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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Valpolicella is another wine region that has started listening to the changes in consumer taste – from making big, bold extracted wines with immense concentration and alcohol, to wines with greater elegance and finesse. So how are producers changing style and what does this mean not only for Valpolicella but also the future of one of Italy’s greatest red wines, Amarone? Justin Keay talks to Stefano Cesari owner of Brigaldara and also discovers the part that expanded production in the region and how it is having a detrimental effect.
Tuscan wine royalty, Tenuta San Guido, releases Sassicaia 2021, the latest vintage of its true iconic flagship wine this February. The 2021, available through importers Armit Wines, has been eagerly anticipated following favourable vintage conditions on the rolling slopes of Bolgheri, towards Tuscany’s stunning western coastline. We sent The Buyer’s very own Italophile, Mike Turner, to taste the wines with Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta and find out more about what proves to be another much sought-after triumph for the team at Tenuta San Guido.
Sardinia, best known for blue seas, white sandy beaches and unlike the UK right now, warm sunshine. Located 150 miles off the west coast of Italy, Sardinia is the second biggest island in the Mediterranean. At around 9,300 square miles ‘Sardegna’ as the locals say is just fractionally smaller than Italy’s famous southern island, Sicily. Here Abbie Bennington reports on the exciting new wine and food scene on the island and a growing winemaking community.
To best understand the key trends, opportunities and pressure points across the super competitive UK on-trade sector, Wine Business Solutions has for over 15 years analysed and tracked up to 300,000 different wine listings on wine lists in venues across the country. Here its founder, Peter McAtamney, sets out some of the key lessons to be learnt from its latest Wine On-Premise UK 2024 report, shares his thoughts on what areas he thinks UK importers are doing well and where they need to quickly improve on – and what it was that made Boutinot stand out as its leading supplier of the year.