Accessing aged, top end Bordeaux by the bottle, direct from the châteaux cellars at competitive market prices – Bibendum’s new Bordeaux Project solves many age-old problems for the on-trade, particularly around cash flow. For the châteaux it means a more direct relationship with the end consumer and increased listings in top restaurants. Mike Turner talks to Bordeaux-based negociant Pierre-Antoine Mairet from Compagnie Medocaine, Bibendum’s head of fine wine, Omar Raafat, and its head of Bordeaux sales Robert Mathias to discover how the project works.
There is so much talk about the so-called changes that consumers have been through during the pandemic, but what are they in reality and how relevant are they for the drinks, retail and hospitality sectors? That is what the third in our series of One Step Beyond webinars, organised in partnership with Sophie Jump, will look to tackle with experts from the fields of consumers behaviour, innovation, technology as well as leading figures in the drinks industry. Here’s what to expect and how to sign up to the free webinar being held on October 13.
2017 Barolo, 2018 Barbaresco & Langhe Nebbiolo from a selection of vintages were the focus of an outstanding tasting last week at Westminster’s Church House writes Chris Wilson. In a week when many questioned how safe some of the larger portfolio tastings were being run, this one was impeccable in both its safety protocols and also its mix of producers from the well known dons of the region to lesser known estates. In addition Wilson picks his top 10 wines from the region to have on your radar.
Ahead of the third One Step Beyond free webinar on October 13 we look back at some of the highlights from the second session earlier in the summer where our panel experts from the worlds of consumer insights, technology and innovation looked at some of the lessons we can take from lockdown and see how they might now be applied in our businesses and personal lives. Here we look at the world of wine through the creative eyes of Dan Cullen-Shute, co-founder of Creature London, that claims to “make game-changing advertising that real people can’t help but care about” and why he thinks the wine industry’s. most powerful and profitable customers are the people who drink wine, but don’t think twice about it. Attract their attention, he says, and half your battle is won.
In part two of our buyers’ debate on premium Italian wine in partnership with Banfi we turn the focus on two of Italy’s stars of its famous fine wines: Brunello and Super Tuscans. Just where do these bastions of wine styles now sit in the minds of buyers looking for fruit forward, fresh, approachable wines? What styes of Brunello are buyers looking to list? Are Super Tuscans enjoying a new lease of life as other fine wine styles price themselves off wine lists? Richard Siddle hosts and writes up the second part of our in-depth report.
Bancroft Wines may have added 60 new producers and increased by a third the amount of wines it represents, but it was the trimmed-down approach of its Snapshot tastings that appealed to Mike Turner. By pre-selecting wines that suit the region Turner, a Bancroft customer, felt that everything on show was suitable and the amount of wines to taste on the day of manageable proportions. He travelled to Edinburgh, one of three tastings Bancroft held, and picks for us nine wines that are either great value, worth a punt or an absolute stand-out.
2016 was generally regarded as one of the greatest modern vintages of Barolo and was always going to be a hard act to follow. But the 2017 Barolos from Mauro Veglio are still delivering an immense amount of pleasure, argues Geoffrey Dean, who hears first hand from the estate’s Alessandro Veglio how the winery is using them to spearhead a greater presence in the UK on-trade.
As life starts to return to normal for many countries, and the world begins to emerge from the pandemic, The Buyer is running a series of interviews with key, influential winemakers about the impact of Covid-19 on making wine. Most of the wine news in the past 18 months has been about output, distribution and consumption trends during the pandemic. We want to know from the people who actually make the wine how has their life been? what challenges they’ve faced as winemakers? and how they are having to adapt moving forwards? In this latest piece we talk to Ornelaia estate director Axel Heinz.
Representing over 80 vineyards and 110 members from as far afield as the Scilly islands to the large vine growing areas of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire WineGB West has some clout when it comes to setting trends, and having a voice for what is happening in the overall Great Britain winemaking sector. Here we talk to the body’s chairman, Guy Smith, who also runs his own English winery, Smith & Evans, about the work it does and also highlights from its recent WineGB West Annual Competition.
“I often refer to our division of Les Grands Chais de France as our best kept secret, hopefully that’s about to change.” That’s how Chris Davies, head of Famille Helfrich in the UK describes a business that can exclusively supply on-trade buyers and independent wine merchants an extensive range of wines from all from France and increasingly the rest of the world. Here Davies explains the important role that Famille Helfrich plays within the wider Les Grands Chais group and what buyers can expect from the two portfolio tastings it is hosting in Manchester and London in October.
A local neighbourhood is not the same without a good, friendly Italian restaurant with a long list of classic, well priced wines to choose from, but how popular are Italian wines across the premium on-trade as a whole? To find out The Buyer teamed up with traditional Italian producer, Banfi, to host a debate between leading UK on-trade buyers and sommeliers to assess their views on which styles of Italian wine are making it on to their lists, what they would like to see more of and also the chance to taste though a range of Banfi red and white wines to showcase what different regions can now offer UK restaurants and their customers. In part one of our debate we concentrate on Italian whites and opportunities for the country’s indigenous varieties. In part two, later in the week, we shine the light on Brunello and Super Tuscans.
Aussie Grenache is on the rebound, as it is across much of the rest of the globe. Exploited for so long as a workhorse grape for fortified wines and as a blending partner, it is now beginning to be better understood as a variety. In Australia, particularly in Barossa and McLaren Vale, it is being re-planted in profusion with crush prices reaching an all-time high. Grenache is simply on-trend and to prove it Wine Australia asked Sarah Ahmed and Mark Pygott MW to each pick three wines from Barossa and McLaren Vale to better understand how Grenache is experiencing premiumisation. Justin Keay brings his own views to the table and confesses to being very impressed by the wines and also the standard of the presentation.
Agustin Trapero has enjoyed a wide and varied career as a sommelier that has taken him from three star Michelin restaurants to running the entire beverage offer at the new Four Seasons Hotel in Madrid. Here he looks back on his career and reflects on what he thinks it takes to be a top sommelier and what are the vital ingredients needed in order to create the right wine list for the right venue.
October’s launch of Exton Park RB45 is the completion of the new quartet of wines from this influential English estate – joining a trio of reserve-based wines that were launched this April. 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 four wines that are all multi-vintage and made from up-to 45 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. Peter Dean visits the virtual launch of the RB45 and provides full tasting notes.
Born to be on stage Tom Sandham and Ben McFarland – aka The Thinking Drinkers – have been twirling rather more of their thumbs than they would have liked over the last 18 months. But it has also given them time to write. A lot. They have pulled together a new live show – the Thinking Drinkers Quiz Show – that kicks off tonight in Lincoln and will travel around the country for the next eight months. They have also written The Thinking Drinkers Almanac, their own tribute to the wonderful world and history of alcoholic drinks, which also shows they do do actually know quite a lot about the drinks they have fun with on stage. Here Tom Sandham explains what it is all about.
It was one of the hottest days of the year and it was hotly anticipated – the day WineGB held its first showcase trade and press tasting since you-know-what. Chef and sparkling wine expert Roger Jones went to catch up with some old faces and to see how the British wine industry is continuing to evolve and excel, but it was also an opportunity to discover some new wineries and plenty of new cuvées. Whitehall Vineyard was a new producer, specialising in still wines, sparkling champ Dermot Sugrue had some impressive new cuvées, and Hattingley’s still wines were just some of Roger’s many highlights. And how about Multi-Vintage as a more positive way of describing Non Vintage?
The first face-to-face international wine fair organised in Europe and the United States in 2021 will take pace between November 22 and 23 in Amsterdam as the World Bulk Wine Exhibition returns for what will be an even more important show as it will be the first time that producers and key wine buyers will have had to get together, taste wines and get down to the business of buying and selling wine. Here is what to expect at this year’s event.
Fischer’s at Baslow Hall in Derbyshire won yesterday’s Gosset Matchmakers Final 2021, with its young sommelier and chef team judged to have made the perfect two dishes to match Gosset’s Grande Blanc de Blancs and Grande Reserve. Our drinks editor Peter Dean had a ringside seat to capture the rising tension as five of the UK’s best up-coming teams battled it out to see who had the chops when it came to pairing with Champagne. And who knew that caramelised celeriac was the perfect foil for a Blanc de Blancs?
Setting up a winery in Romania after the fall of the Ceausescu regime was a masterstroke for Cramele Recas co-founder Philip Cox and his fellow directors. It has allowed him to build a winery of scale with state-of-the-art equipment, using a mix of bought-in and estate fruit, with more and more hectares of vine planted with indigenous and international grape varieties. The wines are quality and value-driven and with the eight that Cox has selected to represent the 2020 vintage, there is a wide mix of fascinating blends and winemaking techniques that play to a mainstream audience, at the same time as pushing the envelope in key areas.
When it comes to managing costs and stock levels in a busy restaurant or bar then keeping on top of your wine wastage is paramount as sommeliers and managers battle with ways of keeping opened bottles of wine fresh between service. Well here’s a new idea that, for less than £5, claims it can potentially transform how you manage your wine programme. Sayv is a new wine preservation system that uses argon gas to keep wine fresh. Here its founder David Parrot explains how it works and why he hopes it can make a big difference to on-trade operators.