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    People: Producer
    Uncommon

    How The Uncommon has targeted on-trade for GB wine-in-a-can growth

    Entrepreneurs Henry Connell and Alex Thraves shook up the English wine industry when in 2018 they launched The Uncommon, the first ever English sparkling wine in a can. Their Bacchus, with grapes sourced from Denbies in Surrey, sold out at Selfridges within six months. The Uncommon has this year landed a distribution deal with Jascots Wine Merchants, shifting the focus to the on-trade. Here, as English Wine Week begins, The Buyer speaks with co-founder Henry Connell about how The Uncommon is opening up new audiences for English sparkling wines, and premium canned wines.

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    People People: Supplier
    nekter jonothan

    Nekter Wines’ Jonothan Davey on making waves with Californian wine

    Jonothan Davey might still be relatively new to the wine industry, but he is making the most of his management consultancy training to make the biggest impact for his specialist wine importing business, Nekter Wines. Here the focus is on working with a small community of mostly minimal intervention winemakers which has seen him target in on California as one of the most exciting, and dynamic winemaking regions for producers with the wines to shake up the premium and independent on-trade.

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    Insight
    china grape picker

    IWSC 2019: Canada, China & England shine in northern hemisphere awards

    The International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) has kicked off its 50th year anniversary by announcing the medal winners from the northern hemisphere at this week’s London Wine Fair. The results were particularly good news for Canadian, Chinese and English wine producers who were the star performers in this stage of the competition. Every wine and spirit entered in the IWSC is blind tasted and assessed both on its own merit and then within the context of its class or category. Here are the highlights from the northern hemisphere judging.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Mirto

    50 shades of Tempranillo: the sensual journey of Ramón Bilbao’s new Mirto

    Whisked off to Madrid for an experiental launch of the new Ramón Bilbao Mirto 2014, David Kermode started getting horrid flashbacks of a BBC managers role-playing awayday… from which he was asked to leave for taking the piss. The launch, more like a spirits roll-out than a new wine, was in keeping with Ramón Bilbao’s sense of imagination, and also its focus on its founder Don Ramón and his vision to make wines that have a sense of place, and then take you on a journey. Thankfully, the wine was not obscured by the theatrics and Kermode assesses it alongside a vertical of past Mirto vintages.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Hungary

    Justin Keay picks 7 magnificent wines from Hungary for your list

    It has been said that Hungarians are so canny they can enter a revolving door behind you and somehow emerge in front. True to form, in next to no time the Hungarian wine industry has managed to throw off the shackles of Communism and a decade of uncertainty, and show the world just how good their wines can be. Working with single native varieties like white Furmint, Harslevelu and Juhfark as well as the increasingly popular Kekfrankos, they have also proven adept with blends, most notably putting Egri Bikaver’s image-battered past behind it, and working with international blends. Oz Clarke picked his top 50 wines from Hungary, so we sent Justin Keay along to taste them and further whittle them down into the seven essential wines for your list.

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    People People: On-Trade
    uk sommelier winner and runnes

    Andrea Rinaldi: search’s started to find UK Best Sommelier

    The entry process for the UK Best Sommelier competition is nearing its close as the deadline ticks down to the finals on June 3. Here Andrea Rinaldi, president of the UK Sommelier Association, explains how the competition, now in its fifth year came about, and why just being selected to take part in the final competition is an achievement in itself. He also explains how the competition works and what it is looking for in the winning candidate.

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    Insight
    Figure1 Michel Chapoutier Long Read

    Chapoutier on how the Rhône valley is future-proofing itself

    Every two years the professional trade body representing Rhône valley vineyards, Inter Rhône, showcases the diversity of wines from across the Rhône valley during a 4-day Découvertes en Vallée du Rhône tasting and masterclass extravaganza in various towns following the Rhône river spine, from the North in Ampuis to the South in Avignon. At a State of the Nation address Michel Chapoutier, President of Inter Rhône, delivered his vision for the future of Rhône valley vineyards – how it will cope with an increase in premium sales, a shift away from red wine towards more white and rosé, sparkling and tapping into Millennials’ buying habits. The Buyer sent Bart Feys to find out what the second largest French AOC wine region has been up to and how it is future-proofing itself for what lies ahead.

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    People People: On-Trade
    Gareth Ferreira has won a string of sommelier awards in his short career

    What Gareth Ferreira is looking for in WOSA’s Sommelier Cup

    As a South African Gareth Ferreira, head sommelier at Core by Clare Smyth, is understandably proud of how far his country’s wines have come in the last 10 years. Here he explains why he is therefore so pleased to be involved in the finals of the judging of this year’s Wines of South Africa’s Sommelier Cup competition in South Africa in September. He also gives his advice on what sommeliers need to do to stand out from the rest and stand a chance of winning such a prestigious event.

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    Insight
    vinexpo 2019

    The Vinexpo Challenge: how should it begin to re-invent itself?

    The biggest news to come out of Vinexpo 2019 was not what was happening in Bordeaux last week, but what it intends to do in the future to keep it fresh, relevant and dynamic for ever demanding producers, brands owners and buyers. Based on the reduced size of its latest Bordeaux edition it is going to be a long process. But the announcement it is to merge and hold a joint fair with Wine Paris in February, rather than sticking with doing one on its own, was warmly welcomed as the first step in the right direction. Richard Siddle reports back from Vinexpo on why its new chief executive Rudolphe Lameyse was in bullish mood and confident about its future.

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    People: Producer
    Saint-Cernin

    Why on-trade is best course for ‘Viking Boss’ at Saint-Cernin

    Robert Wessman was once dubbed the Viking Boss for how he transformed the pharmaceutical business in Iceland. Now he has his sights set on the premium end of the wine business, buying Bergerac estate Château Saint-Cernin, and employing global wine consultant Michel Rolland and his team to oversee the cellar and winemaking. He is already making waves with the red Château Saint-Cernin already outscoring Cheval Blanc and Harlan Estate in a critics’ blind tasting. Geoffrey Dean was whisked to Bergerac in a private jet, tasted the wines and quizzed Wessman about his best route to market in the UK.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Larry McKenna

    Tasting the single vineyard Pinot ‘masterpieces’ of Larry McKenna

    While Aussie winemaker Larry McKenna waits for the New Zealand government to rubber-stamp the sale of his Escarpment winery to Torbreck owner Pete Kight, he is still passionately showing off the quality of his Pinot Noir to wine buyers and critics worldwide. Larry McPinot, as he is affectionately known, was in London last week to hold a masterclass on the single vineyard Pinots – Kiwa, Kupe and Te Rehua – and to let Anne Krebiehl MW taste both new and back vintages, as well as give her an insight into their unique profiles. As the vines get older so the wines seem to express their specific Martinborough terroir more acutely, a wine region that Krebiehl has some powerful memories of.

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    People People: Supplier
    tyson seltzer main

    Tyson Stelzer: bringing a new vibe with Taste Champagne

    It might seem a bit upside down to be introducing a new major Champagne tasting event in the UK that is actually an Australia affair, organised by the Australian double act of leading wine critic, Tyson Stelzer and events organiser, Jody Rolfe. Together they have been hosting a series of successful Champagne events in Australia and Hong Kong for the last six years through their Wine Press business that has helped bring a new, look and feel to Champagne Down Under. They are now looking to do the same in Europe with their first event in London on June 12. Here’s what to expect.

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    People People: Supplier
    richard ellison smiling

    Richard Ellison: California is so important to Wanderlust Wine

    It is an indication of how big the turnaround in Californian wine has been over the last few years that a number of the dynamic, disruptive and award winning wine importers that have come into the market over the last three to four years have identified California as a key area to go and source exciting, cutting edge wines that can help give them a point of difference. Like Wanderlust Wine. Its founder, Richard Ellison, explains why California has become such an important country in his search for esoteric and different wines from around the world.

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    Insight
    IMG_8393 Long Read

    Buyer on the road: Central-Loire & the quest for premium quality

    In the 17 years since Sauvignon Blanc became New Zealand’s number one wine and helped facilitate a worldwide love-in for the grape, things have been changing back at its spiritual home in Central-Loire. It is not just the appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé that are producing better quality Sauvignon in a variety of styles – Menetou-Salon, Coteaux du Giennois and Reuilly are appellations that can produce outstanding Sauvignon as well be amazing good value for wine buyers. In a tour of the region and 10 different domaines, Peter Dean discovers great Gamay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir as well as catches up with how the region is projecting its image on the outside world, the 2018 harvest, exports and more.

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    Opinion
    nicole soames

    Nicole Soames: 7 ways you can become a better negotiator

    Talk to a major drinks buyer, be it for a big supermarket chain, restaurant group or pub chain, and ask them what the biggest bugbear they have about their suppliers and the chances are they will talk about the skills of some of the account managers they have to work with and, in particular, how good they are at getting the right deal and contract for their business. It might seem a strange thing to actually complain about, but for any partnership or contract to work then you need both sides to be working together for mutual benefit, according to business training expert, Nicole Soames. Here’s her top seven tips on how to improve your negotiating skills.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Hatch Mansfield

    Roger Jones helps celebrate 25 years of Hatch Mansfield

    The great and the good assembled in London last Wednesday for the 25th anniversary of UK wine importer Hatch Mansfield. Winery chiefs and winemakers flew in from far and wide to raise a glass to Patrick McGrath MW and his team. Our roving reporter and chef-at-large Roger Jones joined a select crew that included Sir George Fistonich, Pierre Henry Gagey, Eduardo Chadwick, Catherine Corbeau-Mellot, Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger and Giovanni Gaja amongst others. Jones tasted many of the special bottles brought in for the night including many rare cuvées and gives full tasting notes.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Dom Pérignon 2002 P2

    Anne Krebiehl MW on the launch of Dom Pérignon 2002 P2

    After a further decade and eight years more pre-disgorgement ageing, Dom Pérignon 2002 P2 was launched in London last Friday, and tasted alongside its non-identical twin Dom Pérignon 2002. Anne Krebiehl MW talks to Vincent Chaperon, chef de cave at Dom Pérignon, about the wine and what Dom Pérignon P2 teaches us about the effect of oxidation and the use of time as a creative tool – all said at a table covered in black sand and volcanic basalt against the backdrop of a running video loop of flowing lava, crashing waves, rising bubbles and clouds moving to cover a full moon.

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    Opinion
    Gavin Quinney expects he could lose up to 50% of its 2017 harvest to the recent frost damage

    Gavin Quinney: the 18 things to know about Bordeaux 2018

    There has been countless words and reports already written about the 2018 harvest in Bordeaux and what wines we can expect from this vintage. But if you really want to know what is going on then go and ask an independent winemaker producing his own wine in Bordeaux, with no axes to grind or PR to spin. Like Gavin Quinney of Château Bauduc who also happens to be one of the leading and most respected commentators on the overall Bordeaux wine scene. Here are his main takeaways from what looks like being a very good year.

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    People People: Supplier
    Wine critic Oz Clarke on how å cool climate can be  wine's best friend

    The wonderful world of wine through the eyes of Oz Clarke

    From scrubbing fellow wine critic Charles Metcalfe naked in the showers at Oxford University, to still being the most respected, loved, and recognised person talking about wine on our TV screens – Oz Clarke is a one off. A personality of the highest order, always a regular at every major, and minor trade wine tasting, still eager to learn, share and talk about his passion for wine – or beer, or music, or Gillingham Football Club. Here he talks to Richard Siddle about his life in wine and why like Peter Pan he has no intention of growing up and taking the world too seriously.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Soave

    Our pick of the top 20 Soave producers in Summer of Soave

    Forget the Summer of Love, as far as the Soave Consorzio is concerned they want UK importers and restaurants to be celebrating a Summer of Soave. In a bid to do for the Garganega wines what 31 Days of Riesling has done to the awareness of Riesling, the organisation has launched this year’s three-month campaign that sees extensive promotion in the on-trade. To see what all the fuss is about Peter Dean headed to the press launch in central London, tasted through the new 2018 vintage plus a selection of back vintages from the 20 Soave producers who are taking part, and came up with a shortlist that shows the range of styles that continues to make this a region to get excited about.

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