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    Douro’s Soul Wines Debate: why the wines are ideal for the UK

    “There is a deliciousness to these red wines. I am hugely impressed by them. The quality has blown me away.” Just the kind of review any wine producer would want for their wines, particularly if it comes from such as senior a figure as John Graves, on-trade channel director at Bibendum Wine. But Graves was not the only UK panelist in our debate with the Douro Valley’s Soul Wine producers to be impressed with what they saw and tasted. In part two of our report on the wide ranging debate we assess the opportunity for Douro’s wines in the premium on-trade and what steps producers need to take to make the most of them.

    People People: On-Trade

    Sommeliers on Chile: The Buyer & Chono Wines debate

    To try to unravel and understand Chile’s position in the premium on-trade, The Buyer teamed up with Ellis Wines and its Chilean producer partner, Chono Wines, to bring
    together a group of senior wine trade professionals, buyers and sommeliers to debate what are the opportunities and challenges for Chile as a whole. It was the chance for these leading figures to share their experiences with Chilean wines in their restaurants and businesses and look at the kinds of wines from Chile that they are looking to source and select for their wine lists.


    Mionetto and The Buyer Prosecco study tour and report

    Is there a more misunderstood wine category than Prosecco? It might top all the best selling charts, but it is too often dismissed or taken seriously by some professional wine buyers. To help get to know not only the beautiful region of Conegliano Valdobbiadene, but to explore the different quality tiers of Prosecco and the potential they have in the premium on-trade, The Buyer teamed up with leading Prosecco brand, Mionetto, and its UK partner Copestick Murray, to host a study tour with key buyers and influencers of the area and the city where Prosecco truly comes to life – Venice.


    Jackson Family debate on Californian Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

    It’s nice talking about and throwing the spotlight on new wine regions and emerging styles of wine and little known grape varieties, but at these times of the year restaurant and bar customers are looking for the classics and the tried and tested. Which is why for our latest major debate we teamed up with Jackson Family Wines to look at what leading wine buyers, sommeliers, distributors and merchants think about Californian Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.


    Special Report: Sonoma County Vintners London Wine Bar Tour

    Organising a wine tasting where all your guests are sitting in one place can prove to be a challenge at times, so you can imagine the potential for things to wrong if you then invited those guests to go on a tour of restaurants and bars around London, tasting different wines, matched to each outlet’s food along the way. It certainly made for a very different, fun, highly informative and memorable day for wineries from Sonoma County Vintners and our panel of “tour-ists” willing to go on the adventure with us.


    Closures Debate: what do you want to put in a bottle of wine?

    Outside of the natural wine debate is there a more contentious issue than the one that surrounds the type of closure you have in your bottle of wine? To assess what leading on-trade buyers and sommeliers now think about closures we teamed up with Vinventions, one of the biggest suppliers of all types of closure from cork to screwcap, to make the issue of closures the latest topic in our Buyer Debate series.


    The Buyer’s Case with Castelnau Wine Agencies

    Every wine as soon as it is made puts its self up for judgement. Be it the end consumer who wants to drink it with their dinner, or the trade buyers and wine critics looking to score, assess and adjudicate on whether it is suitable for listing in the first place. But nothing ventured, nothing gained and Castelnau Wine Agencies was happy to put its range of wines from producers all over the world up to the test in our latest Buyer’s Case project with leading on-trade buyers and influencers in the trade.

    Tasting Tasting: Panel Tasting

    The Buyer’s Case with Cave de Vignerons de Saint-Chinian wines

    The Buyer has been set up to help drinks producers and leading on-trade buyers better understand their needs and where possible work closer together. This is best demonstrated by The Buyer’s Case initiative where we link up with a wine producer or importer and ask leading buyers to taste, assess and offer professional feedback on their wines. Here we turn to the Languedoc-Roussillon and present wines from leading producer, Cave de Vignerons de Saint-Chinian to leading on-trade decision makers.


    The French debate: putting France under the spotlight with Foncalieu

    France might be the best selling country in the UK on-trade, but that does not mean it could not sell. To help better understand the opportunities and challenges facing French wine in the premium on-trade, The Buyer linked up with Les Vignobles Foncalieu and leading buyers from the different types of operator, including high end restaurants, independent wine merchants and national wholesalers all working the French category in the north west of the country.

    Insight Tasting Tasting: Panel Tasting

    New Zealand Debate: the opportunities and challenges

    New Zealand’s enormous success in the UK off-trade, where its Sauvignon Blanc has created a category of its own, has not always been reflected in how many of its wines are on premium on-trade wine lists. The Buyer teamed up with Villa Maria, and its UK partners, Hatch Mansfield, to ask a panel of leading UK buyers to set out the challenges and opportunities for New Zealand in the premium on-trade



    Tasting with pictures View All
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    • The winemaker Paul told me to keep this a couple
      The winemaker Paul told me to keep this a couple of years and he was so right - it’s drinking beautifully, absorbing all of its once youthful oak. Light to medium ruby, on the nose blackberry, raspberry, a lift of menthol, pepper, blackcurrant cough sweet; unmistakeable Cab Franc palate, sweet blackcurrant, just ripe red plum, with that distinctive chalky, river stone texture. Beautiful wine, and a snip at £19 rrp now ( I think I paid £10 on release) Testament to keeping wines for when they should be drunk - this could last easily another 10 years.
    • Tesch Queen of Whites Riesling 2016 A lean style of
      Tesch, Queen of Whites Riesling 2016. A lean style of Riesling and destined to cut through many a rich white sauce. This was lifted and fruity on the nose, with just a smidge of petrol, the palate was lean, mineral, with a smash of fresh lemon on the end which persisted well. The label looks like it was designed so bottles could gather dust on a shelf (weird Lincoln lookalike in front of a chess piece) but luckily it’s on-trade we’re talking about and the wine delivers in the glass.
    • Soave DOC Vecchie Vigne 2016 Tenuta SantAntonio Sustainably farmed with
      Soave DOC Vecchie Vigne 2016, Tenuta Sant’Antonio. Sustainably farmed with some biodynamic practices, this single vineyard 100% Garganega alongside the Soave DOC Monte Ceriani, has such a bold, intense style, highly expressive of the terroir’s volcanic and limestone soils, aided by not having any added sulphites. Having been vinified for six months in French oak, this has got much greater complexity with aromas of ripe orchard and stone fruit, biscuit, bitter almonds mixing with a range of lemon flavours – rich Sicilian lemon, lemon oil – my tasting notes said ’50 Shades of Lemon’. Salty and savoury, very different and very enjoyable.
    • Light golden Scrumptious nose of ripe coxs apple wet stones
      Light golden; Scrumptious nose of ripe cox’s apple, wet stones, mandarin pith; medium bodied, easy mouthfeel, mineral tinge and pink grapefruit zest on the long finish; complex, nice balance. Great value.
    • This is great One of our favourite producers from Ctes
      This is great. One of our favourite producers from Côtes des Catalanes- a German, ex-Gauby protegé, making low alcohol, elegant blends just outside Perpignan. With some age, it’s now golden, quite broad in the palate with elements of old Rhône and white Rioja. Aromas of dried orchard fruit, quince, dried petals; on the palate there’s salted nuts, a touch of solera, the acidity’s still hanging in there but not sure there’s enough fruit to carry it much longer.
    • Reichsrat von Buhl Riesling Brut Sekt 2016 Pick of the
      Reichsrat von Buhl, Riesling Brut Sekt 2016. Pick of the bunch at a recent Sekt tasting, although more French than German – it would certainly fool someone blind-tasting. It is 100% Riesling aged for 18 months on the lees. The winery has been going since 1868 and is renowned for making long-lived single vineyard wines. It was perhaps in recent years that things have taken a huge upswing when they secured the services of the ex chef de caves from Bollinger. The result has Riesling characteristics but it also has some lovely umami, savoury, brioche qualities coming through from the autolysis. Complex, fine mousse, delicate, well balanced. This would be a good alternative to extra brut/ long lees-ageing sparkling wines. Spicy Asian or simple fish dishes would be a great match. A stunner.