Buying wine for the ever-growing Lanchester Wines is a little more complicated than the average wine supplier, for as well as looking to source the best quality wine at the right price, there is also a need to look at the type of packaging formats the wine could be used for, be it in a keg, bag in box, a can, or straightforward bottle. We continue our look back at 2019 by asking Lanchester’s director of purchasing, Lesley Cook, to share her buying year.
The Pays d’Oc IGP label, which eschews restrictions and embraces diversity and freedom of expression, presents a wide range of styles through its annual wine Collection. Elizabeth Gabay MW, who was on the judging panel for 2019’s Collection, examines the variety of the wines chosen as ‘ambassadors’ for the region, shows how they reflect the mixture of cultural and historical influences and also how they demonstrate the diversity and quality of Pays d’Oc IGP.
We are always looking at The Buyer for new ideas to delve into the world of wine and spirits. So how about this new feature we are introducing to add to the festive cheer. We have asked some key figures in the industry to share some – well three – of the things they most admire in drinks that they wish they had played a part in. It could be a bottle of wine, an advertising campaign, a book, a restaurant or bar. The choice is theirs. First up we turn to the ever creative Joe Fattorini. What are the three things in the drinks industry he wishes he could have been involved in?
Anne Krebiehl MW finished the decade in style – releasing her first book, the excellent Wines of Germany, and travelling to all parts of the globe to judge Riesling competitions, visit wineries, discover little gems and have a quasi-supernatural experience on the Sonoma Coast. Here she reviews her year in wine, a year in which she uncovered some true, upcoming ‘artists’ in Germany as well as being treated to a Bollinger from 1918 and a Beaune from 1947.
As we head into the festive break our minds will soon to be turning to what is around the corner in 2020, but before we do there is still time to look back and reflect on the highs and lows of 2019 through the eyes of some of the sector’s top wine buyers. In the first of a series of buying reports where we ask major buyers from leading importers and distributors to assess the key trends and what impact the global wine market has had on the wines they have been able to buy and bring into the UK over the last 12 months we turn to Paul Braydon, buying controller for Australia, New Zealand and the US at Kingsland Drinks.
It starts with a Pet Nat and it ends with an ultra-premium Champagne, drunk from a plastic cup with scampi and chips on Brighton beach. Welcome to the Top 10 wines of 2019 as discovered by Harry Crowther, wine consultant, wine expert, journalist, publisher and contributor to The Buyer. Every day over the holidays we will be posting Top 10 wines from our panel of wine tasters – to pick up on some gems you may have missed in the hurly burly of the tasting calendar.
The high street is full of restaurant chains that look like they have been created by committee with their quickly forgettable, formulaic offers that makes you wonder how they ever got to be opened in the first place. Then there are restaurateurs like Martin Williams. The man who after a successful career making his name at Gaucho, set up his new vision for premium restaurants, the multi faceted M Restaurants that is part premium steak restaurant, part cocktail, wine bar, part events space and part private dining club. He has now been brought in as the new chief executive of Gaucho with the mission of re-launching a famous, and once much loved restaurant brand that had fallen so badly off the rails that it even slipped into administration late year. Here, in his first major business interview since unveiling his new look for Gaucho at the re-opened and re-designed Charlotte Street branch in London, Williams sits down with Richard Siddle to take him through his vision for Gaucho and how he wants it to re-gain its crown as not just the best premium steak restaurant chain in the country, but an inspirational place to work and further your career in hospitality.
New speakers and panellists have been added to the breakthrough new conference being held in March that looks to give the drinks industry a front row seat to better understand the most disruptive changes in consumer behaviour, driven by advances in smart technology, that are transforming the way we all behave as individuals and as consumers. The One Step Beyond event is being held on March 4 and is a joint project between The Buyer, Sophie Jump, the Wine & Spirit Trade Association and is supported by Emetry, the digital insights experts for the drinks sector.
His year started in Marlborough and it ended in Morgon, en route he visited Spain, Italy, the Rhône and Bordeaux… on more than one occasion. Welcome to the Top 12 wines of 2019 as discovered by Mike Turner, restaurateur, wine consultant, journalist, web geek and contributor to The Buyer. Every day over the holidays there will be more Top wines from 2019 as chosen by our panel of wine tasters – to pick up on some gems you may have missed in the year but also so you can pretend you’ve got some work on when the in-laws pop round.
You might have the best palate and tasting skills in the business, but they count for nothing unless you also have the commercial nous to be able to source, identify, negotiate and then ultimately buy the right wines for your restaurant, bar, hotel or pub company. That’s what the new Wine Buyers Awards launched by the London Wine Fair are all about. The Buyer is delighted to partner with this new initiative to recognise and reward the best talent in the on-trade with the specific Restaurant Buyer Award. Here’s how to take part.
As Spain’s oldest Designation of Origin, Rioja sets the benchmark and is the leading light for all its other prestigious regions to follow. Which makes the changes it has made recently to how producers can now label wine, with the introduction of new geographical indications to better reflect individual terroirs and Viñedo Singularos, important not just to the region, but the country as a whole. Here The Buyer and Wines from Rioja have teamed up to offer this concise summary of those main changes, alongside the personal views of leading Spanish and Rioja wine expert, Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW.
The Dão in Portugal is undergoing something of a vinous revolution of late. And, although their indigenous red varieties are leading the charge, it is the white wine Encruzado which knocked David Kermode off his feet when he visited Quinta dos Roques and Quinta dos Carvalhais amongst others. The grape has got some similarities to Chardonnay in that it loves wood and can be crafted by the winemaker, but it has a profile all its own and some intriguing anomalies – a two year dumb phase and an unwillingness to travel; or is that simply because the Portuguese don’t want to share their best kept secret?!
As owner and founder of the European airline, Wizz Air, József Váradi knows how to build a successful international business. He’s now bringing those skills to the wine sector with the Juliet Victor Winery which he hopes can help showcase the very best of what Hungary can offer, particularly with Furmint and Tokaj wines. Ahead of next month’s Furmint February tasting, Váradi explains his approach to quality winemaking and how he hopes to takes his wines around the world, starting in the UK.
Appellations such as Marsannay, Fixin, Saint-Aubin, Auxey-Duresses, as well as the Côte Chalonnaise provide ever-increasing quality, with better availability than the more established appellations, says Corney & Barrow. Many more good tips in this third part of a series in which The Buyer is interviewing a number of leading fine wine merchants to get their feel on how this vital region is doing and what the 2018 has in store when the annual Bourgogne campaign comes to a head with Bourgogne Week.
The book ‘That S*it Will Never Sell’ by David Gluckman is not just for Christmas, although now is as good a time as any to buy a copy of a book that is a fascinating glimpse into the world of drinks brand invention and development – in an era when you could pretty much make up the rules as you went along. Gluckman invented, amongst other things, Baileys Irish Cream, one of the world’s most popular and enduring drinks brands. But it is also in the drinks that never won acclaim that there is so much valuable insight into what it is that makes people buy a particular brand of drink… on a regular basis.
There are few banks that understand agriculture as well as Crédit Agricole – the world’s largest cooperative financial institution which was founded on and has continued to flourish through its relationship with farming. Its fine wine arm CA Grands Crus appointed a new managing director this summer, Anne Le Naour, a trained oenologist who set our her vision at a trade lunch in London which includes making considerable changes to the vineyards of their key three properties Châteaux Grand-Puy Ducasse, Meyney and Santenay, selling two other chateaux as well as purchasing more vineyards in Burgundy. Geoffrey Dean was there to pop the questions.
For all the success that Prosecco has had over the last five years it is a drink that has split the traditional wine trade as much as it has captured the imagination of so many every day wine drinkers. But whilst the standard, supermarket, entry level, mostly DOC Prosecco has failed to do the same with many premium wine buyers, there is hope that the more refined, elegant and gastronomic DOCG styles of Prosecco could now find their way on to more restaurant wine lists. To help better understand how leading buyers, importers, wine merchants and restaurateurs feel about premium Prosecco, the Consorzio di Tutela del Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene, headed up by its UK ambassador, Sarah Abbott MW, teamed with The Buyer to hosted a debate, tasting and masterclass with a select few buyers.
Ask a Spaniard where the best quality Spanish wines come from and the answer will be twofold – Rioja and Ribera del Duero. In the UK, however, Ribera wines are much less well known than Rioja even though their best wines are on an equal footing. Fresh from a recent tour of the region Peter Dean shares with us the wines he discovered on his trip – some very well known and others that are hidden gems ripe for being discovered by wine buyers everywhere. They are a ‘Duero Dozen’ that reflects, in a good way, how the wine styles here are changing for the better.
When Australian wine started to lose its mojo 15-20 years ago, Neil McGuigan, who has just departed as CEO of Australian Vintage Ltd, decided to do something about it. He felt that going back to basics and over-delivering at every price point was the route forwards – and using the size of the company to its advantage. Every year, for example, he holds back 500-1000 cases of many of his wines so he can deliver them to the trade ready-aged, the company has a major innovation programme and sees international awards as a key component. Geoffrey Dean caught up with McGuigan over a tasting of four vintages each of the McGuigan Shortlist Riesling and McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon
“We think differently from our competitors,” is how Edouard Baijot MW sums up E&J Gallo’s commitment to transforming its super premium wine portfolio that has seen it spend over $1bn in the last five years alone on acquiring new wineries and brands. The key for Gallo when it comes to super premium wines is control. Which means being able to manage every step of the winemaking process – from grape to glass. It now means at last 70% of its revenue now comes from brands that did not exist in Gallo 15 years ago and 40% with brands it did not have 10 years ago. Here Baijot sets out the strategy that has redefined its super premium wine offer.