Is Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne 2007 too cheap compared to the other Champagne houses’ top cuvées? Is it too understated? Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, president of the eponymous family-owned Champagne house, thinks it may well be. A billionaire told him recently that he no longer serves it because it looks like you cannot afford the best. Those in the know, however, like Victor Smart clearly know otherwise.
Where would we be without Prosecco. As the rest of the wine category is flat or in declining sales, Prosecco continues to defy the odds recording year after year of double digit growth. Yet there are many restaurants and sommeliers who actively go out of their way not to list it. Sarah Abbott MW believes they are wrong to ignore a whole category on the basis of some cheap wines, but should, instead, embrace and delight in a category that still has so much potential.
To celebrate 50 years of Napa Valley producer Trefethen Family Vineyards, Janet and Lorenzo Trefethen decided to put on a retrospective tasting in London showing predominantly Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from their first ever vintages until the present day. Chris Wilson was at the tasting and was bowled over by how important personal relationships are when it comes to ‘selling’ wine in all its different ‘guises.
Why do some wines sell better than others? Why are people willing to pay more for one wine over another? The answer may lie not in the quality of the wine or how much a person even knows about it, it will most certainly rest in how well you are selling it. Joe Fattorini explains why we all need to start using the skills of psychology, advertising and marketing if we really want to sell more and better wine.
Too often seen as an easy-going afternoon summer drink, Vinho Verde is a serious and complex wine – both red and white – that is perfect for food matching of many kinds. So says Mike Turner, who reaffirms his love with the Northern Portuguese wine a year after his Damascene moment – although he didn’t quite expect to have to put his money where his (motor) mouth is when the Vinho Verde publicity team gave him a call…
Victor Smart dines with Jeremy MacKenzie, winemaker at Isabel Estates, in the inner sanctum of Berry Bros & Rudd’s St James’s Street HQ. With a surprising lack of tales of derring-do, the extreme sport-loving MacKenzie concentrates rather on the new 2015 vintages of Isabel’s Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as well as taste back vintages that indicate where these new wines might be headed.
With so many premium Champagnes to choose from how do you pick out the ones that are right for your outlet and your customer? The level of competition is only getting harder even for Champagne Gosset, the oldest Champagne house in the region that dates back to 1584, and its UK importers, Louis Latour Agencies. Here Will Oatley, Louis Latour’s UK managing director, explains the steps it is taking to keep Gosset very much front of mind with top sommeliers and its target customers.
“I have been given the keys to the car and it’s up to me now to drive it.” That’s how Michael Saunders reflects on the chance he has been given to take back his old job as chief executive of Bibendum-PLB as its new owners, the C&C Group, look to kick on from the disaster of Conviviality PLC, and find a safe pair of hands to not only bring much needed stability to the business, but push forward and drive margins and profits through the company.
There is confusion still about what the difference is between Chianti and Chianti Classico – at all levels. With three quality bands, the most recent and highest quality being introduced in 2014, does anyone really understand the differences? In the first of a 2-part special focus, Justin Keay travels to Tuscany to try and find some answers and tastes a variety of Chianti Classico – some hard-hitting beasts and others more New World in style that are far more approachable. Oh, and he doesn’t drink them with fava beans, just in case you’re wondering.
“What can men do to support women in the wine trade? And why should they bother?” Sounds like one of those books you can pick up for a fiver next to the check-out at Waterstones. But it would well worth the read if you did. It’s an issue that has long bubbled away under the surface of the wider drinks industry as well as the wine trade itself. It’s also a topic that Joe Fattorini will help address at a debate at next week’s London Wine Fair on gender diversity within the sector.