The London Competitions have been designed to only reward those drinks brands that show they truly understand their target customers, and the price category they are operating in. It’s why the separate London Wine, London Beer and London Spirits Competitions have been set up to assess products in three key ways: their quality; their value for money; and their packaging and design. Here’s how you can take part in the 2022 awards.
The Buyer has once again teamed up with the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships – the only global event dedicated to the two categories – to announce the winners for the 2021 event. Throughout the week we will be revealing the different medal and trophy winners starting today with the Best in Class certificates that represent the stand out Gold medal winning entries in their category. Over the course of the next few days we will also be announcing Regional Trophy winners, National Trophy awards and World Champion and Special Trophy winners.
Mirabeau Gin started with a Eureka moment in a car park after de-alcoholising a low abv rosé, and it has gone on to become one of the fastest-growing premium gins on the planet. Now the focus is on expanding into the premium on-trade with ex-Seedlip COO Emma Wykes leading the charge. Co-owner, Stephen Cronk, explains how his Provence-based rosé winery has managed to find a gap in the market and why the world actually does need another gin… just don’t call it ‘pink’ OK.
Last week’s sherry extravaganza Copa Jerez 2021 culminated in the final of the international sherry-pairing competition, with Belgium’s chef/ sommelier duo from Paul de Pierre winning the coveted top prize. The standard and inventiveness of this ninth edition of the biannual event was staggering, writes David Kermode, who also attended the event’s conference on key future developments in the world of sherry, visited estates, gala dinners and tasted… well, quite a lot of sherry actually.
Despite the part Covid-19 lockdown in Amsterdam, wine buyers and producers from around the world will be chomping at the bit to get back to doing business face to face – albeit behind a protective mask – next week at the World Bulk Wine Exhibition. None more so than Mark Roberts, director of sales at Lanchester Wines and Andrew Porton, co-founder of The Wine Fusion, who will also be taking part in the extensive conference programme. Here they examine the pressures, challenges and opportunities facing buyers looking to source wines for 2022.
Part One of our special Campania report covered the thoughts of leading importers, merchants and sommeliers on the wines of southern Italy in general, and then specifically the white and red wines of Campania and why they are so different. Here we focus specifically in on the range of wines from our debate partners and independent local producer, Donna Elvira Wines, to highlight what our buyers think of the potential of Greco, Fiano, Falanghina, and Aglianico .
When a former Michelin Star chef weeps with joy over a sparkling wine lunch he is served, and when he is also a Champagne and sparkling wine judge, then you know you have to sit up and take notice. Such was the case with Roger Jones and Ca’ del Bosco Cuvée Prestige Edizione 44, which was launched over a 3 Michelin Star lunch from Helene Darroze at The Connaught. Not only was this new release of the legendary Franciacorta on song, but so were two older vintages, a late disgorged version plus the unexpected delights of a premium, still 2016 Ca’ del Bosco Chardonnay and a Bordeaux blend red called Maurizio Zanella 2018, after the estate’s charismatic owner, who hosted this extraordinary event.
“We are all united by our stories and change can only happen when we are aware of the efforts of others and see women in leadership roles.” Those are the words of Deborah Brenner, who has more than lived up to this pledge with the work she has done founding Women of the Vine & Spirits which has gone on to become a global platform and networking organisation to promote and drive better diversity and inclusion in the wine, beer and spirits industry. Here she explains how a book she wrote 15 years ago championing greater diversity and inclusion is just as relevant and important today.
Cairanne and Lirac, like Ventoux, are two appellations in the Rhône that are getting recognised for the increasing quality of their wines and the value for money they afford, compared to their more illustrious neighbours. In order to sample some of the best Cairanne and Lirac wines available in the UK, and to prove how they work with food and younger drinkers, Helena Nicklin of the Three Drinkers was enlisted to give them a spotlight at London’s trendy Gods Own Junkyard. Victor Smart reports.
Campania may not have the profile and prestige as other wine regions in Italy but it can match, if not better, many of them when it comes to packing a punch in terms of wine, food and tourist appeal. For this stretch of south west Italy is famous for its stunning Amalfi coastline, bursting with pride for its amazing cuisine, and the beating heart of Naples that encapsulates the excitement of the region. But how well known are its wines amongst leading UK wine buyers? To find out The Buyer teamed up with local and fiercely independent wine producer, Donna Elvira Wines, to invite a panel of leading wine buyers, importers, wine merchants and sommeliers to talk through the region’s potential and taste wines that hopefully capture what Campania is all about.
Top Bordeaux oenologist Hubert de Boüard was in London with daughter Coralie to demonstrate how far the wines of their Lalande de Pomerol project, Château La Fleur de Boüard, have come over the past couple of decades. The region has always been one of Bordeaux’s best-kept secrets, offering wines that can compete on the world stage at substantially less money that its illustrious neighbours Saint-Émilion and Pomerol. Peter Dean tasted two flights of flagship wine La Fleur de Boüard and Le Plus, and wondered if these could be the wines that could finally explain Bordeaux to a generation of younger drinkers?
The Craft Drink Co does what it says on the tin. A business set up to help promote and sell craft drinks, primarily across the west, south and central England. Founded by Richard Chamberlain it now has around 160 craft drinks products in its portfolio across all the major drinks categories, from soft drinks, beers, ciders, wines, to spirits, and is looking to widen its net into the north of the country. Here he talks to Richard Siddle about what makes one craft drink stand out from another.
With nine DOCs, each with their own unique climate and soil conditions, it is important to taste across a wide range of wines from Lisboa in order to fully understand its potential in the UK. Which is why in Part 2 of The Buyer report, in partnership with CVR Lisboa, we share the insights from our sommelier and importer panel as they taste and discuss wines that demonstrate the diversity of what Lisboa can offer and how it is using both international and indigenous grape varieties in an increasing number of blends.
Although the French market took up the slack, exports of Champagne Drappier’s 13 cuvées fell by 20% during the pandemic, writes Geoffrey Dean. Tasting five of the new wines with Charline Drappier, Dean discovers why a famous French leader fancied a tipple of it, how organics are playing an increasingly important role, sulphites less so, and why it is Pinot Noir that “runs through their veins” – taking the largest percentage of all bar one of its cuvées.
Lyme Bay Winery is one of the emerging number of English wine producers that are making their name making still rather than sparkling wines and by sourcing grapes from five different sites across the south of England it is well placed to provide a consistent, quality supply to the premium on-trade and specialist retail sectors. Here we talk to managing director and winemaker, James Lambert, and head of sales and marketing, Paul Sullivan, about their growth plans and how they hope a new distribution deal with Bancroft Wines will help take them to the next level.
Boutique wineries were always the missing part of the Chilean wine scene – that is until the advent of MOVI. A small band of artisanal winemakers, MOVI is an association that has now grown to 34 estates and its influence is spreading as members show the world a different side of Chilean winemaking. This is not about wealthy families with hundreds of acres of international varieties but about individual, hand-crafted wines. Peter Dean tried a selection and recommends eight that are worth putting on your radar – some of them are a whole lot of fun too, as he explains.
For his latest wine project the award-winning winemaker, Lenz Moser has returned to Austria to team up with one of the country’s fastest rising stars, Markus Huber, to create a new wine they believe will help re-invent Grüner Veltliner, one of Austria’s most important grape varieties, and potentially introduce it to new drinkers all over the world. Richard Siddle caught up with Moser to understand just why he is so excited about New Chapter Grüner Veltliner and what makes it so different.
To celebrate 850 years of winemaking, Austria’s Schloss Gobelsburg hosted an historical tasting in London with a focus on its single vineyard Ried Heiligenstein, tasting vintages as far back as 1971. Journalist and winemaker Chris Wilson attended for The Buyer and writes tasting notes on every vintage, as well as hears from winemaker Michael Moosbrugger what makes this site one of Austria’s most revered terraces. Taking over viticultural duties in 1996 from the Cistercian Monastery of Zwettl, which still owns the estate, Wilson says there is a noticeable uplift in quality from that date. Just don’t let the monks hear you saying that…
There has never been greater interest and demand amongst world travellers to visit Portugal with the country named as the Best World Destination and Best Tourist Destination in Europe between 2017-2020 (World Travel Awards). High on the list of places is the capital city of Lisbon with its historic tram-filled streets packed with tourists. Yet the city’s wine region – Lisboa – is not as well-known as other Portuguese areas even though it covers nine quality DOCs. To help better understand the different styles of wine being made in Lisboa and their opportunities in the UK, The Buyer teamed up with CVR Lisboa, the region’s wine Regulatory Council, to host a panel debate with a leading panel of sommeliers and specialist UK wine importers who were able to share their insights on Lisboa, together with two of the region’s key producers, as well as taste a selection of wines that represent what the region can do.
Somewhat under the radar given its quality, Castello di Vicarello is the premium red wine from the Maremma Toscana estate of the same name, a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. First made in 2004, Peter Dean got a rare chance to taste a vertical of the 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015 vintages with the percentages of the varieties never changing and the vineyard planted to the exact same proportions as the blend in the ancient Tuscan albarello training system.