With so many premium South African winemakers already trying to find their way in the UK it can be a challenge for another name to make their mark. But having recently been taken over by the major German wine company, Reh Kendermann, and its strong ties in the UK, Napier Vineyards in Wellington and its chief winemaker, Leon Bester, are hopeful their time is yet to come.
In order to launch its entirely new 100% Pinot Noir cuvée, Hommage à William Deutz Parcelles d’Aÿ 2010, Deutz CEO Fabrice Rosset took Anne Krebiehl MW through an extraordinary tasting that included six back vintages of top cuvée Cuvée William Deutz, including a 1988 that showed the full gastronomic potential of the wine.
It certainly turned a few heads last month when it was announced that Paul Schaafsma, the former chief executive of Accolade Wines, was returning to the UK as head of wine packing business, Broadland Wineries. But it is also a further reflection of how traditional bottlers are becoming key suppliers of branded and own label wines in their own right for the on and increasingly on-trade.
Over its 155-year history Martini has made a name for itself by constantly diversifying its drinks portfolio. Its vermouth helped the company become synonymous with an entire cocktail category, although since 1901 its sparkling wines – Asti Spumante and Prosecco – have been a major part of its output. Justin Keay travelled to Pessione, North Italy, to discover first hand the thinking behind the November launch of Martini Vintage Prosecco and see whether the sparkler has the chops to make it in the premium on and off-trade.
It’s one thing studying about wine and taking part in an exhaustive tasting sessions, but nothing actually beats working a harvest and seeing first hand the sweat, toil, love, passion, emotion and craft that goes in to making wine. Wine consultant Harry Crowther, and former M Wine store manger, was prepared to get his hands dirty working his second vintage in the Douro valley. It makes for a fascinating insight in to the true art of winemaking.
Even by today’s standards the story behind Margaret River’s Cloudburst is an exceptional one. How an American biologist looking for a new lease of life plants vines against advice and, from a half hectare plot and with five year-old vines, wins the top Cabernet Sauvignon gongs with his very first vintage in Margaret River of all places. Peter Dean tastes the wines with Will Berliner, owner and winemaker.
Who better to give an insight in to the latest trends within German wine, particularly in terms of what diners are drinking, than Gus Pollard of 10 Cases in Covent Garden that only ever buys 10 cases of any particular wine and when it’s gone, it’s gone. German or not. Pollard was also one of the judges for the upcoming Get it On tasting that will highlight the best 50 German wines looking to find a place on restaurants and bars wine lists.
The recent Australian Women in Wine tasting in London was an opportunity to celebrate women winemakers and their wines out of the shadows of the often macho, male-dominated wine scene in Australia. But is pigeon-holing wines according to sex a good idea or not? Chris Wilson found the room divided between the Ayes and the Nays.
Emma Diggory travels to Georgia to discover first hand why there’s so much fuss about its wines – visiting a range of wineries, including a 6th Century monastery making 60 tons of qvevri wines, to former Soviet-controlled cooperatives that are resurrecting themselves into modern outfits. Along the way she samples local cuisine and gives insight and tips on what wines to buy and where to buy them.
In the first of a new series, subtly titled ‘The Bruce Juice’, showing what life is like on the road for winemakers looking to distribute their wines around the world, leading South African producer, Bruce Jack from The Drift Farm, looks back on the lessons learnt from a recent trip to Denmark and why with such demand for premium wine it has become a real alternative to the UK and such an important growing market for premium South African producers.