As the Vacherons raze 10 houses in the centre of Sancerre to make a € multi-million winery measuring one hectare in size, their ambition is clear for all to see. Cousins Jean-Laurent and Jean-Dominique Vacheron have, during their tenure as fourth generation winemakers, already cemented this central Loire estate’s reputation as arguably the best producers of red and white Sancerre. They have bought land in the best parcels, converted to full organic and biodynamic farming, and employed painstaking methods on their single-vineyard wines that recall the fastidiousness of Burgundian monks in the Côte d’Or. For one terroir-based cuvée they even age the wine in barrels sourced from Domaine Romanée Conti. Now they see this as the perfect time to re-set their sights set on the UK market with a deal struck with Pol Roger Portfolio. Peter Dean visited Sancerre to see some bold moves taking place.
The first part of our Ribera del Duero debate with a panel of influential buyers and wine consultants showed how much natural interest there is in the region, but also uncovered how fast its winemaking potential is growing and why it is a European wine region to watch and what opportunities there are for UK buyers to list more wines. In the second part of our report, we look at individual Ribera del Duero wines styles and ask our expert panel to give their assessment and pick out the wines best suited to the UK market.
All the entries for the 2022 UK Wine List of the Year Awards, co-hosted by The Buyer and Star Wine List, are in and as the judges sit down to go through them and work out who is going to go through to the final awards ceremony, we take a closer look at our partner for the Californian wine category and how Louis M. Martini, part of E&J Gallo Winery, is increasingly targeting the premium on-trade with its extensive portfolio of quality Californian wines.
Marc Kent was in ebullient mood yesterday as he launched his Boekenhoutskloof 2019 wines at private members club 67 Pall Mall. Sat next to Tim Atkin MW he took trade and press through five of the new wines, explaining in detail how each managed to see the light of day. 2019 was the vintage with rain, after three years of drought, and many winemakers in South Africa had forgotten how to deal with rain, said Kent. Atkin added that “2019 was the only vintage in 20 years that made him cry,” speaking about a winemaker who remains nameless.
Every day we make 100s of decisions that determine what we buy and spend our money on, yet rarely are we consciously aware of the decision we have just made. Welcome to the world of behavioural science and the study that helps decipher and strip back exactly what it is that has determined our spending behaviour. Intrigued by how it works? Want to find out more? Well, sign up for The Buyer’s and Sophie Jump’s first One Step Beyond free webinar of 2022, in partnership with the WSTA, and hear first hand from Richard Shotton, a behaviour science expert, in a keynote talk on the subject and how if applied correctly it could transform how drinks companies, brands, retailers and restaurants market themselves and communicate with their target customers. He will be joined by leading consumer business analyst, Nik Modi, managing director of RBC Capital Markets, who will analyse the key macro consumer trends that are also going to influence those buying decisions in the years to come.
While half of all ‘tastings in the flesh’ are being postponed at the moment, Liberty Wines has held two large-scale events within a week. Following its Burgundy tasting, last Tuesday was the turn of its complete portfolio tasting which was dominated by new agencies which it had picked up from FM&V plus a whole raft of new French wines which our man at the tasting, Roger Jones, was quite taken with. Highlighted wines include the second vintage of Crystallum ‘Ferrum’ Chardonnay, the Mullineaux’s excellent introductory label, Kloof Street, and many more from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
On the face of it, Ribera del Duero is a largely straightforward wine region known for making high quality, full bodied red wines. But dig below the surface and you will discover a highly diverse landscape made up of multiple soil types, contrasting altitudes and a myriad of different wine styles, that make it a complex wine region to get to grips with. To help unpick some of its mysteries The Buyer teamed up with the Consejo Regulador de la Denominación de Origen Ribera del Duero to give a panel of leading buyers, wine merchants, importers and commentators the chance to discuss the region’s potential in the UK. It was also an opportunity to hear from Tim Atkin MW, who has fast become the UK’s leading independent critic on the region, and taste some of the wines from his recently unveiled Ribera Del Duero Top 100 2021/2022 Selection.
“Our aim is to represent the wines of Bourgogne as broadly as possible, lesser-known Village AOCs can often provide more accessible price points than their more famous near neighbours.” So says Simon Jones of family-run and owned Tanners Wine Merchants as he and Estelle Prunier of Auxey-Duresses-based Domaine Michel Prunier et Fille discuss this appellation that sits between Meursault and Volnay and how it has fared in the new 2020 and 2021 vintages. This is the latest Bourgogne Week interview that The Buyer and Bourgogne Wines are posting to highlight how different UK specialist Bourgogne wine importers work with their partners in Bourgogne, particularly for emerging and lesser-known appellations.
Masters of Wine and top sommeliers from Michelin star restaurants and some of the UK’s most leading restaurants, hotels and bars are all lined up to take part in the judging of the London Wine Competition 2022 as they share their expertise in determining which wines deserve the highest scores and prizes in this year’s awards. Here’s a guide to some of the big names taking part.
With so many digital, audio, video and social media platforms to share content on it can be hard to keep up. To help shine the light on what is happening in the Italian wine sector and how producers, brands and retailers can get closer to the trade and wine lovers Stevie Kim has set up Mamma Jumbo Shrimp as an all encompassing brand to both host and share her content about Italian wine.
After sampling the 2019 vintage this time last year with a tasting kit at home, it was good to try the new Chanson 2020 vintage in the flesh with the estate choosing Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge as this year’s venue. As always the tasting was dominated by wines made from the 45 hectares Chanson owns in and around Beaune, and it was a good opportunity to take a deep dive into the quality of the 16 1er cru sites (and two Grand Cru sites) it both owns and makes négoces wines from.
What do Snoop Dogg, Martha Stewart, ocean waste and flat bottle packaging have in common? They are all part of Australian innovation in the wine business that is helping guide the direction of future drinking trends. So argued Mike Bennie in Trailblazers, an online seminar that brought together John Wardley, US VP of marketing for Treasury’s 19 Crimes, Lucy Clements, operations director for Accolade’s Banrock Station and Richie Vandenberg, co-founder of The Hidden Sea.
Bordeaux winemakers could justifiably describe the 2021 vintage as their “annus horribilis”. Not only did they, along with their fellow producers around the world, have to deal with the significant challenges of operating during a global pandemic, they were also hit by severe frosts and heavy rain which wreaked havoc in the vineyards. Helen Arnold spoke to the CIVB’s communications manager Christophe Chateau to find out how winemakers have coped with these multiple challenges, the huge growth in organic winemaking and what he thinks the future holds for this classic French region.
The London Spirits Competition goes into 2022 very much on the front foot with news of even more big names from the worlds of hospitality, bars, mixology and brands joining its panel of judges. This is a competition that only uses professionals with direct buying and selling responsibilities to assess products based on their quality, value for money and what they look like on shelf. Here’s a behind the scenes look at who is on the judging panel this year.
Most of the tastings for Bourgogne Week 2022 may have happened last week in the UK but there are still events in the diary and many more opportunities to taste and buy wines from the excellent 2020 vintage. The Buyer and Bourgogne Wines are continuing their series of features highlighting how different UK specialist Bourgogne wine importers work with their partners in Bourgogne, particularly for emerging and lesser-known appellations. Today we turn the spotlight on Louis Latour Agencies, the UK arm of one of the oldest négoces in Bourgogne, and its relationship with Chablis-based producer Simonnet-Febvre which it acquired in 2003.
It could have been called Judgement at Pall Mall, a blind tasting of the best of Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignons against some of the most prestigious Cabernets from the rest of the world, including Inglenook and some of the top Bordeaux estates. But it was the name Wendouree in the small print of the invite that got the pulse racing of our man at the tasting, Roger Jones, who dusted off his senior railcard, and hopped on the early train into town to bag himself front row at this historic event. It’s rare to get a chance to try Wendouree, this legendary Clare Valley Cab Sauv, and it was fascinating to try it against other Clare Valley Cabs as well as the best of the Old World.
2021 will be remembered for a host of negative reasons, but the shining positive has been the way the drinks industry as a whole has risen to the challenge of addressing diversity and inclusion in a sector that had traditionally not even discussed the issue publicly. Even though there was clearly a major problem to address. But just as the country as a whole has started to open up and have a national debate on diversity and inclusion, the drinks industry has started to take steps of its own through a combination of official sector-wide responses and individual initiatives like Equal Measures. Here Richard Siddle talks to Equal Measures founder, Deano Moncrieffe, about what it is doing to provide a platform to help drive D&I through the sector and how he has linked up with Hannah Lanfear, founder of Mixing Class , the dedicated provider of WSET spirits education, and The Drinks Trust to give more people from different backgrounds the opportunity to start a career in the bar, hospitality and wider drinks industry through carefully structured and targeted education and mentorship programmes.
With fingers in so many pies – wine consultant, importer, online retailer, writer and restaurateur – Mike Turner can always be relied on to come up with some fascinating choices of wine to put on your radar. Looking back at the wines that moved him over the past 12 months, he is recommending you catch up with them over the next 12 months – not so much a Best Of 2021 as a What’s Hot In 2022. Take it away Mike.
All week The Buyer and Bourgogne Wines have been highlighting how different UK specialist Bourgogne wine importers work with their Bourgogne partners, particularly for emerging and lesser-known appellations, as part of #BourgogneWeek 2022 that runs until January 16. Today we turn the spotlight on Flint Wines, one of the UK’s most influential Bourgogne suppliers, and its relationship with Domaine Lorenzon in the Côte Chalonnaise with Flint’s Bourgogne buyer and director, Jason Haynes, and the domaine’s founder Bruno Lorenzon.
To celebrate its 70th anniversary, Penfolds held a special dinner for the Grange with vintages dating back to 1979. Our man at the tasting, David Kermode, reports back on the event and talks to head winemaker Peter Gago about what makes the wine so special. Kermode also hears a rare recording of Grange creator Max Schubert talking about Grange and about how this most iconic of Australian wines could have been a stillborn project from the outset.