We are so used to talking about, promoting and selling fine wine, but how often do we actually stop and ask what a fine wine actually is? Look it up in a dictionary, or even a wine compendium, and you will not find an absolute definition, for fine wine is mostly in the eye of the beholder. Or is it? It was the subject of much debate at the recent Fine Minds 4 Fine Wines conference in Champagne. Cathy Huyghe was there to give her take on what fine wine can mean.
Another week another new gin brand launches onto the already-crowded market. But Palmers Dry Gin is different – this is the ‘own brand’ of Langley, a distillery that makes over 350 different gins and which David Kermode describes as the ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ of gin-making. Kermode travels to Birmingham and meets master distiller Rob Dorsett, the man charged with masterminding the blend and coming up with the USPs of this new gin brand.
So why do we have an urge to order a Bloody Mary when on an aeroplane? Do you know when to stop when telling a story? Has 50 Shades of Grey changed your life as much as it has for Meininger magazine’s Felicity Carter? And where in the world can you sell five million mobile phones in five seconds? Questions that might not come immediately to mind, but are just an example of some of the illuminating facts, figures, debates and tastings that took place at last month’s MUST Fermenting Ideas conference in Portugal. Thankfully Sorcha Holloway was on hand to pick out the best bits…
Ventoux is a region of the Southern Rhône that is best known for its towering mountain – a Holy Grail for cyclists and a climb that claimed the life of the first British world cycling champion Tom Simpson. It is also an important wine producing region, representing over 1,300 wineries across 51 communes. Previously known for making high alcohol ‘rustic’ table wines, things have been changing there and the quality has been improving as Mike Turner discovered when he went along to a Ventoux AOC tasting.
Now into its 13th year the influential and, let’s face it, fun tasting event the Mamba Riedel Decanter Awards, proved what strength and depth there is in Australian Sparkling wine and Cabernet Sauvignon at a wide range of price points. Peter Dean hopped on the charabanc to The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, score card and tastebuds at the ready.
The London Wine Competition, that was first launched in 2017, is back for its second year of competition with what it claims is a judging process that rewards wines that wine drinkers can relate to as they are assessed not just on their quality, but what they look like, what they stand for, how much they cost, and, arguably the most important criteria for all – how drinkable they are.
Former leading restaurateur and now wine critic and publisher, Neville Blech, has decades of experience of working with, supplying and writing about wine in restaurants that he encapsulates each year in his guide, Wine Behind The Label. He has now taken all that knowledge, including reviews of over 25,000 wines, to create a new wine app – Value For Money Wines Pro – that offers every day wine drinkers the chance to assess a wine for its quality and the value for money it is being listed at in a restaurant or wine merchants.
Henriot has always prided itself on being a Champagne house that appeals to the aficionado. When it felt that Enchanteleurs didn’t ‘fit in the mix’ Henriot developed Cuvée Hemera, a new premium cuvée that would be more in line with the Henriot portfolio, and take it to new heights. Victor Smart travelled to Pierry in Champagne and gets the lowdown from Laurent Fresnet, Henriot’s award-winning winemaker.
Regardless of what type of industry you are in the challenge for any business is to be able say, or at least, claim what they are famous for. The key values, attributes or achievements your company, be it a drinks producer, distributor, retailer or restaurant have that mean your customers want to spend money or do business with you. Here leading hotelier, Geoff Andrews of WorldHotels, explains why good, genuine, relevant storytelling is vital to every one of its hotels’ success.
Chris Wilson declares 2016 a game of two halves after all the top port houses declares 2016 a vintage – the first time since 2011. The good news is that the wines are truly exceptional; the bad news is that yields are low which makes being quick off the mark with your buying decisions all the more important. Catch up then with Wilson’s top 12 ports of the vintage.