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    women winemakers
    People People: Supplier
    rascallion word collection

    How Rascallion Wines & Propeller are united by new wine importer model

    When we started The Buyer our mission statement was all about how we could play a part in bringing producers and importers together by helping them better understand their respective needs. Well, in the case of Ross Sleet and the South African wine brand, Rascallion Wines, and Jamie Wynne-Griffiths, founder of Propeller, the new breakthrough wine supplier, The Buyer has managed inadvertently to do just that. They both read pieces about each other’s business on the site, liked what they saw, rang each other up and within a matter of weeks are now doing business together. Matchmaker Richard Siddle caught up with them.

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    Awards
    portugal wine

    Portugal’s UK sales success shines through in London Wine Competition

    There was a big increase in entries from all over the world in the 2021 London Wine Competition from both the classic, established wine producing countries, as well as the less celebrated. Wherever they came from they were all judged in the same way. The quality of the wine, how they tasted, their value for money and what they looked like. Here we shine the light on Portugal which was one of the most successful countries in the 2021 awards with its medal success reflecting a boom in sales in the UK.

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    Tasting: Wine
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    Elizabeth Gabay MW: diversity of the 2020 vintage of Pays d’Oc IGP Rosé

    The Pays d’Oc IGP vineyard of South France is a cornucopia of vinous delights for wine lovers of all persuasions. It is a vineyard area that each year produces an astounding array of diverse rosé wines using the full palate of permitted grape varieties and styles. World rosé wine expert Elizabeth Gabay MW tastes through a range of the new 2020 vintage of Pays d’Oc IGP Rosé and highlights ones which use single varieties as diverse as Marselan and Petit Verdot, as well as blends.

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    People People: Producer
    Kunye wine label

    South Africa’s Kunye: on driving diversity at home & abroad 

    Kunye is a new wine brand with a very clear mission. To drive better inclusion in the South African wine industry with a scholarship fund that will help South Africans from disadvantaged backgrounds embark on a career in wine – as well as hopefully bring a new inclusive South African brand to a broader international wine consumer. Jessica Broadbent talks to its two founders, Cassidy Dart MW and Inika Minnie about their vision for the brand, including producing what they claim is the first consumer wine book written in Xhosa, and what they can do to help drive real change in wine diversity not just in South Africa but in all the markets where it is sold.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Armit Italian

    10 white ‘pearls’ from a deep dive into the Armit Italian portfolio

    The Armit Italian portfolio tasting has always been a key date in the diary of serious wine buyers. Ever since John Armit set up in the company in the late 1980s, Italy has been Armit’s strongest suit. This year the company engineered an unprecedented access to the portfolio with buyers tasting up to 80 wines at home, including wines from its marquee producers such as Tenuta San Guido and Bruno Giacosa. In the first part of a tasting special Peter Dean picks 10 white wines that hit that sweet spot between accessibility and class, and focuses on wines that deliver outstanding value, at a time when the on-trade in particular needs to be buying more scrupulously than ever.

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    Conference
    cheese shop bar

    All Together Now: Chief execs to offer hospitality free advice

    Fifteen leading chief executives offering three pieces of actionable advice each. As pitches for a new online business conference that’s pretty much hitting the nail on the head. But this is what you can expect at the new Three Things Summit taking place next week aimed at helping the hospitality sector plan for what is still such an uncertain future. Here Richard Siddle talks to Martin Williams, chief executive of Rare Restaurants, that includes Gaucho and M Restaurants, about what to expect.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Lanzarote wines

    Why volcanic Lanzarote wines are set to have a bright future

    Lanzarote wines have a great future ahead of them, argues Justin Keay, who says that the vogue for wines from volcanic soils, plus the improving quality of the wines from the island is spelling good news for the growing number of wineries. In the past eight years the number of DO wineries on Lanzarote has almost doubled, with most of the winemakers at the top producers only in their 20s and 30s. Keay hones in on indigenous varieties Listan Negro and Malvasia Volcanica, and picks out four wines which are worth putting on your buying radar.

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    People People: Supplier
    procera gin bottle

    Ivan Dixon: I liked Procera Gin so much…I joined the company

    In his career as a drinks buyer Ivan Dixon, be it during all the years he decided what went on the shelves at Harvey Nichols, or more recently what brands ended up as part of Enotria&Coe’s portfolio, has nosed, swilled, spat, tasted and drunk thousands of wines and spirits. In fact there is probably not one premium spirit brand on sale in the UK that has not passed across his desk at some stage in its life. So for him to agree to not just be a brand ambassador for a new spirits brand, but invest in it too means the launch of a new brand from Kenya – Procera gin – named after the country’s indigenous Juniperus Procera juniper berry, really needs some investigating.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Austrian Tasting UK

    How the new Austrian Tasting UK was more than a sum of its parts

    Following last year’s triumphant annual tasting in London, Austrian Wine knew it had a job on its hands to replicate the success of its ‘real life’ event under Lockdown conditions. Austrian Tasting UK: The Stay-at-home Edition, as it was billed, was also hugely impressive as David Kermode discovered. Over 6,000 samples were sent globally, every winemaker had a chat room, there were seminars from key industry figures and more.

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    People
    Simple but delicious: grilled sardines with

    Raul Diaz – Best wine and food recipes: Chardonnay & Sardines

    Raul Diaz continues his series of picking a classic, but simple recipe to go with the world’s most famous and widely planted grape varieties. This time round he turns to Chardonnay, much maligned by wine purists for many years, that has now bounced back to become one of the benchmark grape varieties and styles in the world. But what do you pair with it? For Diaz there is nothing better, particularly on a nice sunny day, to grill some sardines and serve with Chilean-style salsa – Pebre. Read and enjoy…

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    People People: Producer
    mullineux diversity main

    The Mullineuxs’ look to empower their staff with Great Heart Wines

    When it comes to diversity and inclusion there is so much we can all learn from the actions and inspiration of others. Like the steps that Chris and Andrea Mullineux have taken at their award-winning South African winery, Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines to both involve and reward all their permanent staff by sharing the profits of a new wine brand, Great Heart Wines, with them. Sumita Sarma talks to Chris Mullineux about how the scheme works and the other steps the winery is taking to help develop and support its team.

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    People: Producer
    Ford

    Dom. Gayda’s Tim Ford: After the frost where do we go from here?

    So what now? This is the question winemakers throughout France are asking themselves after the devastating crop losses of April’s frosts. What is the strategy for the future? and how can losses be mitigated moving forwards? Tim Ford, co-founder and MD of Domaine Gayda in the Languedoc, assesses the impact of the ‘cruellest month’ and considers how this affects his plans to expand in the region.

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    People People: Producer
    valandraud thunevn looking vines

    How Thunevin is taking Ch. Valandraud to first growth status    

    Bordeaux is full of Chateau owners and families who have been born not just into wine, but some of the best places in the world to make it. Not Jean-Luc Thunevin. His success in Bordeaux has come through all his own work, starting as a garagiste winemaker, before developing Chateau Valandraud from half a hectare of land into a first classified growth of Saint Emilion. Richard Siddle talks to him about his extraordinary life that has taken him from his home land of Algeria to become one of Bordeaux and France’s most celebrated winemakers and influential producers.

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    Tasting
    The stunning scenery of Alsace is matched by the world leading quality of its wines

    Millésimes Alsace goes online with first DigiTasting®

    There is quite a competitive set of wine regions that could compete to be both the most idyllic, but also the best at producing wine in the world. But with its combination of castles, towers and pretty villages, plus its spectacular range of white wines, serious Pinot Noirs and characterful Crémants, then Alsace would have to be one of the favourites. As we are currently not allowed to travel to see Alsace for ourselves, Les Vins d’Alsace has come up with its first DigiTasting® event that offers buyers the chance to meet producers online for one-to-one personal tastings, as well as pre-order samples to taste and take part in masterclasses and debates. Richard Siddle explains how it is going to work.

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    Insight
    frost

    France’s wine regions count the cost of April’s frost damage

    There’s nothing new about an April frost in France, but precocious ripening of vine buds earlier on in the growing cycle is becoming increasingly common due to global warming. Combined, the two have had a devastating effect on wine producers throughout France. From Bourgogne to the Sud de France, vine growers grapple with the catastrophic effects of this frost event which began on April 5 and lasted up to three days. LM Archer talks to winemakers through the country and gets a snapshot of how some of the major wine regions have been affected, as they count the cost.

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    People People: Producer
    bordeaaux women chateau des arras

    How Bordeaux’s Château des Arras is united by two sisters

    There is a strong family – and female – bond at Château des Arras, which sits in Saint Gervais, just outside Bordeaux, as it is run by sisters Anne-Cécile and Marie-Caroline Rozier who have been in charge of winemaking since their mother, Claudine, took over the estate in 1993 following the death of their father and husband. Together all three now run a successful and organic independent winery, along with gites and bed and breakfast business. Richard Siddle talks to Anne Cécile and Marie-Caroline Rozier about their family and nature-driven winemaking philosophy. 

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    Tasting: Wine
    Cirsion 2018

    Why Bodegas Roda breaks all the rules with the new Cirsion 2018

    Bodegas Roda is a relatively new estate in Rioja but one which has made waves ever since it came onto the scene in the 1990s. Like many of the top bodegas it has an individual approach to how it makes its wine and is not afraid to break the rules. Its super-premium Rioja, Cirsion, for example is aged in French wood for just eight months and made from a selection of very old vines from over 30 vineyards. On the launch of Cirsion 2018, Peter Dean had an audience with the team and tasted the new wine alongside vintages from 2010, 2009 and 2004 to assess its unique properties.

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    People People: Supplier
    Rebecca Palmer blending success Long Read

    Corney & Barrow’s Rebecca Palmer: demands of a wine buyer

    The fact so many of Corney & Barrow’s senior management team that have been with the business for some time has been a major plus during Covid-19 such has been the need to radically change the way it does business. Richard Siddle talks to Rebecca Palmer, associate director and head of commercial buying for the wine merchants, about what has been by far the most eventful 12 months in her 15 years with the business and how the team’s collective experience has been invaluable in first re-assessing what it needed to do and then, with all hands to the helm, go out and achieve it. It is also an opportunity for her to reflect on how her wine buying role has changed in her career and what she now sees as the key attributes and skills needed to be an effective, quality driven, but also highly commercially focused wine buyer in the UK wine industry.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Jolivet

    Pascal Jolivet on changing his Pouilly-Fumé to Blanc Fumé

    Was it the endless confusion between Pouilly-Fumé and Pouilly-Fuissé that led Loire producer Pascal Jolivet to change the name of his Sauvignon Blanc to Blanc Fumé for the UK market? Or was it because Blanc Fumé is the more common term by which Sauvignon Blanc used to be known? Victor Smart hears first hand from Jolivet as well as tastes the new 2020 vintage of the wine alongside three older vintages (2013, 2018, 2019) of Jolivet’s premium Sancerre Blanc “Sauvage”.

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