It’s one thing being one of Australia’s oldest wine producing regions, with vines first planted there in the 1830’s, what makes the McLaren Vale such an important and increasingly influential winemaking area are the styles of wine it is able to make thanks to the combination of millions of years old soils and terroir, and the cooling, refreshing and maritime influence of the sea. It’s an area where Grenache is now making a claim for being the region’s most distinctive wine variety as well as being a test bed for alternative Mediterranean grapes from the likes of Italy and Greece, as Richard Siddle discovered on his recent Australian tour.
Chef and roving contributing editor for The Buyer, Roger Jones, is currently in South Africa hosting a series of events that highlight the quality of the wines and winemaking that you can find in the New World. In his latest event, the most recent instalment of his ever-popular knockout competition the Tri Nations, South Africa takes on Chile – a battle across 6 different wine categories with Jones providing a wine-matching menu.
The news yesterday that Gerard Basset had died after his short illness with cancer was met with great sadness, but also an outpouring of admiration, memories and tributes to one of the most respected, influential and clearly loved wine figures in the world. He was also one of the most decorated and unique in being able to have MW, MS, MBA and even an OBE after his name. Here, in our own personal tribute to Gerard, we share the interview we did with him in the late summer of 2017 that at the time marked 10 years since he and his wife, Nina, opened Hotel TerraVina. We also looked back over such a memorable life that touched and influenced so many people. Here’s to you Gerard…You’ll Never Walk Alone.
Chinese restaurants are not incentivised to take a chance on new Chinese wines – because near zero historical demand means they are more interested in improving their crispy duck recipe than their wine list. That, combined with massive domestic consumption, and the difficulty of competing price-wise with the rest of the world has meant that we in the West know little or nothing about Chinese wine. Author Janet Wang hopes to change all that with her new book The Chinese Wine Renaissance, that explains why the Chinese wine industry has to be seen in its cultural context. Wang also picks her top 6 Chinese wines available in the UK and which are the top producers for us to keep an eye on.
With already arguably too many wine events, conferences and exhibitions taking place in the world, hats off to the organisers of next month’s Wine Paris that in itself might be a new name, but is actually bringing two already established and respected trade fairs into one – Vinisud, that celebrates Mediterranean wine, and VinoVision, the international cool climate wines exhibition. Here we take a closer look at just what is in store at Wine Paris which is taking place between February 11-13.
Paul Mabray is one of the most important and influential voices we have in the wine and drinks industry. Primarily because he stands with one foot firmly outside the sector as a technology and consumer trends expert looking to offer services and solutions as an observer and analyst of what is going in the wine industry rather than be involved in producing or directly selling any wine himself. Here is his take on what the big challenges and opportunities facing all those in the wine and drinks sectors are in 2019 and why being able to sell directly to consumers at home is going to be the real game changer.
Last week, London has been awash with Burgundy, as the trade had its first comprehensive sampling of the new 2017 vintage. Berry Brothers and Rudd, and its on trade division Fields Morris and Verdin, chose One Great George Street for its tasting, attracting an impressive number of its vignerons to talk about their latest releases. David Kermode, aka Mr Vinosaurus, was there to find out how the wines were showing.
Let’s face it we all have a cupboard, or a drawer in our office, that is full of old training manuals from some management course we have been on in our time. But how often have you ever opened it since coming back from that course? It’s a challenge that faces the training team at Bibendum PLB every week, but as they explain designing and delivering an effective training programme requires as much thought and planning as might go into creating a wine list and then selling it to your customers.
2017 is not the vintage to be buying top-rung reds argues Peter Dean, who points out the lower-tier wines where the real value for money is to be found. This is the year to be checking out lesser known appellations, going for the entry level wines and picking up some Volnay and Pommard which have both been in short supply of late and never tasted so good so young. Oh, and the whites are spectacular.
After a week where the wine trade’s focus has been just over the other side of the Channel in Burgundy, this week it’s time to turn our attentions a little further afield. To New Zealand and the first of the major New World generic tastings of the year. To help mark your card for what you can expect and what sort of year New Zealand had in 2018, here’s Chris Stroud, New Zealand Winegrowers’ marketing manager for Europe, to take you though next week’s tasting at a time when the county is taking a long hard look at how it is preparing itself for the future.
A new winemaking style, new cuvees, new brand marketing, a new look, new HQ, new faces – there is hardly anything about Nicolas Feuillatte that has stayed the same in recent months. Number one Champagne brand in France, number three in the world and unbelievably a company that is still only 40 years old, Peter Dean was granted a rare audience with the key movers and shakers who are set to make a significant impact on the UK on-trade
The Zsirai Winery covers three of the most important wine regions in Hungary: Tokaj, Somló and Villány. Each region has its own winemaking teams producing authentic wines from that area. Founded in 2005 by the late Csaba Zsirai it is now run by his daughters Petra and Kata and a small team who want to carry on and bring to life his dream of producing wines from indigenous Hungarian wine varieties. Here Mate Csanaky, export director, how they are going about it.
After the big structure of the reds in 2015 and 2016, Burgundy 2017 will be noted for the round, silky tannins of the Pinots, the fact that producers didn’t over-crop and that, after a couple of warmer vintages, 2017 was a return to a more classic style of red Burgundy. The whites – from Chablis to the Côte d’Or – have a nice balance between ripeness and tension. Here’s Bibendum’s wine buyer Robert Mathias’ take on the 2017 vintage.
The Chardonnay produced in South Africa’s Hemel en Aarde has long been considered world class – but just good is it really? Wanting to put this to the test our roving contributing editor and world class chef, Roger Jones, decided to blind-taste the best Hemel en Aarde can offer, alongside the rest of the New World – wines from California, New Zealand, Australia and Chile, amongst others.
Miren de Lorgeril is blazing a trail as the first female president of the CIVL, the Languedoc wine region’s generic body. As chief executive and co-owner of the family estate, Maison Lorgeril, she is well placed to oversee the ongoing development of the Languedoc, France’s largest wine producing region, as well as the world’s biggest centre of organic wine production. Passionate about sustainability and the further development of organic production, she tells Helen Arnold about her plans for the region.
Finally Burgundy gets a bit of good fortune with a new vintage that is good in both quality and quantity. Corney & Barrow’s Burgundy buyer Guy Seddon talks through how the 2017 vintage developed over the year for all the producers whose wines they are offering in this new release. He also highlights two trends – how a lightness of touch is the watchword for tannin extraction in red wines, and also the greater proliferation of whole bunch, or whole-cluster vinification for reds in 2017.
Now if you were given the choice of only being able to visit one winemaking region in Australia how many of you would opt for Canberra? It’s hard enough to get people to go and see what is after all the capital city of the country, never mind its wine producers. But those that do will be in for a very welcome surprise. Not only is Canberra producing some of the country’s most exciting wines, but winemakers are queuing up to go and make wine there. Richard Siddle reports back on his recent visit there.
Although Chablis was hit by frost again and Beaujolais suffered bad weather in a number of appelations, Burgundy in 2017 got away pretty much scot-free weather-wise. To make matters even better volumes ranged from normal to generous and the quality is looking promising particularly with the whites. But it could all have been so different. For some producers another weather-ravaged harvest could have meant curtains. Thankfully 2017 has been followed by a bumper harvest in 2018 so finally we can all start getting our hands on Burgundy again – and there is no sign of any price increases… just yet!
As a former managing director of Bargain Booze Keith Webb knows how to promote and sell beer. He also knows a good business opportunity when he sees one. So when he had the chance to ask a question at a Q&A session with his favourite band, Wolf Alice, he asked if they would like to come on a tour of the local Manchester craft brewery, Seven Bro7hers that he is helping to advise. When they said they “yes” it was the start of a relationship that has seen the launch of Wolf Alice’s very own craft lager – Yuk Brew. Here Keith explains how it all came together…
When it comes to knowledge about Burgundy, especially in a commercial context, there are few if any higher authorities than Jasper Morris MW. His annual report which you can find on Inside Burgundy.com is the bible for many wine buyers. In an exclusive extract Morris gives wine buyers the lowdown on Burgundy 2017, a vintage that has seen volumes come back to near normal at no expense of quality. With both red and whites, Morris lays out his buying strategy, looks at the sweet spots with both and when he feels the wines will be drinking best.