If you only had a couple of days to get your head round Australian wine then you cold do worse than head to the Barossa Valley. For really does have something for everyone. It’s home for the country’s most famous wine brands like Jacobs Creek and Wolf Blass – or its most iconic like Penfolds Grange. It also has some, it not the oldest vines in the world…and that’s before you get the chance to discover all the new ‘cool cat’ varieties from around the world that are giving its winemakers a whole new set of tools to play with. There was certainly enough to fill Richard Siddle’s notebook…
Piedmont is time and again one of the key wine regions that sommeliers are turning to for some of the most dynamic wines coming out of Italy. It is a reputation that the relatively new Réva winery in Langhe is certainly playing its part to live up to. Here winemaker, Giana Luca Colombo, shares his passion for what it is trying to do and why its Nebbiolo wines are so important to help build its own identity.
Sicily’s Mount Etna completely dominates the island’s skyline and its wines are increasingly having a similar impact, with its indigenous varieties winning acclaim around the world for their unique volcanic character. Christina Rasmussen meets passionate local producer Filippo Mangione and gets the chance to taste his ‘Ayunta’ range and find out how he creates fine, artisanal, vibrant wines on the slopes of an active volcano.
If you are in the business of buying and selling wine then going to international trade shows is very much part of your job. That does not mean we can’t moan about it and let’s face it we do however beautiful or enchanting the city we might be in. So it was a very welcome surprise to go to Wine Paris last week and be met with almost universal approval for this inaugural show which is effectively France – and a few other European power houses – under one roof, with the hope of attracting other countries from the New World once word of the show, where the focus was very much on tasting, discovery and doing business, spreads. Oh and it’s also in Paris. That helps – a lot.
Four Roses is the only bourbon distiller to combine two mash bills with five historic yeast strains to produce ten distinct bourbon recipes. Bourbon expert Neil-Hennessy Vass travels to Kentucky, meets master distiller Brent Elliot and tastes the Four Roses 130th Anniversary limited edition small batch release in its 10, 13, 14 and 16-year old varieties.
The Roundhouse has seen its fair share of talent from the edgier side of life. As one of London’s most iconic and popular live venues for bands from the more alternative side of the music scene, it also proved to be the ideal setting for Boutinot’s latest portfolio tasting that was very much focused on what it is doing to shake up its own range and offer more left field wine solutions for its broad church of on-trade customers. As Harry Crowther discovered…
As co-founder of the hugely influential Italian wine body the Gambero Rosso, Daniele Cernilli has been a major player in the Italian wine scene for over 40 years. With the publication of the new edition of his definitive Essential Guide to Italian Wine 2019, Daniele, aka Doctor Wine, explains how Italian wine has changed over the last few decades, where it is headed and which are the Italian regions and wines that are a must for us to discover this year.
Ask the average sommelier, restaurant or bar group to list the wines they are selling the most of then time and again it is the lighter, fresher, easy drinking approachable red and white wines from Italy that are being increasingly asked for by their customers. So it should really come as no surprise that for the first time ever Italy – officially – has more listings on UK restaurant wine lists than France. At least according to new research released by Sydney-based on-trade specialists, Wine Business Solutions. Helen Arnold caught up with its principal Peter McAtamney to find out why Italy is enjoying such success, which styles of Italian wines are finding more room on wine lists and what it has meant for the wines from France, and other leading countries, that have lost their way in the UK on-trade as a result.
Working within Norway’s restrictive Monopoly system, picking a wine as a substitute for sunny days in the depth of a Norwegian winter, and pairing old bush vine Garnacha with reindeer pizza – these are just some of the many challenges that Andreas Hogfeldt, sommelier at Brasserie Ouest in Oslo, faces on a daily basis. So how does he approach his job? and what did he do that saw him crowned the Best Young Sommelier in Norway?
The number one Champagne brand in France, number three in the world, it has been all change at Nicolas Feuillatte in recent times, as it evolves its style and focuses its UK effort on targeting buyers. Already a huge presence in off sales, the giant growers co-operative now wants a slice of the on trade pie. Champagne lover David Kermode, aka Mr Vinosaurus, was at Somerset House for the UK launch for The Buyer.
Nebbiolo has been an integral part of the history of the Piemonte region in north west Italy ever since the Romans were picking the grapes. As part of our countdown to the second Nebbiolo Day tasting taking place in London on March 5 we talk to one of the producers taking part, Paolo Rovellotti, whose family have been making wines in the region for over 400 years. He explains why Nebbiolo is very much part of his and the region’s DNA.
When it comes to Hungarian wine February is all about celebrating Furmint and Wines of Hungary’s Furmint February promotion as the flag bearer for the country’s wine and, in particular, its journey into the UK market. But there are clearly so many more wine styles and varieties to discover. Here we talk to Hungary’s award winning and champion sommelier Szik Matyás about why he thinks Hungarian wines can be such a success on wine lists across the premium on-trade.
Despite getting some bad press for the wines being ‘samey’ Peter Dean attended a Ribera del Duero tasting and discovered a refreshingly varied set of wines. Most of the wines on show were 100% Tempranillo, had robust acidity, concentrated fruit and freshness – but the variety in different styles is huge as a result of altitude, soil (of which there are 30 types) and winemaking style.
The beauty of working in such a unique restaurant as China Tang is that it attracts everyone from A list film stars, political leaders, the Royal family, through to loyal guests of the Dorchester Hotel above it. Which, in turn, gives head of wine Igor Sotric such an open playing field on which to source and sell interesting wines from all over the world. Here he explains what wines sell best and why iconic producers such as California’s Orin Swift are as much in demand as the classic names from Bordeaux and Burgundy.
When you’ve been in business for almost two hundred years, it’s safe so say you have had to move with the times. Richmond-based Ellis Wines chose London’s Vintners’ Hall for its 2019 annual portfolio tasting, with a focus on the ‘experiential’, including ‘wine trails’ and a fusion of old world classics and newer innovations. There were more than 300 wines to try, as David Kermode, aka Mr Vinosaurus, reports for The Buyer.
With a gin garden, a beer gallery and a fine wine zone, Enotria&Coe certainly knows how to get noticed. Its 2019 portfolio tasting involved a take-over of London’s Saatchi Gallery. The Buyer’s own culture vulture Chris Wilson was there, to select his own ‘works of art’ from the wine selection, including a potential by-the-glass classic as well as assessing the overall range of one of the UK’s most important national distributors at what has become one of the benchmark trade tastings of the year.
There is so much talk and excitement amongst wine buyers, sommeliers and cutting edge importers about emerging wine regions and countries. But which ones are really suitable for the cut throat UK market? Ahead of tasting of Japanese wines in Bristol later this month, wine consultant, Sarah Abbott MW, explains the assessment process she goes through to work out how well placed a particular country is to work with and why she thinks Japanese wines and their producers are more than ready to make their mark in the UK and other key export markets around the world.
Last month we were able to take an in-depth look at just how seriously Bibendum PLB takes training, learning and development within the group, not only for its own staff, but particularly when offering added value services to its customers. Here we take a look on the other side of the fence and talk to Johanna Wimmer, head of training and development at The Ivy Collection, about the challenges it faces in training its own staff and how it works closely with Bibendum to offer specialised drinks and wine training and education.
Wanderlust Wine is looking for top, entrepreneurial talent to join this fast growing business and take a lead role in helping it to develop and promote its range into the premium on-trade.
Since it was purchased in 2014 by Domaine Faiveley, Chablis estate Billaud-Simon has not had a full crop to play with; a variety of hail and frost at the worst times imaginable had severely limited production. Thankfully 2017 was a different story and, although yields were down, it was the first decent harvest the new owners had had, the quality also exceptionally good. Erwan Faiveley was in London with winemaker Olivier Bailly to show off the wines and talk about where else he has his sights set on for extending the Faiveley empire.