Is it collusion between wine judges and producers? Shifting public taste? or Australian winemakers wanting to make wines in a style that speak more of their grape varieties and their ancient soils? These were some of the ideas posited during an illuminating and entertaining Wine Australia webinar entitled Ancient Soils – Contemporary Wines: Yarra Valley Chardonnay, hosted by Max Allen. Peter Dean had a virtual ringside seat and got to taste six of the best Yarra Valley Chardonnay, that reflect today’s more balanced, contemporary style.
“It’s an absolute joy to be involved in this. It’s one of, or maybe the best food and wine pairing competitions there is in the UK.” High praise indeed, but that’s how respected wine critic and broadcaster, Sarah Jane Evans MW, describes the international Copa Jerez Competition which has seen the chef and sommelier team from The River Café win the UK heat and go towards the grand final in Jerez later this year. Here Evans and fellow judge Matthieu Longuère MS describe how the competition works and you can look to make and enjoy the winning three course menu and sherry pairings for yourself.
A wine that costs £11 and has won the Tre Bicchieri award six times – sound too good to be true? That’s what Geoffrey Dean thought until he tried the Nero d’Avola Cartagho from Mandrarossa in a 6-strong wine tasting. A collaboration between Alberto Antonini, Mimmo De Gregorio and Pedro Parra, this Sicilian estate is just about to open its own winery 22 years after its first wine, as it moves from its cooperative origins to a wine producer focussed on single-site cuvées.
In just under 40 years the number of wineries in Washington State has risen from 20 to over 1000, with another four new wineries opening every month. The region now has 16 AVAs with three more in the pipeline which is resulting in new terroir and opportunities for winemakers, argues Justin Keay. Although Cabernet Sauvignon is still king here, white grapes are increasingly important, and new styles of winemaking are evident that is seeing a movement away from high levels of oak, tannin and alcohol.
Now the on-trade is back open again, albeit with the handbrake on held back by social distancing rules and rule of six, on-trade operators and their drinks suppliers can actually put hard plans in place to attract and keep customers in their outlets. Here we examine the latest findings from KAM Media and Zonal on what bars, pubs and restaurants are going to have to do to appeal to the switched on, digitally driven, happy at home consumer.
The People’s Choice Drinks Awards are back with news that for its 2022 competition it is splitting out its wine and spirits awards into separate events to allow each to have the spotlight they deserve as they continue to grow and add more categories. The event has also introduced a new ‘Find My Wines’ search function on the site which allows consumers and the trade alike to search through past winners and shortlisted wines to find the most suitable wine for a particular drinking occasion or need. Here awards founder Janet Harrison explains why the changes are being introduced and why she is looking forward to bringing consumers and trade judges back together in person again for this year’s events.
Champagnes from the solar year of 2012 are open, accessible and approachable and the new Dom Pérignon Vintage 2012 is no exception. At yesterday’s launch, Dom Pérignon’s cellar master Vincent Chaperon explained how the quality of the harvest throughout the region allowed him and his team to create a Champagne which shows real contrasts in the blending. And this was despite the difficulties of the winter temperatures, frost and Spring hail. Peter Dean has an audience with Chaperon and tastes the new wine.
Anyone who has ever put on a wine tasting or drinks exhibition will have had sleepless nights that no buyers actually turn up. That was actually the case for Pascal Fernand when he first started what has gone on to become the successful APVSA – Association for the Promotion of Wines and Spirits in North America. Here he shares the story of how he built the organisation event by event, one grower and buyer at a time, to the point where it is now hosting events all over Canada and the US including a new series of virtual fairs during Covid-19 and what he has in store for the upcoming digital wine and spirits fair being held between June 28-30 which he hopes will attract buyers from all over the world.
When Edetària’s estate blend achieved the top of the classification pyramid in Spain, last January, it was a sign that Catalonia’s DO Terra Alta was at last getting the highest recognition for its wines. This oft-forgotten corner of Spain is a treasure trove of winemaker-led, smaller operations, focused on quality, narrative and terroir, as Ines Salpico discovered when she tasted six of the region’s benchmark wines from LaFou, Edetària, Josep Vicens, Altavins, Heréncia Altés, and Xavier Clua.
It’s been a rollercoaster 15 months for any drinks business, but few have been hit, pulled, stretched, and then literally brought back from the dead like Jascots Wine Merchants. A business that pre-Covid-19 had a successful business model as a 100% dedicated on-trade supplier. A strategy that was ripped up from under its feet once the pandemic struck. Managing partner, Miles MacInnes, explains in candid detail just how close it came to going to the wall, and how it has been transformed in a matter of months under the ownership of Freixenet Copestick.