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A Tasting Tour of Moët Hennessy Champagnes

The Wine Writers are a busy bunch, so we worked with our client Moët Hennessy to offer them the chance to taste all the current Cuvées in one room at one time.  What a way to say ‘Salut’ to the new working year!

On 16th January, a collection (a scribble?) of Wine Press gathered at MH HQ to taste their way through Blanc, Rosé and Vintage releases from Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart, Dom Pérignon and Krug, and were guided by a carefully researched tasting booklet full of facts and figures and information about each Maison’s pioneering work in the Champagne region.  

MH’s highly knowledgeable Champagne Ambassador Ethan Boroian was on hand to talk through the history, philosophy and winemaking style that marks each House out from the crowd.  Not only that but we finished the afternoon with a Champagne cocktail - Santé!


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When Minerality Magnetises The Masses

We knew longstanding client Hallgarten were on to a winner when they said they wanted to look at ‘Minerality In Wine’…  Add Buying Director (and wine trade legend) Steve Daniel into the mix, along with wine-science geek Dr. Jamie Goode, and it's unsurprising the room was packed.

‘Minerality: In Conversation with Steve Daniel and Jamie Goode’ was an informal discussion of all things minerality, with a pre and post-chat walkaround tasting of wines they selected to illustrate their points of view.

Spotted in the audience were not one, not two, but THREE members of the JR.com team (Jancis herself, Julia Harding and Tim Jackson), plus Fiona Beckett (The Guardian), Kate Hawkings (for Club Oenologique), Australia and Portugal expert Sarah Ahmed, Consultant and Writer Peter McCombie MW, Sarah Jane Evans MW, Rosemary George MW, Oz Clarke (who was recently made an OBE), Peter Ranscombe from The Scottish Field - plus Consultants Christine Parkinson, Martin Lam and Becky McKevitt. 


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Alsace Rocks!

Veni, vini, vici - Alsace rocked London on Monday 28th October!  A group of 11 vignerons manned a series of seven themed tables - Riesling Terroir Tale, Flower Power (Gewurz), Young Guns, The Ace In Spades (Pinot Noir), Let’s Get Fizzical (Crémant), No Blues For The Grey (Pinot Gris), Alternative Rock (Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner, Muscat) - to illustrate the diversity and quality of wines produced in this most picture-postcard perfect region, with its mosaic of exceptional terroirs.   

The walkaround tasting was topped with a Masterclass from seven vigneron ‘Rock Stars’ hosts ably introduced by Jimmy Smith, and tailed with an informal ‘Meet The Makers’ evening at New Street Wine Bar.  Over 160 Press and Trade attended during the day to taste the 100 wines on offer and see for themselves just how much Alsace really does rock!


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Kayra’s Contender For The Tasting Quote Of The Year “Charming in the same way a bear is charming”. Daniel O’Donnell

Kayra’s winemaker, Daniel O’Donnell, flew in from Turkey to sing the praises (see what we did there!) of the country’s indigenous varietals and explore their ageability with a posse of Press.  “According to my beautiful wife, they’re ageing much better than I am!” He joked.  We think.

The 15-strong line-up of wines included three different vintages of Öküzgözü  - “This grape is one of the main reasons I’m still in Turkey.  I love it!  It’s a national treasure.”  And a 2009 and 2014 Boğazkere: “I’m absolutely fascinated by this grape.  It’s charming in the same way as a bear is charming.”

You know how owners look like their dogs?  I think those who know him will agree that Daniel is as individual, punchy and fruity as the indigenous varietals he champions!

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Hark The Herald Angels Trumpet!

We are not normally ones to blow our own trumpet (as we’re too busy blowing multiple client trumpets), but we’ve had such a lovely crop of premium coverage recently that we feel a need to share!

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Jack, Bruce Jack: Bon Vivant, Poet Laureate, Trailblazer...

Founder of Flagstone, ex-Chief Winemaker for Accolade South Africa and global wine collaborator extraordinaire…  Anyone who’s anyone in the world of wine knows the name Bruce Jack - as our tasting and lunch with him on 21st November showed.

Bruce was coming to London to launch his eponymous range and wanted an event to celebrate this, alongside his past, current and future partnerships with winemakers around the world.  Making guest appearances with some of their favourite wines were:

Karen Turner - Head Winemaker at Prieuré de Saint Jean de Bébian
Nadia Barnard - Chief Winemaker at Waterkloof Biodynamic Estate
Julian Johnsen - MD and joint owner of Vondeling Estate
Ed Adams MW - Consummate globe-trotting wine guru
Trizanne Barnard - Dynamic owner of Trizanne Signature Wines and Dawn Patrol
Pepe Fuster - Owner of Celler Coma d'en Bonet
Pieter Cronje - Marketing Manager of uniWines Vineyards

The tasting and lunch was held at super South African - and super organised! - restaurant High Timber.  Press and Trade guests included a number of Bruce’s personal and professional friends and contacts, and the entire event certainly lived up to his motto, ‘Add Joy To Life’. 

After a Tutored Masterclass of his wines by our keen-as-mustard host, featuring many anecdotes about his adventures in wine, High Timber Chefs laid on a fantastic four-course lunch. 

As Roger Jones observed in his write-up for The Buyer, it was “more like a wedding than a wine tasting.”  A fitting finale for our 2018 events programme.

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Friends of Napa Tasting: 2018 Edition

When a select contingent of Napa Vintners and luminaries heads to London for the annual Decanter Fine Wine Encounter, there’s only one thing to do: build on the success of last year’s Friends of Napa tasting and lunch event and organise another one!

The splendid and aesthetically pleasing Haymarket Hotel in Piccadilly was selected as this year’s venue, and the stunning Shooting Gallery played host-with-the-most to a walkaround tasting of around 43 gems from 13 of Napa’s leading producers.  Each table was manned by a Vintner or their UK representative, so our Press and Trade guests could dig deep into what it is that makes this tiny AVA in California so special.

Pre-lunch, the 60 or so guests were treated to a taster of two 2010 vintage, uber limited edition Premiere Napa Valley Cabernets.   And then during lunch, vintners table-hopped between courses - bottles in hand - to share the love and their wines with as many of the assembled guests as possible.

Now that’s how to do lunch, Napa style…

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The Majesty of Moldovan Wine

Wednesday 10th October saw the culmination of our work with a small, independent importer of wines from Moldova - Novus BH Magister - to stage their first ever Press & Trade tasting. 

Moldovan sisters Irina Hriplivii and Aliona Braileanu, and Irina’s husband Sergiu, set up their company in 2016 after realising that while they and their family and friends were well aware of the quality of wines being produced in their home country today, the UK’s restaurants and retailers were not. 

Aliona told us, “Wine runs through the very fabric of Moldovan history and culture and our company was created to introduce ourselves as part of this rich heritage, and show why we are so proud to represent Moldovan wine in the UK.  The changes in winemaking standards over the last decade or so have been huge, and it’s time to show our current home the quality that is available.”

Irina and Aliona asked for our help in inviting journalists, sommeliers, independent merchants, educators and consultants to their tasting of wines from seven producers - six of whom have never shown their wines in the UK before.  We also set up focused masterclass tastings hosted by Eastern European wine expert Caroline Gilby MW.

As you can see from these pictures from the day, it looks like interest in Moldovan wines is set to grow…

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The 2018 Penfolds Collection Preview - The Next Chapter

We were supremely fortunate to contribute to the celebration of Australian winemaking, with the addition of yet another chapter to Penfolds’ long lineage of fine wine at the 2018 Collection Preview Tasting on 26th September.

Penfolds Chief Winemaker, the lovely Peter Gago, presented the 2018 Collection to our hand-selected group of Press at Hide Restaurant, followed by a flight of award-winning museum-release wines (including the 2010 Grange, win!), perfectly-matched to a sumptuous menu.

The event provided an opportunity to not only appreciate these time-honoured Aussie blends, but also the unabating integrity of Peter’s approach to his craft (and his many anecdotes!).

This event was held in conjunction with other tastings taking place around the world, including in Paris, Beijing and New York, as part of the Collection Preview roadshow.

Press in attendance
Adam Lechmere - Club Oenologique Magazine
Adrian Smith - Sypped, The Three Drinkers
Anthony Rose - Freelance
Colin Hampden White - The Three Drinkers
Edith Hancock - The Drinks Business
Joanna Simon - House & Garden, thewinegang.com
John Stimpfig - Decanter
Margaret Rand - Freelance
Matthew Jukes - Mail on Saturday, matthewjukes.com
Melanie Jappy - The Wine Show
Peter Dean - The Buyer
Sarah Ahmed - The Wine Detective
Will Lyons - Sunday Times

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The Modern Art of Winemaking in Rioja & Rueda with Ramon Bilbao

On a number of occasions, Ramón Bilbao winemaker Rodolfo Bastida has been ‘At Home’ in London to tell our Press and Trade contacts all about his work in the vineyards of Rioja.

This year, Rodolfo wanted to give the white side of the story and show why he turns to Rueda for white wines with all the freshness and elegance that has become the hallmark of Ramón Bilbao Rioja reds.

Of course, we couldn’t let his Rioja expertise go unmentioned, so we worked with the Ramón Bilbao team to stage ‘The Modern Art of Winemaking in Rueda & Rioja’ which we held in a private event space at Tate Modern on the South Bank.

After a morning’s Masterclass Tasting in the Aula (that’s Spanish for ‘Classroom’), we moved to the Comedor (or ‘Dining Room’) for a delicious lunch prepared by the Chefs at Tate Catering, with a menu specially matched by Tate Catering’s main man Hamish Anderson to a selection of Ramón Bilbao wines.

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