With supplies of the big French classics at a premium this Christmas, both in terms of availability and price, restaurant buyers and suppliers are having to be far more flexible about what they offer their customers. Which, for some restaurateurs and distributors, is opening the door quite nicely for the tried, trusted and ever so reliable Rioja. Here we talk to a number of leading on-trade figures to see why Rioja is becoming a bigger part of their festive wine list.
It might initially be a bit disheartening to be passed an envelope as your main Christmas present from under the tree, but you might be one of the lucky ones that gets given an “experience” this year rather than another ill fitting jumper. Yes, “experiences” are all the rage, both in our personal lives, but also what we increasingly expect from our high street retailers and most definitely if you expect people to turn up for something as mundane as a wine tasting. Richard Siddle looks at how not only is the high street being transformed, but also the hospitality and event sectors as people look to save up and spend big money on what they hope will be memorable “experiences” to tell their friends about.
Michelin-starred chef Roger Jones travels to Tejo in Portugal to visit the three main wine-making regions within this up and coming area. He visits three of the top wineries and recommends wines from each with food pairings. At the end of the article Jones also lists the key grapes of the regions and how they affect the wines.
Every wine producer knows they should listen to their customer. It’s a no-brainer. Yet there continues to be a gap between the intention of listening to consumers, and the actual execution of it. Cathy Huyghe, chief executive of Enolytics, explains why it doesn’t have to be that way, with the help of consumer-centric Big Data. In this case study about its work with Tenuta Luce, part of the Marchesi de Frescobaldi estates, Huyghe shows the potential of data-driven business intelligence.
The wine expert’s life isn’t all wine and roses, well, it is largely all wine to be fair. But tasting raw, unfinished wine samples can be tough. Chris Wilson takes us through a fascinating tasting with Ramón Bilbao winemaker Rodolfo Bastida, who had deconstructed his Rioja blend to show what effect altitude has on each specific plot of vines and why it is important to the future of his wines.
Hot on the heels of this year’s record-breaking Hospices de Beaune auction, Victor Smart travels to Burgundy to find out how upwards spiralling prices are affecting winemakers who are not one of the ‘blue chip’ producers. Thierry Budin, managing director of CA Grands Crus shows Victor around one of its properties Château de Santenay and explains what they are doing to keep abreast of changes in Burgundy.
It’s not just Italy that has a claim over Prosecco, but it has also quietly been made by a growing number of producers in Australia. But now those Prosecco growers are under threat as Italian authorities could use their ongoing naming dispute as a bargaining chip in the EU’s free trade negotiations with Australia. Here Nik Darlington, of Red Squirrel Wine, makes the case that Aussie Prosecco can be a healthy partner to the Italian original – and how it could even be its saviour.
It’s the first week of December which means not only is it just about OK to start thinking about putting up Christmas decorations, it’s the time when we also start getting out crystal balls and looking at what trends we can expect in the year ahead. To mark your card here’s what leading advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson’s Innovation Group believes are going to be the Top 10 driving issues facing retailers, brands and the high street in 2018.
Mike Turner attends a masterclass on Clos Vougeot through the years and discovers how head winemaker Frédéric Barnier steers the mighty helm of Louis Jadot, having taken over the reins from the legendary Jacques Lardière with a clear brief on maintaining the status quo. Most people would have got stuck into the 1979 and 1969 vintages, not our Mike who starts waxing lyrical about Beatles albums and such like. As is his wont.
Next time you have the chance to look around a top quality winery, then spend less time in the cellars, but ask to go and see the wormery, if they have one, for, according to Jane Anson, it is the quality and volume of a vineyard’s earthworms that can really make the difference in helping to have the right soils to make quality wine as she explains in this award winning article in the Born Digital Wine Awards.