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Moët Hennessy 'Hidden Gems' Champagne Tasting

An invitation to help shine a light on the unsung heroes in Moët Hennessy’s Champagne portfolio?  Must be the golden ticket of the year!

And indeed it was, one sunny Friday afternoon in May when MH’s Champagne Ambassador Ethan Boroian - who is simply a fount of Champagne knowledge - introduced his selection of ‘Hidden Gems’ from the portfolio to 12 top wine journos on Zoom.  And what’s more, we even let our guests taste these gems for themselves!

Each Wine Writer was sent two Cuvées - selected at random from ewpr’s ‘ice bucket’ - from a selection of five: either Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2008, Dom Pérignon Rosé 2006, Dom Ruinart 2007, Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Collection 2002 or Krug Rosé 24ème Édition.

Joining us were:

Alice Lascelles
Ben McCormack
David Kermode
Helena Nicklin
Henry Jeffreys
Jamie Goode
Jane Parkinson
Joanna Simon
Michael Edwards
Nina Caplan
Simon Field MW
Tom Harrow

As Ethan talked through what makes each Champagne so special, covering off technical details as well as Maison histories, everyone asked questions and offered their own comments.  A sparkling conversation!

And it looks like people thoroughly enjoyed the event - see for yourselves in our pics!

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Mar de Frades - Zooming in on Rias Baixas!

Lockdown be damned - if you can’t go to the tasting, then we’ll come to you!

On 7th May, we arranged for our fabulous Rias Baixas winemaker, Paula Fañdino from Mar de Frades to be in one of her vineyards and speak to around 20 of our Press contacts about her Albariño. 

Paula is one of the, if not the, most innovative winemakers in the region, experimenting with lees stirring and different ageing materials.

We sent our Press guests samples of the 2018 and 2019 vintages of her flagship Mar de Frades Albariño and set up a Zoom chat - blue bottles at the ready.

Did you know that Mar de Frades made the first ever sparkling Albariño?  Find it, and these wines, at Great Western Wine!

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OenoTrade Portfolio Tasting Scales Dizzy Heights

When access to an event is via the fastest lift in Europe, you know you’re on to something a little bit special. 

Press and Trade guests at OenoTrade’s inaugural portfolio tasting were treated to a top line-up of “some of the world’s greatest wines” in a suitably stunning setting.  Level 42 of London City’s Leadenhall Building played host with the designer most to 27 of the wineries in the newcomer’s impressive portfolio.  These included Liber Pater in Bordeaux (at 30,000 Euros per permaculture bottle), China’s Silver Heights, the Lebanon’s Chateau Belle-Vue and a niche of Napa producers - Inglenook, Beaulieu and Alpha Omega, to name but three. 

A series of four, brim-full Masterclasses culminated in ‘The World’s Greatest Wines’ as chosen by Oeno’s founding partner Daniel Carnio, Director of Trade Olivier Gasselin and Chief Wine Analyst Justin Knock MW.  Guests were understandably buzzing as they left the event, with one visitor remarking “I wish all tastings were like this!”


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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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Napa Nails It!

Napa Valley Vintners treated the UK Press and Trade to two exceptional tastings at the tail end of the year.  ‘Covetable Napa Valley’, for a cherry-picked guest list at the US Embassy, showcased two vintages, ten years apart, from leading luminaries such as Harlan, SCARECROW, BOND and Corra. 

‘A Perspective On Vintage’ then played to a packed crowd at 67 Pall Mall and offered a blind, three vintage vertical from nineteen Napa greats, including Corison, Shafer, Cain and Trefethen.


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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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