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 Mambo 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.
New Zealand wines in the off-trade have succeeded in achieving a premium price position way ahead of their peers in Australia, South Africa or South America. The challenge is now to push more of its wines onto the top wine lists in leading restaurants. Here we look at the finalists in the New Zealand category in the 2021 UK Wine List of the Year awards, sponsored by New Zealand Winegrowers, to see which outlets are championing Kiwi wines the most as we build up to the 2022 awards co-hosted by The Buyer and Star Wine List.
The 2020 vintage was the hottest year ever in Burgundy – beating even 2003 and previous hottest vintage 2018 – and there were also drought issues. Miraculously, however, there are no signs in the wines of over-ripeness or cooked characters and, writes Geoffrey Dean, there is the right amount of structure and substance to allow these wines to age for a considerable length of time. Dean hears from Albert Bichot’s team of the technical adjustments they made to cope with the challenges and recommends six of the wines from its extensive range that you need to have on your buying radar.
As we get into the heart of Bourgogne Week we continue our series talking to leading UK importers and wine merchants about how they are working with their Bourgogne producers to promote and bring their wines to their customers. Today we talk to Adam Bruntlett, senior buyer at Berry Bros & Rudd about its long-term partnership with Domaine Follin-Arbelet in Aloxe-Corton and what they hope and expect from the much awaited 2020 Bourgogne vintage. (Main picture features Franck Follin-Arbelet and his wife Christine).
A vintage that ended on December 30… welcome to winemaking in England and one of the most challenging vintages in history. For Chris Wilson, wine scribe turned winemaker and owner of Cambridge’s first urban winery Gutter&Stars, 2021 was a vintage which threw everything possible at winemakers; he did, however, get some decent juice out of the year along with plaudits for his inaugural wines, including from Roger Jones who made Gutter&Stars’ first Chardonnay his Christmas pour.
It was in Paris that the international wine industry last had the chance to meet face to face to do business and it will be in Paris that it will have the opportunity to do so again. The fact there have been two long hard years in-between will hopefully be quickly forgotten when Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris opens their doors between February 14 to 16. Richard Siddle spoke to Rodolphe Lameyse, chief executive of Vinexposium – the overall events business that owns the combined show – to get his immediate reaction to the news the show will officially go ahead.
While some producers and importers have shied away from saying whether Burgundy 2020 is a ‘white vintage’ or a ‘red vintage’, Armit Wines’ brand manager Nicolas Clerc MS has come down firmly on the side of the white wines. The whites he says have “tension and precision balanced by generosity. Many will be delicious in their youth, especially across the Bourgogne and Village appellations.” The reds will need to have more time in the bottle for a proper evaluation. Here he gives us his insight with contributions from Christophe Roumier, Domaine de Montille and Domaine Bart.
There is nothing quite like the UK wine market in terms of the choice, range and diversity of wines on offer. Name a wine producing country anywhere in the world and there will be an importer, a retailer or a restaurant somewhere selling it. But with such an open market how easy is it for producers to get their wines taken on by first the distributors and suppliers and then the gatekeepers who guard the all important most coveted retail and restaurant wine lists? To find out The Buyer, in partnership with the inaugural Bloody Big Drinks Summit in Australia, brought together buyers from four key suppliers – Seckford Agencies, North South Wines, Beyond Wines and Propeller – to look at how they decide what producers to work with and their list of dos and don’ts for producers to follow.
The Buyer has this month teamed up with Bourgogne Wines to help shine the light on how UK importers specialising in Bourgogne wines are working with local producers to promote wines from different and lesser-known appellations as part of Bourgogne Week that runs from January 10 to 14. We start with an interview between Louisa de Faye Perkins, managing director of Charles Taylor Wines, and its partnership with Florent Rouve, which is making quality wines from Mâcon-Lugny, including its much coveted ‘Les Crays vers Vaux’ plot.