Whether he’s plunging his arm into a just-fermenting open barrel of bubbling Grenache, bounding across the arid La Roque vineyard where his beloved 80 year-old Carignan vines grow, or pouring samples of the seven wines he produces under the Domaine of the Bee label, Justin Howard-Sneyd is a man with boundless enthusiasm – a Master of Wine who’s found his ultimate vocation. Peter Dean popped down to meet him for lunch in the Roussillon town of Maury to find out how the year’s been and how he’s getting ready for harvest.
Training and consultancy support are so often some of the first things to go when businesses are forced to make cut backs in difficult times. But here in our latest Onwards & Upwards article to give a voice to those in the trade looking for new opportunities, Harry Crowther makes the case for why now training has never been more important in hospitality to help operators get even more out of the assets – their wines and spirits – through the skills and quality of their staff.
The wines of ‘new Chile’ demand a fresh look by wine buyers if the 16 best new Chile wines selected by Tim Atkin MW are anything to go by. In a two-part 3-hour tasting review, with 16 winemakers beamed in from around Chile, this superb session showed off the freshness and diversity of the wine styles that have undergone a sea-change here. Gone were the heavy, oaky, rich, sweet wines of yore and in their place were 16 wines with less extraction and reduction, and more of a sense of place. The sessions also showed how far Zoom tastings have come in six months – punctual, technically faultless with the wines showing well. Peter Dean reports.
“We refer to our wines as ‘Next World’ as they are somewhere in between the ‘Old’ and ‘New’ world in style with tremendous elegance and distinctiveness.” That’s how Paul Beavis the new head of Iconic Wineries of British Columbia describes the unique styles of wine being made by the shores of the lake that dominates Canada’s Okanagan Valley. Beavis will be well known to the wine trade for the 20 years he spent steering Champagne Lanson’s success in the UK and internationally, but, as he explains, the draw of this wonderful, and largely undiscovered, part of the world was a new challenge he is so excited to take on.
With a father from Burgundy new Veuve Clicquot chef de cave Didier Mariotti was clearly at ease talking about the new Pinot Noir-led prestige cuvée La Grande Dame 2012 at its launch yesterday. Even though the wine ‘is not his’ and neither was the decision to increase the amount of Pinot Noir in the mix to 90%, he clearly values the decision, going into some detail with Anne Krebiehl MW about where the fruit is sourced from and why, the use of bitterness on the finish and also how important the shape of the glass is. To emphasise this point LVMH sent out two different glasses with the tasting pack so that Anne could taste the difference.
Wines from all over the world were willing to put themselves to the test in the hope of being selected as one of the top trophy winners in what is the IWSC’s 51st year. Here we reveal the Top 30 wines that the competition’s elite group of judges selected from the thousands of wines entered that they believe deserve a trophy of their own with particular standout wins for France, Australia, Hungary, South Africa and England.
“I still suffer from Imposter Syndrome. I often wonder why this is? I have a great job and get great feedback from guests and colleagues alike. I know that I have worked hard and deserve to be where I am. Yet I realise that I am not, and never will be, part of the inner club of wine – the boys’ club – that still dominates the wine industry.” This is just one of a number of hard hitting, and thought provoking sentences in this must read article from sommelier Amber Gardner who shares what it is like being a woman working in what she experiences as being very much a man’s world. She also questions what is being done to foster the talent and the hard earned skills being learnt by sommeliers and hospitality staff when they want to move on from the restaurant floor. Where can they go? What can the industry do as a whole to help not just women feel more comfortable, respected and wanted in this sector, but what opportunities are available for their male counterparts too that can keep them all in the drinks and hospitality sectors they have given so much time to.
So what can the North Americans teach us Brits about gin? Well, quite a lot as it happens, as Victor Smart found out when he tasted a range of contemporary American gins under the careful tutelage of top barkeeper Christy Pope. Juniper takes a back seat and other botanicals come to the fore like kumquat, cinnamon, nutmeg, bergamot oil and cucumber. Maize is often used as the base spirit and get the alcohol levels… a cool 92% abv in the case of one barrel-aged spirit.
As we all grapple with finding the right ways to talk about and sell ourselves online, The Buyer’s new Digital Hub looks to take a look both inside and outside the drinks industry to see what we can learn from others. This time round we look at the kind of technology that works and is needed in hospitality; why Amazon wants to attract luxury brands; how we can now sell on Instagram IGTV; and what we can learn from Walmart’s new digital-first store concept.
Grenache has never historically been a grape to hog the limelight as a monovarietal wine. There are exceptions, but it has mainly been blended with the likes of Syrah, Carignan, Tempranillo or Mourvedre to add acidity, colour and tannin to it, and has traditionally found its place in the Rhône, Rioja, California and Australia. But the McLaren Vale Grenache is challenging many preconceptions, argues Mike Turner, who tastes 12 of these 100% Grenache wines and gives two thumbs up to all 12. Here he gives the 5 reasons he thinks you should get McLaren Vale Grenache into your life and lists his Top 3 wines from the tasting.