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    Tasting: Wine
    Red Bandol

    Elizabeth Gabay MW: How Mourvèdre comes of age in red Bandol wines

    It used to be that red Bandol wines were like Bordeaux and Barolo – magnificent as they get older but big and tannic in youth. The tannin management with these wine has changed, however, with more exact harvesting dates, better understanding of extraction and working with wood for the obligatory 18 months in barrel. To see how the style has changed and to also explore how and when secondary flavours develop, Elizabeth Gabay MW tastes a range of red Bandol from the current vintage on the market, 2018, back to 2011 – recommending which wines should be on our buying radar.

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    People
    Simon Thorpe MW ceo of WineGB

    Simon Thorpe MW on how WineGB is all set to grow to the next level

    Simon Thorpe MW could not have chosen a better time to take the reins at WineGB as its new chief executive officer – other than the not so insignificant factor of being in the middle of a global pandemic. A quick look at any stat or fact about English wine and the numbers are all going up – and fast. Be it the number of total vineyards, vines being planted, or bottles being sold both in the UK and around the world, then WineGB is on a roll. So no pressure then. As this year’s English Wine Week celebrations and promotions are in full swing he sits down with Richard Siddle to set out the body’s main objectives and targets for an industry that is as diverse and varied as it has ever been, with tens of new wineries coming on board, joining the long list of trail brazing producers that have done so much to lay the foundations on which Thorpe and his team hope to build on. 

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    Opinion
    tom harvey yesmore

    YesMore’s Tom Harvey: How drinks brands can make a success of DTC

    If you are one of the many drinks companies that have gone online in the last year and started selling direct to consumer you might want to grab a coffee and read on. Here Tom Harvey, co-founder of the specialist drinks marketing agency, YesMore, gives what he says are the four key pieces of advice any brand, retailer or business selling anything DTC need to be 100% on top of if they are going to carry on with a successful e-commerce model.

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    Tasting: Wine
    ES 6 Long Read

    “I don’t want to make ‘interesting’ wines!”: Roland-Billecart 3 years on

    Since taking over the helm of the family estate, Champagne Billecart-Salmon, Mathieu Roland-Billecart has primarily focused on maintaining the standards expected of this revered estate. There has been a programme to cope with the effects of climate change, a number of key changes to the wines, but central to it all has been a tasting committee that blind-tastes every parcel at every stage of its evolution. On the launch of the stunning Elisabeth Salmon Brut Rosé 2008, Peter Dean has an audience with Mathieu, gets to hear about some of the inner workings of the estate and provides a detailed breakdown of the vintage, technical specifications as well as reviews the new wine in full.

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    People People: Supplier
    fredericks jesus madrazo

    How Frederick’s helps producers target customers and markets

    The Buyer continues its series looking at wine suppliers and importers that are finding their own added value way to introduce new wines and producers to different channels of the wine market by asking Guy Smith and Stuart Bowman-Hood to put their heads above the parapet to explain how their producer first approach works at Frederick’s Wine Company in securing key, long term, contracts with major retailers, and on-trade operators.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Spanish white wines

    Getting under the skin of eight new premium Spanish whites

    Spanish white wines are worth any serious wine buyer’s attention and so it proved when Geoffrey Dean tasted through a range of eight new premium whites that included four single varietals – Godello, Verdejo, Albariño and Chardonnay – and four blends. From a range of the country’s wine regions, the tasting was part of the Spanish Wine Academy, the three year-old initiative from Haro-based producer Ramón Bilbao, that is attempting to educate trade and consumers alike about the quality and range that can be found in the country.

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    Insight
    Wine remains the most popular alcoholic drink in the on-trade since the re-opening of the sector. Photo Joey Nicotra on Unsplash

    CGA & The Buyer report: How the on-trade can overcome Covid-19

    CGA’s new ‘Overcoming Covid-19’ is the fourth and final edition of the 2021 series of Wine Insights Reports produced in partnership with The Buyer. It is arguably the most comprehensive analysis of the impact that Covid-19 has had on the on-trade, consumer spending behaviour and the performance of the wine category in particular in relation to all drinks categories across the last 15 months. It looks at the impact the pandemic has had throughout the 2020 lockdown on the on-trade and then sets out the roadmap the sector is likely to follow in the months to come as it plots its way out of social distancing, the rule of six and gets back to full on trading.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Millésimes Alsace

    David Kermode: ‘all the fun of the fair’ at all-new Millésimes Alsace

    Millésimes Alsace, the biennial celebration of wines from Alsace, was another fair to go digital this year. There are certain signs, thinks David Kermode, that this could become a future format for the event – with talk about carbon footprint saved and ‘Digi-tasting’ being trademarked. So how did the tasting element work? Spread across three days, with 400 wines from 100 producers on offer, was this as good as the real thing? Kermode gives his views as well as picks out 10 wines that were showing particularly well.

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    Insight
    Photo by Antonino Visalli

    One Step Beyond to focus on post-pandemic consumer

    We might have had our fill of 90 minute events come the end of the Euro 2020 football champions next month, but here’s news of an alternative way of spending 90 minutes with the second One Step Beyond webinar, co-hosted by The Buyer and Sophie Jump, to be held on July 12 that will once again share the insights and expertise of leading figures in consumer behaviour, technology and innovation, both in and outside the drinks, retail and hospitality sector. Here’s what to expect from those 90 minutes.

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    People
    Liz Gabay 1

    Elizabeth Gabay MW’s Guide to the rosés of Southern France

    Wine snobbery is one of the reasons that rosé is still not taken seriously as a wine, argues Elizabeth Gabay MW. She confesses to initially keeping her distance but then a work assignment grew and grew until she has now become one of the world’s leading specialists in the field. In order to fill the void created by cancellation of wine shows she has just launched a ‘Buyer’s Guide to the Rosés of Southern France’ in which she blind-tastes over 1,000 rosés from over 35 different grape varieties. In an in-depth interview she tells Peter Dean the thinking behind the guide, which are the estates and grape varieties to keep an eye on, plus gives The Buyer readers a special discount.

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    Insight
    q and bond 2 use

    LWF Debate: How technology can transform your business and staff

    If the Covid-19 lockdowns have taught us one thing it is the importance of being able to adapt a business to new circumstances and consumer behaviour shifts. That implies efficiently run operations, logistics and supply chains. How you are able to do that as effectively as possible has also, finally, opened the door for business management providers and their specialised computer systems that are designed to improve wine companies’ operations, improve visibility and transparency of their own drinks’ supply chain and open up business development opportunities. Quite how they do that and what potential benefits they can bring to the wine industry was the theme of a far-ranging debate with key operators at last month’s digital London Wine Fair, reports Richard Siddle.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Yarra Yarra Chardonnay Long Read

    How Yarra Valley Chardonnay has found a better sense of balance

    Is it collusion between wine judges and producers? Shifting public taste? or Australian winemakers wanting to make wines in a style that speak more of their grape varieties and their ancient soils? These were some of the ideas posited during an illuminating and entertaining Wine Australia webinar entitled Ancient Soils – Contemporary Wines: Yarra Valley Chardonnay, hosted by Max Allen. Peter Dean had a virtual ringside seat and got to taste six of the best Yarra Valley Chardonnay, that reflect today’s more balanced, contemporary style.

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    Awards
    copa jerez river cafe winning Long Read

    How River Café came top in the UK Copa Jerez Competition 2021

    “It’s an absolute joy to be involved in this. It’s one of, or maybe the best food and wine pairing competitions there is in the UK.” High praise indeed, but that’s how respected wine critic and broadcaster, Sarah Jane Evans MW, describes the international Copa Jerez Competition which has seen the chef and sommelier team from The River Café win the UK heat and go towards the grand final in Jerez later this year. Here Evans and fellow judge Matthieu Longuère MS describe how the competition works and you can look to make and enjoy the winning three course menu and sherry pairings for yourself.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Mandrarossa

    Geoffrey Dean puts the Sicilian wines of Mandrarossa to the test

    A wine that costs £11 and has won the Tre Bicchieri award six times – sound too good to be true? That’s what Geoffrey Dean thought until he tried the Nero d’Avola Cartagho from Mandrarossa in a 6-strong wine tasting. A collaboration between Alberto Antonini, Mimmo De Gregorio and Pedro Parra, this Sicilian estate is just about to open its own winery 22 years after its first wine, as it moves from its cooperative origins to a wine producer focussed on single-site cuvées.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Washington State Long Read

    Justin Keay on the fast pace of change in Washington State

    In just under 40 years the number of wineries in Washington State has risen from 20 to over 1000, with another four new wineries opening every month. The region now has 16 AVAs with three more in the pipeline which is resulting in new terroir and opportunities for winemakers, argues Justin Keay. Although Cabernet Sauvignon is still king here, white grapes are increasingly important, and new styles of winemaking are evident that is seeing a movement away from high levels of oak, tannin and alcohol.

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    Insight
    gogglebox laughing

    How to attract ‘happy at home’ consumers back to the on-trade

    Now the on-trade is back open again, albeit with the handbrake on held back by social distancing rules and rule of six, on-trade operators and their drinks suppliers can actually put hard plans in place to attract and keep customers in their outlets. Here we examine the latest findings from KAM Media and Zonal on what bars, pubs and restaurants are going to have to do to appeal to the switched on, digitally driven, happy at home consumer.

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    Awards
    people choice wine awards smiling

    People’s Choice Drinks Awards to run two separate competitions

    The People’s Choice Drinks Awards are back with news that for its 2022 competition it is splitting out its wine and spirits awards into separate events to allow each to have the spotlight they deserve as they continue to grow and add more categories. The event has also introduced a new ‘Find My Wines’ search function on the site which allows consumers and the trade alike to search through past winners and shortlisted wines to find the most suitable wine for a particular drinking occasion or need. Here awards founder Janet Harrison explains why the changes are being introduced and why she is looking forward to bringing consumers and trade judges back together in person again for this year’s events.

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    Tasting: Wine
    vxvxv

    Why the new Dom Pérignon 2012 is a classic vintage in every sense

    Champagnes from the solar year of 2012 are open, accessible and approachable and the new Dom Pérignon Vintage 2012 is no exception. At yesterday’s launch, Dom Pérignon’s cellar master Vincent Chaperon explained how the quality of the harvest throughout the region allowed him and his team to create a Champagne which shows real contrasts in the blending. And this was despite the difficulties of the winter temperatures, frost and Spring hail. Peter Dean has an audience with Chaperon and tastes the new wine.

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    People
    pascal fernand apvsa screen

    Connecting buyers & producers at the APVSA’s Digital Fair

    Anyone who has ever put on a wine tasting or drinks exhibition will have had sleepless nights that no buyers actually turn up. That was actually the case for Pascal Fernand when he first started what has gone on to become the successful APVSA – Association for the Promotion of Wines and Spirits in North America. Here he shares the story of how he built the organisation event by event, one grower and buyer at a time, to the point where it is now hosting events all over Canada and the US including a new series of virtual fairs during Covid-19 and what he has in store for the upcoming digital wine and spirits fair being held between June 28-30 which he hopes will attract buyers from all over the world.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Terra Alta

    Discovering Catalonian gems in the wines of DO Terra Alta

    When Edetària’s estate blend achieved the top of the classification pyramid in Spain, last January, it was a sign that Catalonia’s DO Terra Alta was at last getting the highest recognition for its wines. This oft-forgotten corner of Spain is a treasure trove of winemaker-led, smaller operations, focused on quality, narrative and terroir, as Ines Salpico discovered when she tasted six of the region’s benchmark wines from LaFou, Edetària, Josep Vicens, Altavins, Heréncia Altés, and Xavier Clua.

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