“Earthy, woody, mystical, intriguing and endless.” No it’s not a line from the start of a chapter in Lord of the Rings but how Dutch spirits company, De Kuyper Royal Distillers, describes its award winning Muyu Vetiver Gris liqueur that was named the best designed and packaged product to be entered into the 2021 London Spirits Competition. Here’s the back story to a brand that has not just caught the attention of the competition’s judges but bartenders across the world.
“When you think of representation, all it takes is seeing one person that looks like you doing something that you never thought was possible, to really start believing in your own potential.” This is how Jamele Favorite describes what it has been like for him to join Wine Unify, the US organisation that has been set up to give a voice to diversity in the wine industry and support racial and ethnic minorities get a foothold in the sector though education and mentoring. Here in a new series, in partnership with Wine Unify, The Buyer talks to Favorite about his career in wine and how his Music in the Bottle podcast is doing far more than give him a voice, but share his personality, love of wine – music and black culture – to a growing audience.
“It’s a fantastic accolade for a small family-owned winery in the Barossa to win on the world stage.” This is what it means for Australian winemaker Joanne Irvine to have been awarded the best overall wine in the 2021 London Wine Competition for her Levrier 2015 Anubis Barossa Cabernet. Here she explains the immediate response she has had to the news, with orders coming in from around the world, and what impact it has had on her and her small winery team.
To achieve a House style and avoid the vagaries of the sometimes inclement Hampshire weather, Exton Park’s new range of English Sparkling Wines owes more than a passing nod to Champagne. Exton Park RB, or Reserve Blend, is a range of three wines that are all non-vintage and made from up-to 32 different base wines. David Kermode had an audience with winemaker Corinne Seely to find out how she is aiming to make Exton Park “an English Bollinger” and to taste and rate the new wines.
“The opportunity for us in rum was trying to address why there is still plenty of opportunity in rum – a lot of people don’t understand it.” That’s the challenge that two former Chivas Regal executives, Patrick Venning and Laurent Lacassagne, set themselves when they decided to go it alone and set up their own micro craft business, the Brixton Distillery Company, and look to make their small, but significant mark on the still growing and innovating rum category. Jessica Broadbent heads to Brixton to hear their inspiring story.
La Jefa is a new 100% wood-fermented Malvasia from pre-phyloxerra vines in Toro. It is the latest wine in the Bodega Matsu portfolio (the wines that have close-up photos of farmers), a project that has been trying to prove that the Toro region can make wines of real finesse – and save 100+ year old vines in the process. Peter Dean attended the all-whistles-and-bells global launch of the wine, hears from CEO Richi Arambarri and chief winemaker Raul Ache, and tastes and rates La Jefa alongside the new vintages of the other three Matsu wines.
To an untrained eye a bar full of people is exactly that. Everyone there for the same reason. To have a drink and a good time. But to an experienced sommelier, bar manager or waiting staff team every customer is different and needs to be handled with care and a clear strategy on how to serve them, what drinks to suggest and how much information to give them. Knowing how to read your customers is one aspect of Harry Crowther’s new Grain to Grape training series designed to motivate all levels of on-trade sales teams.
Justin Keay has seen the future of real-life wine tastings and they should be hosted outside – weather and venue-permitting, of course. But they also need to be run as professionally as ‘French Spark’ was. This was a physical wine tasting held last week, hosted by Business France, which highlighted a range of French sparkling wines that have yet to find distribution in the UK. Keay discovered a 100% Petit Meslier (a rare white-skinned variety), an Aligoté/ Muscat blend from the Rhône plus plenty of Crémant de Bourgognes that were impressive as well as great value for money.
When Beyond Wines launched last summer they did so with the promise that they would break the mould of a typical wine supplier. A few months on and Alex Green and Matthew Johnson are living up to that pledge. They have hired a new brand manager from the fashion industry and have developed, from scratch, and launched a new wine brand, Liquid Diamond, that has been designed specifically to appeal to the Instagram generation of wine drinkers, and uses emojis as taste descriptors on the label. Richard Siddle catches up with their story.
The last time Roger Jones had a Mornington Peninsula tasting, he was the host and the local recycling centre had to work overtime. No rave this year but the Pinot Noirs were tasting just as exceptional, making the case once again, Jones believes, that these wines are arguably the best New World Pinots there are. Matthew Jukes was the compere to this insight into ‘Australia’s Pinot Coast’, Jones had an ‘access all areas’ ticket, and here tastes and rates eight of the best.