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    wine lists
    Tasting: Wine
    Grenache

    Getting under the skin of the Grenache revival in IGP Pays d’Oc

    In France’s Pays d’Oc, the long-underrated Grenache variety is finally enjoying its time in the sun. Dominic Rippon discovers how much this grape has to offer, in all three colours, and selects his top dozen bottles from a recent tasting at IGP Pays d’Oc’s space age HQ in Montpellier.

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    People
    aa

    Top UK importers: Importance of French wines & VIN tasting

    Next month sees a new wine event launched in London as Business France brings winemakers and producers from all regions of France together for the first VIN event – billed as a one stop opportunity for buyers to see what trends and styles are now possible in still arguably the world’s most influential wine producing country. To help set the scene The Buyer talks to leading buyers and importers who will be taking part in VIN to ask them why France is such an important country for their businesses.   

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    Opinion
    AI real vs computer

    How AI is blurring real world from a computer generated one

    When it comes to creating content, tasting notes, marketing copy and images or illustrations to be used by businesses across the drinks, retail and hospitality sectors there is a now an increasingly blurred world between what has been created by a human and what has automatically been generated by an artificial intelligence platform. There are now even AI tools out there that are specifically targeted at the wine and drinks industry and many more are expected to follow. For this month’s column Dan Hooper, co-founder of YesMore Creative, analyses just what is the future for AI in our working lives.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Chateau Ksara

    Ksara’s balance and consistency amidst Lebanon’s chaos

    Winemakers are used to dealing with major climate issues and, more recently, problems with supply chains. For Lebanese producers such as Chateau Ksara, life is a whole different ball game. Making wine in the Bekaa Valley, a stronghold of the pro-Iranian Hizbollah, coping with frequent power cuts from a bankrupt utility group and inflation that is tracking at 180% – it is a wonder that any are still in business. But the Lebanese people, like the wines of Chateau Ksara, have an agelessness and indestructibility about them as Justin Keay discovered when he met up with Ksara’s George Sara and Lebanese wine expert Michael Karam for a rare vertical tasting of Sara’s flagship Bordeaux blend Chateau and its 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

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    People People: Producer
    frankland estate

    How Riesling is a treasure of Australia’s Great Southern region

    “Mature vineyards and talented, experienced winemakers have taken the expression of Riesling to another level, where the region’s examples sit comfortably as world-class interpretations of the variety.” That’s how David Stredwick explains the impact that Riesling has had in Western Australia and how winemakers, particularly in the Great Southern area, are working hard to understand and improve the unique quality Rielsings the area is now capable of producing.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Marqués de Murrieta Long Read

    Marqués de Murrieta turns on the style for its 170th anniversary

    As the oldest family-owned estate in Rioja, Marqués de Murrieta, has an air of Spanish royalty. At the bodega’s 170th anniversary, however, chief Vicente Dalmau explains to Roger Jones that there’s no intention to sit on its laurels but rather for his team to push the envelope further both in terms of wine styles and how Rioja is presented to the outside world. At a spellbinding dinner atop London’s Shangri La, Jones reports back on an event where some of the rarest bottles from Rioja were opened and consumed.

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    People People: Producer
    matthiassons

    Steve Matthiasson on new wave & farm to table Californian wines

    “It is great to see what Steve and Jill Matthiasson are doing to fight the good fight for California as a whole,” is how Jon Davey of its UK wine importer, Nekter Wines, introduced  the Matthiassons to a room of top sommeliers and wine merchants in London at the end of last year before giving the floor to the Matthiassons to explain their part in the new wave Californian wine scene and just what a ‘pursuit of balance’ means to them and why sustainable and organic winemaking has always been the way they have made wine since they started in 2003.

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    Tasting: Wine
    IMG_9246 Long Read

    Best of 2022: Peter Dean picks his top 10 wines of last year

    Our final look back at the wines of 2022 finishes with a selection of 10 from our Drinks Editor, Peter Dean. Four major events stood out for him in the year – a legendary Hermitage tasting, a wine fair in Vienna, a cycle through the vineyards of Burgundy and a tasting in the underground cellars of Octavian which has already gone into wine scribe folklore as possibly the best-ever wine tasting.

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    People
    curious vines 2

    Queena Wong on impact of MW Gérard Basset funding 

    “Curious Vines’ approach to redressing the gender imbalance in the wine world is two-fold: not only do they provide high-quality education and academic support for women undertaking the highest level of wine qualifications; but they complement this by fostering a genuine community of women in wine.” Which is why The Gerard Bassett Foundation has just awarded Queena Wong, founder of Curious Vines, a Master of Wine support funding programme to help female candidates taking the exam. Here we talk to Queena Wong about the work Curious Vines does to bring women in wine together and how the new funding will help.

       

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    Insight
    right bank second panel

    Top UK buyers on Right Bank Bordeaux “never being so good”

    “We have never been able to buy Bordeaux with the consistency of quality that we are doing at the moment…Bordeaux has never been so good.” That was the verdict of Bordeaux wine educator, Laura Clay, after taking part in a tasting of Right Bank Bordeaux wines that asked our panel of leading importers, wine merchants and educators to assess wines from 2018, 2010 and 2012 vintages to see what developments there have been across the region’s main appellation as part of a link up with Union of Syndicates of St Emilion which covers 10 appellations: Lussac Saint-Emilion, Puisseguin Saint-Emilion, Saint-Emilion, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Montagne Saint-Emilion, Saint-Georges Saint-Emilion, Pomerol, Lalande de Pomerol, Fronsac and Canon Fronsac.

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    People: Producer
    Frerejean Frère

    How Frerejean Frères is taking a fresh perspective on Champagne

    Created in 2005 and now led by 36-year old CEO Rodolphe Frerejean Taittinger, Frerejean Frères is one of the youngest houses in Champagne – allowing it to break free from convention. The company ethos sits somewhere between that of a typical maison and that of a grower as Victor Smart discovered when he visits for its inaugural maison cellar dinner. Smart meets the Frerejean Frères team and samples the wines including Cuvée des Hussards 2012 and VV26 Grand Cru, a blend of 2008, 2009 and 2016 harvests from vines dating back to 1926.

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    People
    Slovak wines

    Elizabeth Gabay MW: Getting to grips with Slovak wines

    Slovak wines are unchartered territory for most, the country itself was only made an independent republic 30 years ago, and vineyards here were once regarded as being on the very edge of what is achievable viticulturally. That is sure to change, argues Elizabeth Gabay MW, who previews ‘World of Slovak Wine’ a first-ever Slovak wine tasting event in London that looks to show wines made from Dunaj, Alibernet, Devín, Milia, Hron, Rimava and Rudava amongst others.

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    People People: Producer
    Hitchhiker sicilian pine

    How Hitchhiker rum hopes to appeal to craft rum and gin fans

    James Van Tromp and Nathan Aylott have both spent their careers up to now advising big corporates, including major drinks brands, large retailers and flagship shopping centres on what they need to do to attract consumers to their products and sites. Now they have decided to take all those experiences and create a drinks brand for themselves. The result is Hitchhiker, a small batch botanical rum, they believe can sit at the forefront of where the rum category is going to next.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Spatburgunder

    Why it is time for German Pinot to fill the red Burgundy void

    There are some excellent wines in the new Burgundy 2021 vintage, that is if you can lay your hands on any. With volumes so low now is the perfect time to look at German Pinot Noir to fill the gap, argues Harry Crowther. Attending a Howard Ripley deep dive into three Spätburgunder producers, called ‘Understanding German Pinot Noir’, Crowther highlights three wines from Weingut Peter Wagner, Weingut Holger Koch and Weingut Rings that he believes the trade can use in lieu of red Burgundy.

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    Insight
    perfect storm chris clor

    The “perfect storm” drinks, retail & hospitality face in 2023

    “Drinks producers, importers and buyers are having to work out new ways of trading that allows them to do business with each other. But they are having to do so in a real-life equivalent of a Twister game, where everyone’s position changes with every throw of the dice.” That’s how Richard Siddle sums up the unique challenges the drinks industry, and the retail and hospitality sectors it serves, faces going into 2023.

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    Insight
    Burgundy 2021

    Burgundy 2021: a throwback to the pre-climate change vintages

    Burgundy Week kicks off in London today with a raft of tastings, although the number of events is down just over 50%, reflecting the overall reduction in wine stocks from the region. With so little wine available Corney & Barrow has decided not to hold its annual Burgundy tasting, arguing that it seemed unfair to expect their producers to go to the trouble of showing wines which few customers will be able to buy. In this fascinating insight Guy Seddon, head of fine wine buying at Corney & Barrow, explains the qualities of the vintage, where the many beauties lie, and why 2021 Burgundy is a vintage that very few young buyers will have experienced before.

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    Insight
    Bordeaux right bank main screen shot

    Debate: What UK wine market wants from Right Bank Bordeaux 

    Bordeaux as a wine region is so integrated into the UK wine market that it would be hard to imagine a sector without it. But what is it about Bordeaux that UK wine buyers – and wine drinkers – keep going back for? What, in particular, does the Right Bank, and its Union of Syndicats of St Emilion which gathers 10 appellations: – Lussac Saint-Emilion, Puisseguin Saint-Emilion, Saint-Emilion, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Montagne Saint-Emilion, Saint-Georges Saint-Emilion, Pomerol, Lalande de Pomerol, Fronsac and Canon Fronsac, offer that UK buyers can’t get anywhere else? That was the theme of the latest The Buyer debate, held in partnership with Saint-Emilion – Pomerol – Fronsac which brought together leading trade figures, buyers, wine consultant, importers and merchants to get a cross industry feel on what it is about these landmark wine areas that capture their attention and what it needs to do in the future to keep their focus in the years ahead.

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    Insight
    rose lifestyle

    Mike Turner on why Provence rosé is gift that keeps on giving

    Provence continues to be a go-to region for wine drinkers across the globe searching out premium rosé. Rosé dominates wine production in the southern French region, with around 90% of the wine produced as the iconic salmon-pink wine. But what is it about Provence rosé that seems to have captured, and continues to capture, the hearts of so many wine drinkers in the world? We asked The Buyer’s Mike Turner, a restaurateur and retailer himself, to taste through a selection of the 2021 vintage and give us his thoughts on the region.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Lisse Garnett

    Best of 2022: Lisse Garnett picks her top 10 wines of the year

    2022 was an eventful year for Lisse Garnett with her Top 10 wines of the year largely picked from her travels to Argentina, Hungary, South Africa, Greece, Portugal, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Colombia and Chile. Garnett writes here about events of the year which included the Real Wine Fair and Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction, as well as the mourning of a lost friend in the influential English restaurateur Andrew Edmunds.

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    Awards
    This year's panel of judges...

    Star Wine List of the Year UK open for entries & new partners

    The UK Wine List of the Year awards are back giving restaurants, bars, hotels and pubs across the country the chance to showcase the work that goes on behind the scenes by wine buyers and sommeliers to pull together market leading wine lists. The awards are organised by Star Wine List, in partnership with The Buyer, as part of its International series of wine list competitions that are held in cities and countries all over the world. Here we set out what the categories are to enter for the 2023 competition, including a new standalone award for the most sustainable wine list.  

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