The World Bulk Wine Exhibition is all about business – and proudly so. This is arguably the most commercial, and to the point trade event in the world, where there is little or no time for small talk with producers and buyers alike keen to get down to the business of selling and buying wine. It’s also home of the International Bulk Wine Competition and a great opportunity for producers to have their wines independently judged and presented as key wines to buy at the show. Here’s how you can enter this year’s competition.
We have become used over the last year to have just about anything delivered to our doors. But a carefully crafted classic cocktail made by a top Italian mixologist? Well, why not thanks to the team behind NIO Cocktails that are not only pushing premium drinks through our letter box but have come up with unique packaging that makes it possible. Richard Siddle finds out how from founder Luca Quagliano
Often neglected because of Furmint, its more famous parent, Hárslevelű is due its ‘time in the sun’, argues Hungarian wine world expert Caroline Gilby MW. Hárslevelű is blended into acidic Furmint to build the mid-palate, making the wine longer and deeper, but curiously the other way round and just a small percentage of Furmint will overwhelm Hárslevelű’s unique varietal character. Tokaj’s high percentage of women winemakers are also playing a strong part in building back Hárslevelű’s reputation and are responsible for many of the grape’s most exciting interpretations.
Australia, along with neighbouring New Zealand, have arguably been the most successful countries in the world in being able to control, contain and keep its borders as safe as it can from Covid-19. But it also means its people are effectively grounded for the short to medium term at least. Which means no Australian winemakers roaming the world telling their stories for months to come. Which is why Wine Australia has set up Connect, a new platform to essentially take its producers, its stories and its wines around the globe through a new 12 month digital platform. It’s as ambitious as it sounds as Richard Siddle finds out from Stuart Barclay, general marketing manager.
The Bordeaux 2020 en primeur campaign is underway and comparisons are already being drawn between 2018-20 and that other excellent trilogy of vintages 1988-90. Early indications are that it is a Right Bank year with Merlot, and the soils that dealt with fluctuating water tables, helping to produce the best wines. Here Corney & Barrow’s Bordeaux buyer Guy Seddon looks at the quality of the wines, the growing season, anticipates the pricing and gives a nice bit of insight into the psychology of the Bordelais.
As the UK’s on-trade starts to put the final lick of paint on its preparations of finally re-opening bars, restaurants, pubs and hotels inside next week, industry leaders have shared both their excitement at the demand there is amongst customers to enjoy a night in hospitality from next Monday, but also their fears that for many it will only be putting some Polyfilla on cracks that are too big to fix overnight. Richard Siddle reports on the last month’s London Wine Fair on-trade debate.
Once famed purely for its high-toned, nervy Riesling, the Finger Lakes region of New York State has been branching out. Although the region is small by international standards, its many micro-climates are facilitating experimentation with Grenache, Syrah and even Rkatsiteli. Justin Keay had an audience with Christopher Bates from Element Winery, Meaghan Frank from Dr Konstantin Frank Winery and Oskar Bynke from Hermann J Wiemer who showed Keay their Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Gewürtztraminer respectively.
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The last year of lockdowns and restrictions across the hospitality sector has been brutal for so many companies that have gone out of business through no fault of their own. Yet, amidst the decimation, some have innovated and risen, as Braden Saunders at Doghouse Distillery beautifully describes, like a phoenix from the ashes. Battersea-based Doghouse Distillery has worked hard to keep innovating and make sure it has the right brands and spirits to come out the other side. It has even found time to launch its own whisky. To get the finer details Jessica Broadbent caught up with Saunders, Doghouse Head Hydrator who founded the distillery with his wife Katherine in 2018.
When Giorgio Lungarotti passed away in 1999 he left his Umbrian winery in the capable hands of his wife Maria Grazia and their two daughters Chiara and Teresa. Together they have helped put Umbrian wine on the international wine map – but it has not been easy. Teresa was one of the first female oenologists in Italy while company CEO Chiara found that she was the only woman in the associations of which she was a member. Their style is individual and uncompromising and their wines, including the famous Rubesco, reflect the unique terroir of Umbria in all its power and elegance.
The big spirits brands do everything they can to catch our attention with their high profile, big budget advertising campaigns. But what really counts is what the top bar staff, bartenders and owners think are the best brands to have on their lists. Which is what this list of the top scoring spirits voted for in the 2021 London Spirits Competition is all about. The brands that achieved the four highest scores – 96, 95, 94 and 93 – in an event only judged by professional bar staff.
Having just published An Opinionated Guide to London Pubs, with a second book – Modern British Beer – in the works, it’s safe to say Matthew Curtis knows a thing or two about what makes a good pub, and the kind of beer it should be selling. Fiona Holland talks to the freelance writer and photographer, who by day is busy putting together his drinks website, Pellicle, about what long term impact he sees Covid-19 having on the British pub and beer industries.
While recent fashion dictates that rosé is a wine that is only salmon pink and to be enjoyed al fresco, served from an ice bucket, the Tavel rosé wines are an altogether different beast. These are not for those looking for delicate aperitif rosés, but are more serious wines, preserving their heritage and just as happily paired with winter food as a summer salad. With skin contact ranging from 12 to a more traditional 72 hours, Tavel rosés have more colour, weight, structure, firm minerality and hint of tannin, compared to their Provencal counterparts. World rosé expert, Elizabeth Gabay MW, tastes a range of 30 Tavel rosé to highlight their different styles.
Today we profile the Top Gold Medal winning wines in the 2021 London Wine Competition that scored the three highest level points – 96, 95 and 94 – in this year’s event. These are the wines that stood out even within the Gold Medal class. Each wine in the competition is judged for its quality, its value for money and what they look like with their packaging and design, and are assessed by professional buyers with direct buying responsibility in their roles.
Australians have been trying to sell us beer for as long as Paul Hogan was in short trousers. But the 3 Ravens Brewery in Melbourne has a slightly different take on the beer scene than our friends at Foster’s. It is very much about capturing the irreverent Australian personality in its beers, but matching it with authentic, local ingredients that gives the brewery an ever changing range of quality, but quirky craft beers that have gone down a storm at home and now want to make it around the world, including the UK, explains general manager Nathan Liascos.
Bling gift boxes for luxury cuvées will be a thing of the past and Dom Ruinart is happy to be the first major Champagne house to ditch them in order to reduce carbon footprint, says chef de cave, Frédéric Panaïotis; “The time for action is now.” Speaking at the 50th anniversary launch of Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 2009, the morning after the devastating April frost, Panaïotis wants consumers to understand the effect climate change is having on the future of the region as well as how it affects the style of the Champagne they are drinking. A deep dive into the 2009 vintage, and the decisions he and his team have to make during increasingly early harvests made for enlightening and sobering listening. Peter Dean had an audience and tastes and rates the new cuvée in full.
Even a business as seemingly entrenched and successful as Origin Wine, one of the world’s most respected and successful wine producers, making wine in South Africa and South America and creating brands that sell the world over, has had to take serious action in the last 12 months to respond to the challenges thrown down by Covid-19. A key part of that response has been working with experienced winemaker and consultant, Clem Yates MW, on developing bespoke blends and wines for customers when buyers have been unable to travel, as Richard Siddle reports.
The second Cape Fine & Rare Auction takes place on May 22 with a 200-year old bottle of sweet Muscat de Frontignan hogging all the headlines. But it is not just Groot Constantia’s bottle of Grand Constance 1821 that makes this year’s event worth registering for. A new tasting panel, a new set of criteria and overall set-up has ensured that the range of wines on offer and the quality level has never been higher. Geoffrey Dean talked to leading South African wine critic Michael Fridjhon,
Cathy van Zyl MW and François Rautenbach about why wine buyers should tune in this year, what’s on offer and how the auction delivers a captivating slice of South Arica’s continually evolving wine history.
We might not have physically gone very far in the last year, but as people and as consumers we are all very different in what we want and expect from our favourite brands and businesses than we did before March 2020. Just how far we have changed was at the heart of the first One Step Beyond webinar for 2021, organised by The Buyer and Sophie Jump, that attracted delegates from 24 countries around the world. In the first write up from the event Richard Siddle looks at the big changes in consumer behaviour that Alex Ririe, director of The Collaborators, the brand consultancy business, thinks we need to be on top off coming out of lockdown.
To many, Donnafugata is a byword for Sicilian wine, such is the company’s reach and influence. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year the company has 410 hectares of vines spread across five estates on Sicily, all with their own vinification and ageing facilities, and all producing wines with a mix of international and indigenous varieties. To highlight the wines from their most recently established winery on Etna, brother and sister owners, Antonio and José Rallo held a tasting to show the 2018 vintage, along with the spectacular work they are doing in their single vineyard sites.