Portuguese wine is one of the categories that just seems to get stronger year by year. Across its 14 wine regions there are an increasing number of winemakers at the top of their game, – producers that are doing great things with some of the country’s 250 grape varieties but also innovating, with concrete eggs, amphora and Pet Nat all increasingly part of their palette. The crowds at Wines of Portugal’s annual portfolio tasting were proof that wine buyers are aware of this sea change and also testament to the importance of the UK. Justin Keay reports and picks 10 producers that need to be on your radar.
Krug Grande Cuvée 170th edition and Krug Rosé 26th edition – are both based on the erratic 2014 harvest which makes up 55% and 67% respectively of the two new wines. Krug chef de cave Julie Cavil explains to the IWSC’s emerging wine communicator of the year, Sophia Longhi, how the House overcame 2014’s many problems and fashioned another two monumental wines.
“There’s a growing focus on climate change in the wine sector, and that’s obviously incredibly important. Much is being learned, and we’d like to help share that knowledge.” That in a nutshell is the role of Sustainable Wine Roundtable, a body set up by Tobias Webb, to act as a catalyst, think tank, agitator and facilitator in helping the wine industry take effective action to drive a sustainable agenda. Here Webb sets out the cross industry work that he and his team does that feeds into the expertise that Sustainable Wine can offer and what to expect at its forthcoming two day conference in June.
The Ultimate Rioja tasting earlier this month was a snapshot of where Rioja currently is as a winemaking region. The tasting showcased some of the finest wines of Rioja – 48 wines from 39 producers – that had been judged ‘best in class’ by a panel of industry experts guided by panel chair and leading authority on Rioja, Sarah Jane Evans MW. As well as shining a spotlight on the high quality coming out of the region, it also highlighted the diversity of wine styles currently representing Rioja. Sophia Longhi talks to Evans as well as picks her favourite wines from the tasting.
“Rueda is in a unique position. Other regions around the world would die to have what Rueda has.” That was pretty much the universal conclusion of a panel of leading wine buyers who came together last week to taste and talk through a wide selection of wines from Rueda, and debate what they see as being the region’s key calling cards and areas of growth and potential, but also address what it needs to do more to make the most of what they see as its “unique” position in Spain and the Spanish wine category as a whole. Richard Siddle was on hand to pose the questions and assess the answers.
Tyrell’s Vat 1 Semillon is one of those ‘wine trade wines’ that we all love to bang the drum about. But Tyrell’s Vat series is no ‘one hit wonder’ as it also features the Vat 47 Chardonnay, Vat 8 Shiraz Cab and Vat 9 Shiraz – all new vintages of which Roger Jones tastes while in conversation with winemaker Bruce Tyrrell, subjects including old vines, screw caps and er… nappies.
Manchester’s Stoller Hall was the venue for the 2022 People’s Choice Wine Awards and once again the chance to see which wines entered by producers, brand owners, importers and retailers caught the attention of this event’s unique judging process that involves both everyday wine drinkers and professional wine trade judges in determining the finalists and and overall winners. These are the wines that consumers want to buy and drink. The Buyer is the official media partner for the awards and sponsor of the video category.
Throughout the pandemic so-called “key workers” were both allowed, and expected, to work by the government throughout all the national lockdowns. When it came to keeping the UK – and international – wine and spirits sectors going over the last two years then the team at Kingsland Drinks Group certainly fell into the “key” category as it kept all its operations going, buying, importing, bottling and then distributing millions of litres of wine and spirits to its customers in all channels of the market. Here Richard Siddle sits down with Kingsland’s managing director, Ed Baker, to talk through all the various services it now offers the trade, and its ambitious plans for the future to be regarded as the UK’s most forward thinking and innovative category solutions supplier for the global drinks industry.
“2021 might not be a natural successor to the three warm vintages preceding it but the early indications are that there will be plenty to like.” So says Guy Seddon, Corney & Barrow’s senior fine wine buyer, as he and his team prepare to hit Bordeaux for the en primeurs, the first campaign in the flesh since the 2018 vintage. Much was made of the difficulty of the 2021 harvest but how will the wines shape up and which vintages will 2021 most be like?
Stephen Cronk and the Mirabeau team were in London last month to showcase wines from their 2021 harvest to the UK trade. It was also an opportunity for Cronk to sit and down and reflect on what has been another hectic year with both big successes in terms of sales, distribution and brand building, but also dealing with the impact of the devastating fire that ruined what would have been the second vintage of its estate wine. Cronk also shares why he is so committed to driving regenerative farming practices.
With every vintage, Canadian wine seems to be coming into focus with just a little bit more clarity and precision. The regional differences, the use of the key grape varieties and the increasing quality of the main wine categories – sparkling, Icewine, still red and white wines – means that Canadian wine is becoming clearer and more distinct. In the on-trade with quality and value for money to the fore it is increasingly becoming a force to be reckoned with.
Last month we sent our retired Michelin Star chef and international wine judge Roger Jones to Haro in Rioja, for the Barrio de la Estacion International Wine Encounter 1: Bordeaux, the first in a series of events to explain the deep connection shared by Haro and the world’s other great wine regions. In this first encounter Jones learned about Haro’s special relationship with Bordeaux, both through a deep dive into Haro’s past and also through a series of tastings held by a collection of some of Bordeaux’s most famed estates.
The countdown for arguably the most ambitious event to help the wine industry tackle climate change is on. Green Wine Future 2022 is set to take place across the world between May 23 and 26 with a series of webinars, online debates, filmed reports and a whole lot more being hosted in different cities and countries across the four days. The Buyer is a media partner for the event and here we pick out some of the highlights of what to expect.
St-Rémy brandy is a true celebration of France, its famous wine regions and its vineyards, as it takes grapes from vines sourced across all the main regions, including Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Languedoc‐Roussillon and the Loire Valley. All of which combine to create the St-Rémy brandy that has a loyal following all over the world. Cécile Roudaut is the master blender tasked with bringing all those styles of grape together in the final St-Rémy blend. Here she explains how it is that diversity of the fruit she uses that helps make its fruity and harmonious style.
Domaine Gayda already has an international reputation as one of the most interesting and dynamic wine estates in the Languedoc – favouring the IGP system where it can have more creative freedom with its winemaking than the restrictions of AOP. Justin Keay, who had not tried the range before, talks to the winery’s Tim Ford and Vincent Chansault and picks out his Top 10 wines from Gayda’s first solus UK portfolio tasting including the new Altre Cami Grenache Gris and Grenache Noir.
Bordeaux 2021 will always be remembered as ‘the frost vintage’ where one night in April wreaked havoc in vineyards here and throughout much of Europe. Now the wines are in bottle, though, how good are they tasting? Sarah McCleery gives an insight ahead of this month’s en primeur campaign in Bordeaux and talks to Dr Alain Raynaud, Grand Cercle Des Vins de Bordeaux founder and president, about how 2021 stands up against other recent vintages.
No-one in hospitality needs telling how hard the past two years have been. The impact of COVID and its aftermath has had a devastating effect on businesses across the world. And that impact is still being felt. In order to raise money for sector-specific charity Hospitality Action UK, The Buyer’s Peter Dean is joining Bike to Care en Bourgogne’s bid to raise money for those hardest hit in the hotel and restaurant industries – people who are struggling with physical, financial, mental health and addiction problems.
The Champagne Bollinger Vins Clairs tasting is one of the most sought-after events of the year. It is at this point that the chef de cave and his team present to growers, buyers and the press the finished wines before they are blended into becoming the multi-vintage Special Cuvée. Steeped in tradition, it is also an occasion in which to remind yourself what some of the key pillars of the House’s winemaking philosophy are and why it is so distinctive. As well as having a spectacular lunch of course.
Tenacity, ambition, sales and wine combine to give us Kim Wilson, managing director of North South Wines, one of the fastest growing wine distribution businesses in the UK, which is as comfortable dealing with contracts for the major multiples as it is working on bespoke projects for independent wine merchants. A company that has the backing and support of its producer partners and investors, De Bortoli Wines, the Wine People and Reh Kenderman, and has many goals still to achieve as Wilson explains to The Buyer.
The top 13 best new wines from Alsace judged by an IWSC panel of Roger Jones, Eric Zwiebel MS, David Kermode, and Rebecca Palmer – and incorporating a range of grapes and styles. The panel had to narrow down more than 90 Rieslings, Gewurztraminers and Cremant d’Alsace into 12 wines that will be showcased at trade events by the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins d’Alsace. Trouble was, the wines were of such a standard this year that 13 made the cut.