“Whilst these wines are no way near the bulk or ‘value’ end of the spectrum in terms of price, they are actually a steal and should be on the radar of any wine buyer looking to improve on their Chilean offering.” So says Harry Crowther about the Viña Dagaz range of wines made by Marco Puyo in Chile’s Itata and Pumanque wine regions. For Crowther, discovering the Dagaz wines was a lightbulb moment – that the often-discussed world class potential of Chile’s wines had actually manifested itself some time ago… and the Dagaz wines are proof positive of its arrival.
In Part One of our sommelier panel debate with Wynns Coonawarra Estate it was clear there is a lot of love, respect and potential support for Coonawarra as a wine region. The challenge is getting enough wines in to the UK market for sommeliers to be able to list and support them and what efforts are being made to promote Coonawarra’s unique story to wine drinkers and enthusiasts. In Part Two the sommeliers share their views on the Wynns range of premium wines, assess their place in the UK market and also examine the opportunities and challenges for premium Australian wine in their restaurants and venues.
Seven years after taking over at the helm of Champagne Henriot, one of Champagne’s last family-operated Houses, Gilles de Larouzière Henriot has overseen the launch of a bold new cuvée, Henriot L’Inattendue 2016. This single vineyard wine will be sourced entirely by whichever of the House’s Chardonnay crus ‘speak the loudest’ during the tasting of the still wines. For its inaugural release it was the fruit from the four plots at Avize which have been the bedrock of the new wine, Peter Dean reports.
In 2015, the Wines of Alentejo launched an ambitious Sustainability Progamme. Aimed at giving one of the oldest wine regions in the world a future in the face of a changing climate and society, it has grown to include over half the vineyard space in the region in just seven years. Mike Turner recently attended the official UK launch of their Sustainably Produced Certification Scheme to find out more about the initial successes and future hopes of what is fast becoming a benchmark in wine industry sustainability.
Wines of Germany is offering the UK wine trade a deep dive into German wines on June 22 when its live event, The Big G Trade Sessions, returns. Through a series of panel discussions, masterclasses and tutored tastings, members of the trade will be able discover the quality of German wine and learn all about the current trends. Here we talk to Jonathan Kleeman head sommelier at London’s two Michelin-starred Restaurant Story who is hosting one of the sessions about what he thinks of German wine.
Ever since the Antinori empire purchased Bocca di Lupo in 1998 the Puglia estate has helped highlight the exceptional terroir to be found in the region. Now the decision has been made for it to break free from its sister winery of Tormaresca so that the Castel del Monte and Salento areas can be highlighted and appreciated for their character and distinctive identity, and can each bask in their own glory. Geoffrey Dean had lunch with the Antinori team to discuss the changes and taste the new vintages.
Having worked for Corney & Barrow for 24 years it’s fair to say Chris Hodgson knows everything there is to know about selling wines into the premium on and off-trades. But as sales director of Corney & Barrow’s separate Scottish and north of England division, he, and his team, also need to be on top of what their restaurant, bar and private customers will be looking for next. Here he talks to Richard Siddle about the changes he has seen in the Scottish and north of England’s on-trade and private client scene over the last two plus decades and how having a dedicated Scottish and northern team has been crucial in how Corney & Barrow has been able to serve and build such long standing relationships across its thriving restaurant, bar and private customer sectors.
It has long been the mission for Australian wine producers to sell more of their premium wines in leading restaurants around the world. But are wine buyers and sommeliers listening? To assess the potential for premium Australia in the UK market, The Buyer teamed up with Wynns Coonawarra Estate, part of Treasury Wine Estates, to show a range of its wines, and ask leading sommeliers what they see as the key opportunities and challenges for premium Australian wines in their venues. It was also the chance to shine the spotlight on the region of Coonawarra, home for Wynns and other leading family producers in Australia, and explore the distinct styles of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz it is producing, and the influence and impact of its unique terra rossa soils.
Retired Michelin star chef and Champagne lover, Roger Jones was at the launch of Gosset Celebris 2008 hosted at the Zari gallery, which uses the proceeds of the gallery as a platform for teaching medics and health professionals around the world. There Jones tastes and rates the latest Gosset Celebris accompanied by incredible food supplied by Luciana Berry.
Moët Hennessy’s first World Living Soils Forum held in Arles in the south of France recently was billed as a “catalyst for action” in how the wine industry treats and looks after the soils that are at the heart of winemaking all over the world. It was a chance for some of the world’s leading voices and influences on climate change to come together and explore how we as a sector can do more to understand our soils and protect them. Rupert Joy had a ringside seat to all the action at this breakthrough event.
Bryant Family Vineyard is a Cabernet Sauvignon first released in 1992 which quickly established cult status alongside fellow Napa wines from Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle. From biodynamically-certified Bryant Estate, the wine is made entirely from estate fruit and has picked up more Parker points than many vignerons have had hot dinners – including four 100-pointers… release price is also First Growth territory. But the new team led by Bettina Bryant and winemaker Kathryn Carothers seems less fazed by points and prices than by making balanced wines that speak of the place they come from, as Peter Dean discovered when he had lunch with them and tasted through the range including some impressive library releases.
Sarah McCleery recently returned from a deep-dive exploration of the Roussillon – finding out what makes it tick, tasting a range of terroir-focused wines that are using organic, biodynamic and sustainable agricultural practices, and spending time with the people who are making these wines. In Part 2 of her special report she focuses on a dozen Roussillon wineries that are making exceptional wines, many of them outstanding good value, and which should be considered for your list.
“New York finds itself well positioned for the zeitgeist, with the right vinifera varieties for fresh, taut, mineral-driven wines, a loyal fan base, room for expansion, a reasonably ready supply of water, no wild fires, and solid foundations to withstand the pressures of global warming.” That’s why an increasing number of buyers are looking to start their journey into US wine on the east rather than more familiar west coast and see what the buzz about New York State wines is all about. David Kermode helps set the scene…
“When it comes to Zweigelt, a light hand on the tiller is required… think Pinot rather than Pinotage, Valpol rather than Calpol,” writes Chris Wilson who discovers at a Zweigelt tasting at London’s Trivet that us Brits may not be landing the best examples of these wines on these shores. Dirceu Vianna Junior MW hosted the event and he is keen to ensure that we do chime with the grape – but that means us getting the best examples from the best regions.
In part one of our buyers debate into the possibilities for Victoria wines in the UK our panel was united not just in their praise for the state’s quality of wine, but for its diversity, value for money and the fact it is effectively 21 mini regions all wrapped into one. For the second part of our report we open up the conversation to look at how Victoria compares and contracts to what is available across the rest of Australia and what our panel think our the country’s main opportunities and challenges.
The Villa Maria Icon and Single Vineyard ranges were the focus of a special tasting lunch that was held to mark the 60 years since Sir George Fistonich first started one of the most successful wine brands in the Southern Hemisphere. Chantelle Nicholson’s new restaurant Apricity, a troupe of Maori dancers and a new addition to the Icon range The Attorney 60th Anniversary Pinot Noir were all part of the celebrations. Chef and wine expert Roger Jones had a ringside seat.
The London Wine Fair is back! After a three year forced absence the London Wine Fair team can finally re-open the doors to London Olympia and welcome the UK and international wine industry once again. Here Richard Siddle explains why it is so important for the UK drinks industry as a whole that we have a healthy and thriving trade fair that can provide the platform for us all to get back to doing business together face to face. Whether you are an exhibitor or a visitor let’s look forward to a great show.
“Victoria is my ‘Desert Island’ wine region.” That’s according to Victoria Sharples, founder of London’s Swains Wine Bar and Store. It was a view part shared with other leading wine buyers who took part in The Buyer’s latest online debate in partnership with Wine Victoria. It was a chance for them to discuss what they see as the opportunities – and potential challenges – for the region in the UK as well as taste through a selection of wines that represent what are some of the most diverse terroirs and micro climates to be found anywhere in Australia. In the first part of our report we look at what it is about Victoria that makes it stand apart from other regions and the fact it is the strength of some of its 21 sub-regions that has given it so many talking points. In the second part of our report published later in the week our panel looks at where Victoria sits within Australia as a whole.
Back, after a two year absence, was the annual Wines of Canada tasting in London which was the perfect opportunity for Justin Keay to discover first-hand how the Canadian wine scene has changed since its last generic outing – and it all seems to be going in the right direction. Nova Scotia is becoming more than a one-trick pony, Pinot Noir is getting stronger and 10 wineries, in particular, stood out for him as ones which should be on your radar.
At £30k a bottle In Bond, Liber Pater 2018 is the world’s most expensive (and controversial?) wine – a Bordeaux red made with rare, ungrafted varieties in the style of Nineteenth Century claret. To launch it, Birley Wine Club hosted an extraordinary evening pouring the 2015 alongside other rare wines. Peter Dean joined Neal Martin and winemaker Loic Pasquet at a once-in-a-lifetime event to taste Bordeaux in the same way that Napoleon did.