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    Insight
    melody wong

    Banfi Debate Part 2: UK buyers on role of Brunellos and Super Tuscans

    In part two of our buyers’ debate on premium Italian wine in partnership with Banfi we turn the focus on two of Italy’s stars of its famous fine wines: Brunello and Super Tuscans. Just where do these bastions of wine styles now sit in the minds of buyers looking for fruit forward, fresh, approachable wines? What styes of Brunello are buyers looking to list? Are Super Tuscans enjoying a new lease of life as other fine wine styles price themselves off wine lists? Richard Siddle hosts and writes up the second part of our in-depth report.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Bancroft

    The Buyer’s top picks of Bancroft’s Edinburgh Snapshot tasting

    Bancroft Wines may have added 60 new producers and increased by a third the amount of wines it represents, but it was the trimmed-down approach of its Snapshot tastings that appealed to Mike Turner. By pre-selecting wines that suit the region Turner, a Bancroft customer, felt that everything on show was suitable and the amount of wines to taste on the day of manageable proportions. He travelled to Edinburgh, one of three tastings Bancroft held, and picks for us nine wines that are either great value, worth a punt or an absolute stand-out.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Mauro Veglio

    2017 Barolo: how Mauro Veglio is following the ‘near perfect’ 2016s

    2016 was generally regarded as one of the greatest modern vintages of Barolo and was always going to be a hard act to follow. But the 2017 Barolos from Mauro Veglio are still delivering an immense amount of pleasure, argues Geoffrey Dean, who hears first hand from the estate’s Alessandro Veglio how the winery is using them to spearhead a greater presence in the UK on-trade.

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    People: Producer
    Axel Heinz

    Adjusting to the New Normal with Ornelaia’s estate director Axel Heinz

    As life starts to return to normal for many countries, and the world begins to emerge from the pandemic, The Buyer is running a series of interviews with key, influential winemakers about the impact of Covid-19 on making wine. Most of the wine news in the past 18 months has been about output, distribution and consumption trends during the pandemic. We want to know from the people who actually make the wine how has their life been? what challenges they’ve faced as winemakers? and how they are having to adapt moving forwards? In this latest piece we talk to Ornelaia estate director Axel Heinz.

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    People
    west winegb judges screen

    Guy Smith shines the light on WineGB West & its awards

    Representing over 80 vineyards and 110 members from as far afield as the Scilly islands to the large vine growing areas of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire WineGB West has some clout when it comes to setting trends, and having a voice for what is happening in the overall Great Britain winemaking sector. Here we talk to the body’s chairman, Guy Smith, who also runs his own English winery, Smith & Evans, about the work it does and also highlights from its recent WineGB West Annual Competition.

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    People People: Producer
    Domaine de la Baume à Servian is one of the producers that is exclusively available to on-trade and independent wine buyers

    Chris Davies: What to expect at Famille Helfrich portfolio tasting

    “I often refer to our division of Les Grands Chais de France as our best kept secret, hopefully that’s about to change.” That’s how Chris Davies, head of Famille Helfrich in the UK describes a business that can exclusively supply on-trade buyers and independent wine merchants an extensive range of wines from all from France and increasingly the rest of the world. Here Davies explains the important role that Famille Helfrich plays within the wider Les Grands Chais group and what buyers can expect from the two portfolio tastings it is hosting in Manchester and London in October.

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    Insight
    banfi screenshot use

    The Buyer Banfi Debate: What’s next for Italy’s premium on-trade

    A local neighbourhood is not the same without a good, friendly Italian restaurant with a long list of classic, well priced wines to choose from, but how popular are Italian wines across the premium on-trade as a whole? To find out The Buyer teamed up with traditional Italian producer, Banfi, to host a debate between leading UK on-trade buyers and sommeliers to assess their views on which styles of Italian wine are making it on to their lists, what they would like to see more of and also the chance to taste though a range of Banfi red and white wines to showcase what different regions can now offer UK restaurants and their customers. In part one of our debate we concentrate on Italian whites and opportunities for the country’s indigenous varieties. In part two, later in the week, we shine the light on Brunello and Super Tuscans. 

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    Tasting: Wine
    Aussie Grenache

    How Grenache is bouncing back in Barossa and McLaren Vale

    Aussie Grenache is on the rebound, as it is across much of the rest of the globe. Exploited for so long as a workhorse grape for fortified wines and as a blending partner, it is now beginning to be better understood as a variety. In Australia, particularly in Barossa and McLaren Vale, it is being re-planted in profusion with crush prices reaching an all-time high. Grenache is simply on-trend and to prove it Wine Australia asked Sarah Ahmed and Mark Pygott MW to each pick three wines from Barossa and McLaren Vale to better understand how Grenache is experiencing premiumisation. Justin Keay brings his own views to the table and confesses to being very impressed by the wines and also the standard of the presentation.

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    People People: On-Trade
    agustin trapero main

    Agustin Trapero on what it takes to be a top sommelier

    Agustin Trapero has enjoyed a wide and varied career as a sommelier that has taken him from three star Michelin restaurants to running the entire beverage offer at the new Four Seasons Hotel in Madrid. Here he looks back on his career and reflects on what he thinks it takes to be a top sommelier and what are the vital ingredients needed in order to create the right wine list for the right venue.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Exton Park RB45

    How Exton Park RB45 is tearing a page out of Champagne’s book

    October’s launch of Exton Park RB45 is the completion of the new quartet of wines from this influential English estate – joining a trio of reserve-based wines that were launched this April. To achieve a House style and avoid the vagaries of the sometimes inclement Hampshire weather, Exton Park’s new range of English Sparkling Wines owes more than a passing nod to Champagne. Exton Park RB, or Reserve Blend, is a range of four wines that are all multi-vintage and made from up-to 45 different base wines. David Kermode had an audience with winemaker Corinne Seely to find out how she is aiming to make Exton Park “an English Bollinger” and to taste and rate the new wines. Peter Dean visits the virtual launch of the RB45 and provides full tasting notes.

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    People
    tom and ben

    Tom Sandham: world of drinks in Thinking Drinkers Almanac

    Born to be on stage Tom Sandham and Ben McFarland – aka The Thinking Drinkers – have been twirling rather more of their thumbs than they would have liked over the last 18 months. But it has also given them time to write. A lot. They have pulled together a new live show – the Thinking Drinkers Quiz Show – that kicks off tonight in Lincoln and will travel around the country for the next eight months. They have also written The Thinking Drinkers Almanac, their own tribute to the wonderful world and history of alcoholic drinks, which also shows they do do actually know quite a lot about the drinks they have fun with on stage. Here Tom Sandham explains what it is all about.

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    Tasting: Wine
    WineGB

    Roger Jones picks his hits from the long-awaited WineGB tasting

    It was one of the hottest days of the year and it was hotly anticipated – the day WineGB held its first showcase trade and press tasting since you-know-what. Chef and sparkling wine expert Roger Jones went to catch up with some old faces and to see how the British wine industry is continuing to evolve and excel, but it was also an opportunity to discover some new wineries and plenty of new cuvées. Whitehall Vineyard was a new producer, specialising in still wines, sparkling champ Dermot Sugrue had some impressive new cuvées, and Hattingley’s still wines were just some of Roger’s many highlights. And how about Multi-Vintage as a more positive way of describing Non Vintage?

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    Conference
    wbwe new pic 5

    What to expect at the new World Bulk Wine Exhibition 2021

    The first face-to-face international wine fair organised in Europe and the United States in 2021 will take pace between November 22 and 23 in Amsterdam as the World Bulk Wine Exhibition returns for what will be an even more important show as it will be the first time that producers and key wine buyers will have had to get together, taste wines and get down to the business of buying and selling wine. Here is what to expect at this year’s event.

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    People: On-Trade
    Gosset Matchmakers Final 2021

    How Gosset Matchmakers 2021 found the best fizz/food pairing

    Fischer’s at Baslow Hall in Derbyshire won yesterday’s Gosset Matchmakers Final 2021, with its young sommelier and chef team judged to have made the perfect two dishes to match Gosset’s Grande Blanc de Blancs and Grande Reserve. Our drinks editor Peter Dean had a ringside seat to capture the rising tension as five of the UK’s best up-coming teams battled it out to see who had the chops when it came to pairing with Champagne. And who knew that caramelised celeriac was the perfect foil for a Blanc de Blancs?

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    Tasting: Wine
    Romania

    How the new Cramele Recas 2020 vintage wines are tasting

    Setting up a winery in Romania after the fall of the Ceausescu regime was a masterstroke for Cramele Recas co-founder Philip Cox and his fellow directors. It has allowed him to build a winery of scale with state-of-the-art equipment, using a mix of bought-in and estate fruit, with more and more hectares of vine planted with indigenous and international grape varieties. The wines are quality and value-driven and with the eight that Cox has selected to represent the 2020 vintage, there is a wide mix of fascinating blends and winemaking techniques that play to a mainstream audience, at the same time as pushing the envelope in key areas.

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    People
    sayv main

    How Sayv ‘has the £5 argon solution’ to wine preservation

    When it comes to managing costs and stock levels in a busy restaurant or bar then keeping on top of your wine wastage is paramount as sommeliers and managers battle with ways of keeping opened bottles of wine fresh between service. Well here’s a new idea that, for less than £5, claims it can potentially transform how you manage your wine programme. Sayv is a new wine preservation system that uses argon gas to keep wine fresh. Here its founder David Parrot explains how it works and why he hopes it can make a big difference to on-trade operators.

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    People
    Katy Keating puts a huge emphasis on creating and driving the right staff culture as part of her management style Long Read

    Katy Keating on bringing a start up mentality to Lay & Wheeler 

    For a business executive who cut her teeth, and made her reputation, working for internet start ups, deciding to join Lay & Wheeler, one of the UK’s oldest and most traditional wine merchants, would not have been the most obvious career choice. But for Katy Keating it was a unique opportunity to help re-set an established, successful business with some of the energy and new ways of teamwork and thinking she had learnt whilst working with digital start ups in the United States and the UK. In this wide ranging interview she explains her management philosophy that is focused on creating a working environment and culture that hopefully fosters a strong team spirit and togetherness whilst giving individuals the opportunity to reach their full potential.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Washington State wine Long Read

    Which Washington State wines are the Evergreen state’s best?

    London’s annual Washington State Wine tasting was one of the last ‘live’ events to be held in March 2020, before the pandemic struck. 16 months later and Geoffrey Dean attended this year’s event which showcased 91 wines from 13 producers. The well known names of Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Reynvaan, Gramercy Cellars, Betz and L’Ecole No 41 were all there but what made this event even more fascinating was the sheer amount of wines coming from lesser known estates and ones which are seeking representation in the UK.

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    People People: Producer
    anais bernard

    Anaïs Bernard on innovating at Médoc’s Château Gadet-Terrefort

    To reflect the big changes that are taking place in Bordeaux The Buyer has teamed up with Les Vins du Médoc to introduce a new series of articles – Medoc: The Next Generation Interviews – where we highlight the work being done by new, exciting, innovative winemakers and producers in the region and invite a breakout young wine writer to talk to them about their life in wine, their winemaking philosophy and why they think the Médoc is such a special place to make wine. First up we shine the light on Anaïs Bernard of Château Gadet-Terrefort who shares her story with Jess Lamb. 

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    People: Producer
    Querciabella

    The New Normal: with Manfred Ing from Querciabella

    As the grapes go through veraison in Chianti-shire, we find Querciabella’s South African winemaker Manfred Ing in contemplative mode – looking back at the pandemic that devastated Tuscany and looking forwards at what the future holds for one of Italy’s leading wine estates. The 2021 harvest looks like being of very high quality although springtime frosts means that quantities will be down for the second time in five years. Ing is upbeat, however, about how his wines are being handled in the UK and about future investments.

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