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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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Millésimes Alsace Encore Une Fois!

June 10th this year once again saw team ewpr take a group of top UK Press, Sommeliers and - for the first time - Independent Wine Merchants (21 people in total!) to the biannual Millésimes Alsace tasting in France. 

The first evening was spent at a welcome dinner and tasting hosted by Les diVINEs d’Alsace at Josmeyer - a great way to kick off exploring how Alsace wines match with different foods.  We were all up bright and early the next day for the Millésimes tasting itself - a walkaround format with over a hundred of Alsace’s producers showing their wines, with a major focus on Riesling.  A wonderful Gala Dinner was laid on that evening in the grounds of Les Dominicains Monastery in Guebwiller, complete with an impressive light show running across the Monastery walls to finish the evening.

Day two saw us split into groups to explore the Grands Crus of Altenberg de Bergheim, Rosacker and Brand with producers showing us just what each terroir brings to their wines.  The next few days were spent attending focus tastings at CIVA HQ and visiting different producers throughout Alsace.

Joining us on our Alsace adventure were:

Nina Caplan
Anne Krebiehl MW
Neil Beckett
Kate Hawkings
Darren Smith

Sommeliers & Trade
Remi Cousin - Le Gavroche, London
Matthieu Ghezouli - Restaurant Martin Wishart, Edinburgh
Alfonso Zapater - Champany Inn, Edinburgh
Diana Thompson - Wine Events Scotland
Eric Zwiebel MS aka Mr Alsace - Summer Lodge Hotel, Dorset
Serdar Balkaya - Royal Automobile Club, London
Frederic Billet - Luton Hoo Hotels, Luton
Gareth Ferreria - Core by Clare Smyth, London
Martin Lam - Consultant
Zsofia Kiss - 67 Pall Mall, London

Carlos Blanco - Blanco & Gomez, London
Archie McDiarmid - Luvian’s Bottle Shop, St Andrews
Sam Johnson - Whalley Wine Shop, Lancashire
Kate Miller - BinTwo, Cornwall
Paola Tich - Park & Bridge, London
Ruby Willis - Theatre of Wine, London

Actually - one of our group, Sam from Whalley Wine Shop, says it all far better than we could…  

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Turkish Delights With Kayra Wines

A posse of five Press and seven Indies were treated by Turkey’s Kayra Wines to a day’s gastronomy tour in Istanbul, followed by a comprehensive tasting in Kayra’s winery in Elazig hosted by the inimitable, irreverent and irresistibly entertaining Californian consultant winemaker Daniel O’Donnell.  This was followed by a visit to Kayra’s picturesque Alpagut vineyard.  The group returned replete, enlightened and with the names of those tricksy indigenous Turkish varietals off pat!

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Napa’s Trefethen Brings 50th Anniversary Tasting To London…

When Napa pioneers Trefethen asked us to organise their 50th anniversary Masterclass tasting in London, we knew there was just one place to go: 67 Pall Mall.

Janet Trefethen and son Lorenzo co-hosted this tasting - which focused on their Napa Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons going back to the 1976 vintage – the year of the now legendary Judgement of Paris which made it entirely appropriate that Steven Spurrier was the invited guest moderator. 

The Press, Sommelier and Independent Merchant attendees were treated to 14 wines including a Riesling 1988, Chardonnay 1976 (which was named ‘Best Chardonnay in the World’ at the Gault Millau World Wine Olympics in France in 1979 and 1980), and Cabernet Sauvignons from the last five decades.

67 Pall Mall’s Head Sommelier Terry Kandylis was on hand to oversee the opening, decanting and - all importantly - pouring of the wines with his team.  As one journalist said in an email to us afterwards, “Super tasting, one of those that will be talked about for ages to come.”

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Top Alsace Producers Take ACTion

Top Alsace Producers Take ACTion

The nineteen Alsace producers who make up ACT -  Alsace Crus & Terroirs - arrived in London on Monday 5th March ready to tempt the Trade and Press with a ‘Terroirs of Alsace’ Tasting. 

A morning Masterclass focusing on the influence of different terroirs across a selection of 2010 vintage Rieslings was followed by a Walkaround Tasting with a twist: attendees could choose to taste geographically by producer, or could follow a colour coding and taste instead by terroir - from granitic to volcanic, limestone to sandstone to marl.

Over 100 guests tasted 50 wines from producers such as Domaines Schlumberger, Trimbach and Albert Mann (no relation of Ali!)

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ewpr Christmas Party 2017

It’s December, so it must be the ewpr Christmas party!

This year, we were up at the crack of dawn for our team outing to the Isle Wight - catching a ferry from Portsmouth, and arriving at Fishbourne in time for lunch.  After a quick glam-up at the perfectly pink Mole Cottage, we travelled across the island to Thompson's where Chef-Owner Robert Thompson cooked up an absolutely delicious tasting menu.  This may possibly have been followed by quick(ish) trip to a nearby pub, where Jess and Poppy thrashed Ali and Emma at Articulate, before returning to Mole Cottage.

Christmas tree decorating was followed by a festive film (Nativity - highly recommended), with a special guest arrival - a semi-tame badger with a penchant for peanuts!  The next morning, decked out in our Christmas jumpers we made our way back to London to get back to some very important wine PR-ing.

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Friends Of Napa Turn Out In Force…

The UK Press and Trade turned out in enthusiastic force on Friday 10th November to show their support for a group of no less than 15 Napa Vintners who flew into town to honour their long-standing commitment to a ‘Friends of Napa Tasting & Lunch’, in spite of the recent Californian wildfires.

The 53 guests tasted over 40 wines from established favourites such as Diamond Creek and Grgich, alongside Napa newbies to the market including Gallica and Rombauer.

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Catholic & Protestant Wines - Can You Taste The Difference?

… was the title of our intriguing Masterclass at this year’s Alsace tasting.  It was Pierre Gassmann who first talked to us about the stylistic differences between Catholic and Protestant wines back in 2011 and we have been itching to hold this tasting ever since.  Sarah Abbott MW and Simon Woods guided guests through the region’s history and a tasting of nine wines.  Did they taste the difference?  A show of hands illustrated that yes, they really did!

Meanwhile, on the upper floor of Chandos House over 80 Alsace Crémants, Rieslings and Gewurztraminers served to remind tasters just how good the wines from this region actually are.

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Hawke’s Bay Syrah Masterclass - ‘Exploring The Diversity Of Hawke’s Bay, Its Sub Regions And Ability To Produce World-Class Syrah’

On Monday 9th October, 39 esteemed members of the UK wine trade (1 all the way from Delhi!) attended a Hawke’s Bay Syrah Masterclass hosted by Steve Skinner, Head Winemaker at Elephant Hill, and John Hancock, Founding Winemaker of Trinity Hill.  Attendees were treated to 10 very different wines, in spite of them all coming from the same small region and being made from the same grape.  The final conclusion with regards to the Hawke’s Bay Syrah style?  Freshness, purity and spiciness… and a host of other attributes, each individual to the winery and winemaker.

The full Syrah spread:

  1. Babich Winemakers’ Reserve Syrah 2014
  2. Paritua Syrah 2014
  3. Rod McDonald Wines Quarter Acre Syrah 2015
  4. Craft Farm Syrah 2015
  5. William Murdoch Coldstream Syrah 2012
  6. Te Mata Bullnose Syrah 2015
  7. Vidal Estate Legacy Syrah 2014
  8. Trinity Hill Homage Syrah 2014
  9. Craggy Range Le Sol Syrah 2015
  10. Elephant Hill Airavata 2013
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