We continue our journey around the world with the IWSC’s panel of judges who have been visiting, tasting and assessing wines in their countries and regions where they come from by travelling to Margaret River, in the capable hands of Libby Brodie, who was part of the team of wine buyers, importers, merchants and consultants who were able to see for themselves just how far one of Australia’s increasingly premium wine regions has come in recent years.
When Pays d’Oc Chardonnay shot to prominence in the 1990s, it owed much of its recognition to the New World producers, particularly in California, who had spearheaded the concept of varietal wines, taking the native French grape and infusing it with a new level of extroversion. Key to this was the role played by oak, which became closely associated with Chardonnay in the public imagination – and followed the grape back to Pays d’Oc as it rode the waves of international market trends.
The Listrac-Medoc is one of the smaller and less renown Bordeaux appellations and home to Château Clarke that is celebrating its 50th birthday by having a €18 million facelift funded by its owners Baron Edmond de Rothschild and the Edmond de Rothschild Heritage group. The results speak for themselves and put the estate in a position to fully maximise the potential of its land and the Rothschild name, according to Boris Bréau, managing director of Edmond de Rothschild Heritage Wines, who tells Abbie Bennington the work being done at Château Clarke reflects the strategy of the group at all its estates around the world.
Viña Valdivieso’s flagship brand, Caballo Loco (meaning “Crazy Horse” in Spanish) has recently launched two new wines. Head winemaker Brett Jackson and Caballo Loco co-founder Christian Sotomayor were recently in London to unveil the brand new white wine Caballo Loco Blanco N°1 and Caballo Loco N°20, the celebrated multi-vintage red blends, now in its 20th edition. Leona De Pasquale met with Jackson to uncover the secrets behind the brand’s three-decade success and to delve into the creation of its inaugural white wine.
The Online Tasting Company believes its high-tech wine pouches can now match the traditional cork and bottle for quality. Its ecoSIP 100 ml packaging is also a whole lot cheaper, greener and more transportable. This innovative tech’s most immediate impact is to make serving small portions of wine much more feasible, opening the way to get drinkers to sample more expensive wines. Naked Wines is already doing just that with the launch of a 24-wine Advent Calendar priced at £89.99. But can you tell the difference between a wine from a pouch and the same wine from a bottle? Victor Smart went along to an innovative blind-tasting to find out.
Wine Scholar Guild is widely regarded as the pioneer in online wine education and the leading provider of specialised certification programs on the wines of France, Italy, and Spain. With a network of over 130 schools in 30 countries and an online community of over 10,000 alumni, it has set its bar to facilitate one of the highest qualified wine certifications in the world with an instructor/ contributor list that reads like a Who’s Who of wine educators. All the more impressive given Wine Scholar Guild has been going for less that 20 years after it was set up by a 23 year-old Frenchman, Julien Camus, living in the US. Despite this success, Camus has maintained a low profile, something Christian Holthausen wanted to set right when he sat down with him to discover more about the story of how it was set up, how it operates, the new website overhaul and where Camus sees wine education heading.
Major wine buyers’ eyes will be either in, or on Amsterdam this week as the wine industry comes together for the 2023 World Bulk Wine Exhibition. A time of the year when so much of the mass volume of wine being traded around the world is being sold, negotiated and bought. This year’s event could not come at a more opportune time as producers the world over scratch their heads to see what they can make from what the OIV estimates is the lowest global harvest in 60 years. It has put even more focus and pressure on the bulk wine market as leading retailer, distributor and importer buyers look to secure not only their wine supply for the coming months, but pin down larger volumes of lower abv wines, particularly for buyers looking to service the all changing UK duty market. Former leading supermarket buyer, Angela Mount, talks to many of her peers in the sector to share their views on what they see are the big opportunities and challenges in the global bulk wine market.
Just as news was announced that 2023 is the second spectacular vintage in a row in Burgundy so Louis Jadot unveiled its Burgundy 2022 En Primeur offering in London through UK importer Hatch Mansfield. In stark contrast to the disastrous 2021 vintage, when hardly anyone had any wine to sell, 2022 came as a relief, delivering outstanding quality and quantity. However, the soaring demand has kept prices firmly anchored on the elevated end of the spectrum. Leona De Pasquale spoke with Louis Jadot’s managing director, Thibault Gagey, for an overview of this much-anticipated vintage.
Whatever happens in the race one thing is for sure the Ferrari name will be celebrating on the winners’ podium at this weekend’s inaugural Las Vegas Formula 1 Grand Prix. The event is arguably the pinnacle of the Lunelli Group’s bold decision to partner with Formula 1 and have its Ferrari Trento sparkling wine as the “toast” for every Grand Prix held around the word. Here Abigail Bennington sits down with the Camilla Lunelli, the producer’s head of communications, to look back on how the sponsorship has gone, and reflects on another major deal – the signing of Champagne winemaker, Cyril Brun to the group.
Try and name the wines of Piemonte and, after Barolo and Barbaresco, you might be scrabbling for names. And yet there are 60 denominations in the region with vinous treasures there often overlooked by wine buyers – be they red, white or sparkling wine. In a fascinating new book, The Wines of Piemonte, Italian wine expert David Way tries to set the record straight by examining this region of great diversity which is still remarkably unexplored. In an in-depth interview Way tells The Buyer’s Peter Dean why he is drawn to the region, what is new and exciting here and what are the under-the-radar producers that we should be keeping a close eye on.
Greek wines are very much the talk amongst discerning wine buying circles with enterprising and ambitious wine merchants, sommeliers and importers alike all looking to seek out new and interesting wines to take on. Which is where the 50 Great Greek Wine Awards can help identify the producers to be targeting. Here event organiser, Yiannis Karakasis MW, explains how it works and how he hopes it can play an important part in spreading the increasingly good news about Greek wines.
It has taken a decade for Ricasoli’s new baby San Barnaba – a white wine made from 100% Trebbiano – to reach commercial standards. And sommeliers should be welcoming it with open arms, writes Peter Dean, who heralds it as yet another great new Italian white wine – and one that proves the Trebbiano naysayers as wrong. In a tasting at Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner with Ricasoli chief Francesco, Dean also tastes the full range of premium reds from this estate that is the fourth oldest in the world
Whether you’re from retail or the on-trade, you will have heard one phrase coming up again and again when South African wine is discussed: “Bang for buck!” South Africa has long sealed its reputation for value for money, particularly at entry level. That, we can all agree on. But, things get more divisive when we start discussing quality at a premium level: can South Africa compete on a world stage with the greats? After a six-day trip to judge more than 560 wines in situ from across the country, the IWSC team of judges were more than impressed at their findings. One of those judges, Sophia Longhi, shares what they learnt and picks out some of the highlights from the IWSC South African wine awards.
The Languedoc Tour was the latest event held by trade body CIVL to shout about the uniqueness of the Languedoc, its history, its terroirs and the personalities making the wines. Rupert Millar took part, talked to producers and tasted through their ranges – six of which he turns the spotlight on and explains what makes them so special. With so many sub-regions vying for attention – which could be the next Picpoul de Pinet?
It’s said getting wines listed in key restaurants is all about relationships, usually between the importer and sommelier or head of wine at any particular venue. But there are times when the usual rules of engagement go out of the window, particularly when you have the personalities of Martin Williams, chief executive of Rare Restaurants, that includes the Gaucho Group and M Restaurants, and Ken Forrester, founder of South Africa’s Ken Forrester Wines involved. They have formed a friendship as well as business relationship which has culminated in them working together on a bespoke wine that Forrester has made for Williams called ‘The Rare Barrel’ made from one of the few plots of Mourvèdre in South Africa.
As climate change continues to alter the way in which wine is produced across the world, wine regions that had previously been on the edge of the climatic range for viable grape growing are now enjoying greater recognition for high quality and consistency. To that end, the winemakers of New Zealand and the state of Oregon on the USA’s North-West coast believe themselves kindred spirits. Both sets of wines were on show together earlier this month at the Wines From The Edge tasting in London. We sent The Buyer’s Mike Turner along to find out why these two distant regions consider themselves close neighbours and pick some of his favourites from the fine line-up on show. The Buyer’s Roger Jones, who was also at the tasting, picks the wines that floated his boat.
If you compared the competitive world of national wine and drink distributors to the grid of Formula 1 teams then Enotria&Coe, by its own admission, would not be in pole position. In fact, it could be said to be taking a quick pit stop, according to its new chief executive, Julian Momen, as it looks to regroup, retune, and upgrade its engine to help regain its leadership position. Here, in his first major set piece interview, he sits down alongside chief financial officer, Steven Lindsay, who joined the company in February, to set out their new vision for the business and how they hope to re-energise Enotria’s people, products and processes to ensure its customers and producers receive the level of service and support they need and deserve. It makes for a fascinating insight into the new strategy, driven by business management disciplines picked up from other FMCG and industry experiences, that they hope will positively enhance the way Enotria&Coe operates.
That was the week that was – Sherry Week, of course – and to help celebrate and discover how one restaurant approaches this international event we sent Victor Smart along to live through the Ibérica Sherry Experience – where every style of sherry is matched with different tapas. But would the staff get the level of education right? After all nobody wants to go back to class on a Saturday night… and how were the sherries tasting and what were the key standout moments?
Cristián Le Dantec
Marcela Burgos Abad
Telephone 01582 722538
VSPT Wine Group
Telephone 01582 722538
Director – Regional Sales
Sales Director – National Accounts
Head of Buying