The news that Frog by Adam Handling has partnered up with Toku Sake this week, joining a growing list of premium on-trade accounts that are taking this new premium sake from Hokkaido, could not have been better timed. World Sake Day, which is being celebrated this weekend, is also the launch date for KANPAI, the UK’s first sake brewery which opens after its soft launch in London Bridge five days ago. Peter Dean talked with Toku’s newly-promoted COO Grace Hunt, tasted the liquid and wonders whether now is the time that the UK finally gets the premium sake bug.
There are only a couple of days left to get Super Early Bird entry rates for the 2023 London Wine, London Beer and London Spirits Competitions. Three separate events with a common goal. To identify, reward and then promote the wines, beers and spirits that consumers are most likely want to go out and buy. An awards programme that judges products on what they taste like, their quality, their value for money and what they look like. The winning combination for any successful drinks product. Here’s how to enter the 2023 competitions and take advantage of Super Early Bird Entry fees that close at the end of September.
Next month the Sherry Academy is supporting the trade with a special webinar aimed at giving wine professionals the chance to explore all styles of Sherry in an online tasting that will also act as an introduction to the free courses the CRDO Jerez hosts on the Sherry Academy online learning platform. The October tasting is also a chance for wine buyers, merchants, restaurants and wine educators to start to look ahead to the 10th anniversary of the official Sherry Week, which runs from November 6 to 12. Here’s what to expect at the Sherry Academy’s ‘Sherry 101: A Modern Guide & Interactive Tasting Experience’ on October 17.
Finding unique wines with a story to tell is the meat and drink of the on-trade. Few, though, are as good as Bibendum, argues Lisse Garnett, in unearthing idiosyncratic winemakers who like to push boundaries to the limit. To prove the point, the importer invited Garnett to visit one of the many jewels in its crown – the 13th Century estate of Alois Lageder, who is making biodynamic mountain wines in the fairytale world of Alto Adige, complete with Alpine cows in the vineyards and barrels of wine being played the music of Bach, from a wind-powered sound system no less.
Following the Australian rugby team’s humbling at the hands of the Welsh, it was a brave host at London’s Australia House last night that opened the door to Welsh ‘boi’ Roger Jones, still wearing his colours and a Cheshire cat-like grin from ear to ear – having hot-footed it from Lyon straight to the launch of Matthew Jukes 100 Best Australian Wines. This is one of Jones’ favourite nights of the year (when the Welsh aren’t playing) and here he explains why – picking out Jukes’ ability to award bouquets to entry level wines as much as ultra-premium.
“The consumer wants wine as their preferred alcoholic beverage. They just don’t know it.” That’s why Rob McMillan of the Silicon Valley Bank remains positive and optimistic about the future of the global wine industry despite the many challenges it faces. Here he shares his thoughts as the latest leading wine figure taking part in the Wine Future conference in Coimbra in Portugal in November.
With little in-depth knowledge of the wines of Chile, Justin Keay went along to the thin country’s annual generic tasting with an open mind and a set of pre-conceptions. Were the wines going to be power houses made with international grape varieties and produced in staggeringly high volumes? Not a bit. What Keay discovered was a wine scene that is clearly evolving, focusing more on regionality, freshness and tilting away from the old dependence on Bordeaux varieties; although it can still produce these very well indeed, especially at the premium end.
Ben Franks is “a shining example of the entrepreneurial spirit, which defines those who subscribe to the motto ‘Follow your dreams’.” That’s how Angela Mount describes the steps that Ben Franks, chief executive and founder of multi-award winning Novel Wines, and specialist importer of south and East European wines, has already achieved in such a short period of time. As he announces he is to step away from Novel Wines in the new year to concentrate full time on the Canned Wine Co, which he also co-founded, as chief commercial officer, Mount catches up with him to see where his wine dreams are going to take him next.
The Loire has been back with a bang this summer with its first Bloom Big tasting at London’s Southwark Quarter in June to help showcase all the styles of wines now being made in this key French region. To help mark the occasion and better understand what it is buyers and leading wine figures are looking for from the Loire, The Buyer teamed up with the event’s organisers, Loire Valley Wines, to host a special panel debate that looked at the challenges and opportunities the region faces and how its wines can continue to lead the world in producing lighter, fresh styles of wine that are now so in demand by wine buyers and wine drinkers alike. Helen Arnold reports back and picks out the buyers’ and producers’ key comments.
The Rioja wine board took its 100kms of Diversity tasting tour around the UK this month to help educate the trade about new developments within the Rioja region but also as part of a ‘levelling up’ process. Janet Harrison, founder of the People’s Choice Wine Awards, caught up with the Rioja tour on its Manchester leg, talked to importers, producers and wine buyers there, and discovered that there is an increasing need to tap into a wider wine-buying community – not just one that is centred around London. Top of the agenda was taking the focus away from ageing (Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva etc) and being able to discuss Rioja’s ‘terroir driven wines’.