell in love with orange wines in 2011 and has since then become one of the biggest voices and evangelists for this fast growing wine style. So much so that he has given up his previous career in IT to start a new one in wine writing, culminating in the publication last year of his breakthrough book on orange wine, The Amber Revolution. He told his story to the recent MUST conference in Portugal and explained why the momentum behind orange wine will not be stopped as it continues to grow and be one of the most influential wine categories in the world.
With the Tour de France concluded today and millions of cycling fans going into withdrawal, we re-post this tale of cycling to a very special wine tasting. Our drinks editor and cycling bore Peter Dean recounts an eventful day when the only way to get to a top notch tasting was by getting on his bike for four hours…. luckily a breakfast of champions greeted him at a South African wine tasting event held at The Harrow at Little Bedwyn. What follows is a tasting report that contains no tasting notes, and a South African event that has more to do with the Welsh than it does the South Africans.
If you want to enter this year’s Sud de France Sommelier Competition then the time has come. This week marks the end of the entry process and all forms need to be in by July 31 if you want to follow in the footsteps of Valentin Radosav at Gymkhana, Ana Maria Martinez Terol of TerraVina, Tamas Czinki and Adam Pawlowski MS of The Northcote, Lionel Periner at La Trompette, Stefan Neumann MS then at The Fat Duck, Sara Bachiorri of The Glasshouse and Romain Henry of Hibiscus as previous winners. If you think you have what it take to be this year’s UK winner and go on to take part in the global competition next year, then here’s what you have to do to take part.
For everyone in the wine trade it is your worst nightmare come true – the doctor tells you to give up alcohol for good. Sure, you can still smell, swirl and taste but drinking wine is strictly verboten. This is exactly what happened to Nekter Wine’s Imogen Taylor six months ago – one minute she was pouring wine at a tasting event the next minute she was in A&E with sepsis affecting her liver so badly it was touch and go. It doesn’t matter that the condition was not caused by alcohol, but alcohol cannot be part of her foreseeable future. So what does Taylor do with all those bottles in her flat, her wine friends and a life centred around alcohol? In this personal piece she looks at how she is going to cope living without alcohol in the wine trade.
If you look back at all the articles and bits of content, Tweets, Instagram posts and videos you have seen on social media over the last week then chances are a large number of them will have come from brands or drinks companies looking to promote themselves in ever more innovative ways. The days of just taking out an advert are long gone, now drinks brands have to act and behave like publishers in their own right. Richard Siddle looks at the different steps being taken and what opportunities there are now for brands to stand out.
Improvements in Greek viticulture over the past 20 years and the UK’s thirst for the unusual and the authentic has led to a bona fide renaissance of the Greek wine scene. In the first of a two-part special Justin Keay shows how this Greek revival has started with white wines, selects six that are the most interesting wines available in the UK, and sheds some light onto the ‘new’ old varieties that we should be tuning into; most buyers will be familiar with Assyrtiko by now but how about Moscofilero, Vidiano, or a Robola from Kefalonia?
September is a notoriously busy time for the UK wine trade as buyers, merchants, and restaurants all hit the ground running from their summer holidays. Things will really get going on September 3 with the third New Wave tasting to celebrate the best, dynamic and exciting wine talent in South Africa. Once again five of the UK’s most interesting importers have come together to host one of the most popular tastings of the year. Here Richard Kelley MW of Dreyfus Ashby explains why he is involved and what we can expect.
The record breaking English wine harvest in 2018 was not just good news for the industry as a whole, but it also gave producers the opportunity to trial and experiment with new styles. Like the Albourne Estate in Sussex which has introduced what it claims is the first English Frizzante, another step in its own quest to innovate English winemaking. Here owner and founder Alison Nightingale explains why Frizzante and why now.
Ten years ago the missing link in the parentage of Merlot, the world’s second most planted grape, was discovered growing up the side of a house in south west France. It was on the verge of extinction but has thankfully been saved. Christina Rasmussen explains why this is important for the preservation of our heritage as well as being a source of genetic diversity in the future. After all, in 2012 the 20 most prominent grape varieties in France accounted for 91% of vineyard area whereas in 1958 the same 20 accounted for 53%. Would we want just 20 ingredients in our kitchen? Rasmussen argues quite clearly not.
Unilever’s new chief executive Alan Jope told the Cannes marketing conference recently that it “will dispose of brands that we feel are not able to stand for something more important than just making your hair shiny or your skin soft”. But Reka Haros warns so-called purpose marketing is not for all and could actually damage a company or brand’s reputation if not done properly and for the right reasons. Here she explains why.
Given the paucity of true statesmen or stateswomen in the British political spectrum, it is hard to imagine a Champagne house wanting to name its top cuvée after one of our Prime Ministers, let alone whether any have got the palate to discern true greatness. Sir Winston Churchill did, of course, and his love affair with Pol Roger is the thing of wine legend. Churchill is reputed to have drunk 42,000 bottles of Pol Roger in his life and he only discovered it aged 34. David Kermode was granted a rare behind-the-scenes visit to the House where he saw first hand the extent of this great relationship as well as how it is still impacting Pol Roger’s sales and market share in the UK.
The wines of Domaine Francois Raveneau continue to be some of the most sought-after and highly prized in the world. The Buyer was granted a rare audience with Isabelle Raveneau in November 1996 at the Chablis domaine, a visit that money simply can’t buy. Today just as in the 1940s, when the domaine was established, the humble vision remains the same – work hard in the vineyard and everything else slots into place. It’s all a question of attitude. At the time it was the 2015 vintage in barrel.
If you were writing a history of the premium on-trade and independent wine trade over the last 30 years then Les Caves de Pyrène would have to be at the heart it. For not only did it first introduce so many of the exciting, breakthrough and dynamic organic and natural wines that are now across the sector, it actually walked the walk and opened up its own successful wine bars and restaurants. So to save someone else the time, co-founder, Doug Wregg, who lives and breathes the company’s DNA, has written his own account of Les Caves and the wine word it has grown up in. Here he explains why he did it and shares one of the extracts from the book.
The debate and conversation about cannabis is changing. And changing fast. No doubt driven by what is happening in North America. First with the legalisation of cannabis use in Canada and the fact 10 US states have followed suit, including California. The UK has now agreed to legalise the medical use of cannabis and there are an increasing number of legal CBD cannabis products in the market, across health and beauty, oils, coffees and now soft drinks. So what, if anything, does all this mean for the drinks industry? Richard Siddle looks at the key factors and trends we all need to know about.