Having worked for Corney & Barrow for 24 years it’s fair to say Chris Hodgson knows everything there is to know about selling wines into the premium on and off-trades. But as sales director of Corney & Barrow’s separate Scottish and north of England division, he, and his team, also need to be on top of what their restaurant, bar and private customers will be looking for next. Here he talks to Richard Siddle about the changes he has seen in the Scottish and north of England’s on-trade and private client scene over the last two plus decades and how having a dedicated Scottish and northern team has been crucial in how Corney & Barrow has been able to serve and build such long standing relationships across its thriving restaurant, bar and private customer sectors.
It has long been the mission for Australian wine producers to sell more of their premium wines in leading restaurants around the world. But are wine buyers and sommeliers listening? To assess the potential for premium Australia in the UK market, The Buyer teamed up with Wynns Coonawarra Estate, part of Treasury Wine Estates, to show a range of its wines, and ask leading sommeliers what they see as the key opportunities and challenges for premium Australian wines in their venues. It was also the chance to shine the spotlight on the region of Coonawarra, home for Wynns and other leading family producers in Australia, and explore the distinct styles of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz it is producing, and the influence and impact of its unique terra rossa soils.
Retired Michelin star chef and Champagne lover, Roger Jones was at the launch of Gosset Celebris 2008 hosted at the Zari gallery, which uses the proceeds of the gallery as a platform for teaching medics and health professionals around the world. There Jones tastes and rates the latest Gosset Celebris accompanied by incredible food supplied by Luciana Berry.
Moët Hennessy’s first World Living Soils Forum held in Arles in the south of France recently was billed as a “catalyst for action” in how the wine industry treats and looks after the soils that are at the heart of winemaking all over the world. It was a chance for some of the world’s leading voices and influences on climate change to come together and explore how we as a sector can do more to understand our soils and protect them. Rupert Joy had a ringside seat to all the action at this breakthrough event.
Bryant Family Vineyard is a Cabernet Sauvignon first released in 1992 which quickly established cult status alongside fellow Napa wines from Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle. From biodynamically-certified Bryant Estate, the wine is made entirely from estate fruit and has picked up more Parker points than many vignerons have had hot dinners – including four 100-pointers… release price is also First Growth territory. But the new team led by Bettina Bryant and winemaker Kathryn Carothers seems less fazed by points and prices than by making balanced wines that speak of the place they come from, as Peter Dean discovered when he had lunch with them and tasted through the range including some impressive library releases.
Sarah McCleery recently returned from a deep-dive exploration of the Roussillon – finding out what makes it tick, tasting a range of terroir-focused wines that are using organic, biodynamic and sustainable agricultural practices, and spending time with the people who are making these wines. In Part 2 of her special report she focuses on a dozen Roussillon wineries that are making exceptional wines, many of them outstanding good value, and which should be considered for your list.
“New York finds itself well positioned for the zeitgeist, with the right vinifera varieties for fresh, taut, mineral-driven wines, a loyal fan base, room for expansion, a reasonably ready supply of water, no wild fires, and solid foundations to withstand the pressures of global warming.” That’s why an increasing number of buyers are looking to start their journey into US wine on the east rather than more familiar west coast and see what the buzz about New York State wines is all about. David Kermode helps set the scene…
“When it comes to Zweigelt, a light hand on the tiller is required… think Pinot rather than Pinotage, Valpol rather than Calpol,” writes Chris Wilson who discovers at a Zweigelt tasting at London’s Trivet that us Brits may not be landing the best examples of these wines on these shores. Dirceu Vianna Junior MW hosted the event and he is keen to ensure that we do chime with the grape – but that means us getting the best examples from the best regions.
In part one of our buyers debate into the possibilities for Victoria wines in the UK our panel was united not just in their praise for the state’s quality of wine, but for its diversity, value for money and the fact it is effectively 21 mini regions all wrapped into one. For the second part of our report we open up the conversation to look at how Victoria compares and contracts to what is available across the rest of Australia and what our panel think our the country’s main opportunities and challenges.
The Villa Maria Icon and Single Vineyard ranges were the focus of a special tasting lunch that was held to mark the 60 years since Sir George Fistonich first started one of the most successful wine brands in the Southern Hemisphere. Chantelle Nicholson’s new restaurant Apricity, a troupe of Maori dancers and a new addition to the Icon range The Attorney 60th Anniversary Pinot Noir were all part of the celebrations. Chef and wine expert Roger Jones had a ringside seat.
The London Wine Fair is back! After a three year forced absence the London Wine Fair team can finally re-open the doors to London Olympia and welcome the UK and international wine industry once again. Here Richard Siddle explains why it is so important for the UK drinks industry as a whole that we have a healthy and thriving trade fair that can provide the platform for us all to get back to doing business together face to face. Whether you are an exhibitor or a visitor let’s look forward to a great show.
“Victoria is my ‘Desert Island’ wine region.” That’s according to Victoria Sharples, founder of London’s Swains Wine Bar and Store. It was a view part shared with other leading wine buyers who took part in The Buyer’s latest online debate in partnership with Wine Victoria. It was a chance for them to discuss what they see as the opportunities – and potential challenges – for the region in the UK as well as taste through a selection of wines that represent what are some of the most diverse terroirs and micro climates to be found anywhere in Australia. In the first part of our report we look at what it is about Victoria that makes it stand apart from other regions and the fact it is the strength of some of its 21 sub-regions that has given it so many talking points. In the second part of our report published later in the week our panel looks at where Victoria sits within Australia as a whole.
Back, after a two year absence, was the annual Wines of Canada tasting in London which was the perfect opportunity for Justin Keay to discover first-hand how the Canadian wine scene has changed since its last generic outing – and it all seems to be going in the right direction. Nova Scotia is becoming more than a one-trick pony, Pinot Noir is getting stronger and 10 wineries, in particular, stood out for him as ones which should be on your radar.
At £30k a bottle In Bond, Liber Pater 2018 is the world’s most expensive (and controversial?) wine – a Bordeaux red made with rare, ungrafted varieties in the style of Nineteenth Century claret. To launch it, Birley Wine Club hosted an extraordinary evening pouring the 2015 alongside other rare wines. Peter Dean joined Neal Martin and winemaker Loic Pasquet at a once-in-a-lifetime event to taste Bordeaux in the same way that Napoleon did.
There has been much debate in the wine industry in recent times about how it can become more diverse and inclusive. But what steps are really being taken to make sure every wine business, big or small, is doing what it can? As we get ready to come together as a sector after so long at next week’s London Wine Fair we go back to this article written in March 2021 by wine writer and commentator, Sophia Longhi, who looks to champion women through her Skin & Pulp brand, and her work across social media and in the trade. Here she sets out why having a more diverse and inclusive workplace would actually make for a stronger, more secure industry as a whole.
The vagaries of the climate are what makes a vintage unique and 2021 certainly brought a host of unpredictable weather events that left their mark on last year’s Pays d’Oc rosés. The frosts of April were just one of the challenges that vignerons faced here but they have risen to the challenge to produce an incredible range of creative rosés that are more delicate and pink than usual. Elizabeth Gabay MW reports on Pays d’Oc Rosé 2021.
Just when you thought the football season was over….it’s not. Tomorrow night Wembley stadium is hosting a match between Argentina and Italy, respective winners of the Copa América and the European Championship, as they compete for the Conmebol-UEFA Champions Cup. To mark the occasion members of Argentina’s 1986 World Cup winning football team have come together with Mendoza Vineyards to produce a range of exclusive wines, one of which will be served at the Wembley final, and then made available to the trade to be sold.
Set within a natural amphitheatre created by mountain ranges, the ancient Southern French wine region of Roussillon is a land of diverse wines made by a rising tide of pioneering winemakers keen on making their mark organically and sustainably. In this first part of a 2-part series Sarah McCleery travels to the region to discover first hand how the region is changing. In Part 2 she picks the wine estates that need to be on your radar. Here she gives an overview of what makes the Roussillon such an unique and special region.
“The secret of great e-commerce is not technology. It’s not the best platform or even the most complex algorithms. The secret is ‘digitizing the human experience’.” At least that’s what the team at Pix, the new online wine discovery and search platform, is striving to achieve with its new platform that uses machine learning algorithms to give its customers an increasingly tailored and personalised experience. But it also uses humans too as there are just some things that computers – at least up to now – can’t do.
Clos des Mouches is one of the mythical walled vineyards in Burgundy with the influential Maison Joseph Drouhin owning half of it. Restored back from ill health, the vineyards are now at the peak of their powers as chef and wine expert Roger Jones discovered when he was invited by Frédérick Drouhin to join him for an exclusive lunch to celebrate the centenary of their ownership.