Five years ago, almost to the day, the New Wave South African tasting in London blew so many of us away. Wave? The amount of new exciting talent coming out of the country was more like a tsunami. Many of those producers, Duncan Savage, BLANKbottle, AA Badenhorst and Restless River are working with Swig in the UK, while some emerging talent like The Vineyard Party are also breaking onto the scene. Winemaker Chris Wilson was The Buyer’s man at the tasting and picks out a dozen wines that you need to be aware of including AA Badenhorst’s Palomino, a wine everyone’s talking about.
Successfully released in France two years ago, four Mumm RSRV Champagnes are hitting the UK shores this week. RSRV is the shorthand Mumm used to use for Grands Crus-only cuvées that were set aside for family and friends and the four cuvées that launch the brand all meet the approval of Anne Krebiehl MW who tastes and rates them as well as talking to Mumm’s cellar master Laurent Fresnet about their history and provenance.
Despite its name, Oldenburg is actually one of South Africa’s new generation of wine producers having been in place from 2003, when it was taken over by Western Cape entrepreneur, Adrian Vanderspuy, who set the ground work for what has become one of the country’s fast emerging producers. Richard Siddle talks to head winemaker, Nic van Aarde, about how he is helping lead the direction of its range of premium wines that look to best reflect the stunning Banghoek Valley in Stellenbosch where the majority of its replanted vines are.
If you asked 100 people in the wine trade if they have heard of Costières de Nîmes then the chances are the vast majority, if not all, would say they have. But if you then gave them a pin and asked them to place it somewhere in the AOC of Costières de Nîmes on a map of France that number might fall considerably. How many could then go and tell you what styles of wine the area is famous for? Those were some of the questions up for debate in the latest The Buyer panel session with leading buyers, importers and wine merchants who had the opportunity to come together, taste wines that best represent Costières de Nîmes and assess what opportunities there are for these Rhône Valley wines in the UK.
Rhône wines expert Matt Walls says that the wines of Ventoux AOC have gone from ‘zero to hero’. Once considered to be the ‘Clark Kent’ of the Rhône Valley, premiumisation is fast leading to superhero status for Ventoux wines. At a fascinating London tasting, Walls and Ventoux AOC president, Frédéric Chaudiere, demonstrated how Ventoux’s unique topography and climate, coupled with ‘freedom’ for winemakers is pushing the quality envelope. Robert Mason was there and picks four premium wines that punch well above their weight.
As the world’s leaders gathered at the COP27 conference this month, calls have grown louder for the wine industry to do their bit for climate change by tackling the elephant in the (tasting) room – the use of glass bottles. Last week more than 50 wine professionals from across the UK wine sector wrote an open letter to James Cartlidge MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, calling for tax breaks for non-glass packaging and offering support to the Wine Traders for Alternative Formats. Has the time for alternative packaging formats for wine come at last? Kate Hawkings examines the issue.
Corney & Barrow’s new wines in its Autumn-Winter portfolio are an Aladdin’s cave of delights. Corney & Barrow showed 78 wines at the first portfolio tasting held since the pandemic, and 72 of those wines were new. Half came from France as you might expect but then there was a range of new wines from Lebanon, Oregon, Chile, Romania, New Zealand and Australia – evidence that the company’s buying team has been busier than ever unearthing exciting new wines that will work just as well at home or in the on-trade.
2022 will go down as a pivotal year for Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris in proving itself as a major international trade fair and is now ready to cement that position in 2023 with a big increase in the number of producers from outside France taking stands and visitors from around the world signing up to attend its next show in February. Event chief executive, Rodolphe Lameyse, explains why and how Wine Paris and Vinexpo Paris is ready to play its part on the world stage.
Champagne Jacquart is a large-scale co-operative sourcing fruit from over 60 villages across 300 hectares of Champagne. Cellar master Joëlle Weiss tells Anne Krebiehl MW how this translates into the House’s various cuvées including Jacquart Alpha Blanc Vintage 2012, the fourth edition of this prestige cuvée and the first to be bottled in magnum – put down to the fact that “it has reached a point of balance.” Krebiehl tastes the new wine alongside the Mosaïque Signature NV and Blanc de Blancs Vintage 2014, explaining the unique style of each cuvée.
The London Madeira Wine Experience landed in London two weeks ago giving everyone in the UK wine scene an opportunity to brush up on the different styles of Madeira wine, find out which grapes they come from, what their key tasting characteristics are and what foods they pair with. Lisse Garnett, in her first article for The Buyer, attended the event, talks to the key players, discovered some outstanding wines and provides some historical perspective on how Madeira Wine came about in the first place. “Enthrallingly versatile, everlasting and bomb proof – Madeira should be the wine of our uncertain age,” writes Garnett.
Bulk wine is something the trade ignores at its peril, as the pressure for businesses to slash their carbon footprint and become more sustainable grows. To that end, bottling in destination, alternative packaging and low alcohol wines are all seeing increased demand each year, and bulk wine offers solutions for all of these. That’s why there’s never been a better time to attend the World Bulk Wine Exhibition which kicks off in Amsterdam next week. Helen Arnold reports.
If you examined the supplier list of South African producers that have had the biggest impact on the country’s sales around the world then Origin Wine would be amongst the biggest and most influential independent names on there. But up to now the majority of its wines have been aimed at the mass consumer, working with major retailers to make a case for South African wines. Now it is looking to take its commercial know how into the premium and specialist wine sectors through the Le Grand Domaine estate it now runs in the Devon Valley area of Stellenbosch.
Whether you call it Blaufränkisch, Kekfrankos, Frankovka or Lemberger there is no denying the importance of Central Europe’s ‘Blue Grape’. Three years since its inaugural staging, the Blue of the Danube 2 event had a triumphant return in London where a whole range of wine styles were in evidence made by 50 producers hailing from Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Moldova, Romania and Slovenia. Central European wine specialist Justin Keay picks out the wines that caught his eye, picks one producer that really stood out from each of the three countries, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria, and explains how the style of Blaufränkisch is changing to suit more modern tastes.
No matter how established your wine region is, every year is a battle not just to make the wines, but to then have your share of voice to sell them. For a region like Luberon, nestled in between the powerhouses of the Rhône to the north and Provence to the south, it can be hard to get the attention it deserves in France, never mind the UK. That was the challenge Wines of Luberon came to The Buyer with and, in particular, its desire to showcase its wines in an innovative and memorable way amongst key buyers, wine importers, merchants and sommeliers. It was proposed we did that by giving buyers the opportunity to taste, talk and discuss a wide number of Luberon wines together. But not just around one roundtable. But three of them. In different restaurants. Each with their own cuisine and food styles and flavours that would allow Luberon and its wines to show how they perform against a myriad of textures, spices, herbs and ingredients. Here is what the buyers discovered and got up to on The Buyer Luberon Restaurant Tour. Download the full PDF report below.
The Herculean efforts of Ben Stokes and his team on the field on Sunday, when England won the T20 World Cup, were matched just as well by the ICC catering team at Melbourne Cricket Ground. Getting the mix right to cater for a thirsty Barmy Army while respecting the Muslim fans that made up almost 75% of the crowd was no mean feat as The Buyer’s man on the ground, Geoffrey Dean, discovered when he talked to John Hutchinson, the ICC’s national catering manager.
The 17th edition of Matthew Jukes’ 100 Best Australian Wines was back with a bang last week after a two-year absence. Held at Australia House, the London tasting showcased wine critic Jukes’ top wines that are available in the UK, across a range of categories from sparkling to fortified. Fellow Aussie wine expert, Roger Jones, was there for The Buyer and picks out his selection of wines that categorically have to be on your radar.
It’s a conundrum for any wine merchant, wine bar or restaurant business that is expanding well away from the initial sites and venues that helped make their name. How do you keep that culture and identity that made you popular in the first place? Well, here’s a new idea from Charlie Young and Brett Woonton, co-founders of Vinoteca, who have introduced a new mobile experience that allows you to “carry Brett and Charlie” around in your pocket, and ask them wine questions from your phone. It then uses breakthrough digital technology – dubbed as conversational commerce – to offer pre-recorded answers to cover the vast majority of questions that might come up. Make sense? Read on to find out more.
Rioja is one of the most changed global wine regions with increased emphasis on terroir, altitude, elegance… and white wines. The latest producer to introduce a major new white wine is top-end producer Bodegas Roda which unveiled its Roda 1 Blanco at an exclusive trade lunch. The reds were showing magnificently, particularly the Roda 1 2007, but for Justin Keay it was the Roda 1 Blanco that stole the show.
The second edition of the Wine Pinnacle Awards that took place last week in Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa was the chance to reward and shine the spotlight on some of the world’s leading producers and their wines. In all 18 awards were presented at the Gala Dinner, which was the culmination of five days of debates, conferences, masterclasses and special Michelin star dinners. Here we reveal the winners of the Wine Pinnacle Awards 2002.
All eyes have been on J Vineyards’ head winemaker Nicole Hitchcock last week when she was crowned Winemaker of the Year by influential magazine Wine Enthusiast. J Vineyards is one of the top wine estates in California’s Sonoma County, renowned for making top sparkling wines. Here we sample some of Hitchcock’s wines, what their USPs are and how they fit into the UK on-trade, plus wines from Louis M Martini and Frei Brothers, which also show the versatility of Sonoma as America’s viticultural cornucopia.