Ever up for a challenge, particularly a brewing one, Rupert Ponsonby was happy to head out to the north Norfolk coast of Holkham and discover the steps being taken to try and grow barley that is as true to the soils, the land and, yes, the terroir of any vine and wine in France. The result is a potentially ground breaking collaboration between the Holkham Estate and Marston’s Brewery and some terroir-driven beers.
On Monday night the DO Cava gave an international launch to the new Cava quality classification, Cava de Paraje Calificado, in central London. Peter Dean tasted the first nine wines to be awarded the new classification and got the lowdown on why Cava needs a new Ultra-Premium category in the first place. But do the wines taste different to Gran Reservas? And will they help halt the slide of Premium Cava sales in this country?
If you are one of those in the drinks industry that currently gives the convenience store sector a wide berth, then you need to buckle up and read on. The world of corner stores and independent grocers that for so long has been what has gone on down the other end of the high street is, thanks to deals like Tesco’s acquisition of Booker, going to become far more important and significant to an increasingly constrained drinks supply chain. Richard Siddle explains why.
There is no doubting that Georgian wine is the wine of the moment: Exports are up a whopping 60%; a recent archaeological find now puts the existence of winemaking in Georgia back by half a Millennium to 6000 BC; plus the national wine body is doing a cracking job of telling its story to the outside world. But where does Georgian wine belong in the on-trade? Is it natural, orange, experimental or a replacement for more established food wines like Tempranillo? Emma Diggory visited Georgia and also talks to key industry experts about where Georgia fits on the wine list.
When tennis star, Rafael Nadal, is looking for some home comforts whilst competing in London he heads to Cambio de Terco, widely respected and coveted for creating some of the most authentic Spanish food in the city. That’s all thanks to Abel Lusa who has been pioneering the Spanish food and wine scene in the UK since he first arrived from his native Rioja in 2003. So who better to receive the “Outstanding Contribution” recognition at the recent Rioja Recognises awards from Wines of Rioja.
After Marco Pierre White had a pop at the English wine industry, saying that “only a numpty would buy English wine”, a comparative blind tasting was held in London, hosted by Steven Spurrier, the critic who famously held the Judgement of Paris 41 years ago. Anne Krebiehl MW attended this new event on behalf of The Buyer and, although some producers have subsequently trumpeted the results, Krebiehl believes that this Britannia vs Marianne tasting was an inconclusive beauty contest.
You only need to cast your eyes over the news headlines of the last few months with story after story of frosts, floods, rains, or intense heat playing havoc with the average vintages in most major wine producing countries. It has got wine buyers at all levels of the wine market scratching their heads worrying about where they are going to source their wines from in 2018. Which makes this week’s World Bulk Wine Exhibition in Amsterdam even more crucial for buyers than ever before.
2012 in Ribera del Duero was a vintage that had to deal with ‘off the scale’ heat (40ºC and more) and yet it has produced interesting wines. Geoffrey Dean attended Tim Atkin’s master class at the annual Ribera del Duero tasting in London and saw Atkin contrast the 2012 with the far cooler 2014 vintage with some spectacular results.
In boardrooms across the drinks industry there will be a noticeboards with the word “craft” written on them, quickly followed by a question mark. Craft beers and spirits might be all the rage, but how do you define them? Who better to ask than the founders of Brewdog, arguably the most famous craft beer brewers and now global bar operators, James Watt and Martin Dickie. In this extract from their new book they give their definition of what they think “craft” really means.
Mike Turner puts in a good word for wine co-operatives – big operations that tend to get bad press. Slowly but surely the image of the big, bad, uncaring co-operative is being dispelled from Mike’s mind as he talks to grape growers that have no intention whatsoever, or the wherewithal, to make wine of their own.