• Awards
    Chris

    Why New Zealand has so much to offer the premium on-trade

    As we count down to the final of the Star Wine List of the Year UK with The Buyer we turn our attention to the New Zealand category and talk to Chris Stroud, market manager for Europe for New Zealand Winegrowers about why it has supported the event from its first year. He explains how important the premium on-trade is to the New Zealand wine category and how the awards can help play an important role in shining the light on the diversity and quality of New Zealand wines.

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    People
    The Furmint February tasting on January 29 is the start of a month of events celebrating Furmint

    Caroline Gilby on celebrating all of Hungary at Furmint February

    Join Wines of Hungary UK on February 27 for the sixth edition of the Furmint February trade tasting in the UK and a chance to take a deep dive into what Hungary’s most exciting white grape has to offer in all its forms: whether as a sparkling wine, a fresh, fruit-driven, or complex, age-worthy dry wine, or, of course, as one of the world’s greatest sweet wines. The event includes a sold out masterclass with Caroline Gilby MW who shares her thoughts on this ubiquitous grape variety. 

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    Tasting: Wine
    Business France VIN 2024

    Top six French wine discoveries from ‘one-stop-shop’ VIN 2024

    French wine trade tasting, VIN 2024, returned to London earlier this month hosted as usual by Business France. Exhibitors included 39 producers seeking distribution and four importers looking to attract a host of sommeliers, retail buyers and consultants to the quality of the wines on show. We sent The Buyer’s Mike Turner along to understand why this means so much for the producers involved, and which producers really shone through on the day.

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    Conference
    The Sustainability in Drinks founders

    What Sustainability in Drinks exhibition hopes to offer

    The need for all drinks businesses, particularly those of a certain size, to be putting in place appropriate and effective steps to make them more sustainable is greater than ever. But the help, support and advice to help them do so is a more tricky area, with lots of companies claiming they can help, but not a clear path forward for which routes a particular wine, beer or spirits company should take. The new Sustainability in Drinks exhibition and conference to be held in the UK in October hopes to provide some of those answers. One of its founders, Janet Harrison, explains what it hopes to achieve. 

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    Tasting: Wine
    image00005

    Marc Kent: Boekenhoutskloof ’21 is a wine with a spring in its step

    The wines of Boekenhoutskloof are some of South Africa’s finest and best value on the market. From the same team responsible for the phenomenon that is The Chocolate Block and also top-end Côte-Rôtie lookalike Porseleinberg, the Boekenhoutskloof Semillon, Syrah and two Cabernet Sauvignons from Marc Kent and his team are good when young but sensational with age – wines that once bought will be on repeat allocation. Abbie Bennington caught up with Kent at London’s Spring restaurant to hear how the spring-like conditions at harvest have helped turn in wines that are as magnificent as those made in 2015 and 2017.

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    Tasting
    borsa vini italy 2

    Borsa Vini Italiani Dublin brings best of Italy & Ireland together

    No matter how good a country’s wines are and how prepared its producers are to do business in any given market, they will only succeed if busy buyers are prepared to give their time and attention to taste, analyse and potentially put some wines on their list. If that was the target of the Borsa Vini Italiani Dublin tasting then it was a great success, at least in terms of getting a large proportion of the country’s senior buyers to attend. One of Ireland’s senior and most respected wine writers, Martin Moran MW, was also there for The Buyer to assess the opportunities for the Borsa Vini producers in Ireland.    

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    Tasting: Wine
    Orma

    How Super Tuscan Orma hopes to leave its footprint on Bolgheri

    Situated in the heart of the Bolgheri DOC appellation with Ornellaia to the right and Sassiscaia to the left, Orma is a 5.5ha estate that has ambitions to leave an indelible mark on winemaking in the region. Run by the Moretti Cuseri family which owns Tenuta Sette Ponti, amongst others, Orma was in London to show off the latest 2021 vintage alongside museum wines to show how the wine ages and is a good match for hearty Italian cuisine.

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    Insight
    WineParis_VinexpoParis2024_PhilippeLabeguerie

    Why the noise around Wine Paris is just getting louder & louder 

    There was very much the sense of being in the right place at the right time at last week’s Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris. An event that has, in the last two years, fast tracked its way into the hearts and minds of even the most jaded wine trade producer, or buyer, beaten down by years of trudging to and from international trade fairs. There was a collective excitement about being part of a show on the up. In a city that simply does not care there is a major wine event going on. But that is also part of Wine Paris’ appeal. The chance to experience and enjoy one of the world’s greatest cities whilst getting down to the business of buying and selling wine and spirits. Richard Siddle reports back from the buzz of Wine Paris and examines what it is the show is doing right, and will need to do more of in order to keep its momentum going.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Best of Rioja

    Showcasing Best of Rioja at Tim Atkin MW’s breakthrough event

    Tim Atkin MW’s The Best of Rioja tasting in London last week delivered the very finest of fine wines to enraptured city mouths without missing a beat. Terroir-focused beauties dominated the proceedings with whites making an indelible mark on Lisse Garnett and the many educated savvy consumers she met. This was a far cry from the “Rioja is in crisis” headlines that have been regularly appearing in the wine press of late – with splits within the regulatory council, high profile bankruptcies, overstocks and poor grape prices all causing turbulence in the region.

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    Awards
    The panel of judges for the 2023 London Spirits Competition

    Final entries call to London Wine, Beer and Spirits Comps 2024

    If you are looking to enter the London Competitions for wine, beers or spirits then you need to get your skates on to get your entries in by February 22. Here we set out what the awards offer, how medals are awarded and then promoted, and who is responsible for making the judging decisions. The London Competitions are unique amongst international awards in that they judge products for their quality (blind), and then their value for money and what their packaging and design looks like.

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    Awards
    Fine Wines Direct UK will be part of the online awards ceremony for the first UK Wine List of the Year awards on February 22 at 6om

    Finalists of Star Wine List of the Year with The Buyer announced

    The finalists in what will be the fourth Star Wine List of The Year UK with The Buyer have been announced, picking out the very best restaurants and bars that have wine as a central part of their offer. The chosen venues will now go forward to the final to be held in London on March 4 and the chance to network with fellow finalists and the drinks partners for the competition. Here we reveal who will be competing for the overall winners.  

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    People: Producer
    Elderton Wines

    Meet the Ashmeads: Barossa royalty & rise of Elderton Wines

    Although its original vineyard was planted 130 years ago it wasn’t until 1980 that Elderton Wines really started – when a real estate agent offered Neal and Lorraine Ashmead 72 acres of vineyard for free if they bought the farmhouse. Having brought the vines back from the brink, the couple won Australia’s top wine trophy 10 years later and have never looked back. Now under the ownership of sons Cameron and Allister, Elderton is on an ambitious growth programme, changing the style of the wines, and looking to invest in its future. The good news is that the wines are back in the UK. Peter Dean caught up with Cameron and tasted through the new vintages.

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    Insight
    Roussillon

    Roussillon: The final frontier. Steve Daniel on his new project

    The Roussillon is ‘the last frontier of France’ – a region that’s been making wine for millennia but is only today being rediscovered as a source of fine wine. So says Steve Daniel, Hallgarten & Novum Wine’s head of buying, who has made it his mission over the next five years to give the region the attention it fully deserves, and the kind of focus he has brought to bear on Greek wine. On the eve of Hallgarten’s annual portfolio tasting in London, Peter Dean caught up with Daniel and tasted through the wines from the six producers he has chosen to spearhead this new project.

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    Insight
    Singapore's Marina Bay will host Vinexpo Asia in May 2023

    Nimbility: local expertise can drive exports for brands in Asia

    With a growing middle class and increasing appreciation for premium drinks, the Asia-Pacific region continues to present strong opportunities for wines and spirits brands. This expanding market, however, remains a complex one and can be hard to navigate and requires strategic partnerships and a deep understanding of the local market to get right. Which is where Nimbility, a specialist market builder for drinks companies across the region, hopes it can offer a targeted route to market and has worked with a number of brands and producers including Maison Mirabeau, Sagamore Spirits, Rathfinny Estate, Journey’s End, Klein Constantia, Trinity Hill and Bertinga. Here Nimbility’s founding partner, Francesca Martin, explains how it can help wine producers find the right import and distribution partners in the APAC region.

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    Featured Section
    Insight

    Restaurant Tour takes Luberon wines to importers in Manchester

    Unless you are actively importing wine from Luberon, it is often an area that people have heard of, but can’t tell you much more than that – other than it is south of France somewhere near Provence. Which is very much where The Buyer’s Luberon Restaurant Tour comes in. A chance for the region to showcase its wines and what they stand for to a group of leading wine buyers, importers, distributors and restaurateurs. An opportunity to taste and discover Luberon wines in the way they were made to be enjoyed – with food. This was also the first Restaurant Tour to venture outside of London as The Buyer teamed up with Wines of Luberon to head to Manchester and assess what leading buyers and suppliers based in the north think of its wines. A tour that took in a range of different restaurants and styles of food from the steaks of Hawksmoor, to the Middle Eastern influence of Maray and the Brazilian pop up kitchen at Blossom Street Social. Here you  can find out what happened and access the full downloadable report.

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    Insight

    Scarpa: Top buyers on potential of Italy’s indigenous grapes

    Indigenous, native or just simply local, winemakers now have a number of ways to talk about and celebrate the grapes they are increasingly using to make wines that are as true to the land they come from as possible. Whilst it clearly makes sense to work with the global success stories of the main international grape varieties where it is more commercially viable to do so, there is a very different story to be told – and wine to be made – from the vines and grapes that are unique to the area they are from. It is very much the approach that premium Italian producer, Scarpa, is taking in looking to revive the indigenous grape varieties true to the wine region of Monferrato in Piedmont. To assess the interest and appeal of wines made with local varieties, The Buyer teamed up with Scarpa to host a panel debate with leading wine buyers and importers and a chance to taste through a range of Scarpa’s wines made from Monferrato’s native varieties including Ruche, Timorasso, Pelaverga and Friesa. The buyers also share their views on what competitive edge listing wines made from native varieties can give them and look specifically at the role they play in bringing sommeliers, and their customers, back to Italian wines on a wine list. 

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    Insight

    Buyer Restaurant Tour: Premium sales openings for Gavi wines 

    “Every restaurant wants a Gavi on their list.” That quote from Holly Sharpe, head of London on-trade at Alliance Wine, pretty much summed up the overall feeling of the buyers, importers, sommeliers, wine merchants and restaurateurs who took part in The Buyer’s latest Restaurant Tour. This time the focus was on Gavi wine, thanks to a partnership with the Consorzio Tutela del Gavi, to showcase the potential of the region and its wines to senior players across the premium UK wine market. The opportunity for them to also spend time with their peers and fellow wine buyers to share their experiences and better understand what opportunities there are for Gavi wines in the UK. A tour that took in four venues across central London in a bid to show how Gavi wines perform against different styles of food. The four restaurants were: Vinoteca, Kings Cross; Arabica, Kings Cross; Gaucho, Charlotte Street; and Lucy Wong dim sum and cocktail bar in Fitzrovia. Here’s our behind the scenes report on the day. 

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    Insight

    IWSC Debate: Making the most of international wine competitions

    You only have to walk down any aisle at a major international wine fair to see producer after producer showing the medals they have won in different wine competitions. But how important are they to wine buyers tasting their wines? Do they make a difference in what wines they list? What makes one wine competition stand out over another? To help find out The Buyer teamed up with the IWSC to ask major wine buyers, who also invest a lot of time judging competitions themselves, why it is they take part, what they are looking for in a medal winning wine and what producers should be doing with any medal they do win.

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    Insight

    Debate: What UK wine market wants from Right Bank Bordeaux 

    Bordeaux as a wine region is so integrated into the UK wine market that it would be hard to imagine a sector without it. But what is it about Bordeaux that UK wine buyers – and wine drinkers – keep going back for? What, in particular, does the Right Bank, and its Union of Syndicats of St Emilion which gathers 10 appellations: – Lussac Saint-Emilion, Puisseguin Saint-Emilion, Saint-Emilion, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Montagne Saint-Emilion, Saint-Georges Saint-Emilion, Pomerol, Lalande de Pomerol, Fronsac and Canon Fronsac, offer that UK buyers can’t get anywhere else? That was the theme of the latest The Buyer debate, held in partnership with Saint-Emilion – Pomerol – Fronsac which brought together leading trade figures, buyers, wine consultant, importers and merchants to get a cross industry feel on what it is about these landmark wine areas that capture their attention and what it needs to do in the future to keep their focus in the years ahead.

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    Insight Opinion

    Top UK importers debate the potential for Setúbal Moscatel

    “If you go to the town of Setúbal it’s everywhere, and it’s in every thing. It’s in the soap. You name it. They know they have something special.” That’s how wine consultant and broadcaster, Joe Wadsack, explains just how important Moscatel, the fortified, sweet wine is to Portugal’s Setúbal wine region, located just south of Lisbon. In part two of our debate with leading wine importers, merchants and sommeliers on the opportunities for Setúbal in the UK we turn the spotlight on what Moscatel can potentially offer.

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    Insight

    Buyer Debate: What Portugal’s Setúbal wines offer UK buyers

    Situated just south of Lisbon it’s fair to say the Setúbal wine region has yet to really show its true colours to either the trade or UK wine drinkers. But that’s largely because so many of its producers have had great success at home in Portugal, making up a fifth of domestic wine sales. Now the focus is changing and Setúbal is looking to explore opportunities overseas, particularly in the premium on and off-trade, for its specialist, maritime influenced wines that can potentially offer a whole new spectrum of wines for buyers looking for fresh, fruit forward, gastronomic wines. To find out just where the gaps might be in the UK market, The Buyer teamed up with Setúbal Peninsula Wines to host a zoom debate with leading importers, wine merchants and sommeliers to get their take on the region, taste some classic examples of Setúbal wine and see where it might sit within the overall Portuguese wine category. 

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    Insight

    Buyer Debate: Shining a light on Germany’s new wave wine scene 

    “Germany is the country that has diversified the most over the last eight years – it’s now a melting pot of styles and production methods.” That’s how Christina Rasmussen, co-founder of Little Wine, describes what is now widely seen as the new wave German wine scene that is helping to re-invent the German wine category, particularly at the premium end of the market, driven by organic, biodynamic, and low intervention, independent winemakers. To help explore what actually is happening across Germany, The Buyer hosted a debate, in partnership with Wines of Germany, with two of the producers hoping to make a difference and with buyers looking to introduce the new style of German wines to potential customers and consumers in the UK.

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    Insight

    Top buyers discover Luberon with The Buyer restaurant tour

    No matter how established your wine region is, every year is a battle not just to make the wines, but to then have your share of voice to sell them. For a region like Luberon, nestled in between the powerhouses of the Rhône to the north and Provence to the south, it can be hard to get the attention it deserves in France, never mind the UK. That was the challenge Wines of Luberon came to The Buyer with and, in particular, its desire to showcase its wines in an innovative and memorable way amongst key buyers, wine importers, merchants and sommeliers. It was proposed we did that by giving buyers the opportunity to taste, talk and discuss a wide number of Luberon wines together. But not just around one roundtable. But three of them. In different restaurants. Each with their own cuisine and food styles and flavours that would allow Luberon and its wines to show how they perform against a myriad of textures, spices, herbs and ingredients. Here is what the buyers discovered and got up to on The Buyer Luberon Restaurant Tour. Download the full PDF report below. 

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    Insight

    Daou Debate: Top somms at the Judgement of California tasting

    Such is its size and the huge diversity to be found in its wines, it is hard, if not foolish, to consider California as one wine producing region. Instead it is a myriad of districts, sub zones and AVAs each offering their own different styles of wine. Like Paso Robles. Home to a large number of premium producers making a wide range of quality wines. To find out what some of our top sommeliers, and importers think of the wines of Paso Robles in relation to California as a whole, The Buyer teamed up with local producer, Daou Family Estates, to host a debate, but also give our panel the chance to take part in their own Judgement of California and taste and assess wines from the entire state at three different price points. Richard Siddle was on hand to guide proceedings and give his take on what was discussed and how well different Californian wines performed in a comparative blind tasting.

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    Insight

    The Coravin Debate: On-trade buyers & how to trade up in wine

    No longer do sommeliers and on-trade teams have to rely on mark ups on bottles of wine to maximise their wine sales, they can now run extensive and innovative by the glass schemes that allow them to offer so much choice to their customers, and add a great deal to their bottom line too. For the latest The Buyer debate we teamed up with Coravin, that has done so much to revolutionise the way wine is now managed and served right across the on-trade with its various dispensing devices, to talk to a diverse panel of buyers, sommeliers and restaurant and pub group chiefs to see how they are looking to trade up their wines sales in their outlets.

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    Insight

    The Buyer Debate: Top buyers put the best D.O. Cavas to the test 

    In the first part of The Buyer’s D.O. Cava debate we asked leading importers, sommeliers, buyers and educators to give their verdict on where they think D.O. Cava now sits in the premium sparkling wine category and what it needs to do capture minds and interest of first the trade, and then move consumers’ perceptions away from it being a good value sparkling at the lower end of the market. It was also a chance for the panel to taste and assess a wide range of premium D.O. Cavas to see what is being produced under the new quality and ageing sub-zones that have been introduced to help raise the region’s overall quality.

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    Insight

    Buyers’ Debate: How D.O. Cava can reinvent itself in the market?

    It’s made in the same way as Champagne and is often aged and matured for as long, but sits a long way down the wine list when it comes to the price a restaurant or wine merchant could sell it for. So how does D.O. Cava re-position itself in the minds of wine buyers and gain a greater appreciation and reputation amongst consumers and, in particular, those who like sparkling wine? Those were just two of the issues that we asked our panel of buyers, restaurateurs, sommeliers, importers and educators to tackle for our latest The Buyer Zoom debate. We also gave them the opportunity to taste through a range of D.O. Cavas to see where they might sit in the premium wine market and the specialist on and off-trades.

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    Insight

    Bordeaux Debate: Producers & buyers on what the market wants

    In part one of our buyers debate with the Bordeaux Wines we focused on what different operators felt the opportunities and challenges were for Bordeaux Wines overall in the UK. In part two we look at three case studies from producers operating in different appellations – Médoc, Côtes de Bordeaux and Bordeaux & Bordeaux Supérieur – who are looking to embrace the modern Bordeaux and look at their vines through fresh eyes. The buyers had the chance to taste their wines and assess the styles they felt are the most suitable and relevant for the UK market. 

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    Insight

    Codorniu Cava Debate: What styles & price points work best? 

    In part two of The Buyer’s debate, in partnership with Raventós Codorníu and Raimat, the panel of leading buyers had the opportunity to taste through a selection of Cavas to examine the quality and the step changes at differences price points and to examine where they might sit in the UK market. It was also an opportunity to examine the sustainability steps being taken with Cava and how important sustainability now is in the buying decisions being made by the panel of buyers.

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    Opinion

    Codorniu Cava Debate: UK buyers on potential of premium Cava 

    So, how well do you know Cava?  When was the last time you spent 90 minutes delving into every nook and cranny of what different styles of Cava can potentially offer the UK wine trade? That was the task – and opportunity – for our latest panel of leading UK wine buyers who teamed up with the team at Raventós Codorníu, and its Raimat wine brand, to explore what role modern, premium Cava styles have and, the growing importance of viticulture, organic and sustainable winemaking on the region. It was also the chance to taste through a number of different Cava styles to see what potential they have across the specialist on and off-trades. Here is the first of our two part report on the Codorniu Cava Debate.

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    Insight

    Wynns Debate: Sommeliers on Coonawarra in premium on-trade   

    In Part One of our sommelier panel debate with Wynns Coonawarra Estate it was clear there is a lot of love, respect and potential support for Coonawarra as a wine region. The challenge is getting enough wines in to the UK market for sommeliers to be able to list and support them and what efforts are being made to promote Coonawarra’s unique story to wine drinkers and enthusiasts. In Part Two the sommeliers share their views on the Wynns range of premium wines, assess their place in the UK market and also examine the opportunities and challenges for premium Australian wine in their restaurants and venues.

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    Insight

    Wynns Debate: Buyers on Coonawarra’s premium potential

    It has long been the mission for Australian wine producers to sell more of their premium wines in leading restaurants around the world. But are wine buyers and sommeliers listening? To assess the potential for premium Australia in the UK market, The Buyer teamed up with Wynns Coonawarra Estate, part of Treasury Wine Estates, to show a range of its wines, and ask leading sommeliers what they see as the key opportunities and challenges for premium Australian wines in their venues. It was also the chance to shine the spotlight on the region of Coonawarra, home for Wynns and other leading family producers in Australia, and explore  the distinct styles of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz it is producing, and the influence and impact of its unique terra rossa soils.  

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    Insight

    New York Debate Part 2: Buyers & producers on its biggest potential

    In the first part of our New York Pitch project in partnership with the New York Grape & Wine Foundation we helped to bring producers looking to export to the UK together with leading buyers from key importers and the chance to hear about their wines. Here we dig a little deeper into what New York State can offer by picking out the wine styles that the buyers think have the most potential to do well in the UK and why the region has so much to offer in terms of cool climate, fresh, pure fruit forward, acid driven wines with low alcohols.

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    Insight

    Ribera del Duero Debate Part 2: Buyers assess the wines to list 

    The first part of our Ribera del Duero debate with a panel of influential buyers and wine consultants showed how much natural interest there is in the region, but also uncovered how fast its winemaking potential is growing and why it is a European wine region to watch and what opportunities there are for UK buyers to list more wines. In the second part of our report, we look at individual Ribera del Duero wines styles and ask our expert panel to give their assessment and pick out the wines best suited to the UK market.

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    Insight

    Ribera del Duero Debate: Buyers analyse its premium potential

    On the face of it, Ribera del Duero is a largely straightforward wine region known for making high quality, full bodied red wines. But dig below the surface and you will discover a highly diverse landscape made up of multiple soil types, contrasting altitudes and a myriad of different wine styles, that make it a complex wine region to get to grips with. To help unpick some of its mysteries The Buyer teamed up with the Consejo Regulador de la Denominación de Origen Ribera del Duero to give a panel of leading buyers, wine merchants, importers and commentators the chance to discuss the region’s potential in the UK. It was also an opportunity to hear from Tim Atkin MW, who has fast become the UK’s leading independent critic on the region, and taste some of the wines from his recently unveiled Ribera Del Duero Top 100 2021/2022 Selection.

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    Insight

    Donna Elvira Campania: Buyers assess its red and white wines

    Part One of our special Campania report covered the thoughts of leading importers, merchants and sommeliers on the wines of southern Italy in general, and then specifically the white and red wines of Campania and why they are so different. Here we focus specifically in on the range of wines from our debate partners and independent local producer, Donna Elvira Wines, to highlight what our buyers think of the potential of Greco, Fiano, Falanghina, and Aglianico .

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    Insight

    The Buyer & Donna Elvira Debate: UK potential for Campania wines

    Campania may not have the profile and prestige as other wine regions in Italy but it can match, if not better, many of them when it comes to packing a punch in terms of wine, food and tourist appeal. For this stretch of south west Italy is famous for its stunning Amalfi coastline, bursting with pride for its amazing cuisine, and the beating heart of Naples that encapsulates the excitement of the region. But how well known are its wines amongst leading UK wine buyers? To find out The Buyer teamed up with local and fiercely independent wine producer, Donna Elvira Wines, to invite a panel of leading wine buyers, importers, wine merchants and sommeliers to talk through the region’s potential and taste wines that hopefully capture what Campania is all about.

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    Insight

    Buyer Debate Pt 2: Sommeliers put Lisboa wines to the test

    With nine DOCs, each with their own unique climate and soil conditions, it is important to taste across a wide range of wines from Lisboa in order to fully understand its potential in the UK. Which is why in Part 2 of The Buyer report, in partnership with CVR Lisboa, we share the insights from our sommelier and importer panel as they taste and discuss wines that demonstrate the diversity of what Lisboa can offer and how it is using both international and indigenous grape varieties in an increasing number of blends.

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    Insight

    Buyer Debate: Sommeliers on opportunities for Lisboa wines

    There has never been greater interest and demand amongst world travellers to visit Portugal with the country named as the Best World Destination and Best Tourist Destination in Europe between 2017-2020 (World Travel Awards). High on the list of places is the capital city of Lisbon with its historic tram-filled streets packed with tourists. Yet the city’s wine region – Lisboa – is not as well-known as other Portuguese areas even though it covers nine quality DOCs. To help better understand the different styles of wine being made in Lisboa and their opportunities in the UK, The Buyer teamed up with CVR Lisboa, the region’s wine Regulatory Council, to host a panel debate with a leading panel of sommeliers and specialist UK wine importers who were able to share their insights on Lisboa, together with two of the region’s key producers, as well as taste a selection of wines that represent what the region can do.

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    Insight

    Bordeaux Debate Part 2: Buyers on sustainability & single varietals

    With a legacy of quality wine production in the region dating back centuries, it’s unsurprising the Bordelais like to take their time when it comes to making big strategic changes in the way their wines are made and brought to market. In the second part of The Buyer’s online debate between Bordeaux producers and key UK importers, buyers and independent wine merchants, in partnership with the CIVB, we continue our exploration of Bordeaux’s modern reds, where these fit into the region’s long-term strategy and why the panel are particularly excited to see the emergence of so many quality, commercially focused single varietal wines and where they might work best in the premium UK on and off-trade.

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    Insight

    Buyer Debate: What ‘Modern Bordeaux’ means for UK buyers

    On the face of it Bordeaux has everything going for it. It is one of the most famous, respected and influential wine regions in the world. Yet when it comes to debates around modern winemaking, new viticultural techniques and what’s new in the world of wine, due to its classic reputation, it is often overlooked as a place you look for innovation. But that is not the real picture of what is actually happening in the region. Far from it. To help analyse the emerging trends in Bordeaux, The Buyer teamed up with the CIVB (Bordeaux Wine Council) to bring together key trade players, including UK buyers, importers and sommeliers, and Bordeaux producers to examine just what “Modern Bordeaux” is, how well understood it is and what aspects are best communicated to the wider trade and wine consumers at large.

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    Insight

    Buyers on why Luberon’s red & white wines are ideal for the UK

    It is arguably in its white and red wines that the Luberon really starts to show its Rhône credentials with both wine styles made from a wide selection of varieties where the emphasis is very much on bringing out the freshness, acidity and balance in the wines. In part two of The Buyer debate, in partnership with Wines of Luberon, we ask wine buyers, sommeliers and importers to taste and assess a selection of white and red wines and give their overall impression of where they see the opportunities for Luberon in the UK.

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    Insight

    Buyers’ Debate: Opportunities for Luberon wines in the UK

    Ask the average UK wine buyer to give their views on the Rhône and they could probably spend a couple of minutes talking about the region and why its various styles of wines taste the way they do. But could they do the same for the wines of Luberon, made in the south eastern extreme of the region? To help widen buyers’ knowledge of Luberon wines and what they could offer the UK, The Buyer teamed up with Wines of Luberon to bring together a panel of sommeliers, wine importers and merchants to taste and assess the opportunities for the region in the premium UK wine market. In part one of our two part report the buyer’s shared their first impressions of the region and then focused in on Luberon’s rosé wines and the opportunities for them in the UK. Part two will examine the region’s red and white wines.

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    Insight

    UK Buyers/French Producers on: Champagne, Crémant & sparkling

    Sparkling wine has enjoyed unprecedented success in the UK over the last 10 years, but where does French sparkling sit alongside the two powerhouses of everyday sparkling wine – Prosecco and Cava? To find out, The Buyer teamed up with Business France, to host an online Zoom panel debate with leading UK wine buyers of independent importers and merchants, who had the chance to chat live with three very different representatives of the French wine market covering sparkling, Champagne and Crémant.

        

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    • Trying to understand the attitudes to alcohol and drinking behaviour of  #GenZ  and  #Millennials  is the big conundrum for the drinks industry. But that is what a new study by  @carter .felicity  @ericaduecy  & Roger Brooks hopes to uncover. Here are the key findings on  @thebuyer11  https://www.the-buyer.net/insight/what-gen-z-and-millennials-think-about-beers-wines-and-spirits/  #wine   #beer   #spirits   #drinking  Link in bio.
    • Great visit yesterday to meet Susanna Busi Jacobson and Douglas Jacobson who own a family-run, single vineyard estate in the High Weald of East Sussex.  @busijacobsohn  makes 4 sublime English sparkling wines from Burgundian clones of the three main Champagne grapes - gastronomic, low dosage, all with a bright, pure style.
    • Classic Ribolla Gialla made in a hands-off style – letting the grape really express itself. The wine has that baked apple in the foreground with tangerine and a bit of fresh thyme, in the mouth it’s medium weight, broad shouldered, lots of depth and flavour with decent acidity but fine balance. This is great for people who like this style of Italian white wine but want it with a bit of difference and attitude. Don’t think it’s a natural wine but it leans that way – the flavours are pure and clean. I liked it. A ‘labour of love Wine’ – one of two – made by Ukraine’s former head sommelier now at Corrigan’s Mayfair. You can find it in this restaurant or through Propeller Wine.
    • A new complex white from Lebanon wine producer IXSIR using local white grape Obeidy with Muscat and Viognier (roughly a third of each). Very light yellow gold, the aromas are fascinating and pretty – floral, grassy, ripe orchard fruit, brine – in the mouth the wine is fresh, generous, a slight oily character, with ripe juicy fruit, and a pleasing bitter orange/ grapefruit pith note on the finish, dry stone texture also. I liked it. Some of IXSIR’s vines sit at 1,800m which they claim to be the highest in the Northern hemisphere (sounds about right!). They also pride themselves on the low carbon footprint of their wines – their underground winery is truly spectacular.
    • First release of this ultra-premium 100% Sangiovese from a relative newcomer in Brunello, Poggio Antico, that is just one of two producers distributed by La Place in Bordeaux. The grapes hail from a 550m+ single hilltop vineyard, with three different vinifications in tulip-shaped concrete tanks for the fruit grown on the distinctly different soil types. The winemaking is low intervention with gentle extraction after five weeks skin contact. The wine is then aged for two years in a mix of 25hl casks and Austrian oak, then it goes back into concrete for six months, bottled and released in April 2024. There’s a beautifully restrained power here – it feels like it’s getting ready to unfurl with time. It is clearly still very young – approachable nonetheless – it has a fabulously vibrant, powerful, intense nose, both complex and inviting. You find red cherries, freshly picked and made into cherry pie,
    • Very classy ‘grower Champagne’ a Brut NV rosé that has no Pinot Noir in it – only 88% Chardonnay and 12% Pinot Meunier, made as a red wine. It’s one of four wines in the Terre d’Emotion series – each terroir-focussed and hugely impressive – I urge you to seek them out. Pale salmon pink with saffron golden highlights, fine bead; Expressive nose with some complexity mixing ripe, red berry fruits and blood orange, raspberry tart; lovely fresh attack, mineral-charged, pure and lively; I get fleshy raspberry and crunchy rhubarb with a beautifully crisp and precise finish. The 6.5 g/l dosage is just right – giving a balanced wine that is fruity but beautifully elegant. With a full body and refreshing freshness it makes a great aperitif. Charpentier is a new producer to me – one that is based in Charly-sur-Marne and is fully organic after having started practising biodynamics
    • An attractive halfway house between Old and New World Pinot – between ripe, lush Russian River Valley fruit and a more unpolished, rustic expression. Sensitive farming, whole cluster and wild yeasts give the wine a real connection to the terroir – ripe black raspberries, creme de mure, red liquorice, nice and earthy, with a lifted herbal quality. The wine is medium bodied, the palate warm, welcoming, fine-grained ripe tannins, a rasp of acidity and with a good degree of complexity for 20 year-old vines. The £70 RRP will put some off I fear, but it’s a name to keep an eye on.
    • Good to see Chianti Classico being made in a contemporary, easy-to-drink style. This, the second vintage of this early drinking 100% Sangiovese, is a winner. Made from young vines (planted in 2019), with only one year maturation and minimal wood contact it is fresh, pure and quite frankly gluggable. Pale purple, you pick up red and blue fruit on the nose, drying Mediterranean herbs; in the mouth the wine is fresh, light with wild sour cherries, crunchy blue fruit and keen acidity. It calls out for food – a hearty sugo or wild boar stew – it does need a bit of balance.
    • Toku or ‘Toku – Superior premium Junmai Daiginjo Sake of Hokkaido’ to give it its unexpurgated title – really does have a sublime purity, one that is immediately apparent as soon as it enters your mouth. The nose is subtle as you might expect with distant notes of dried white petals, honeydew melon, a suggestion of musk. In the mouth you get a sensation of fresh snowmelt (disarmingly light on its feet) with lychee, white peach, white melon, a hint of marzipan and that familiar undertow of pure sake spirit, which then flatlines on the palate and ‘finishes’ like an eternal piano note – the length is insane – with a ‘playful’ lift of fruitiness – white peach and lychee again. Toku builds textually, subtly, starting off with a viscous, oiliness then seems to get fresher and lighter in the mouth, ending on a chalky note. It really goes on
    • To mark today’s  #pinotnoirday  we raise a glass with a lovely ripe, textured, full of freshness and acidity Emma Pinot Noir from  @creationwines . That beautifully captures the unique growing conditions of South Africa’s Hemel-en-Aarde wine region flanked by fynbos-clad mountains and a wine that shows the cooling influence of the breezes from the nearby Atlantic Ocean. Perfect end to the week and a wine that also encapsulates the huge strides taking place in South Africa to make benchmark wines from classic grape varieties like Pinot Noir.  #creationwines   #pinot   @wosa_za   @carolyn_creationwines 
    • Super Tuscan Bordeaux blend that offers a lot of bang for your buck at a considerably lower price tag. Big and fruity, super soft tannins, but with great balance achieved through the freshness of the acidity. Tenuta Prima Pietra is situated 450m up on volcanic, quartz-lined soils – the highest vineyard plot on the Tuscan coast. The terroir with its cooling sea breeze is evident particularly in the wine’s fresh, tight finish. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, the wine sees 18 months in 50% new French oak with the varieties vinified separately for the first 10 months and then the final 8 after blending. Mulberry fruit, blackberry jelly dominate the fruity nose, in the mouth the wine is generous, concentrated red and black fruit, lambs blood, fine-grained and soft tannins - a cranberry crunch evens things out with a pleasant grip on the finish.
    • Crisp, fresh and bright as a lemon. Very happy to raise a glass to  #worldverdejoday  Spain’s most popular white grape variety and pretty in demand in the UK too. Verdejo’s home is in DO  #Rueda  in northern Spain and it really comes into its own in the hot summer months. So ideally timed for - cross fingers - a balmy weekend. If want to find out more go to doRueda.com and follow  #tasterueda  to find out where you can yourself a bottle or two. Cheers!  #wine   #winetasting   #spanishwine   #spain   #whitewine   #tasterueda   @charlotte .l.hey
    • Debut vintage for this first white wine from one of the most iconic wineries on the Douro. Fruit is grown on the Levante vineyard which is the highest East-facing plot so just gets the morning sun. The wine is a mix of Arinto and Viosinho fruit, vinified in a mix of French oak and steel vats and then both varieties aged in barrel; apart from Boavista winemaker Carla Tiago, there is an oenology credit also to Jean-Claude Berrouet (Petrus). To look at the wine is pale straw yellow with green highlights; from the first aromas out of the glass it is clear this is a serious wine, with herbal notes to the fore, merged with apple and pear; on the palate the wine is vinous, textured and gastronomic, a citric grip and lovely presence in the mouth. Although the abv is a modest 13% abv, there is decent heat on
    • Waving the flag for the UK at  #Eurovision  with this bright, zingy, ultra fresh, slightly tart and very dry English dry Rosé from  #Folc   @drink .folc who have been championing premium English Rosé for the last five years thanks to its founders,  @elisha_folc  and Tom Cannon. This 2022 vintage is packed with acidity, flies around the palate and is a very welcome difference to the homogeneous, fruity Provence roses that dominate the category. Its a blend of nine grape varieties: all sourced from family-run vineyards in Kent, East and West Sussex, and Suffolk, including Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir Precoce, Bacchus, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and small amounts of Ortega, Rondo and Reichensteiner. The Cannons are also keen to make a sustainable wine and the new Folc’s bottle is made from 100% recycled glass and claims to have a 42% lower carbon footprint than non-recycled glass, with all its packaging also
    • From one Coronation to another. Thanks to  @chateausiran  for opening this bottle at lunch yesterday to toast Queen and future King. The wine was almost past its tertiary stage - everything you might expect from a 70 yo Claret - but the acidity was still there rock solid.
    • Bright, crisp, dark fruits, plums,crunchy on the palate, nice fresh acidity and a wine that can work with a myriad of dishes and going to work well with Easter Sunday Roast Lamb. Good example of what Cotes du  #roussillonvillage  AOP can do named after an indigenous flower that apparently retains its structure and colour long after picking. All of which also comes through from this old vine wine made from a blend of century-old Syrah, Mourvèdre Grenache & Carignan. Hides its chunky 14.5% abv very well. Made by  @liamsteevenson  MW and  @balthazarphwine  Benoit Bousquet using traditional winemaking skills to bring out rustic Roussillon for  #Bousquet &Fils  @immortellewines   @vineyard_productions   #wine   #frenchwine   #sommeliers   #winetasting  RS
    • Austria is in a very good place right now viticulturally – there’s an energy here and a wisdom about the best way to do things – for the wines but also the long-term health of the soil. There’s also real dynamism about grape varieties used – brilliant Grüner, Riesling and Blaunfränkisch of course, but also many more besides like this stunning Pinot Blanc from a quality-driven family of 5th-generation winemakers. All their wines are good but special mention goes to their Pinot Blancs of which there are three, the “Alte Reben” coming from 90 year old vines, the fruit rests for three days on skins and is part vinified in large oak and amphora. Greenish-yellow, ripe and rich with Williams pear, orange zest, green tea – plenty of power here but finesse and balance at the same time. Outstanding.
    • One of only 10 Masters of Wine actually making wine and the only one in South Africa, Richard Kershaw is fastidious about individual clones and vineyard plots. This outstanding Clonal Selection Chardonnay is a case in point – with fruit sourced from four clones in 11 sites with each batch vinified separately. He's making wine in Elgin whose cool climate gives great natural acidity to ‘tip the needle’ towards Burgundy. This is clean, precise, elegant with a refreshing 13.5% ABV and white fruit profile, teamed up with a mineral charge that keeps perfect balance. There is decent breadth – it’s not lean – and I liked it a lot.
    • There’s not many times in your life when you utter the words “The Romanée-Conti please” as the sommelier pours you a sample. The 2020 is an extraordinary wine that expresses itself as the most perfect manifestation of a Pinot Noir that is possible to make - impressive given how hot the vintage was (Burgundy’s hottest ever). Massive, beautiful power with an effortless confidence – fresh, vinous, pure, complex, rounded, delicate, layered, savoury – a mass of beautiful contradictions that meet with utter harmony and balance in your mouth. “Everything is perfect” my notes say – both as a descriptor of the wine and a state of mind. The Nadia Comāneci of Pinot.
    • Intense, inky dark (largely) Bordeaux blend from Bolgheri DOC that delivers good power and VFM. With 50% Merlot you expect fruit and the wine delivers ripe, black damsons and blackcurrant by the spade but with 30% Cab Sav and equal measures Petit Verdot and Syrah you also get a wonderful complexity and layers. The nose has tobacco, balsamic, bitter chocolate, while the initially warm, open palate has a tension and texture and a young (slightly green) tannic grip which manages to balance the wine well – there is a freshness which belies its 14.5% ABV. Intense yes, concentrated yes but also well put together – with or without food.