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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



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    • Torres only uses 60 new wood in 300l barrels with
      Torres only uses 60% new wood in 300l barrels with this 100% Chardonnay where it used to be 100%, especially in the 1990s. Tense in youth, richer and more complex in time. Sparkling gold, this has a rich, inviting nose of dried apricots, white orchard fruit, almond shells, quince. There is a chalky texture, nice complexity on the long finish – and the acidity feels high, there is a lot of tension in the wine and it could benefit with a year or more in the cellar.
    • Tradition from Domaine Lapierre Morgon 2018 As the name of
      Tradition from Domaine Lapierre, Morgon, 2018. As the name of this cuvée ‘says on the tin’ this is real traditional Morgon – semi-carbonic maceration for 10-21 days, no sulphur and aged in small wooden tuns for nine months. The wine literally smells of rocks and earth and black cherries, the palate has a twist of red liquorice in there as well. Sensational and one of the wines of this excellent vintage make no mistake.
    • Made with 100 of the traditional Trebbiano di Soave grape
      Made with 100% of the traditional Trebbiano di Soave grape grown on basalt, this is a classy Soave made by a great producer. Straw coloured, quite honeyed, peachy and floral on the nose. More chalky on the palate than I remember some of the producer’s other wines. Ripe orchard fruit and stone fruit (white peach) rather than lemon notes you find with a lot of Soave. Delicious as an aperitif and with light food.
    • Straw gold in colour opulent nose slightly grassy wild fennel
      Straw gold in colour; opulent nose, slightly grassy, wild fennel, ripe orchard fruit; quite rounded and rich on the palate with a crisp backbone of acidity, nice notes of ripe lemon flesh and Jaffa cakes, dry stone finish. Very tasty. Needs a bit of time in the glass, maybe decant.
    • The first vintage of exTorbreck winemaker Dave Powells joint venture
      The first vintage of ex-Torbreck winemaker Dave Powell’s joint venture with his son Callum. Just really hitting its stride, the wine has lost its purple hue and blueberry/ minty notes that it had on release, and is now more dark and broody - mulberry, olive, mocha, a touch of cassis. It is mostly Barossa fruit with a little Eden fruit in there to give the aromatics a lift. It is ripe and rich as you’d expect but there is good structure here - the acidity holding it together well and making it far fresher than you might think a 14.5% ABV to be. Impressive
    • Made from fruit grown on 60 year old vines this
      Made from fruit grown on 60 year old vines, this 2018 Fleurie has a savoury, peppery quality on the nose and palate that is reminiscent of some Northern Rhône wines. It has been prodigiously sorted and then had 12-15 days semi-carbonic maceration, ageing in steel and concrete tanks on fine lees. It’s a pretty wine, light and fruity, a real stoniness to the texture and an attractive blood orange skin hit on the finish.