The Listrac-Medoc is one of the smaller and less renown Bordeaux appellations and home to Château Clarke that is celebrating its 50th birthday by having a €18 million facelift funded by its owners Baron Edmond de Rothschild and the Edmond de Rothschild Heritage group. The results speak for themselves and put the estate in a position to fully maximise the potential of its land and the Rothschild name, according to Boris Bréau, managing director of Edmond de Rothschild Heritage Wines, who tells Abbie Bennington the work being done at Château Clarke reflects the strategy of the group at all its estates around the world.
Whatever happens in the race one thing is for sure the Ferrari name will be celebrating on the winners’ podium at this weekend’s inaugural Las Vegas Formula 1 Grand Prix. The event is arguably the pinnacle of the Lunelli Group’s bold decision to partner with Formula 1 and have its Ferrari Trento sparkling wine as the “toast” for every Grand Prix held around the word. Here Abigail Bennington sits down with the Camilla Lunelli, the producer’s head of communications, to look back on how the sponsorship has gone, and reflects on another major deal – the signing of Champagne winemaker, Cyril Brun to the group.
South Africa is rightly praised and respected around the world for how far its wines have come in the last 20 years, but it is still not seen as a major fine wine producing country. Vilafonté is looking to change that. A high-end South African wine brand, based on premium Bordeaux-style blends that, in its own words, has “an uncompromising determination to produce wines which stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the great wines of the world”. To help prove the point, and to set the scene for the imminent release of the 2021 vintage, it recently held a 21-year vertical tasting of every vintage of Vilafonté Series C all the way back to 2003 at a special event in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The invited tasters could go at their own pace, aided and abetted by head winemaker, Chris de Vries. Malu Lambert was one of those invited to attend and here she catches up with Mike Ratcliffe, one of the co-founders and lead champion of the Vilafonté brand, where they discuss ancient terroir, new irrigation technologies, the state of fine wine in South Africa, and his 100-year plan.
A heritage Champagne producer with a history of family ownership dating back to the 17th century and a County Durham-based wine business, established in its founders’ front room 40 years ago, might not – at first glance – seem to have much in common, but a meeting at ProWein between Famille Moutard and Lanchester Wines has inspired a new partnership, built on a shared family ethos, which promises to surprise and delight in equal measure, with a distinctive and different range of top end Champagnes and on trend Pet Nats, as David Kermode reports.
As spirits go Calvados is as sustainable as they come as it only requires apples, water and bees for pollination. A drink that stretches back to the 16th century from the rolling hills of Normandy, France, where apple orchards stretch as far as the eye can see and wooden barrels await to turn those bountiful apple harvests into Calvados, the world’s favourite apple brandy. As we look to celebrate World Calvados Week here’s what you need to know about what Calvados is all about.
There have been many estates in recent years that have tried to push rosé into the premium category, but few have been as successful as Château D’Esclans, Sacha Lichine’s Provence estate that is in the final throes of a takeover by LVMH. To try and unravel some of the secrets of its success, both with Whispering Angel and its super-premium wines including Rock Angel, Château D’Esclans, Les Clans and Garrus, The Buyer’s Victor Smart travelled to St Tropez to meet up with global marketing director Paul Chevalier and taste and rate the new wines.
Les Grands Chais de France certainly lives up to its name when you consider it has producers and vineyards in every major region of France and can supply buyers with every possible style of French wine. But it does not tell the full story. For this is a still very much a family business that is becoming a “Grands” player in an increasing number of countries around the world, including South Africa, Chile, Spain, Germany and Hungary. Here we talk to Chris Davies, UK sales director for the on-trade and independents, about how it hopes to bring all aspects of Les Grands Chais de France to what is its third Private Wine Day and a chance to wines from across its growing portfolio in London on October 17.
It’s nearly 40 years since the Tua Rita brand and estate was founded on the back of just two hectares of vineyards in the heart of Tuscany. It’s now in a position that it has to release its wines en primeur into key markets around the world – most noticeably the UK through Armit Wines – as demand for its high 90+ Super Tuscan wines increases every year. Richard Siddle talks to owner Stefano Frascolla about how far Tua Rita has come and what he hopes its wines can offer the premium on-trade in the years ahead.
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.
Inspired by tasting Michel Chapoutier’s biodynamic wine at ProWein in 2019, Ukrainian winemaker Ihor Petrenko set out to make his own biodynamic wines at the Biologist winery close to Kyiv. He has followed a hard but hugely rewarding winemaking journey since. His conversion to biodynamics is a story that is also the inspiration for this award winning article by Victoria Makarova in the biodynamics category in the WebWineWriting competition organised by Hungarianwine.eu. A story we are pleased to share for you on The Buyer.
The world over winemakers are increasingly turning to the benefits of working with old vines helped enormously by the research, insights and leadership of initiatives like the Old Vine Project in South Africa and the Old Vine Conference. One of these winemaking pioneers is Derek Mossman Knapp and his Garage Wine Co in Maule in Southern Chile who is taking the old vine movement one step further by not just reviving old vineyards, but doing so in a way that ensures the local rural community also has a long term source of sustainable income. He explains to Richard Siddle why working hand-in-hand with old vines and local communities are ineluctably entwined.
‘The new luxury’ is the tack being taken by LVMH to make sustainability synonymous with desirability – ensuring that its luxury goods will be lapped up by eco-savvy millennials. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the thinking behind Galoupet, the ultra-premium Provence rosé brand it acquired four years ago. Victor Smart travelled to rosé country, talks to managing director Nadine Fau-Santucci about the changes since the buy-out and samples both the new 2022 vintage and the just-pressed juice of the 2023 wine.
Launching a new brand into such a competitive market as the drinks industry takes some doing, but when you find out a former colleague has come up with virtually the same idea makes you think you might be on to a winner and becomes a little less daunting to embark on. That was the case for Laura Riches and Laura Rosenberger when they saw the gap for a premium boxed wine brand and Laylo was born. Here Laura Riches explains how they have made their idea such a success.
Journey’s End is now operating under full solar power. This estate on South Africa’s Western Cape made the decision and investment based on the increasing problem of ‘power outages’ and is one step towards becoming fully ‘off grid’. Geoffrey Dean talks to Mike Dawson about how this affects a winemaker, along with the other initiatives Journey’s End is undertaking in its drive to become fully sustainable – then runs through the estate’s latest wines.
If you are looking to benchmark wines around the world, then a country’s ability to make Pinot Noir on a consistent, quality basis is a good place to start. It’s certainly been how New Zealand has been able to capture and cement its position as a premium wine producing country. But when we think of New Zealand Pinot Noir all too often we think of the region first – Martinborough – rather than what producers are doing with their own single vineyard Pinot Noirs expressions. Which is why Oliver Styes was so pleased to taste and hear about the new range of single vineyard wines from Ata Rangi – whilst also raising a glass to #PinotNoirDay.
Christophe Congé, the managing director of Saint-Estèphe fourth growth Château Lafon-Rochet, has only held the post for 18 months and is already helping his small team achieve some lofty ambitions. The estate wants to emulate the success of Calon-Segur and will get there over the next 5-10 years by making higher quality, terroir-driven wines. First the team has to learn more about the terroir, invest in the winery infrastructure, apply science and fully convert to organic viticulture, a process that will complete next year. Leona De Pasquale met up with Congé and director of the estate’s new co-owner, Emmanuel Cruse to learn more and taste a vertical of Lafon-Rochet that dates back to 1996.
Lenz Moser clearly does not like to sit still for long. With serious wine projects already well underway in China, Hungary and his home country, Austria, he has now struck a new partnership with Portuguese winemaker, Pedro Ribeiro from the highly respected Herdade do Rocim in Alentejo. They have now come together to make their own blended style of Arinto, one of Portugal’s flagship white grape varieties, which Moser believes could have global appeal not only for the style of wine, but for the ultra light weight bottle they have used to package it in – as he explains to Richard Siddle.
“I think it’s a great tragedy so much wine is marketed to a price and not a quality, or a value. Whenever you do that you undermine a market because you don’t allow investment in it, you don’t allow development in it, you don’t allow things that are going to generate interest in it.” That’s the fundamental problem that Sir John Hegarty, one of advertising’s brightest stars, believes is holding back the wine industry. In part two of our fascinating, in-depth interview he sets out the issues facing the sector, the steps it needs to take to start fixing them, and also shares his insights into what makes a great brand and marketing campaign, and how all businesses can benefit from driving a creative culture across their company.
Levi’s 501s, Audi and Domaine de Chamans? What’s the connection…and the odd one out? The answer is advertising legend Sir John Hegarty. The man who helped create iconic campaigns for a whole raft of brands that became even more household names on the back of the adverts he helped devise. It’s hard to look at an Audi without saying ‘Vorsprung Durch Technik’ in your head. Which leaves Domaine de Chamans as the odd one out as it is the first brand – that comes from the vineyard and property he owns in the Languedoc – that Hegarty has created himself and is now in the rather more unusual position of having to market, advertise and tell the world about. Which is what brought Richard Siddle to visit him in the Soho headquarters of his new creative early stage investment company, Garage Soho, to talk business, innovation and wine.
“We spend all day around gin, our consumer spend a lot less time and engage a lot less frequently. The category needs to remain simple, grounded and approachable.” Which is what Paul Sullivan hopes they are achieving with the 6 O’Clock gin brand that is achieving multi channel listings and success across supermarkets, multiples, specialist independents and increasingly in the events arena too. Here he explains how he thinks 6 O’Clock gin stands out in the crowded gin market and what the category needs to be doing to maintain and grow sales.