“If you go to the town of Setúbal it’s everywhere, and it’s in every thing. It’s in the soap. You name it. They know they have something special.” That’s how wine consultant and broadcaster, Joe Wadsack, explains just how important Moscatel, the fortified, sweet wine is to Portugal’s Setúbal wine region, located just south of Lisbon. In part two of our debate with leading wine importers, merchants and sommeliers on the opportunities for Setúbal in the UK we turn the spotlight on what Moscatel can potentially offer.
Now that wine scribe Chris Wilson is a winemaker – with a growing output and reputation – wine tastings he attends is a time to learn a trick or two from others winemakers. Visits to Switzerland, South Africa and France, plus a range of tastings in the UK, form the basis of Wilson’s top wines of the year which include a Rotgipfler, a left field Shiraz from Western Australia and a red field blend from Craig Wessels.
Margaret River is not only celebrated for its wines, but for the magnificent natural environment within which the vineyards nestle. Inspired by their relationships with this landscape, winemakers Vanya Cullen (Cullen Wines), Glenn Goodall (Xanadu), and Ian Batt (Small Things Wine) find common ground in their endeavours to preserve it. Here Angela Oemcke talks to them about the steps they are taking and what impact it is having on the land and the wines it is capable of producing.
Picking the best wines of the year is a fascinating exercise because it reflects the passions and field of expertise of the wine writer. In the case of Justin Keay, the ‘wines that make him go Hmmm’ are ones largely made from lesser-known grapes, wines made in regions that are just coming onto the wine world map and those that have been around for millennia but are just being re-discovered. So in Keay’s top 10 are fascinating, rare wines such as one made from Lorkosh and Samarghandi grapes exported from Iran and vinified in Sweden by a natural winemaker, and another, a Tuscan white made from Vermintino and Ansonica grapes picked by prisoners on the island of Gorgona.
Situated just south of Lisbon it’s fair to say the Setúbal wine region has yet to really show its true colours to either the trade or UK wine drinkers. But that’s largely because so many of its producers have had great success at home in Portugal, making up a fifth of domestic wine sales. Now the focus is changing and Setúbal is looking to explore opportunities overseas, particularly in the premium on and off-trade, for its specialist, maritime influenced wines that can potentially offer a whole new spectrum of wines for buyers looking for fresh, fruit forward, gastronomic wines. To find out just where the gaps might be in the UK market, The Buyer teamed up with Setúbal Peninsula Wines to host a zoom debate with leading importers, wine merchants and sommeliers to get their take on the region, taste some classic examples of Setúbal wine and see where it might sit within the overall Portuguese wine category.
For her most memorable wines of 2022, Anne Krebiehl MW has chosen to list the wines that she drank a bottle of rather than merely sipped at a tasting. In a year which saw her get engaged and land a plum position at Vinous, Krebiehl understandably includes a large amount of fizz in her selection – even more than usual, if that is possible.
When you are the retired owner of a restaurant that regularly won Best Wine List awards – and you are still adding to the cellar rather than selling – you undoubtedly have a step-up from many in the wine trade in terms of accessing top-end wines in their optimum drinking window. Roger Jones’ best wines of 2022 list therefore includes such rare gems as Krug Clos du Mesnil 1990 and Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva 1954, as well as newly-released wines that he has tasted both as a judge and wine writer.
We continue our series talking to leading trade figures about why they think Vins de Provence rosé has become the success it has, and what challenges and opportunities might lie ahead. We ask key wine writers and broadcasters, Helena Nicklin, David Kermode and Libby Brodie, to recommend a Vins de Provence rosé from each of the three appellations in the region – Côtes de Provence, Coteaux Varois en Provence and Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence – and explain what it is about those wines that makes them a great example of Vins de Provence rosé.
With two months of the year spent in Australia and South Africa it is no surprise that Geoffrey Dean has picked almost all of his top wines of 2022 from these two countries, with only the Tommasi, Deburis Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva DOCG 2010 being the ‘odd one out’. With so much time spent in the field Dean has a knack of discovering wines that are not the usual suspects and which other wine experts seem to have missed.
Created in 1987, IGP Pays d’Oc is now France’s leading export designation by volume and it is hard to imagine the Languedoc-Roussillon without it. But when it was introduced there was uncertainty and caution about how well the wines would be received. Fast forward 35 years and the IGP Pays d’Oc has become a success story that other wine regions would love to emulate. Here we look at the big steps it has taken along the way.
With the big day behind us and New Year’s Eve approaching, we are at that time of year again where we pull truly great bottles from our reserves and share with friends – or have that sneaky secret bottle on the go in the kitchen. For the wine writers behind The Buyer who tirelessly taste thousands of new and aged wines throughout the year it is also a time to reflect on the wines that made their mark during 2022. David ‘Vinosaurus’ Kermode wears many hats as a writer, broadcaster, judge and compere but, at the end of the day, central to all these roles is the love of a truly great glass of wine – be that one drawn from cask in Sanlucar de Barrameda or from a bottle squirrelled away for over half a century by those good folks at Penfolds.
The Asseily family may come from Lebanon, but since they took over Château Biac in 2006, in the heart of Côtes de Bordeaux, they have become very much part of the winemaking community not just in their area, but across Bordeaux. Bringing their own philosophy and ideas to a region that is still very much open to new ideas – and families. Here Gabriel Asseily explains the painstaking steps they have taken to build Château Biac up from scratch to become one of the new rising stars of Bordeaux.
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After the trials of Covid 19 and the continuing fallout from Brexit, wine buyers might have hoped for a calmer, quieter 2022. But Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine soon dashed those hopes, combining with post-pandemic inflationary pressures and global shortages to deliver another challenging year. So how did Lanchester Wines’ buying director, Lesley Cook, navigate the storm? And, what does she see heading her way in 2023? She tells David Kermode how she managed to steer a course through it all.
It’s ironic considering its name and subject matter that the Old Vine Conference has made such an impact in such a short period of time and done so much to shine the light on the work being done the world over to not just preserve old vines but celebrate them. That was very much the theme of the first Old Vine Conference field trip for a group of leading wine professionals who travelled to Veneto to see and hear the influence that old vines can still have on modern viticulture, as Mattia Scarpazza reports.
Ribera Del Duero is touted as one of the most exciting wine regions in Europe, let alone Spain. Capable of producing some of the finest wines on the continent, the sumptuous fine wines have long been enjoyed by residents of Madrid, with the rest of the world slowly cottoning on since the 1980s. November saw the release of Tim Atkin MW’s updated Ribera Del Duero Report along with his Top 100 Wines. We sent The Buyer’s Mike Turner along to discover more.
With over 108,000 hectares of vines to manage and an estimated 60,000 wine industry workers across Aquitaine, you can appreciate why Bordeaux takes the idea of sustainability very seriously indeed. Early adopters of France’s HVE sustainability programme, over 75% of the vineyards now have at least one recognised environmental certification, with many others in conversion. Mike Turner interviewed a selection of Médoc producers involved to ask about their own strategies and motivations behind the various initiatives being trialled across the region.
Riccardo Pasqua, the third generation head of Veronese estate Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine, chose his latest vintages to be tasted at an upmarket London arts destination accompanied by a poetry recital from Arch Hades. But then Pasqua has already got a reputation for boundary-pushing, unconventional winemaking. His multi-varietal and multi-vintage white wine is called Hey French, You Could Have Made This But You Didn’t, his rosés are an Italian take on Provence pink and his Amarone is dry and tannic when the trend is to be fruit-driven. Victor Smart met Pasqua and tasted through the new wines.
Last week we asked consumer wine journalists to address just what it is about Vins de Provence rosé that has caught the imagination of the great British public. Here we talk to a number of leading wine buyers, importers, wine merchants and distributors to assess just what it is the trade thinks make Provence rosé stand out and what potential opportunities and challenges the region faces in the future.
World Cup beating players are one thing, world class sommeliers quite another and Argentina is producing both. CAVE in Buenos Aires is a school for sommeliers like no other, run by two resourceful women, the school delivers an Eton level education on a Grange Hill budget. Lisse Garnett asks co-founders, Flavia Rizzuto and Maria Barrutia, to divulge the secret of their success..