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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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    Insight

    One Step Beyond: Download the full landmark conference report

    When The Buyer came together with Sophie Jump to organise and hold the inaugural One Step Beyond Conference in early March the focus was 100% on analysing the most disruptive changes in consumer behaviour and technology. Little did we know that just over two months on so many of those changes have now been put on fast forward because of the Covid-19 outbreak. Here is the full report from what was a breakthrough conference for the drinks, retail and hospitality sectors. A day that brought experts from outside the industry’s comfort zone and gave them the platform to set out what we can all expect from consumers and technology in the future. Predictions that are already being seen in how fast businesses and consumers alike are responding to the challenges of Covid-19.

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    Insight

    The Buyer’s Case: Top buyers put Boisset FGV wines to the test

    The hardest job for any wine producer, no matter how prestigious or respected, is getting their wines in front of the right buyers who can ultimately make the difference in getting their wines on to the lists of the restaurants and bars that really matter. That’s what The Buyer’s Case project does. Link producers looking to build distribution in the premium on-trade and specialist retail sector with key buyers in those channels. Here’s how major French producer, Boisset FGV worked with The Buyer on its own Buyer’s Case initiative.

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    Insight

    California Buyers Trip Part 2: the wines and styles ready to export

    Having the opportunity to go to California and meet over 100 producers in an intense five days of tasting doesn’t come around too often. But it proved to be an invaluable exercise for the group of leading wine buyers from both the UK and Irish on and off-trade markets. In Part One of our report we looked at their general feedback on why they wanted to go on such a trip. Here in Part Two we drill down into what they really thought of the wines and the opportunities of giving them a chance in the markets over here.

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    Insight

    California looks to bring right producers & buyers together

    If you are a wine buyer for a leading importer, restaurant group, or independent merchant then there are times of the year when you are no doubt spoilt for choice with invitations to go and visit different regions and countries. But which are ones are going to be the most useful, effective and important to your buying needs? It’s what made the recent California Wine Institute event for leading UK and Irish buyers so different. And relevant. Rather than take a group of buyers on a bus around a select group of producers, the Institute brought the producers to the buyers for a series of back to back tastings hosted in the same venue. It meant the busy buyers were able to see over 100 wineries across five days of intensive tasting and take a deep dive into the kind of wines being made across the state. What’s more the producers did not currently have distribution in the UK or Ireland, or both, and had to have wines, with volume, that could the hit the main commercial to mid premium price points. The Buyer’s Richard Siddle, who helped to identify and recruit some of the buyers invited, was also there to get an insider’s take on how it all came together.

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    Opinion

    South Africa Restaurant Safari – 9 buyers, 18 wineries, 2 Land Rovers

    Here’s a conundrum for you. How do you get nine of the UK’s leading wine buyers to meet 18 winemakers in four restaurants in different parts of London in under five hours? Well, throw two Land Rovers into the mix and you are half way home. It’s certainly how The Buyer teamed up with Wines of South Africa to take a group of top buyers on a tour of London restaurants, and the chance to meet some of South Africa’s best winemakers at the same time. Eating, tasting, chatting along the way. Buckle up and join us on the ride…

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    Insight

    Buyer French Debate: Rise of Crémant & other sparkling wines

    In part one of The Buyer’s debate, alongside Business France, between leading importers, merchants, restaurants and wine producers from most regions of France, we focused on the rise in and importance of organic wines. The tasting and discussion also looked at how different styles of sparkling wine are now really coming to the fore, and how Crémant, in particular, is presenting a real premium alternative, ideal for promoting and driving in the premium on-trade.

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    Insight

    Buyer Debate: the opportunity for French organic wine

    For the latest The Buyer Debate we teamed up with Business France to bring producers from different regions of France together with key buyers from across the premium on-trade to look at two key growth areas not only for French wine, but the premium wine category as a whole: organics and sparkling wine. It was an opportunity to meet, taste the wines and then explore why French winemakers are increasingly turning to organics and sparkling wine production. Whilst assessing just what it is leading UK wine distributors, merchants and restaurant and bar owners are looking for when taking on a new French wine supplier. There was a lot to cover. So much so that we have broken down the report into two parts. First up we look at the rise in organics and both the opportunities and the challenges there are in making and selling organic wine.

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    Insight

    Behind the scenes on The Buyer’s Vouvray Restaurant Tour

    It’s one thing tasting wine professionally it is quite another to go on an eating and tasting tour of top London restaurants to experience food and wine in the same way your customers do. Which is what The Buyer’s most recent restaurant tour was all about as we were able to introduce different styles of Vouvray wine to a tour of buyers covering wine merchants, sommeliers, importers, consultants and journalists. As we publish our full report from the event, Richard Siddle picks out the highlights.

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    Insight

    Buyer debate: Indies put Ribera del Duero through its paces

    Even for a wine region that is as relatively small as Spain’s Ribera del Duero it’s important to taste as many wines as possible if you are going to truly understand, experience and enjoy its enormous diversity, says wine writer and critic, Tim Atkin MW. To help do just that, but also debate and share what leading UK buyers think of Ribera del Duero, The Buyer teamed up with the region’s generic body, a panel of top wine merchants and Atkin himself to see what opportunities there are in the burgeoning independent retail and wholesale sector.

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    Insight

    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.

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    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.

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    Insight

    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.

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    Insight

    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.

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    Insight

    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.

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    Insight

    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.

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    Insight

    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.

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    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.

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    Opinion

    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.

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    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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    Insight Tasting Tasting: Panel Tasting

    The Buyer’s Case with Les Vignerons Foncalieu

    The Buyer’s Case is a new initiative that gives producers the chance to show specific drinks to key buyers in target channels of the on-trade. For our first Buyer’s Case we teamed up with Les Vignerons Foncalieu and selected key buyers in its main distribution areas in the UK on-trade to show their wines. Here are the results.

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    Insight Tasting Tasting: Panel Tasting

    Virginia Wine Project: bringing producers and buyers together

    The Buyer teamed up with Virginia Wine and some of its key producers to help them better understand the needs of the UK premium on-trade and how buyers might relate to their wines with both a business roundtable debate with key players and a study tour of leading London restaurants, wine bars and merchants to see the kind of offers they have and where their wines might fit in.

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    Instataste

    Tasting with pictures View All
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    • Fresh, textural Blaufränkisch from Austria’s Burgenland that manages to bring elegance and finesse to the grape without a mouthful of chewy tannins. Intense purple; complex and wild nose offering mulberry and cranberries, herbal nuances, liquorice. On the palate the wine is fresh, medium-bodied, lots of sour cherry and blueberry, pomegranate, fine, just ripe tannins sitting nicely in the background, with a chalky texture that amplifies on the sloe-dry finish. Picking it just ripe, and through careful and long vinification/ maturation first in open top fermenters and then large format Austrian and German wood where it sits for two years, one on full lees, brings out the best in the variety.
    • Muscular, full bodied Bordeaux blend from Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand that was showing superbly and has possibly another decade in the tank. 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc and 34% Merlot – the nose shows its evolution with pencil shavings, cassis, sous bois and sweet spice. The mouthfeel is concentrated with decent intensity, ripe, rounded tannins and good bedrock of acidity. Long finish with a green, slightly sappy finish, 14.5% abv showing itself a little. Possible slight taint detected also but it didn’t spoil the enjoyment. Wishing I had another bottle to try in a few years.
    • This is a great example of the AOC Cotes du Rhone can do with its deep, luscious white blends. From  @chateaulanerthe  in the heart of Chateauneuf du Pape this Le Cassagnes de la Nerthe is a heady blend of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Viognier and Roussanne organically made. Lovely textured wine with plenty of body, rich mouth feel and ideal for food. Available from  @bancroftwines . It is part of a new selection of AOC Cotes du Rhone wines that have been chosen to show the best the region can do across both rose and white wines that clearly sit in the shadow of its red wines. To find out more go to  @cotesdurhone_uk  RS  #cotesdurhone   #whitewines   #rosewines   #wine   #winetasting   #frenchwine   #sommeliers   #independentwine   #winemerchants   @thebellevillecollective 
    • 2015 was a sun-drenched vintage which shines through in this fruit-driven, elegant and hugely versatile Champagne. Medium shiny gold, the wine has an energetic, fine bead and delightfully complex nose. As it opens out in the glass we find apple blossom, ripe orchard fruit, gingerbread, nougat and candied orange peel. The attaque is nicely balanced, rounded and vibrant with mouth-filling mousse to begin with and then the structure and the tension of the acidity shines through. This is a fruity wine, elegant and easy to like – you can pick out ripe pear, yellow stone fruit, poached rhubarb, the finish is dry, mineral-charged and a salty tang that leaves you craving more. Serve solus or with a range of gastronomic uses, including dessert. The blend is 59% Pinot Noir/ 41% Chardonnay, with a dosage of 4 grams per litre.
    • Full-flavoured dry white Bordeaux blend (85% Semillon, 15% Sauvignon Blanc) from classed growth Sauternes estate Château d’Arche, with the wine partially aged in old Sauternes barrels for extra texture and complexity. Pale gold in colour, the wine is ripe with an attractive mix of ripe apples, peach, pineapple and lemon grass. In the mouth the wine is rounded, oleaginous, ripe fruit with bags of citrus and a moreish dry, grapefruit note, balanced by a hint of sweetness coming from the Sauternes’ wood. RRP in the UK under £14.
    • The new Blanc de Blancs 2008 from Champagne Billecart Salmon. To look at the wine is shiny platinum gold, fine bead; the aromatics are pure and fresh with sea spray, crisp white apple and a sense of wet chalk, after 30 minutes more complexity reveals itself – more fruit and fresh nuts; in the mouth the wine is tense with tingly, mineral-driven acidity, ultra-fine texture, fresh, bright, beautiful balance with pure Sicilian lemon, a touch of aspirin; the finish has you wanting more – it finishes dry, mineral and chalky, with lemon zest.
    • Spectacular wines shared last night at a dinner in Clos Vougeot to celebrate the end of the  @biketocarebourgogne  charity event through which €230k was raised for hospitality charities. The wines were shown from the 8 winemakers who took part, most cycled the 200km and were all spectacular.
    • 1993 Harlan. Remarkably fresh but showing a lot of complexity aromatically and on the palate. It could last for another decade or more but not sure how much it would improve, as it’s currently firing on all cylinders. 90% Cab Sauv with a bit more Merlot than is in the current cepage (Cab Franc and Petit Verdot complete the blend). Distinctly sweet Napa nose with black cherry, cassis and blackberry, lick of menthol. The palate is fresh as a daisy, although still rich, powerful, with fine ripe tannins lending structure. Cacao, oak and minerals on the palate. Truly sublime.
    • I love Simon Waghorn’s wines immensely – they have real life to them and this doesn’t disappoint. Pale straw with green reflections; the aromatics are fruity (peach), tropical (papaya, guava), interesting and complex; the palate is finely textured, fresh, with a fascinating mix of flavours: grapefruit, green pineapple, lime, mango sorbet and a salty, mineral-driven finish. This is a quality, blended Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand (they also produce sub-regional specific wines) that manages to play to a number of different crowds – those loving Marlborough SB and those who have become bored with the ‘cookie cutter’ wines that are like passion fruit on steroids. Excellent.
    • This is our pick from a varietal “Discovery” range from @Roche.Mazet that looks to tell the history of the Pays d’Oc region through its main grape varieties. A range that proudly claims to be ‘The No 1 Brand in France’ on its website. Each wine is PGI-labelled and comes with a handy, easy to understand style indicator on the label. Hence ‘Elegant and fruity’ for Pinot Noir. Each wine is made to express the key characteristics of that variety. This Pinot Noir is light on the palate, but has a long finish, healthy tannins but enough freshness and acidity to get you pouring another glass. It is good to see a producer of this scale looking to use modern labels and marketing to make its PGI wines as accessible as possible and making the all important link with food. Some varieties work better than others but offer consistently good quality
    • Transparent pale garnet, attractive and elegant bouquet of red cherries, red liquorice, red pepper, lick of tar and dried violets; the palate is approachable for a wine so young, fine, ripe and well-integrated tannins, it is fruity with sour cherry, blue plum skin, a hint of clove. The wine is fine, high-toned, elegant with a subdued intensity, great balance with bright acidity, dry and a long finish. Had quite a vibrancy after an hour’s decant, another hour and it had settled and was smoother on entry. At around £50 it’s good value for a Barolo of this quality.
    • Fabulous new vintage of Winston Churchill 2013 from Pol Roger. Leaner and more highly-strung than the 2012 which had more buttery Vienoiserie/ honeyed notes but it is still thrillingly good at the moment. Medium gold with a vigorous fine bead. The aromas have confit lemon, mandarin peel, saline, oyster shell, fresh baguette and butter, and a fresh chalkiness, with a hint of red berries and fresh hazelnuts. The wine makes quite an entrance on the palate – the attack is crisp and fresh, filling the front and mid-palate with a mineral-charged, explosion of pixilated detail of lime zest, lemon posset, grapefruit sherbet; the acidity is bright and turbo-charged, laser-like. The wine builds symphonically, each component playing its part in quite perfect harmony until it comes to a perfect crescendo on the roof of your mouth… if that doesn’t sound too naff! The finish is long and penetrating. I would try
    • Such a delightful and elegant wine and in 2020 this is firing on all cyclinders – more ripe sweet apple rather than green apple that can happen in more austere vintages. In the glass the wine is medium gold which will get deeper and more orange as it ages (as it really likes to). The nose is enticing with aromas of all things apple – fresh, dried, tarte au pomme, pretty apple blossom – there is also pollen and a subtle fresh nut aroma that resembles white peach kernel. On the palate the wine is medium weight and dry, although there is a leesy breadth and fine-grained texture from its oak-ageing that gives the wine wonderful balance. Sommeliers take note – 100% Mauzac made with this degree of style is crying out for you to discover it. So versatile, it’s one of those rare wines that just loves to be
    • Fascinating new 100% Grenache Gris from the Languedoc’s  @domainegayda  , which is another fine example of this grape holding its own as a single varietal. It is a fresh, taut, punchy dry white with plenty of sharp, citric, mineral drive – and has the chutzpah to become a real sommelier’s favourite both in its construct and how it delivers, but also with collectors who can cellar for a couple or more years. Deep straw with green highlights it has a complex nose with a good degree of concentration – ripe citrus fruit with fresh herbs, saline and a lovely mix of sweet honeysuckle and a slight wisp of smoke. In the mouth the wine is medium weight, textured – crushed rocks, saline, lime peel, green apple and green plum giving it a bit of attitude – then a delightful salty lift on the finish which has you wanting another sip.
    • It’s not just the standout branding of GLUP! Rosado 2020 that is distinctive and playful. This 6-strong range of wines from Chile are all expressive, distinctive and made in a crunchy, gluggable style. Sourced from Grenache, Mouvedre and Pais vines in the Maule valley that are over 100 years old and grown on granitic soil, this is a field blend, whole bunch-pressed, aged in old French barrels for eight months and then bottled without stabilization, fining or filtration. The nose is pretty, with violets and fresh red and black fruit. In the mouth the wine is fresh with a good degree of tension and texture, the acidity is well balanced, and there is a ‘green’ crunch and herbal quality to the finish. This is one of six wines in this range from Vina Longavi, a joint venture between Chile producer Julio Bouchion and South African oenologist David Nieuwoudt from Cederberg.
    • Terrific to see Suduiraut branching out into dry white wines, although you couldn’t have picked a more tricky vintage than 2021. 52% Semillon/ 48% Sauvignon Blanc and aged 50/50 in vats and barrels (25% new) for 6 months, this is a clean, precise and refreshing wine made to be drunk young. In the glass the wine is pale yellow with green reflections, the aromas are a mix of pretty white blossom, just ripe orchard fruit, lemon grass and a touch of lanolin. In the mouth the wine is fresh, pure and clean, quite refined with the wood adding a fine grain of texture. Flavours are on the brighter side of citrus – fresh lemon, grapefruit giving it a leanness at the core and a decent length. This is a very elegant, classy Bordeaux blanc which will be interesting to watch as it develops as a project over time. This has
    • First 100-Parker point wine for this boutique, super-premium Napa estate, and it’s still in good shape – arguably at the peak of its drinking window with some years still left on the clock. Deep, dark purple with blood red edging; the aromatics are powerful, complex and heavenly with burnt black fruit, scorched earth, tapenade, meat; in the mouth the wine is polished, full-bodied, unctuous and mouth-filling, the tannins completely resolved – ripe black fruit, cassis, raisins – with a Port-like sweetness, finished nicely with a citrus tightness. It’s clearly a Parker wine but you don’t feel the near-16% abv in the balance of the wine, which is still in shape, more so in the hedonistic glow that follows a large glass or two. Quintessential old school Napa Cab.
    • This is a quality, award-winning Chardonnay from Canada’s Niagara Peninsula which will appeal to lovers of ripe, buttery Chardonnay – think cool coast California – but which has one foot in Burgundy. The team here has skillfully managed to measure the wine with bags of flavour but also with balance and freshness, creating a wine of finely-textured elegance. Winemaker Thomas Bachelder is an expert at making cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and this is in a sweet spot between New World terroir and Burgundian technique. The wine is fermented with indigenous yeast in 228-litre French oak (20% new, the rest 1-4 years old), undergoes full malolactic, aged for 16 months and then aged for eight months in bottle, allowing the mouthfeel and flavours to develop. Medium golden, ripe, intense pretty nose with honeysuckle, quince, ripe peach, and an attractive smoky toasty note; the palate is medium weight, textured, a
    • A new port category from the oldest port house in the world. Both 50-year-old white and tawny port were officially recognized last July, the liquid previously would have been released under the ‘Very Old’ category. And what a rare treat this white is. Deep mahogany/ amber in colour, it obviously has hugely complex aromatics – solera, burnt sugar, nut shells, Christmas spice, old noble wood. In the mouth it is rich, unctuous, oleaginous and opulent – delicious flavours of raisins, plums in rumtopf – what is so special is how fresh the port still is – fantastically well balanced and quite dry on the incredibly long finish. What a treat!
    • White wines from Italy are on such an upward trajectory – from the moment this amphora-aged Vermentino from IGT Costa Toscana hits the glass you just know it’s going to be fascinating. Deep shiny gold (this is a 2020 remember), the aromas and flavours are complex with saline, mineral and stony notes, white peach, nuts. It’s a dry wine that looks both aged and sweeter, with an attractive grapefruit pith, saline finish. Matched it with pan-fried halibut and mixed salad. It was fermented in concrete and aged in amphora, which allows the sense of the rocky Toscana coast to really express itself from the glass. A sommelier’s dream.