Distinct, exciting, exceptional value – these are just some of the words that Michelin star chef Roger Jones has used to describe many of the wines he encountered at the two-day Ellis Wines portfolio tasting. A wine importer that might not be top of mind by many wine buyers, Jones also found one rare ingredient these days – loyalty – from customers and also suppliers.
It’s one thing coming up with the idea of creating an English Pet Nat wine and your own version of Ortega made by fermenting it in a Georgian qvevri in a quiet Sussex vineyard, it’s quite another getting people to sell such wines, never mind one as established as Les Caves de Pyrene. But for Ben Walgate his, up to now, Tillingham Wines project is alive and kicking with the early release of his wines selling like “hot cakes” to leading restaurants and independent wine merchants who have been captured by the “human face” of an English wine story says Les Caves’ Doug Wregg.
Being in Paris on February 14 you might imagine would involve lots of romantic walks down by the banks of the Seine, taking in the sights of the love capital of the world. Instead all the walking on this trip was up and down rows of producers that separated Loire, Burgundy, Champange and Beaujolais (and more) producers showing off their wines at the world’s only wine fair dedicated to cool climate wines. Richard Siddle brings back some different memories of a Valentine’s Day trip to Paris.
Before phylloxera struck, the wines of Lirac were as well regarded as those from its more illustrious neighbours on the other side of the Southern Rhône – Châteauneuf-du-pape for example. In a special one-off Buyer exclusive Rhône expert Dr Bart Feys tastes 34 of the top wines from Lirac, recommends the top 12 wines he tasted and considers where the wines of Lirac are today, looking all the while at the ravishing 2016 vintage.
Precise, clear, pure, thrilling – welcome to the world class Rieslings of Framingham Wines, produced with a ‘German method’ by winemaker Andrew Hedley in Marlborough, New Zealand, using fruit from some of the region’s oldest Riesling vineyards. Riesling expert Anne Krebiehl MW visited Hedley and discovered some of his techniques – including the use of ‘killer acid’ – as well as sharing tasting notes of some of her favourite Framingham wines.
With the UK wine industry in such a state of flux, who better to give an outside, independent view on where it sits in relation to the growing wine markets around the world, particularly the increasing influence of China and the US, than Guillaume Deglise, chief executive of not only the world wine trade show, Vinexpo, but also one of the sector’s leading trade analysts and commentators. Here he shares his views with wine consultant Alistair Morrell.
You wait months for a serious Japanese wine tasting event to turn up and then you are treated to two in less than a month. Following hot on the heels of last week’s Koshu tasting comes a separate event that looks to showcase all styles of Japanese wines in the aptly named New Wines of Japan tasting. But there is sure to be plenty of demand and interest from leading sommeliers and on-trade wine buyers as the subtlety, diversity and elegance of Japanese wines become recognised as an exciting new wine pairing for a whole range of premium cuisines. Sarah Abbott MW gives her personal view on why she thinks Japanese wines are so well suited to discerning wine buyers and consumers.
Think of Italian brands and which ones spring to mind? Ferrari, Gucci, Labretta, Cinzano. Think of Italian wine brands and Sassicaia comes pretty high up that tree. Until 1985, when Robert Parker gave the wine 100 points, life at Tenuta San Guido was just as much about breeding horses and making olive oil as it was about making wine. In a revealing interview Priscilla Incisa della Rochetta – the granddaughter of the Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, who first conceived the wine – opens up to Chris Wilson about how life has changed, as well as open up a few bottles, of course, so that we can get the full picture.
The clock is well and truly ticking for anyone looking to enter their wines into the inaugural London Wine Competition which closes its doors for entries on February 22. The London Wine Competition is a new competition where the focus is on the drinkability, and likeability of the wine by the end consumer and is based on what the wines tastes like, what it looks like and how quaffable it. The awards will be judged by some of the UK’s leading sommeliers and on-trade wine buyers.
For those on the buying side of a tasting table, how often do you stop and think why it is that particular producer has given up half their week to fly to the UK to show you their wines? Yes, you might think you’re worth it, but for the winemakers and wineries they too need to be sure they are going to be able to show their wines to key buyers. Here we ask Astrum Cellars and two of its producers, Serafini & Vidotto and Francesco Rinaldi, why it is they are so keen to support next month’s Il Collettivo specialist Italian wine tasting event.