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    David Kermode
    Tasting: Wine
    Lécaillon

    Roederer’s Lécaillon on ‘Fighting for Freshness’ in Champagne

    The fight for freshness is a key challenge for winemakers in Champagne with different houses using different techniques to cope with increased ripeness and higher alcohol levels. In a fascinating master class, that kicked off the fourth New Wave Champagne event in London, Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, chef de cave of Champagne Louis Roederer, put this challenge into an historical context, talking at length about how freshness can be achieved in the face of what he called a “climate crisis”. To flesh out his points, Lécaillon used five of his wines made from fruit that had been picked at fuller ripeness and yet were all completely fresh as a daisy. Anne Krebiehl MW reports.

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    People People: Producer
    laurent delaunay

    Laurent Delaunay on reviving his family’s Burgundy estate

    “It’s fantastic. What I am living now is like a dream.” That’s how Laurent Delaunay describes the opportunity he has had to buy back his family’s estate in the heart of Burgundy and to once again make fine Burgundian wine under the Edouard Delaunay name. Here he talks to Richard Siddle about why he has decided to return to Burgundy and what he hopes to achieve now that he has his father’s estate back under family control.

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    People: On-Trade
    UK Sommelier of the Year

    The Ritz’s Matteo Furlan named Best Sommelier UK of the Year

    In a night of high drama Matteo Furlan from The Ritz was crowned the Best Sommelier UK of the year last night, organised by the UK Sommelier Association, narrowly pipping MASH’s Salvatore Caetano and the Dorchester’s Noemie Favart to the post in a tightly-fought contest. Peter Dean was a judge at Le Meridien Hotel Picadilly and had a ringside seat as all the drama unfolded – with each finalist having to perform seven taxing tasks in just 30 minutes. Luckily the spirits tasting was not in the running order before decanting the 1985 Lynch Bages.

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    Tasting: Wine
    New Wave California

    10 Best New Wave California wines you need on your list

    There has been a wine revolution taking place in California in recent years making New Wave California as exciting a proposition for wine buyers as New Wave South Africa. A new generation of winemakers has torn up the template for big, powerful, alcoholic, point-chasing Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay and instead are making more classically-restrained, balanced wines that look to the Old World for their inspiration. Fruit quality, re-discovered regions, freedom of expression and a new generation of consumers looking for something new has seen an explosion of exciting new wineries and wines that will challenge all preconceptions about what Californian wine is all about. Peter Dean also picks out 10 New Wave California wines you need to have on your radar.

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    People People: On-Trade
    marc almert competing

    Marc Almert: WOSA’s Sommelier Cup helped me be the best

    If you look around the world of sport and entertainment then there are a whole host of individuals who have achieved all their goals and targets in life before they have even turned 30. Bjorn Borg retired at only 26, fellow tennis star, Justine Henin, was even younger at 25. Now can we introduce Marc Almert. Who at the age of 28 has already reached the peak of his career as the ASI’s Best Sommelier of the World 2019. Here he explains how he has achieved so much so young and why winning Wines of South Africa’s Sommelier Cup was key to his future success story and why he is so happy to be part of the final judging session in September.

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    Tasting: Wine
    It's not all about port and red wine in the Douro Valley...

    David Kermode: Is 2017 Vintage Port all it’s cracked out to be?

    The short answer is Yes it is! Climatic conditions were just right to bring all the elements together to make 2017 Vintage Port the first consecutive general declaration since the Nineteenth Century. 2017 is different in profile to the 2016s, but the hallmarks are richness and ripeness supporting the purity of the fruit, with structure and concentration, helping to layer the fruit on the palate. Volumes are down so initial demand will be high. David Kermode was there on the day to pick out the Ports to buy as well as marvel at a joint press conference held by the powerful triumvirate that is Adrian Bridge, Christian Seely and Charles Symington.

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    Opinion
    online community 2

    Jeremy Thomson on the power of building your online community

    Building a community online is now crucial if you are looking to sell wine or spirits direct to consumers. In fact it is important even if you are relying on traditional routes to market. Consumers are increasingly looking to get closer to the brands, retailers and services they trust and believe in. Jeremy Thomson, founder of Common Collective,
    explains how brands and operators can use effective social media and content to create a community online that can eventually become your customer base and biggest fans.

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    Insight
    decanter bottles portugal

    The very best stand out in 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards

    It’s the scale of the Decanter World Wine Awards that makes any wine that stands out from the close to 17,000 that are entered really worth taking notice of. Now into its 16th year, the awards attracted entries from 57 countries demonstrating not only its significance in the world of wine, but just how far and wide quality wine is now being produced globally. France was again the star performer in terms of Best in Show medals, closely followed by Spain and Australia. Here are the highlights of this year’s awards with links to the full medal winners.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Shaw + Smith

    Roger Jones looks back at 30 years of Adelaide’s Shaw + Smith

    The higher and wetter you go in the Adelaide Hills the better wine you are going to produce, according to Michael Hill Smith MW, one half of the dynamic duo Shaw + Smith who has been making exquisite wines with his cousin Martin Shaw for the past 30 years. Earlier this month our resident chef and wine explorer, Roger Jones, was invited along to the Shaw + Smith 30th Anniversary lunch at Roka Aldwych in London to taste through the new vintages of Riesling, Chardonnay and Shiraz from their Adelaide Hills Vineyards, plus Pinot Noir from their most recently-established vineyards in Tasmania. So what is it about these wines that has caused Roger to list them on his wine list for the past 18 years?

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    Tasting: Wine
    Pio Cesare

    How Barolo 2015 is tasting like a classic vintage for Pio Cesare

    2015 is already being hailed as a classic vintage in Piemonte and there to prove it is Pio Boffa from Pio Cesare who showed off five of his 2015 Barolo and Barbaresco to an enthralled Chris Wilson. A warm vintage with some characteristics of a cool vintage, 2015 in Piemonte has plenty of red fruit but the acidity to keep it fresh, pure and give it plenty of age-worthy potential. Apart from the Classics, Wilson tasted the single vineyard wines, the latest being a first bottling of Mosconi, from land purchased in 2014.

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    People People: On-Trade
    phil-crozier-2

    Phil Crozier: let’s celebrate lighter, fresher Argentine wines

    “Winemaking is undergoing a quiet revolution in Argentina, and this vintage exemplifies this better than any other I have experienced.” A strong statement in itself, but coming from Phil Crozier, one of the most respected trade figures for his knowledge and experience of Argentine wine, then that really is something. Here he explains, in his new role as Europe and UK ambassador for Wines of Argentina, just what is happening in Argentina and why he is particularly excited about its latest Barullo Session that is all about shining the light on its new wave of lighter, brighter, fresher wines that are ideal for its Summer Solstice tasting.

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    People People: Supplier
    Corney & Barrow's head of its Asian business

    Corney & Barrow’s Thibaut Mathieu on driving fine in Asia

    If there was a competition for the happiest person in the wine trade then Thibaut Mathieu would have to be contender. For after 17 years living and working in Asia he says he has fallen on his feet heading up the Asian business for Corney & Barrow. As he says himself, “he is on the right side of the world” selling fine wines to a dynamic private customer base and the premium on-trade market. Here he explains just what life is like in the fine wine world in Hong Kong and beyond.

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    Insight
    Hotspot Pinot

    German Pinot focus at Baden’s ‘Hotspot Pinot’ conference

    As rising prices puts Pinot Noir from Burgundy out of the reach of many consumers, so Germany is ready to fill that void, argues David Kermode. Germany is the world’s third largest producer of Pinot, its prices give a lot of ‘bang for the buck’ and it now has a unique style that is no longer an imitation of Burgundian Pinot. Rubbing shoulders with top Pinot producers from across the globe, Kermode attends Hotspot Pinot, a conference held in the Baden region of Germany, to hear about the importance of soil, genetics and winemaking style as German Pinot continues to define itself.

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    People: Producer
    Uncommon

    The Uncommon targets 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: making waves in California

    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 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: Ramón Bilbao’s sensual experience

    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 to find Best Sommelier in the UK

    The entry process for the Best Sommelier UK 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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