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THE WINE MERCHANT. An independent magazine for independent retailers

Issue 66, February 2018

Commemorative flu epidemic edition

THIS MONTH 2 BACCHUS Laurent-Perrier and planning officers irritate indies

4 comings & GOINGS

Closures in Halifax, Devizes and Cambridge but good news in Manchester and London

8 tried & TESTED

Some highlights from the Chile roadshow tasting French merchants such as Benoit Dezecot of Le Pinardier in Deal, Kent, are thriving in the UK independent wine trade. We celebrate their contribution on page 16. Picture: Mike Owen

High profile merchants pull out of Vindependents Corks Out and the Oxford Wine Company have both withdrawn from The Vindependents, the wine agency business run by a collective of independent merchants. Cheshire-based Corks Out said its decision

was based mainly on its desire to source

more specialist wines from UK suppliers as it invests in the retail side of its operation,

and to minimise the impact of exchange rate movements.

The Oxford Wine Company said that despite

operating three retail shops, a wine bar and a piano bar, wholesale trade still accounts

for around 70% of its business and it is more

cost effective to import wines direct, or in

partnership with other large independents.

Both companies also cited some supply issues

that had a bearing on their decision to leave The Vindependents.

Corks Out boss Ruth Yates says: “They’re a

very young business, they’ve done extremely

well and it did suit us. We would have still been involved had we not changed our business on the retail side of things.

“We turn around our stock over an eight-week

period, maximum. So when you’re purchasing

from overseas – not just with Vindependents –

Continues on page two

18 david williams

All this talk of terroir means we sometimes overlook the role of winemakers

22 kevin dodd tribute

A fond farewell to a gentle giant of the wine trade

26 borough wines, beers and books

Less a wine shop, more of a Hastings cultural centre

36 merchant to the stars Cork of the North’s celebrity clientele

40 make a date

Those March tastings in full

44 supplier Bulletin

Essential updates from agents and suppliers


b Merchants quit Vindependents Continued from page one

you’re holding a lot of stock and you’ve got to rely on turning that over, and cash flow is really important to us. So we’ve made

a decision – because of stock holding and currency rate fluctuation – to take the hit on a bit of margin and be more in control and not purchase from overseas.”

Oxford Wine Company owner Ted

Sandbach adds: “I wish the Vindependents a lot of luck. It’s not for me because

it doesn’t work for the profile of our

company. There have been one or two

issues to do with supply and quality which have caused a bit of a problem.

“It’s good for small retailers because

their requirements are very different to ours.”

Jessica Hutchinson of The Vindependents

says that Oxford’s decision to leave is sad but “completely understandable”.

“Whilst we do have wholesale-focused

lines our emphasis is on high-quality

wines from small producers representing great value for money,” she adds.

“We don’t specialise in big volume,

entry-level wines which is obviously where wholesalers need to be looking.”

She acknowledges some recent supply

issues. “The value-end wines which we

do ship have been incredibly successful and, probably due to our increasing

membership and increasing demand, some of our suppliers have struggled to keep

Facebook ads bypassed independent shops

it arises from the growing success of the

web users to a £44.99 offer.

reserves and minimum-order preparation

promotional support”, was unimpressed

up,” she says.

“It’s not the worst problem to have as

company and we have now put measures in place to solve these issues with annual times agreed with all key suppliers.

“Members can now order wholesale

lines direct to their stores DPD and pay in euros so they control the currency. They

can also order whenever they like or still order to our fixed schedule and benefit from reduced shipping rates.”

She adds: “It’s a great shame that Ruth

is leaving the group. However, as she is

One merchant, who had been retailing

the Champagne for £45 “with a bit of

by the company’s lack of support for the independents who have helped build Laurent-Perrier sales in the UK.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a

supplier pay for something on Facebook

to lead to a particular website to purchase the goods,” the retailer told The Wine Merchant.

“Laurent-Perrier has been lower on price

changing the way she buys wines our

on Amazon by £10 in previous Christmases

decide to go down the importing route

wouldn’t advertise Tesco as a supplier,

unique way of sourcing will obviously no longer work for Corks Out. If they ever again Ruth knows she will always be welcome back.”

• Ruth Yates interview – page 14.

Indies upset by L-P Amazon promo Laurent-Perrier has incurred the ire of some of its supporters in the independent trade with an online promotion that referred Facebook users

Hutchinson: supply issues now solved

The ads promoted the rosé and directed

to Amazon.

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 2

but that hasn’t affected our sales – it’s all fair in love and war. But Laurent-Perrier would they? It’s a kind of activity we should discourage fairly rapidly.”

Laurent-Perrier UK issued a statement

attributed to MD David Hesketh.

“In the ever-evolving digital landscape,

Laurent-Perrier is always looking for new ways to reach its target customer base,”

he said. “In recent marketing activity, we

featured a range of stockists and routes to

purchase on our social channels, including Amazon for a brief period. This support is something we’ll continue to offer our network of merchants.”

Is it a shop, a library or a pub? When David Dodd took over Tivoli Wines in Cheltenham 18 months ago, he knew his plans would entail having to engage with the local planning department. But he had no idea just how grim that experience that would be. Part of the development was to convert

the upper floor into the wine library – a comfortable space for customers to

purchase wine by the glass. “It sits in a very grey area as to whether you are registered as an A1 retailer or an A4 drinking establishment,” says Dodd.

“I explained what I intended to do with

the upper floor. They said it definitely

wouldn’t require a change of planning, but as soon as we put the application in, an

enforcement officer was already telling me that we couldn’t do it.

“It was the attitude of the enforcement

officer that irked me. When I pointed

out that they hadn’t given me the same information before I purchased the

business, his response was ‘well, you’ve

got nothing in writing from us to say you

had a conversation with us.’ But I did have.

I had an email, which I sent to him and he backed down straight away. They don’t make it easy.”

Flying Füchs

There was also the added complexity

of being Grade II listed which meant

the conservation officer was allowed to

express his opinion on the colour. “It was a grey-green and we wanted to paint it blue.

He was giving his subjective opinion rather than his professional advice when he said he didn’t like the colour. Wine Rack had

owned the building some time ago, and it had been blue then.”

In the end it all came down to the sales

“Our Man with the Facts”

versus the entire floor space and also the

in France was François Bouchet, who

figures. “We had to look at the percentage of the floor space allocated to the library percentage of sales it would contribute.

We are a shop with an upper floor. Once

we sat down with a reasonable planning

officer and explained all this and provided evidence, they were fine.

“I had to write a detailed letter to set

• The first biodynamic winemaker

applied the technique to his Domaine de Château Gaillard estate in 1962. It was another two decades before he persuaded others to join him.

• Now banned from using the word

out my closing times, what I would and

Sherry as a descriptor for their fortified

library] not to exceed 35% of my total. If I

to highlight the wines’ suitability as an

wouldn’t do and also I had to say I’d expect the level of sales [generated in the wine

break any of those rules, they can come in

and say ‘right, you need to be re-registered as a pub’. ”

wines, Australians must label their

product as Apera – a word intended aperitif.

• Château Mouton-Rothschild has

commissioned artists to design labels

for its wines every year since the 1945 vintage, although the custom can be

traced back to 1924 when Cubist artist Jean Carlu produced the design for the house’s first château-bottled wine.

• At one time the most widely planted grape variety in California vineyards

was Burger, the local name for a bland and almost forgotten Languedoc grape called Monbadon.

• One synonym for Chenin Blanc is Tête de Crabe – “Crab Head”.

The new upstairs area has seating for 28 people

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 3

Eyres focuses efforts on Hexham

a great site came up and the rent was

sensible then we could, absolutely,” he says.

Northumberland merchant Bin 21 has

given to develop the second floor and Van Goethem is thinking along the lines of a

something cool” – but those plans won’t

to concentrate on its Hexham site.

come to fruition until the summer.

Owner Paddy Eyres says the move will

also help the company put more focus on its wholesale trade.

The Morpeth branch has been taken

hold around 60. The go-ahead has been

bar or a private tasting room – “it will be

sold the lease on its Morpeth premises

over by Michelle McKenzie, who previously

of the Prestwich shop with a capacity to

Kickstarter campaign raised £6,000

Halifax Wine Co bows out of retailing

Making up for lost time in Ramsbottom

The Halifax Wine Company has closed

to grow year on year,” says Eyres. “There

The delay in opening their second

is to maintain the wholesale and private

what you want to do with that business to

trade – but there’s no such thing as the

do the wine bar and café lounge, and

in Ramsbottom in Bury.

worked for Bin 21 and is planning to

rebrand the premises in the near future.

“The retail business is fine and continues

to tick over nicely but it can’t continue comes a point where it levels out and

Grape to Grain shop may have meant

develop it further.

New Year blues for Barry Van Goethem

then fluctuates, and it becomes a case of “In Hexham we have the facility to

there’s an outside seating area, so that brings in several different streams of

missing out on much of the Christmas

and Tom Sneesby now they’ve opened “We had so much bad luck with licensing

issues,” says Van Goethem. “We found

the property last February and we only

managed to gain access in the first week

of December. We were hoping to open last summer.

“January is normally down time, but

we’ve not seen that at all, we’ve been nice and busy. It’s exceeded my expectations already so if this is a taste of things to come, we’re on to a good one.”

The money they raised through

Kickstarter was enough to cover the

“finishing touches”. The duo managed to double their initial £3,000 target thanks their existing customer base. The Morpeth branch will be rebranded

revenue. Obviously on-trade sales are

more profitable than off-trade sales. The combination of the two does well.”

Eyres says he does not rule out opening

a second shop further down the line. “If

“People would travel to our Prestwich

store from north Manchester, Bury,

Ramsbottom and beyond and now they

are saying ‘we’re so glad you’re here’. It’s a real foodie kind of place. It’s a great

little community and we feel like we’ve integrated really well.”

The new store is almost double the size

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 4

its shop after 17 years of trading. Andy Paterson, who established the

business with his wife Karen, says the plan client customer base.

“We’re 59 years in the wine and food

business and 25 years in fine wine retail

and in the fortunate position where I can

step down and go part time,” he explains. The retail business will not be sold as

a going concern. “We popped the shop

on the market two years ago just to test

the water and in eight months we didn’t

get a single enquiry,” he says. “This shop

doesn’t lend itself to a hybrid, and I don’t

think people want stand-alone wine shops, which I can understand.”

He adds: “I like to think we’ve proved

that a small northern town can generate

enough support for a wine shop to thrive.

We were kind of the first to stick our shop off the high street: we decided to go three streets back and we felt the specialist

nature of the shop would make people

come to us. You don’t necessarily have to be in a high footfall area, watching three

quarters of that footfall go right past you.”

The couple have managed to top up their

travel fund with a sale of stock that saw all

but 35 bottles fly out in just over four days. “We just want to have a bit more time

to travel to all those lovely wine places we haven’t been able to get to for the past 24 years,” says Paterson.

Fourth branch for Humble Grape Liverpool Street, EC2 is home to Humble Grape’s newest store meaning that James Dawson has overseen the launch of four sites in under three years. He is planning a bit of a breather before

thinking about his next move. “I think

realistically this year is going to be pretty tough for the industry so we’re going to

hang on until September/October and see how this year is panning out before we do anything else,” he says.

The next two years will see more new

shops in London but Dawson says he

also has his sights set on Manchester,

Owner James Dawson is also considering expansion in Manchester, Birmingham or Edinburgh

Birmingham or Edinburgh.

after his departure, the shop has closed.

always cork is a central theme, all four sites

“sales had been in decline for a number of

don’t want to become a chain and have

time has come for us to refocus our efforts

more refined downstairs”.

provide new roles for them.”

Architect Jean Dumas has once again

Elaine Beckett at Wadworth brewery,

designed the interior, and although as

which had owned the store since 1969, says

“Although we are a wine brand, we

Chief executive Chris Welham says: “The

have been given their own identity.


everything look identical,” says Dawson.

on our core pub and beer business. We will

Liverpool Street is “still rustic but a bit

be supporting the whole team as we look to

“We ship from 12 different countries and

Cambridge closes ‘spiritual home’

The business imports 97% of its stock.

support 90 different vineyards. It’s easy

to get carried away because I love wine so

much, but then it just lies in the warehouse

Cambridge Wine Merchants has closed

particularly enjoyable. “We’ve moved away

company says it had “outgrown the space”.

worth of wine in a year and make

site since 2008 “and it has always been

Wholesaling was part of the plan for

from that business because the margins

are really stiff and you could sell £200,000 £10,000 or £15,000 profit, then one of the

restaurants decides not to pay you – that’s your profit gone.”

• Manager Colin Garrett retired from

Edward Giddings in Devizes after an impressive 30-year stint and around a year

future, featuring more wine bar space, food and entertainment.

“Our Cherry Hinton Road branch will

take over the Mill Road shop’s private and wholesale accounts and much of its local trade, being only a mile away. Our Mill

Road staff have moved in at our Bridge Street branch.”

Cork of the North is thinking bigger Cork of the North is preparing to open

and annihilates your cash flow.”

a while but Dawson admits it wasn’t

more exciting possibilities for the near

its branch on Mill Road in the city. The lease had come to an end and the

Cambridge has been trading from Mill

Road since 1993 and from the current our spiritual home, serving the many

residents in this most cosmopolitan part of Cambridge”, the company says.

The premises comprised a ground-floor

shop and a tasting room in the cellar.

A statement said: “On the bright side

we’re planning and negotiating bigger,

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 6

its second branch. Owner Marc Hough says: “We are

opening up a new place in the late spring

in Manchester and it will be three times the size of our Sale branch. I can’t divulge the

exact location but it will be in another leafy suburb of Manchester.

“It’s going to be a hybrid shop and bar,

doing 50 wines by the glass every day. We will not be having an Enomatic machine because I cannot stand them. It takes all the romance out of drinking wine.”

• Wine merchant to the stars – see page


Adeline Mangevine Crafty move for McKim and Jack East London has gained another independent with the arrival of Gnarly Vines in Walthamstow. Tom McKim and William Jack rode the

wave of the craft beer boom and have seen their joint venture Clapton Craft grow to

five shops since 2014. But as graduates of both Oddbins and Borough Wines, they have returned to their first love.

“We sell wine in all but one of the beer

shops but we wanted to do something

with a much bigger focus on wine,” says McKim. “Everything is on the organic to

natural spectrum, but we’re very much a

neighbourhood wine shop so we want to be responsive to what people are asking for.”

McKim confirms that “phase two”

will definitely involve a bit of licence

negotiation so they can serve cheese and

charcuterie with a bottle of wine. There are also plans to tackle the garden, which “has a lot of potential”.

Suppliers include Les Caves de Pyrene,

Indigo, Provisions and Gergovie Wines. “Ben and Hugo [at Provisions] are

friends of ours from Borough Wines and

we get all our cheese from them as well as quite a lot of wine.

“At the minute we’ve got about 150

wines but we have space for twice that, plus local beers, cheeses, coffee and chocolate.”

McKim and Jack will staff the new shop,

which is just a 25-minute walk away

from the Walthamstow branch of Clapton Craft. “It’s just the two of us – all the beer shops have managers but for this one

we’ll look to have some extra people in at the weekends. I think when something is new you want to make sure it’s the right

environment and it’s a nice shop to work in, so I don’t mind,” says McKim.

Hasty despatches from the frontline of wine retailing


hat’s it. I’ve had enough. I can’t

take any more. I’m going to shut the shop. That is unless people

start buying decent white wine.

Whites above a tenner are just as

good as red, I want to shout to so many customers. Stop clutching your throats while telling me how white wines are

“too acidic” (and then in the next breath tell me how much you hate big New World Chardonnays for exactly the

opposite reason). Stop dropping serious money on just the reds. Stop sighing “I

suppose I better get a couple of whites”

and heading for the cheapest Verdejo to

fill the two spaces left in your mixed case of premium reds.

I’m sure it never used to be this bad.

White wines, including those above £20,

would sell almost as well as reds all year round. I’d expect to make a serious dent

in spenny classic whites at Christmas, not be left come January staring at shelves

kicked off a year-long campaign of

positive wine discrimination. Instead of the usual February fizz promotion, I’ve slashed the margins on my premium

whites. Accompanying taglines include: “This Valentine’s Day, fall in love with a classy white wine”; “Love is a rich,

silky white wine caressing your mouth”; “The way to your lover’s heart is with a piercing, steely Chablis”.

The mysterious phenomenon of white flight, and how we plan to address the problem We will match whites to all seasonal

groaning with them.

events. Easter lamb? No problem.

changed. Slash the prices, move the stock,

try white Tempranillo. (See what I’m

Of course, the easy answer is to move

with the times. People’s tastes have

get over it. No one ever got rich by selling just the wines they like (and I like my rich whites, I really do).

Someone or something must be to

blame for this ridiculous state of affairs. America influencing our taste buds?

The general infantilisation of the British

palate, with our reliance on pre-prepared food with all its hidden fat and sugar? The democratisation of wine? A good

thing, obviously, but the downside is that more people demand a soft red they can

knock back by without food. Perhaps it is also partly my fault, for banging on and on about how red wine is brilliant with roast chicken.

To try to redress this imbalance, I’ve

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 7

Here’s a big, spicy white Grenache.

Burnt summer BBQ burgers? You must

doing, promoting whites that sound like reds?) Our tasting flights will be whites only – and we’ll be bribing red wine

diehards with “give white a go” special

discounts. We will get behind all generic promotions that involve white wines.

German Riesling, you do not know what is coming.

Come Christmas, we’ll go the full Bing

with a white (wine) Christmas before pelting headlong into “try January”. I may lose customers. I will probably lose money. But if I can just shift the dial

just a teeny bit, then the end must surely justify the means.

tried & Tested Champagne Geoffroy Pureté Brut Nature

Mas de Les Vinyes Traca i Mocador Negre, Montsant 2013

Fifth-generation winemaker Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy

There’s a lot going on in this blend besides the

this enigmatic zero-dosage wine, with its saline

be the colour of Pinot but it tastes like it should be

takes Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier from 45 parcels

and vinifies them in wood. The bubbles don’t dominate undercurrent and notes of citrus peel. Perhaps a

Champagne for contemplation rather than celebration. RRP: £32

ABV: 12.5%

Armit Wines (020 7908 0655)

Garnacha that makes up 60% of the mix: Cabernet,

Merlot, Syrah and Carignan each make cameos. It may several shades darker: a brooding and intense wine, leavened by accessible fruit flavours. RRP: £23.99

ABV: 15.5%

Hallgarten (01582 722 538)

Requingua Toro de Piedra Gran Reserva Petit Verdot Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

McHenry Hohnen Hazel’s Single Vineyard Zinfandel 2013

This had us doing a double-take on the retail price.

River Zinfandel but this is definitely no gimmick. The

There’s obviously a novelty element to Margaret

Frankly a wine this inexpensive has no right to show

such cigar-box decadence on the nose or such mellow, soft fruit flavours and such an assured structure, all

topped off with a refined mineral finish. Lovely stuff. RRP: £13.49

sweetness is carefully reined in, so although the black fruit flavours are there all the way through, providing an inviting cushion, they’re kept in check by a natural acidity that gives the wine a gentle bite. RRP: £24.50

ABV: 14%

ABV: 14.5%

Louis Latour Agencies (020 7409 7276)

Condor Wines (07508 825 488)

Clos Troteligotte K-or Cahors 2015

Amayna Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2010

Emmanuel Rybinski is considered a rising star in

This stopped us in our tracks at the Chile roadshow

is a tightly-wound, bracing and mouth-coating affair,

and richness just feels so natural and unforced. The

Cahors, farming an organic 14ha vineyard on an iron-

rich plateau at the southern tip of the appellation. This with medicinal notes and sumptious plum and berry

not be the height of fashion but here the opulence

mango and passion fruit is complemented by a toasty character and some exotic spice. Luxury Sauvignon.

flavours in the mix too. RRP: £13.99

tasting earlier this month. Tropical Sauvignons may

RRP: £23.50

ABV: 13%

ABV: 14.5%

Buckingham Schenk (01753 521336)

Hallgarten (01582 722 538)

Henry Fessy Rosé des Papilles Cinsault Vin de Pays 2016

Casa Silva Microterroir de Los Lingues Carmenere 2009

There’s a lovely understated elegance about this

The fruit here is from several micro-plots from the

DNA. There’s actually a faint strawberries-and-cream

over-extraction you might be dreading, just pure fruit

nicely-crafted rosé that, on first inspection, we mistook for neutrality. But blandness is not part of the Fessy

character that never overplays its hand, and a smooth, almost nutty, finish. When’s spring arriving again? RRP: £9.99

ABV: 13%

Louis Latour Agencies (020 7409 7276)

Los Lingues estate located at the foot of the Andes in the Colchagua Valley. There’s absolutely none of the

flavours and a cooling sprinkle of black pepper. Simple winemaking from a very blessed terroir. RRP: £35

ABV: 14%

Jackson Nugent Vintners (020 8947 9722)

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 8

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 9



Black Hand Wine Penrith Favourite wine on my list I love the Gamay I make with Romain

Chapuis in Burgundy for its simplicity; hand-picked, foot-stomped, unfined,

unfiltered and with no added sulphites, it’s an incredibly honest, fun wine.

Spain’s 2017 grape harvest is expected to be down by nearly 20%, rather than the 15% that had been predicted. The shortfall is blamed on spring frosts,

heatwaves and drought.

In October, the European Commission

said it expected production in Europe

to be at a 36-year low, with Spain faring less badly than Italy and France, which

were predicted to be down 23% and 19% respectively.

The Drinks Business, January 24

Good fish and chips with vintage

trimmings accompanied by a magnum of my dad’s 1983 Jean-Louis Chave

at Vino Vero have been really kind, and

sales decline of 4.6%.

Majestic, which makes around 30% of

its total annual sales over the Christmas period, said that it was on track to meet

market expectations, achieve its £500m

sales goal by 2019 and “accelerate sales

The TV programme will recommend a

know-nothing young winemaker ... two

at Touchstone Wines and Charlie Brown

Majestic’s commercial division saw a

with Channel 5’s The Wine Show.

My first French vinification in 2006 as a

Tom Innes at Fingal-Rock, James Gillespie


has announced a three-year partnership

Favourite wine trip

Favourite wine trade person

like basis, compared to last year’s 7.5%

Wine Rack, owned by Conviviality Retail,

Hermitage ... simply perfection.

Cuilleron in the Northern Rhône.

division was up just 1.12% on a like-for-

Wine Rack links with Wine Show

would have to be a rib of beef with all the

superb wines with the legend that is Yves

sales increase for Naked Wines. The retail

The Telegraph, January 9

Champagne takes some beating but it

well and drinking better while making

Much of the growth was driven by a 13%

growth in the medium term”.

Favourite wine and food match

gloriously drunken months spent eating


More pain in Spain than was forecast

selection of the retailer’s wines throughout the year and encourage its viewers to

explore new tastes and countries with

Frost, heatwaves and drought to blame

Naked sales boost Majestic Christmas Majestic has posted a 3.2% lift in total sales in the 10 weeks to January 1.

my suppliers give great support.

Wine Rack.

Joe Fattorini, a wine expert and show

presenter, will feature on the retailer’s

marketing material and the recommended

wines will be available to buy via the Wine Rack website.

Independent Retail News, January 24

Favourite wine shop

I love the cool, laid-back ambience of Le Chamouette in Dournanez, Brittany but

01323 871836

Twitter: @WineMerchantMag

my favourite, for its incredible wines and

The Wine Merchant is mailed freely to the owners of the UK’s 861

by the cadaverous and legendarily rude

exception to the rule has now closed down. The magazine is edited by

his shop either sober or empty-handed.

Registered in England: No 6441762

near anarchy, is O Gré du Vin in Dijon. Run Bertrand, it is almost impossible to leave

specialist independent wine shops. Every one of them, as the previous sole Graham Holter. Printed in Sussex by East Print. © Graham Holter Ltd 2018

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 10

VAT 943 8771 82

Daniel Lambert Wines Portfolio Tasting Tuesday 27th February 1pm until 6.30pm Novotel, London Paddington RSVP

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 11

merchant focus

Back to the land Gilbert Viader’s day job is running Viader Vintners in Cardiff. But weekends are increasingly dominated by work at the one-acre vineyard that will soon produce his own sparkling wine


very weekend Cardiff merchant

produce good grapes organically in this

Gilbert Viader can be found with

climate. At White Castle [Vineyard in

his wife Claire, toiling away in their

Llanvetherine] they have the early ripening

Monmouthshire vineyard.

variety and they seem to do pretty well

Previously trading as Wernddu, the Pen

with that, but pure and simple Pinot Noir is

y Clawdd vineyard was established in early

definitely a challenge.”

2000 by a husband-and-wife team, whose subsequent divorce meant the plot, just over an acre in size, lay abandoned for

Gilbert and Claire at harvest time

simply to prevent anything unwelcome

of Seyval, Reichensteiner, Schönburger,

some time before being purchased by a

neighbouring farmer. The deal was done

happening to the land; the farmer had no interest in the vineyard itself.

“We first looked at it in August 2016,”

says Toulouse-born Viader. “It had been abandoned for a good three years and

it did look in a pretty sorry state but we

thought: why not? The fact that the vines were already established and wine had

been produced made us believe that we could at least do as well.”

Initially 2,000 vines were planted; a mix

Ortega, Phoenix and Pinot Noir. “The

grapes had been grown organically and most of the vineyard had suffered from mildew. It’s fairly densely planted – we

counted 1,800 vines and almost a third of

Viader has had a lot of help and advice

from Robb and Nicola Merchant of White Castle. “He told us about the vineyard in the first place and has been our mentor

really,” says Viader. “Last year, because we

were total virgins, Robb spent quite a bit of time with us in the vineyard, pruning and

spraying. This year we will have to see how much we can do without his help.”

that is Pinot Noir.

“All the other varieties are more prone to

succeed in this sort of climate, especially the Phoenix and the Seyval. Why there

was Pinot Noir planted there, I don’t know but it would certainly be a challenge to

The first production will be around 400 bottles and the potential is there for between 2,000 and 3,000 THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 12

The vineyard is home to 1,800 vines

Their first harvest in October last year

yielded 500kg of fruit, mainly Seyval and a “little bit” of Phoenix, which is now in the hands of Simon Day at Sixteen Ridges.

“Most people in the area tend to use

Three Choirs but if we produced less than a tonne of grapes they would have had

to go into the communal vat, so we took

our grapes to Sixteen Ridges in Ledbury because they were happy to produce something from our own grapes.

The vineyard had been abandoned for three years when the Viaders bought it

“We will make a sparkling wine as

we firmly believe something sparkling

will always have a bit more of an appeal and will probably be a bit easier to

commercialise, but the main reason is

because the sugar levels are always difficult to reach here in order to produce a still wine that will be palatable enough.

Borough Wines in Battersea was one of 16 wine shops that opened in London during 2017

“With sparkling you get away with a

lower level of alcohol. I think the natural

sugar was 7.7g or something like that, and with full chaptalisation and with a bit of

dosage we would reach a respectable 11%.” The first production will be around

400 bottles and Viader says the potential is there for between 2,000 and 3,000 bottles. He has the vineyard on a five-year lease,

and though he doesn’t want to “jump the

gun,” he says “if the next five years prove to

Eager volunteers help with the tidying up

be successful and the farmer is willing to

10 years, it’s been enormous with English

investment back – great.”

potential is there.”

are already some very good Welsh wines

us it is also an escape. When the weekend

let us have a little bit more of the adjacent land, we could extend more vines – the He is optimistic about English wine.

“The future – and when I say the future,

I’m talking about the next generation – is definitely bright. When you look at the

development in terms of quality in the last

wine – possibly more English than Welsh

but the Welsh are still playing a part. There

produced at Ancre Hill and White Castle for example.

“Whatever we produce it will always be

small and very niche,” says Viader, “but if we can sell a bit of it and get a bit of

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 13

Meanwhile, Viader is finding the hard

work entailed somewhat therapeutic. “For comes, it is nice – the mobile signals are not very good out there so you have an

excuse if people can’t get hold of you. It was hard work last year, but I can’t help feeling this year will be easier.”

interview: Ruth yates

Corks Out puts faith in UK-based suppliers Team aims for more specialist wine range


wo of the biggest trends in the

independent trade are on-premise

consumption and a greater reliance

on direct imports.

Corks Out has been at the vanguard of

shop floor.”

those guys because a lot of them will give

they involve, but Yates says shop sales


On-premise sales are obviously more

profitable, despite the staffing costs that remain an important element of the business.

“Our margin has increased quite

dramatically over the past 12 months, and

a lot of that is down to the on-trade side of the business, so profit-wise we’re quite up on where we were last year,” she says.

“But the fact is we would like to focus

on that 30% and try to increase it. We

would never open up a premises that was just a bar. People coming in now to drink

both these movements. But owner Ruth

genuine point of difference.

Yates says retail is 30% of branch turnover

store turnover, we want to get some of

in are not afraid to buy retail wine. And

“We’ve got all the team together and

are having children later, they’re eating

like that we haven’t had before like wines from Georgia, Turkish wines and maybe

Romanian and Croatian, just to have that point of difference from the big players.

“We’ve invested a lot in training as well

because a lot of our new staff have been more hospitality-focused than retail-

focused. We’ve put 12 people through their Level 3 and several through their Level 2

to help them feel more comfortable on the

you are paying more but they’re giving you samples, they’re coming in and supporting tastings, they give team incentives, they’re going round doing training … all of those

things you can’t get if you’re going direct to a vineyard.

“And there’s the admin side of it. People

the current figure of five branches.

we lost focus in terms of the retail side,”

refresh. We’ve put in things that we really

suppliers do give lots of other support. Yes

in the near future to take its estate beyond

“We’ve concentrated a lot on the on-

all the dead wood and given it a bit of a

“I think what people forget is that

Corks Out is hoping to open more shops

range that will help give the business a

gone through the whole range, looked at


back to a UK supplier.”

to help it compile the kind of specialist

revamp of the range.

got 93 suppliers and a lot of them are very

have a faulty bottle and you can send it

putting greater faith in UK-based importers

our specialism back by having a complete

just think we’d lost a little bit of that. We’ve

extra cost you have to put in yourself. You

focusing more on its retail business, and

extremely well and are now 70% of our

“We’re able to support them back, and I

margin with all that hassle and all that

to swing back a little. Corks Out will be

Yates admits. “Now that the bars are doing

and we’ve got good pricing with a lot of

don’t weigh up the extra couple of percent

Yates is now ready to allow the pendulum

trade side, and refurbs, and in doing that

us regional exclusivity which is fantastic,

they usually have good disposable income: people are getting married later, people

and drinking out more and they’re quite

happy to purchase a bottle of wine. We’ve

got them over the threshold by being a bar

so now’s the time to get them interested in exploring new horizons.”

Corks Out has pulled out of The

Vindependents as Yates and her team put their faith in UK suppliers.

“There are a lot of small specialist

suppliers in the UK that are fantastic,” she

says. “Red Squirrel for instance; the likes of

Thorman Hunt, BBS … we really do support

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 14

“It’s a really exciting year for us this

year because we feel we’ve been running at 100mph for the last few years getting

Knutsford on the map, and getting Chester refurbished,” says Yates.

“We’ve been wanting another couple of

shops for a long time and we’ve found the

locations. We did lose one in a really great location and we were just pipped at the post on that.

“We’ve got two locations that are really

important to us but it’s just finding the

right premises at the moment. The model

that we’ve got really needs outdoor space

and enough room for a decent retail as well

as on-trade and we can’t compromise there. “We’re always looking. We’re a bit

sceptical about going into a city centre. I think we’d rather be in residential areas

of towns and decent villages – I think they suit us better.”

THE WINEMAKER FILES Fiona Turner, winemaker, Tinpot Hut Fiona has made wine in New Zealand’s most famous wine regions as well as in California, and even had a spell in the UK with Oddbins. With her husband Hamish she now runs a 50-acre vineyard in the Blind River subregion of Marlborough and is managing director of her own label, Tinpot Hut Wines

Blind River, at the time we bought our land, was a very new subregion of the Awatere Valley. It’s super dry and very windy. It’s the most south easterly part of the valley, right against the coast. We tend to have less trouble with botrytis so that’s a

benefit. It also holds yields back more naturally so we don’t have to intervene too much.

I’ve been making wine since university. At some stage I envisaged doing my own thing. My husband was working in Wellington as a project manager and we decided that one of

us was going to have to give up what they were doing to live together. Hamish had always wanted to be a farmer and we decided to put our money where our mouths were.

We wanted to make elegant well balanced, varietally pure expressions of what Marlborough could do, starting with Sauvignon Blanc. The Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir came in 2008, and in 2010 we started working with Grüner Veltliner. We were one of the first to look at that as a variety in New Zealand. It’s very different viticulturally to

anything I’ve worked with. We spend more time in the vineyard with the Grüner than we

do with our Pinot, to be honest. It’s a crazy vine. The hardest thing I’ve ever worked with. I’m really happy with our Sauvignon Blanc. I really love where the style is sitting now with Tinpot. There are always things we can tweak; always things we experiment with. But in terms of how each vineyard block responds to its environment we’ve learnt an

awful lot in the last 15 years. We do treat each of our vineyards as complete individuals.

Tinpot Hut Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017 RRP £14.99 “It’s classic, a good example of the style we’ve been aiming to make, so there’s some minerality, some riper herbal notes overlaid with some tropical notes.”

Tinpot Hut Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016 RRP £17.99 “A great vintage meant the quality of the fruit was exceptional. It’s full of black cherry, savoury mushroom and soft silky tannins.”

I worked for Oddbins for six months back in the 90s. It was sales around the London

area; it was a good way to expand my tasting. Years ago we never got a lot of international wines here in New Zealand. It’s changed a bit now.

I come to the UK once a year to spend time out on the road. I’ve noticed over the past few years that, like here in New Zealand, people are moving away from supermarkets

back to the speciality butcher, the speciality fishmonger, the speciality cheese shop and the speciality wine shop, which is great.

There are a lot of stories here in New Zealand that have yet to be told. The The first jobstories offer Iof got was to workthe in other a winery, at Angoves in McLaren subregional Marlborough; varieties here. There is world Vale. class Pinot My early days were more laboratory and quality control but I got the wine bug Noir here. There is world class Chardonnay here. The Syrah in Hawke’s Bay; theand Pinot in

went to Otago; Roseworthy College. Icoming came back to Nelson. AngovesThere in 1976 gotand more andofmore Central the aromatics out of areand loads loads other involved. stories. That’s the next challenge for New Zealand. Those aren’t things we have to invent.

Tinpot Hut ‘McKee Vineyard’ Marlborough Grüner Veltliner 2016 RRP £17.99 “The best effort that we’ve made to date with our Grüner. We’re learning more every year. I think this is textural, it’s well balanced and again the mineral notes come through.”

Feature sponsored by Tinpot Hut Wines, distributed in the UK by Liberty Wines

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 15


french wine merchants

Gallic go-getters

No nationality has had a bigger impact on the UK wine trade than the French. Here are a dozen independent merchants from France who run successful businesses in Britain




A Breton who set up his Sheffield business with

Before setting up his Plymouth wine merchant

Along with fellow Frenchmen Matthieu Sevagen,

just £5 in his pocket, and now runs a retail and

business, Loué trained at catering school in

Thomas Guidez and Amaury Levisalles, Bal is

wholesale operation with a turnover approaching

Paris and started a career as a

opening an epicierie, bar and shop in Tufnell

£5m. Le Bon Vin is, by some

food and beverages manager for

Park specialising in wines and other goodies

distance, the northernmost

various hotels and restaurants.

from around the Francophone

member of the French buying

Le Vignoble’s second branch

world. His career in the

group Cavavin, from which it

will be in Bath as part of an

UK began at Nicolas and

sources most of its wines, though

expansion plan that Loué hopes

progressed to Yapp Bros,

it is not actually a franchisee.

will result in an estate of five.

where he will continue to work.




BOB stands for Bring Our Bottles, which sums

Dezecot is a native of Tours who originally ran an

Originally from Savoie in the French Alps, Faure is

up the original idea behind this south London

outpost of Borough Wines in Deal before changing

now proprietor of this much-loved wine bar, wine

merchant: bring your empty bottles back to the

its name to Le Pinardier. The place is now a

shop, deli and restaurant in Marylebone. He spent

shop to be refilled. Starting out in Crystal Palace

combination of wine shop, art gallery, wine bar

20 years in Paris with a legal company and arrived

in 2014, the business now

and music venue. He also runs the nearby Frog


in London via New York. “I

has three branches. Bush’s

& Scot restaurant in the

like London very much,” he

wine career began at

Kent town – featured in the

says. “It’s peaceful, and the

Parisian wine merchant Le

2018 Michelin Guide – with

people are well educated and

Repaire de Bacchus.

partner Sarah.

welcoming – despite Brexit.”




Lechavalier has lived in London for 30 years

The Parisian jokes that he was “born in a

working in the capital for over a decade. He co-

and helped establish Artisan Foods in 2000;

restaurant” and moved to London in 2013

founded Dago Wines in 2012 before opening the

he also sold wine at Borough

following an extensive tour

Vinarius wine shop and enoteca in Roman Road

Market for 15 years. The new

of France’s wine regions with

in Bow. Not that Vinarius

neighbourhood wine shop

his father. This gave him the

is a French-only affair:

and bar in Tower Bridge Road

contacts he needed to open his

business partner Eugenio

focuses on organic, biodynamic

wine shop, a short walk from the

Ciccarelli adds an Italian

and natural wines.

Angel tube station in Islington.

twist to proceedings.




Rousset is one of the country’s most celebrated

This merchant on Fulham Road in London,

This Derbyshire business started in 1979 when

sommeliers, and was once the youngest Master

established in the summer of 2016, specialises

Schmitt returned from France to England with

Sommelier in the world. His career in the UK took

in small-production wines from France, Spain

Another Parisian in London, Polleux has been

and Italy. Menegaldo is described as “a wine

his Derbyshire-born wife Suzanne. His career

him to Hotel du Vin and Le

actually began with

Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons;

enthusiast from birth: he was

Kronenbourg in

he later set up the Texture

christened with Champagne on his

his native Alsace,

and 28-50 restaurants. His

lips and often worked the harvest

where he worked

new Mayfair venture also

under the summer sun of Chablis

as a miller.

functions as a wine shop.

where his parents were born.”

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 16

Wine casks add extra dimension to island malt The first release from Isle of Raasay Distillery is three years away, but there’s a sneak preview of this lightly peated and fruity malt in the form of While We Wait, as distiller Iain Robertson explains


obody in the world sells malt whisky from the

Hebridean island of Raasay. But within three years all that will change.

The Isle of Raasay Distillery has been created by

entrepreneurs Bill Dobbie and Alasdair Day, whose vision and

patience will be rewarded thanks to the efforts of distiller Iain Robertson.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity,” says Robertson. “I jumped at

the chance. It’s a big change of lifestyle for me but I’m loving it. To have the opportunity to head up a brand-new distillery and have an input into what the spirit is going to be is just amazing.”

A sneak preview of the whisky is available

to achieve after maturation is a nice lightly smoked whisky with lots of fruity flavours coming through as well.

“We have nice long fermentation times – our average is 96

hours so the yeast is creating a whole bunch of other flavour

compounds. We’re already getting those nice fruity flavours as it comes off the stills.”

Mineral-rich water is being drawn from an old Celtic well on

the island, and trials have taken place with two types of barley

that thrive in Raasay’s harsh, wet climate. The goal is to source as much malt from the island itself as possible.

Robertson admits to enjoying While We Wait “as it comes” to savour the peaty complexity and the fruit notes of the whisky, but adds that the

in the form of While We Wait, a single malt

spirit is versatile enough to drink in a variety

made at another distillery but with the kind

of serves.

of flavour profile that will be found in the

“We did have some cocktail makers up

Raasay spirit. The lightly-peated whisky is

from London at our launch who made some

finished in French oak Tuscan wine casks

Old Fashioned-style drinks,” says Robertson.

from three vineyards producing Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

Like the malt that’s now maturing, it’s a small-batch

whisky available only to independent retailers.

“The While We Wait is the same style we’re going for, that

nice fruity flavour and rosy pink colour from the red wine

“There was a Manhattan with Raasay in it and

lots of different fruits which was very nice.

“Cocktails with whisky are becoming quite a popular

thing. Whisky is definitely not an old man’s drink any more.”

Feature sponsored by

casks,” says Robertson. “When the Raasay single malt hits the shelves it’s going to be similar to that, but it will have slightly different characteristics because we’ve made it here.

“We make two styles of whisky up here. We’re doing heavily

peated and unpeated. We’re going to blend them both together and have a lightly peated whisky. We’ll be maturing in a few different types of cask. We’re using high rye bourbon casks,

virgin oak casks and red wine casks as well. What we’re hoping 01478 470178

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 17

just williams

The human touch The tributes to Bruno Giacosa underline a truth not always universally acknowledged: great wine doesn’t merely require great fruit, but the labours of skilful and dedicated winemakers


eading through the many obituaries and tributes paid to the great Piedmontese winemaker Bruno Giacosa, who died, aged 88, in January, the picture that emerges is

remarkably uniform. Giacosa, it seems, was an unusually modest, quiet-bordering-on-taciturn man, who preferred to avoid the

bright lights and glossy pages of fame – who, to adapt a cliché from football, preferred to let his wines do the talking in the glass – but who also happened to be among the very greatest winemakers of the past half-century.

What made him – or rather his wines, his Arneis, Barbera and

Dolcetto as well as his great Barolo and Barbaresco riservas and

crus – so great? A passage from a profile of Giacosa on the website

of one of his American importers, the Rare Wine Co, is particularly good on this, if only in the way it accepts that there may not be a satisfactory answer.

The piece quotes an interview with Giacosa by the American

wine writer Gerard Asher in the 1990s, in which Asher manages

to coax some rare, if still somewhat slight and gnomic detail from Giacosa about his winemaking methods. “Winemaking involves a

great many small decisions, each affecting the next,” Giacosa said.

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 18

“One can only hope to get them right, to capture what there was in the grapes to begin with.”

By the 2000s Giacosa was prepared to offer a little more detail,

but, as the Real Wine Co piece says, this wasn’t “substantially

different from what other producers do”. His preferred recipe involved a two-to-three-week maceration in stainless steel

followed by ageing in large French oak botti for three to four years. Of course the fruit Giacosa was using, from both his own

vineyards (which he only acquired from 1982 onwards) and those of his partner growers (which were responsible for such great wines as the 1971 Santo Stefano Barbaresco Riserva Speciale that Ian d’Agata, in my view the world’s leading authority on

Italian wine, described as “Italy’s best-ever wine”) was among the finest in the region. But then plenty of other winemakers in the

region have access to great fruit without producing wines of such ethereal finesse and complexity.

In the end I find it hard to disagree with the Real Wine Co, that,

“Surely, as with an Henri Jayer or Gerard Chave, the answer to

David Williams is wine critic for The Observer

Wine is at least as much an expression of winemakers’ personalities as it is of the land they’re working from

what makes a Bruno Giacosa wine so extraordinary is contained within the man himself.”

Indeed, the importance of the winemaker is something that I

keep coming back to, whenever I come across a wine I really love. This is not to negate the importance of terroir – the line about

great wine always coming from a great vineyard is no less true no matter how often, unthinkingly or cynically it’s

repeated, as is the even older saw about sows’ ears

and silk purses. I also understand why so many were

so keen to play down the winemaker’s influence after the excesses of the 1990s and 2000s, an era when a certain kind of ego-driven, “maximum ripeness and

barrique-as-status-symbol” winemaking had been in the ascendance.

But after years of listening to natural and natural-inspired

producers and importers presenting winemaking as an essentially passive activity, a matter of stewardship, where the skill

essentially lies in getting out of the way, of letting the land talk,

I’m increasingly inclined to believe that the magic of wine has at

least as much to do with gifted, or inspired individuals. And that the result in the bottle is at least as much an expression of their

personality – of their active aesthetic decisions, even when those

decisions result in not doing something – as it is of the land they’re working from.

Certainly, when it comes to buying really fine wine, the producer,

it seems to me, is at the top of what might be called (if you were feeling really pompous) the hierarchy of importance. The ideal,

of course, is a great winemaker working in a great vineyard. But

given the choice between a great winemaker working on a less

favoured site and a poor, clumsy winemaker working on a great site, I’d take the former any time.

More than that, the emphasis placed on the vineyard and

terroir sometimes has the (admittedly not always intended) effect of lessening the sheer hard work

and dedication involved in making great wine. This is a lesson that comes through loud and clear in a rather excellent new book, The New Vignerons, A

New Generation of Spanish Winegrowers, by the Wine Advocate’s man in Spain, Luis Guitiérrez.

Time and again, what emerges from Guitiérrez’s

wonderfully detailed profiles of 14 Spanish producers – from

Pablo Calatayud in Valencia to Daniel Gómez Jiménez-Landi and

Fernando García of Comando G in the Gredos mountains and Pedro Rodríguez Pérez in Ribeira Sacra – is the sacrifices involved, the sheer bloody-minded perseverance, back-breaking labour and the all-encompassing obsession required to make great wine.

These producers are terroiristes to a fault, making wines that, in Guitiérrez’s words, “strive to capture their landscape, the place they come from and the traditions from their region”.

But as with Giacosa, it’s the winemakers themselves – and the

mysterious “great number of small decisions” they take – that will determine just how – and how well – those regions are

communicated. So yes, great wine is always made in the vineyard. But let’s not forget it always needs a great winemaker, too.

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 19

premium australia

Regional news Premium wines that reflect the diversity and heritage of Australia are now available in the UK through Fine Wine Partners. Boss Toby Spiers explains why they are a solid bet for independents


alling Australia a New World wine country sticks in the craw a little

bit when you represent producers

dating back as far as 1836.

Toby Spiers doesn’t tend to use the term

very much, and is at pains to point out that generalising about Australian wine makes

as little sense as it would to lump together all European wines.

“Before I started working with Australian

of Accolade Wines’ range, it offers wines

stand-alone division.

of Arras – wines that appear in Langton’s

Spiers. “The wider Accolade company has

from the likes of Houghton, Petaluma,

Croser, St Hallett, Grant Burge and House

classification (Australia’s leading fine wine

marketplace) and in James Halliday’s Wine Companion.

These are wines that are all shipped on

allocation and Spiers is pledging to stick

to a rigid channel strategy for each one to

‘Not many people understand the true scope of what is out there in Australia’ wines it’s fair to say I had more of a

European palate,” he admits. “But Australia

has such diversity of climate, soil types and different winemaking philosophies … one shouldn’t categorise Australia under one umbrella.

“A lot of these producers have been there

for a lot longer than many producers in

the Old World. I would say to people: open some bottles, try some wines and look at

the stories behind some of these wineries.”

The new Fine Wine Partners business in the UK allows independents to do exactly

that. Set up to represent the premium end

ensure independents can sell them with

confidence at realistic selling points.

“There’s channel

segmentation for

every SKU,” he says.

“There will be some wines in the lower price points going

into what I would call premium grocery,

but we’re definitely not looking at grocery as a whole.

“We will definitely minimise conflict

with any other channel, whether it be

independents or on-trade. The whole idea of the strategy is to make sure we’re not

trying to sell the same wine to everyone. We’re trying to pick the right wines for

the right market and the right customer.

I’m more than happy to share the channel segmentation with anyone.”

Accolade is a big company but Fine Wine Partners is being run as a small, discrete

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 20

“With independents, I’m very much

a believer in a direct relationship,” says

an incredible warehousing and distribution facility in Bristol so we will be distributing directly from there. We are doing a day-

one-for-day-four delivery service with a minimum order of £1,000.

“We have a big commercial team in

terms of providing back-of-house support. But Fine Wine Partners was created as

a separate entity because the company

understands that fine wines and premium wines require a different expertise and a different plan.”

He adds: “Not many people understand

the true scope of what is out there in

Australia. Our portfolio is very much a

regional fine wine portfolio. Part of my

priority is to be working with the trade to tell that regionality story.

“The wines have a story that needs to

be told so we need to be working with

the sectors that can tell that story. We feel there really isn’t anyone better to do that than the independents.”

For more information about the full range of premium Australian wines available from Fine Wine Partners contact Toby Spiers on 07752 291045 or email

in association with



WEStern australia

adelaide hills

“Petaluma was started by one of the legends, Brian Croser,” says Spiers. “At the Tiers vineyard in the Piccadilly Valley he was one of the true pioneers of cool-climate viticulture in Australia.” Petaluma's senior winemaker Andrew Hardy (pictured) makes ultrapremium wines through careful selection of the best sites within a particular region.

st hallett barossa Established by the Lindner family

“If people look at Western Australia they’ll think of Margaret River, but

in 1944, St Hallett understood the

Houghton in the Swan Valley was there 100 years before the Margaret

importance of saving the old vines

River was even thought of,” says Spiers.

and focusing on the key varieties

“If you speak to people that know Houghton and know the Langton’s

of the Barossa – especially

classification of Australia, the top flagship wine, Jack Mann Cabernet,

Shiraz. Tailoring fermentation and

is widely regarded as one of the best wines in Australia and has a real

maturation to each parcel it works

cult following. But it’s never really been brought over here and had any

with reveals the rich textures,

attention. People have never really seen or tasted it in the UK.”

depth and diversity of Barossa wine.

house of arras

grant burge



In 1995 Ed Carr embarked on a journey to craft an exceptional

Spiers says: “Grant Burge was one of the founding wineries that really

Australian sparkling wine equal to the world’s best. This journey led

made people sit up and take notice of these warmer-climate Shiraz

to the ancient soils and cold climate of Tasmania where the House

blends in the Barossa.”

of Arras was established. Made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the

A fifth-generation Barossa vigneron, Burge is one of the most

wines are held back for between three and 10 years to achieve the

respected and innovative forces in the Australian wine industry. There

distinction and maturity required to attain world-class status.

are many tiers to Burge’s wines and terroirs to be discovered.

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 21

kevin dodd tribute

Farewell to a gentle giant Kevin Dodd was too modest to recognise the admiration he inspired, as a musician, a sportsman and the driving force behind Hercules Wine Warehouse, the independent with two branches in Kent. We pay tribute to one of the trade’s nice guys, who left us far too soon


evin Dodd referred to himself as a “nearly” man: nearly a golfer,

nearly a musician, nearly a wine

merchant. In fact he was a talented

sportsman and an able musician – and

one of the top ranking independent wine specialists in the UK.

Hercules Wine Warehouse, the company

that he ran with his wife Sarah, was

established in 2005 and acquired by the couple in 2012. It has two branches, in

Sandwich and Faversham, and a thriving retail and wholesale business.

Born in April 1960, Kevin attended a

comprehensive school in Seaford, Sussex before joining the School of Music for

Regimental Bands in Woolwich, graduating to the staff band of the Royal Engineers at

Chatham two years later.

He remained in the army for 11 years,

serving in Germany, the Falklands and Hong Kong, before joining Whicklar

Wines in Barham, Kent, and making use

of an appreciation of wine that had been cultivated from an early age – indeed

during his army years he had established a wine club.

Kevin’s wine career took him to Harvey

Prince and Hedley Wright (later to become HwCg) before he took the plunge with Hercules.

Sarah met Kevin when they worked

together at HwCg and the couple married in 2007. “I worked with him on the

independent side of things and we got to know all the independents,” she recalls.

‘Kevin was a lovely man, full of positive energy and ideas and we will miss him greatly at our tastings’

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 22

“He started out as a regional manager and became a director.”

Eventually he grew restless in that role.

“I said come on, look around, what would

you like to do? He said, ‘you know that little wine merchant down in Sandwich – I really feel I could do something there and expand on it’. So I said, make Andrew [Lomax] an offer – and that’s what we did. Kev then joined Andrew and took on the role of

buying and expanding the wine section and developing the wholesale side of it.”

Sarah left HwCg two years later. Living

and working together suited the couple, with Kevin handling the front-of-house affairs and Sarah working on admin, logistics and staffing issues.

Kevin preferred wholesale trade to

retailing, even though the Faversham branch that he established focuses exclusively on retail business.

“If he had to do a day in the shop, he

would,” says Sarah. “But his skills were out selling wines to restaurants and pubs, and

that’s what he loved. He didn’t particularly enjoy being tied to a counter, with a pinny on!

“He was very good at explaining things.

If he ever gave a talk to a wine society, nine times out of 10 he got a standing ovation

because they said, you just make it human – you don’t try to confuse or complicate

it and we can listen to you. He was much

happier out at a tasting talking about wine rather than dealing with someone who

would come in and say, what’s the cheapest wine?”

Kevin’s favourite wines included

Bordeaux, Champagne and white Burgundy

“If he gave a talk to a wine society, nine times out of 10 he would get a standing ovation”

but he was also an admirer of Australian

and will be sorely missed.”

January. He also travelled to Chile and

was the first new member to join the

winemaker Geoff Merrill – indeed he

had been planning a visit to Australia in New Zealand and made regular visits to

wineries he represented in the Languedoc. A “big, gentle giant” with a keen sense of humour and a good rapport with his

clients, Kevin was described as “the first to the bar and the last to bed”.

Ciaron Gray, area sales manager

for Alliance Wine, says: “Kevin was a

gentleman and I only wish that some of the younger and older folk in the wine trade had the class that he showed.

“He was also a lovely big bear of a man

Jessica Hutchinson from The

Vindependents also pays tribute. “Hercules Vindies after we set up the company so

Kevin was with us right from the start and contributed enormously to building the business,” she says.

“He was a lovely man, full of positive

energy and ideas and we will miss him greatly at our tastings and as a very

respected part of our group. News of his

passing has left us all in shock but it was great to meet Sarah at our tasting and needless to say we will give her every

support she needs to carry on the work at Hercules.”

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 23

At Kevin’s funeral, which was attended

by around 300 people, celebrant Ashleigh Marshall said: “He was definitely not a

‘nearly’ man. His sense of fun, amiable,

loving, hardworking and striving nature

made him very much an amazing man, a

man who achieved so much in his life and a

man who was modest enough not to realise the effect that his effervescent personality had on everyone he met.”

He leaves two children, Sophie and

Gavin, from his first marriage. Sarah says:

“The business will continue. There’s not a

moment that goes by when we won’t miss him, but we’ve got a great team in place

and we want to build on what Kevin has started.”

For more information visit or call 0161 908 1300. To enquire about the tastings please email

SPRING HIGHLIGHTS chrome yellow semillon 2017,

on reflection chenin blanc 2017,

wo coastal region

wo coastal region

RRP £12.49 - £13.99

RRP £9.49 - £10.99

Semillon was first planted in South Africa in 1679. The vines for this cerebral Semillon were planted in Franschhoek Valley in the 1930s and 40s and our label celebrates the intellectual vibe of that time. Ambitious winemaker JD Rossouw has recently joined Boutinot’s winemaking team in South Africa and has a particular passion for Franschhoek’s gnarly old Sems. Limpid, textural and with a sort of defibrillating, lightning glee, this is old vine Semillon from a brave new world.

kardos dry furmint 2017, tokaji

RRP £11.49 - £12.99

The Cape’s hardiest workhorse, Chenin Blanc is both cult and cultivar. This bottle seeks to reminisce on the essence of the varietal’s coastal Cape history being squeezed from old, unirrigated bush vines in Paarl. On Reflection is a contemporary slice of this old vine’s life: deeply-rooted in granite soils, sand-blasted by the Atlantic and shaped by time.

papagiannakos assyrtiko 2016, attica

RRP £14.49 - £15.99 As a variety Furmint has much to offer consumers and we’ve recently fallen in love with the wines from this tiny Tokaji producer. Until this wine came along, Kardos’ extremely fine Furmints came at a premium but thanks to owner and winemaker Gábor’s encyclopaedic network of friends and growers he has secured the long-term contract for a mineral-rich Furmint vineyard capable of delivering a decent sized annual production. This is linear and poised and should help further propel this varietal’s reputation, especially given its fantastic price point.

Assyrtiko is fast becoming Greece’s most recognised white variety and plantings are expanding beyond its home of Santorini; this stunning Assyrtiko from the Attican Peninsula (very close to Athens) is influenced by the cooling coastal breezes and the variety reaches its true potential in the hands of Vassilis Papagiannakos. Undiminished by the absence of volcanic soil, it maintains minerality, salinity and racy lime acidity, balanced by delicate floral and honeyed notes. A fascinating alternative to Albariño or Riesling.

Gábor Kardos with product manager Alex Gittins

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 24

la leyenda de las cruces sauvignon blanc 2017, leyda valley

RRP £9.49 - £10.99

We’ve been making own production Sauvignon Blanc in Chile for over two decades and when the opportunity came along to work with a stellar grower from San Antonio we jumped at it. Leyda is becoming increasingly familiar to UK consumers and its distinctive, coastal shaped style is hugely appealing. The vineyard for this wine sits just six miles from the Pacific and fresh coastal breezes allow grapes to retain freshness and ripen slowly to develop great herbaceous and tropical infused aromatics.

the underworld grenache blanc

2017, wo western cape RRP £9.49 - £10.99 Grenache Blanc’s fecund globes are reminiscent of Earth from space, so it is only right that its palate offers an unearthly paradise of pithy otherness. This cultivar is also kind enough to thrive in a drought, proving that sustainability can also be remarkably tasty. Rather than the vine’s frilly nonsense we champion here the noble work of roots, whose blind, grinding work seek sustenance unseen from the soils. This is a blend of textural old Piekenierskloof and fleshier younger Paarl plantings.

Boutinot product managers Alex Gittins, Robin Naylor and Jean Wareing MW select 12 exciting new wines that will make their debuts at the company's portfolio tastings, taking place in Manchester on February 27 and London on March 1.

nieto white blend 2017, uco valley

RRP £11.49 - £12.99

Winemaker Santiago Mayorga has been with Nieto for four years, and after his gentle evolution of their key wines, he is now starting to experiment and create wines which make a statement and highlight the future potential for Mendoza, and specifically the Uco valley. This is the first vintage of this intensely aromatic blend. 30% Semillon, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Chardonnay and 20% Viognier combine to create a wine which has lifted citrus and exotic fruit aromas. The wine has depth of flavour with good texture and great acidity.

quinta do pinto gran escolha

2014, lisbon RRP £28.49 - £29.99

A superlative Portuguese interpretation of a Rhône blend; Viognier, Roussanne and Chardonnay are fermented in French barrique and aged for 10 months on lees, followed by a year in bottle before release. Quinta do Pinto are located in the Alenquer region of DO Lisbon, just 20km from the pounding Atlantic ocean, which imparts a certain unique saline tang and added complexity to their wines.

cadus criolla 2017, uco valley

RRP £15.49 - £16.99

Criolla was introduced by the Spanish conquistadors who brought the variety from the Canary Islands. The variety is known for its resistance to drought hence its popularity in Mendoza, pre-irrigation. The popularity of Malbec saw the grubbing up of most vineyards but Santiago Mayorga has found a wonderful 70-year-old Uco valley site and experimented with the variety for the first time. This is unoaked and exhibits a pretty aroma profile with fresh red fruits and crunchy acidity. It’s another example of the innovation Santi is creating, and also provides a refreshing change in style to stereotypical full bodied Argentinian reds.

Santiago Mayorga of Nieto Senetiner/Cadus

giornata barbera 2016,

mantlepiece cinsault 2017,

paso robles

wo coastal region

RRP £19.49 - £20.99

RRP £9.49 - £10.99

Paso Robles is one of the most diverse AVAs in California and it’s great to have found a producer who’s not only unique in the region but also a rarity in the state. Brian and Stephanie Terrizzi have spent the past decade building Giornata after several years in Tuscany winemaking and living with Brian’s family. Whilst the fruit quality is unmistakably new world, winemaking leans towards Italian in style with an emphasis on balance and subtlety. This Barbera perfectly showcases that style with a beautifully attractive nose and an elegant, fruit driven palate.

A cultivar of Biblical importance to the Cape’s winemaking history, Cinsault has been overlooked for decades but the nobility in this grape is, at last, being seen. This is old, unirrigated bush vine material that sprawls over that blasted piece of the Earth’s mantle that is Paarl, shaped by the same Atlantic gales that whistle down the Cape. Juicy, bright yet exotic with an oriental promise of star anise, hoi sin and five spice.

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 25

quinta do pinto touriga nacional

2013, lisbon RRP £18.99 - £19.99

Unbelievably we didn’t have a Touriga Nacional in our portfolio … this superlative example beautifully shows what this characterful, indigenous variety is capable of. Hand harvested grapes undergo a 14-day fermentation followed by malolactic fermentation and then nine months in second and third year French oak. Boot polish black with delicious blueberry notes.

Simon Booth

merchant profile: borough wines, beers & books

Arts and draughts Borough Wines, Beers & Books in Hastings stretches the idea of what a specialist wine shop can be. Free jazz, poetry and literature are all part of the mix, along with beer and wine on tap and a dog so popular he has his own festival


he thing about wine shops is that they can get rather fixated on wine. It’s what makes them specialists, of

course. But that doesn’t necessarily chime with the way

many wine drinkers think about wine.

Despite the honesty, and slightly unwieldy nature, of its name,

Borough Wines, Beers & Books in Hastings is very definitely a

wine specialist. But it has the feel of a drop-in cultural centre, a Anitawhere Mannion, September place locals can call 2017 in not just for a bottle or two of Cru

Beaujolais, or even a decent saison beer, but maybe pick up some

local artwork, or a book about pagan festivals, or just chew the

fat with their hosts. If they hit the right evening, they may even

discover a bloke in the basement playing free jazz on a saxophone while hitting himself on the head with a tray. Krautrockers Faust were recently here too, anglegrinder and all. Wine is part of the experience, but certainly not the whole experience.

Once a decaying seaside resort that topped all the wrong

league tables, Hastings has been hauled towards bohemian

respectability by a mixture of down-from-London money, a salty

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 26

Jess Scarratt and Michael Smith, January 2018

‘Borough Wines helped us get started. It’s our business … an unofficial franchise, I suppose’ neighbourhood is a long way from the tourist magnet that is the

Old Town to the east, or “up-and-coming” St Leonards to the west. “I was working for Borough Wines in London,” says Jess. “I was

director of wholesale, I had a baby and we were renting this tiny attic flat in Stoke Newington and we were priced out of the area, really. We’re both from Hartlepool and wanted to be back by the sea, but we didn’t want to go all the way back up there!”

Michael, a writer, film maker and journalist who was a regular

presenter on The Culture Show on BBC2, joined Jess on some of her excursions down the A21 and “fell in love with Hastings”.

“I get a lot of satisfaction out of the shop,” he says. “It’s been

great for us because we didn’t know anyone when we moved here and we’ve met loads of nice people through the shop. You know

they pop in because they like being here for the conversation as much as buying the wine.”

Simon Booth

Continues page 28

and almost piratical indigenous character that predates Victorian development, and a rediscovered sense of civic pride that

celebrates local artisans, architecture and independent traders.

Jess Scarratt and Michael Smith seem to fit in beautifully. Their

shop opened in August 2015 in America Ground – so called

because locals originally decreed what was then a shingle island

to be part of America rather than Hastings, and thus immune from

taxation and other municipal inconveniences. Despite its proximity to the award-winning pier, some sense of isolation persists: the

The neighbourhood once claimed status as an American colony

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 2016 27

merchant profile: borough wines, beers & books From page 27

So is this shop independent of Borough Wines in London or part of the family? Jess: Michael and I wanted to do something together and Borough

Wines helped us get started. It’s our business essentially, but they helped us to set up the shop. It’s an unofficial franchise I suppose. We don’t pay for the name – we buy all our wines, apart from

the local wines and Chateau Musar, from Borough Wines. We buy London beers from them but all the Swedish stuff we get from Bottle Shop and Cave Direct.

In theory you could buy from another wine supplier? Jess: It’s a tricky one really – we’ve never had that formal

discussion. We’ve not needed to. We’ve always thought the wine was really good so I wouldn’t, actually. If we wanted to stock

more natural stuff potentially we’d have to look farther afield, but

Simon Booth

Borough Wines have upped their game with natural, organic and biodynamic stuff.

That classic wine shop poster: a portrait of a local fisherman

Michael: When we opened, the natural stuff didn’t go so quickly

but we’ve found that now more people come in for natural wine. As that has increased I think the Borough Wines range has improved. It’s about a quarter of our range I’d say.

People in Hastings are very interested in knowing if the wine is

vegan and that sort of thing.

How are people hearing about natural wine? Jess: People don’t specifically ask for it but they’ll ask if we have wine without sulphites because they get headaches. Then we

explain that they do occur naturally when something is fermented. You get the odd person who asks for natural wine but usually it’s an enquiry regarding sulphites.

Michael: It is very Hastings, a bit like Brighton: a little bit of a hippy mentality. People want that kind of alternative thing.

Hastings has changed its image a lot over the past few years. Jess: We were saying yesterday that when we first moved here we were really struggling for places to go out for dinner. The Crown

would be one of them, it’s one of the best places to drink in the UK.

Now there are some great places. There are some really good chefs coming down from London. The new chef at The Albion has come from Quo Vadis.

Michael: A bit like Hackney or Peckham, it was a well-kept secret that it was an environment with character and charm. It’s not

quite that there’s been a big influx of money – just an influx of people with not quite enough money for London. Draught beer is an important part of the mix

Early on we realised that there was a community of people who

had just had kids, had moved down from London, didn’t really

know anyone and were semi-employed in the design industry.

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 28

Simon Booth

‘It’s not that there’s been a big influx of money – just an influx of people with not quite enough money for London’

Where do you get the books from? Jess: Some from Gardners Books and some from Caught By the River, which is a literary arm of Heavenly Records. Basically

they’re a bunch of old hedonists who got into fishing and they do some really good books on walking and rivers – there’s a general

sea theme to the books. They’re not huge sellers but the big coffeetable books, the art and photography books, do really well. What’s the margin on books?

Refills are £6.50, at the lower end of the Borough Wines keg spectrum

Jess: It depends really but it’s about 30%. We aim for at least

35% on wines and more on beers if we can. Taking spirits into consideration, the average is about 35%. Tell me a bit about the wine range.

Jess: Borough Wines has always been really strong on French wine. This was 100% French initially but in the last 12 months I’d say it

with initially. It’s all a bit pricey really.

The Italian range is really good. The Tuscan Chardonnay and

Chianti Classico go really well.

How do you decide what goes into your wine-on-tap device?

was about 50/50 French and the rest of the world.

Do you have to go with what Borough decides?

stock at the moment. The Lebanese wines do really well because

Lidl and Aldi. We’re £6.50 a refill.

We’re big fans of Rhône reds and quite rich Languedoc reds. We

have a Syrah du Maroc at £17.50 that just flies out. We’re out of we love them and have pushed them.

For local wines we work with Court Garden and we’ve got some

bits and bobs from Plumpton, Oxney sparkling and Nyetimber.

I think just because of our taste the wines that sell well are the

all the biodynamic Côtes du Rhône, and the Syrah du Maroc.

Michael: I think we’ve pushed Bordeaux and Languedoc. I think in some ways, Bordeaux is set in its ways. Whereas with the

Languedoc you get some really interesting stuff coming out of there.

I’d like some more Burgundy. That’s the wine I really fell in love

Jess: They’ve got a really big selection now of keg. We go for the

most affordable options just because we really try to compete with They do some really good stuff as well that we could be selling

for £10 or £15 but I don’t know if Hastings is quite ready for that yet. They would still see the refill as being the house option and rightly so. In London it’s really taken off, the wine on tap. It’ll happen, I’m sure.

What are these Weird Shit evenings that you run? Michael: The guy who books the acts at Kino-Teatr St Leonards

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 29

Continues page 30

merchant profile: borough wines, beers & books Simon Booth

Michael: We do something about once a week. There’s only the two

of us here. We do wine tastings but we tend to do more art-based

things. A bit of music or a book launch. We’ve had an exhibition for a local photographer.

Jess: We probably should do more wine tastings but we don’t really have that traditional customer base. Our Christmas tasting was great but it was too busy really with 55 people in here.

Michael: Our customers are quite arty and a bit younger so I think they’d be turned off by a formal wine tasting.

Sales wise the beer is the area of growth in the business. And

gin. We get new gins in every week to accommodate requests. Did you fit the shop out yourself?

Jess: It was done by Crawford Bryce who is the art director for

Borough Wine, he’s very good. We’ve made it feel very lived in.

When we moved in it was quite stark. We wanted to make people feel relaxed when they’re shopping.

Michael: There’s been a little baby and a dog here half the time. We used to have a cot over there.

It’s been ridiculous. Our dog, Woody, slipped a disc and so he

was in a crate and people used to come and visit him and we

raised £3,000 for his back operation just through our customers.

We held WoodyStock to raise money. We had a band and a big pot

of chilli on the go. It was so successful we’ve had another one since and we’re having WoodyStock III next week – not to raise money, just because it was a good night.

“We’ve made the shop feel very lived in”

Are you happy with this unit? It seems the most natural place in the world. Would you consider expanding or moving? Jess: We often think about further along in St Leonards where we

From page 29

came in one day and said, “it’s great working for the Kino but I

don’t have anywhere to put all the weird shit,” and I said, “you just got yourself a night!”

It’s all the local fringe stuff. We have quite a big artistic

community, with people doing eccentric stuff, so it started as

a platform for that. It would be local experimental musicians,

poetry, psycho-geography – which is writing about the strange, mysterious spirit of a place.

It’s a mixed bag. We’ve tapped into the local arts scene.

The basement holds up to about 60. It reminds me of the places

we used to go in the East End as a youngster. We left it as shit as possible and people love it.

Typically, what’s the use of your basement over the course of the week?

live, which could have been an interesting spot.

Michael: There are some places that could be busier. This town is a tale of two towns really. The Old Town has got our sort of customers and so has St Leonards but there’s this gap in the

‘The Borough Wines buyer, Lauren, is great. She’s young, really into her natural wines and knows what she’s doing’

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 30

middle. But it’s picking up a lot and

never thought we would do something like this, but it’s worked

area. I think if we were in St

to Michael for hours on end. I’m more the back office, doing all the

there’s a lot of creative businesses and it feels like an up-and-coming Leonards we’d lose the Old Town

and if we were in the Old Town we’d lose the St Leonards people.

Are you fairly self-contained Jess: No we don’t. We barely get to go to any local vineyards.

We’re involved in terms of Borough Wines and what they’re doing; we go up there occasionally for meetings and tastings. Their buyer and stuff and she really knows what she’s doing. We’re pretty selfMichael: We’re like the kids who left home and went to live on the

beach and occasionally ask mum and dad for help. Is it OK working together as a couple?

Jess: We’re very rarely here together. We enjoy it; when we met I

ordering, that sort of thing.

Are you still writing, Michael? Michael: It’s slowed down a bit … the fact we had the baby the I wrote a couple of novels. Since we moved I did a couple of

short films that I got some Arts Council funding for. I got them in

at the BFI, they’re on the BFI player at the minute. It was about the idea that the seaside is a bit weird – there is something a bit weird about the coast. I did three shorts – Whitby, Hastings and the

Thames Estuary. That’s my foray into horror films. I have shown them downstairs.

I’m working on a script at the moment for a feature – an English

road movie. A tour round Brexit island. When Brexit happened, it was the first time I missed London.

I think when our little boy starts school, I’ll have more time for

that sort of stuff.

“People come in to talk to Michael for hours on end. I’m more the back office”

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 31

Simon Booth

contained in terms of what we’re doing.

I think we both have different strengths. People come in to talk

same time as opening the shop …

here? Do you get out on trips at all?

Lauren is great. She’s young, she’s really into her natural wines

out really well.

Life’s too short to drink supermarket wine. The Wine Merchant Top 100 is the only competition that’s devoted solely to wines on sale in the independent trade. All our judges are independent merchants themselves. If you supply the kind of wines that help make the independent sector the most vibrant and exciting part of the UK wine scene, visit now for details of how to enter this year’s competition. Winners will be featured in a Wine Merchant magazine supplement and showcased at the London Wine Fair.

Kate’s choice The team at Negociants UK asked Kate Goodman from Reserve Wines in Manchester to pick out some of her favourites from their portfolio


e have always had an exciting range of wines

from Australia and New Zealand, with Barossa and other classic regions proving to be

consistently popular with our customers,” says Kate.

“We have been buying and exploring Negociants UK’s

portfolio of premium Australian and New Zealand familyowned wineries for years now and whilst favourites like

Jansz have been consistent successes with our customers, we are also starting to see people enjoying more unusual wines Jansz Non Vintage Cuvée Tasmania Trade price £12.27

Jansz Non Vintage Rosé Tasmania Trade price £12.27

such as Running with Bulls Tempranillo.

“With increasing prices across the industry, we are

conscious of still delivering value at around £10, where the

Victoria Park Shiraz/Viognier and Chardonnay are great

picks. As we grow as a company, we are offering more wine by the glass, and several of the wines selected here work great

with the food offerings available in the marketplaces we are part of.”

• More of Kate's selections appear overleaf.

Running With Bulls Tempranillo South Australia Trade price £7.97

Feature sponsored by

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 33

Yalumba Old Bush Vine Grenache Barossa Trade price £10.82

Two Paddocks Picnic Central Otago Trade price £16.63

Victoria Park Chardonnay South Australia Trade price £7.03

Yalumba The Scribbler Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz Barossa Trade price £10.82

Earthworks Shiraz Barossa Trade price £8.85

Hill-Smith Estate Chardonnay Adelaide Hills Trade price £16.37

Two Paddocks Riesling Central Otago Trade price £15.75

Two Paddocks Pinot Noir Central Otago Trade price £23.08

Victoria Park Shiraz/Viognier South Australia Trade price £7.03

Victoria Park Chardonnay Cabernet Sauvignon Trade price £7.03

Vasse Felix Filius Chardonnay Margaret River Trade price £12.25

Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet Margaret River Trade price £12.25

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 34

All prices DPD excluding VAT

Brokenwood Semillon Hunter Valley Trade price £14.68

Nautilus Grüner Veltliner Marlborough Trade price £12.02

Yalumba The Signature Barossa Trade price £26.22

Yalumba Organic Chardonnay South Australia Trade price £7.98

Grove Mill Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Trade price £8.83

Mesh Riesling Eden Valley Trade price £14.53

Pewsey Vale Contours Riesling Eden Valley Trade price £14.73

Heggies Botrytis Riesling Eden Valley Trade price £10.11

Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay Margaret River Trade price £27.87

Yalumba The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra Trade price £26.22

Jim Barry The McRae Wood Shiraz Clare Valley Trade price £23.08 Twitter: @NegociantsUK Facebook: NegociantsUK

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 35

music news

WINE MERCHANT TO THE STARS Marc Hough spent years on the Manchester music scene as a DJ. Now his Cork of the North business is the wine merchant of choice to some of the city’s most celebrated rock stars


arc Hough was DJing at the Hacienda nightclub in

Manchester when he became acquainted with New Order.

“I became their tour DJ and have been for the last 25 years or

so, travelling all over the world with them, opening up at their concerts,” he says.

“As you can imagine the type of refreshments that bands used to

have backstage were very different from the ones they’re having

now. For instance, I remember at New Order gigs we used to have one called The Headache, which consisted of Pernod, vodka, Asti

Spumante and orange and this was the horrendous pre- and postgig drink for many years – and in some cases during gigs.

“I remember one particular gig when Bernard the singer was so

smashed out of his face he fell over during the gig and played the

last three songs lying on his back using an empty Pernod bottle for a plectrum. True story.”

Hough now runs the Cork of the North wine merchant and bar

in Sale, south Manchester, and has guided the city’s rock royalty towards more refined libations.

“It has very much calmed down over the years,” he says. “Now before the gigs we have a little wine tasting.

I’ll bring several bottles of wine down and decide which we’ll have after the gig. “Nowadays when Manchester

musicians get together they actually

compare notes on what Cork of the North has brought them that week.

“My role has changed now.

I used to bring the beats for

Manchester bands, and now I bring the wine.”

NEW ORDER the headache years give way to bargain burgundy “By far the biggest wine drinker in New Order is Bernard Sumner. He’s very partial to Chardonnay: French Chardonnay in particular, lightly oaked. “He’s a massive fan of white Burgundy but he’s famously careful with his money and doesn’t like spending more than £10 on a bottle of wine. As his wine supplier, it’s quite challenging to find him white Burgundies under £10, but he is my best friend so he does get a hefty discount and I can get to his preferred price point. “He doesn’t mind a nice Californian or Oregon Chardonnay that’s lightly oaked. Aussie Chardonnays and heavily oaked ones, he won’t touch. He’s also partial to a dry rosé. “Phil [Cunningham] the guitarist is very much a Rioja man, a Reserva at least. Tom [Chapman] the new bass player is half French and is partial to a bit of Chinon. “They both have deliveries every week from Cork of the North, as does Bernard. They occasionally come into the bar but usually they will have a box delivered, with love from me every week. “Steve [Morris] the drummer no longer drinks, as is the case with his wife Gillian who plays keyboards in the band.”

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 36

the STONE ROSES mani's got his own chateau “One of the most notable wine lovers is Mani from The Stone Roses. Mani likes claret. He doesn’t mind how much he spends. He occasionally has a bit of Spanish or Portuguese or Italian stuff but his rule is it has to come from a very old vineyard: vielles vignes all the way with Mani! “Over the years I’ve introduced him to lots of different wines but he absolutely adores Bordeaux. In fact he adores it so much that he actually bought a small château just south of Bordeaux to

THE SMITHS italian's just the job for rourke

indulge his passion further. He hasn’t got any vines – yet. You can always find a Cork of the North Bordeaux backstage at a Stone Roses gig.”

“Andy Rourke, the bass player in the band and one of my oldest pals, is a very big wine lover. "White is his tipple and he’s quite adventurous. Generally he’ll go for a nice Albariño but he’ll often drink a Grüner Veltliner and also he likes crisp whites from Italy, a Vermentino or a Verdicchio. He spends half his time in Manchester and half his time in New York. When he’s in Manchester he’s a regular in the bar and has

a hatful of others

even been known to pop behind the bar to serve people.”

even the teetotallers look forward to a cork of the north delivery “Tom Hingley, who was the singer in the Inspiral Carpets, is a massive wine lover. He loves deep rich reds. He’s partial to a Barossa Valley Shiraz, the thicker and gloopier the better – in fact if you can stick a spoon in it he loves it. He also likes a nice

the happy mondayS no more chemicals for bez

Rioja. “Badly Drawn Boy, Damon Gough (left), used to be a real aficionado of white wine and he used to like all manner of stuff – he loved a nice dry Riesling. Unfortunately, he no longer drinks but he felt really left out because he wasn’t getting a weekly visit from me. So now I include him on my delivery round – but instead of taking him a case of wine I take him a case of locally-made sodas.

“Simon Wolstencroft [drummer in The Fall for 11 years] is one of my best mates and comes in here twice a week. Funky Si as we call him loves a big heavy red wine; he’s a big Malbec fan but just recently I’ve got him on to some nice Rhône reds. He likes a nice Rasteau.

“Andy Connor, the keyboard player in Swing Out Sister, loves

Lebanese wine and white Rioja. He likes Chateau Musar but also a

“Bez from The Happy Mondays, surprisingly, is a real wine lover. What’s very funny about Bez is that he insists on only having organic wine. He doesn’t want anything with chemicals in, and when you consider all the chemicals that he may have imbibed in the past it’s quite funny. But he doesn’t see the irony himself! “He’s got a really broad palate and loves reds, whites and Proseccos. I do give him natural wines as well. People think of Bez as some wide-eyed loon but he’s actually a very intelligent fella who appreciates fine wines. “Shaun Ryder used to really like a drink but you could give him turps and he wouldn’t mind. I spent a lot of times with the Happy Mondays in the 80s and 90s, which is probably why I’ve got no hair left.”

wine I get from Boutinot called Marquis des Beys.”

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 37

education, education, education

your guide to the spirits world With premium spirits playing an increasingly important role for independent specialists, there’s never been a better time to understand the category in more depth. A two-day course in London, led by John West of Emporia, aims to get retailers through the WSET Spirits Level 2 exam

The Wine & Spirits Education Trust Spirits Level 2 exam is a beginner to intermediatelevel qualification exploring spirits and liqueurs for those working in the industry. For anyone wishing to develop their expertise in spirits and liqueurs, this qualification provides comprehensive training. You’ll learn about the production methods and characteristics of the main spirit categories, while also exploring the use of spirits in cocktails. Upon successful completion you will receive a WSET certificate and lapel pin, and will be able to use the associated WSET certified logo.

What you’ll learn: • How production methods affect the characteristics of spirits and liqueurs

• The characteristics of the principal international spirits and liqueurs • How to describe spirits using the WSET Level 2 Systematic Approach to Tasting Spirits® (SAT). Assessment is by a closed-book exam of 50 multiple-choice questions. This qualification is regulated by Ofqual. The course is held at leading bar Wringer & Mangle in Spitalfields, London and runs from 10am to 5.30pm on March 7 and 8. The cost is £350 plus VAT, which includes a study pack, exam costs and a set of tasting glasses.

To confirm your place, email THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 38

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 39 © Studio Romantic –

make a date

A stork in Hunawihr, Alsace – sadly not joining the humans in London on March 5

Boutinot Portfolio Tastings

seeking UK distribution, will be showcasing their wines. Abruzzo, Puglia and Sardinia will be among the many regions represented.

Boutinot’s spring tastings are always busy affairs and the company is being coy about publicising venues this year. To register interest contact wine@

For more information contact Antonietta

Kelly: Thursday, March 1

Landing Forty Two

Tuesday, February 27

122 Leadenhall Street

Central Manchester venue

London EC3V 4AB

Thursday, March 1

Alsace Crus & Terroirs Tasting

Central London venue

Borsa Vini Italiani

The Leadenhall Building

Domaine Bott Geyl, Maison Trimbach

and Domaine Zind-Humbrecht will be

among the many producers attending.

At the time of going to press the venue

was yet to be confirmed.

Contact for more


Monday, March 5 Central London venue

All Points North Walker & Wodehouse and Hatch Mansfield come together to showcase their wares at this Edinburgh event.

Created in 2016, ACT is an association of 19 top Alsace wine estates dedicated

Monday, March 5

to the promotion of the great wines of

The Balmoral Hotel

Winemakers from over 70 Italian

the region, with a special focus on Grand

1 Princes Street

wineries, the majority of whom are

Cru production and terroir expression.

Edinburgh EH2 2EQ

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 40


Wines from Spain Annual Tasting Featuring 1,200 wines from over 300 Spanish wineries, this tasting will cover a wealth of DOs, styles and terroirs. Special features will run throughout the

day and include informal tutorials and

tasting trails. Marianne Rodriguez of Wines from Spain says: “We are very excited to

bring a new format to the 2018 tasting and create a platform which allows us to share

the energy and innovation currently found in the wineries and vineyards of Spain.

“The new format will allow exhibitors to

present their portfolios of quality Spanish

wines to different audiences and encourage

Spain comes to the Sky Garden at the top of the Walkie-Talkie building

all visitors to explore and experiment

preview of Ornellaia 2015.


Masterclass (3pm-4pm) to celebrate his

within the dynamic Spanish wine category.” Register at www.winesfromspainfair. Contact Celine Bouteiller: celine@

Tuesday, March 6 Sky Garden 1 Sky Garden Walk London EC3M 8AF

Armit Wines Italian Tasting

Ornellaia winemaker Axel Heinz will

be presenting a 10 Years In The Making decade of winemaking for the estate,

which will showcase the 2005, 2010 and 2015 vintages.

Over 50 new wines from Germany, and specify if you would like to join

Germany has to offer with vibrant Rieslings

Tuesday, March 6

Noir has already caught the attention of

Places are limited so registration is

essential. RSVP to marketing@armitwines. the masterclass.

One Great George Street London SW1P 3AA

and Pinot Noir from Peth-Wetz, based

in the Rheinhessen. Its unfiltered Pinot

UK critics having been named in the Top

50 German Wines published by Wines of

Joh Bapt Schafer in the Nahe and Markus

be on show as well as Johann Kopp’s

and their wines will be among the 150

Spatburgunder, which apparently offers a

on taste.

“brilliant alternative to Burgundy at very

Also featured will be Tenuta San Guido,

attractive pricing”.

Ornellaia, Le Pupille, Sesti, Querciabella,

For more information contact events@

Gaja, Bruno Giacosa and Romano Dal

Forno, among many others.

Tuesday, March 6

Two new wines from Tua Rita will be

Sassicaia and an exclusive pre-release

The tasting will be celebrating what

Molitor’s terroir-driven Rieslings will

Grasso and Monforte d’Alba to the fold

anticipated 2015s from Tuscany including

France, Spain and Italy will be on show.


Armit has welcomed producers Elio

making their debut as well as the much-

Walker & Wodehouse Spring Tasting

Carousel, 71 Blandford Street Marylebone Axel Heinz of Ornellaia

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 41

London W1U 8AB

make a date © Paolo Gallo /

Il Collettivo Italian Tasting

niche spirits range and created by a guest mixologist in “Ludwig’s Lounge” – named after founder Ludwig Mentzendorff who

first brought Kummel to England in 1851.

Swig, FortyFive10°, Flint, Astrum and Sommelier’s Choice are back for the

Wednesday, March 7

second edition of Il Collettivo.

One Great George Street London SW1P 3AA

Born of a desire to showcase the most

exciting and progressive wines produced across Italy, the group has organised a

Bordeaux En Primeur Grand Cercle

tasting co-hosted by over 30 winemakers

from all the significant Italian winemaking regions.

There will be around 300 wines on

taste as well as focus tables and two

Around 50 châteaux will be represented

masterclasses. Lunch will be supplied by

from the Right and Left Bank.

the Italian Supper Club and accompanied by a unique range of older wines.

See for more

information or to register for a masterclass. Contact Chloe Delanne: chloe@

Explore Italy on March 7

Mistry: Tuesday, March 13

H2Vin Tasting

Omega Place

Taste a selection from smaller, family-

2 Omega Place

owned wineries with a true sense of

London N1 9DR

identity, including some of the best

Wednesday, March 7

New Generation McKinley Tasting

For more information contact Pandora

Le Méridien Piccadilly London W1J 0BH

wines of Burgundy, the Rhône and Loire. Contact Antoine Salley at info@h2vin.

Vindependents Portfolio Tasting to register.

This tasting presents wines from

Thursday, March 8

Burgundy, the Loire, Australia,

A range of Champagnes, Prosecco and

The Westbury Hotel

Argentina, the USA, New Zealand, Italy,

sparkling wines from England, France

Conduit Street

Germany, Austria, Spain and Portugal.

and South Africa will feature alongside

London W1S 2YF

the company’s spirits portfolio. Highlights include the Corte Vetusto

mezcals, award-winning ABK6 Cognacs, vintage Calvados from Christian Drouin and the Bristol Classic Rums.

Register to attend by emailing london@

Mentzendorff Portfolio Tasting Mentzendorff will showcasing its entire

range of family-owned wine, fortified

Wednesday, March 7

new estates making their debuts on the


2018 list.

15-16 Gerrard Street London W1D 6JE

and spirit producers, including three

Guests are invited to experiment with

innovative cocktails produced from a

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 42

Among the highlights will be a chance

to taste some 2016 Burgundy, new

agencies from Austria, Valpolicella, Jerez,

Piemonte and Australia along with wines from leading regional producers such as Moorooduc, Kaesler and Riglos.

For more information or to register

contact Tuesday, March 20 Hotel du Vin 25 Church Street Birmingham B3 2NR

MAKE A DATE © Robert Crum /

Oregon & Washington State Wine Tasting Experience a comprehensive range of wines at a walk-around tasting from producers representing both Oregon and Washington State. Discover Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and

spicy Syrahs, Bordeaux blends and crisp whites.

Winemakers, winery owners and

representatives will be on hand.

For more information or to register email Tuesday, March 13 Level 2 OXO Tower Wharf Bargehouse Street London SE1 9PH

Malux Hungarian Wine Tasting Malux’s best-selling Hungarian wines and additions for 2018 will be on show. The company promises “a great line-up

of the most exciting, interesting wines,

with grape varieties people haven’t heard of, from small family vineyards and the

Oregon, where they grow grapes as well as apples

Californian Pinot Noir and Chardonnay Tasting

Benedictine archabbey which has been

This is the perfect opportunity to

debut, including four wines from the 2014

focusing on Santa Barbara County,

producing wine since 996AD”.

understand California Chardonnay

vintage: Furmint, Harslevelu, Chardonnay

Sonoma Coast and Sonoma Valley,

The Chateau Megyer Selection range will

and Sargamuskotaly (Yellow Muscat).

Contact Audrey@hungarianfoodandwine.


Tuesday, March 27

and Pinot Noir it all its nuanced glory

Napa, Mendocino County, Monterey and Central Coast. For more information contact jknock@

Le French Spark The annual crémant tasting has been encouraged to include grower Champagnes, which will feature in the event for the first time. The move will doubtless prove popular

with independent merchants who

are increasingly putting their faith in

Champagne from artisanal producers.

“Forget copycat fizz – this is the real

thing,” say the organisers.

A sparkling wine masterclass is planned

and madeleines will be served. Contact Tuesday, March 27

Thursday, March 15

Rosenfeld Porcini Gallery

2 Greek Street

67 Pall Mall – St James’s Room

36 Newman Street

London W1D 4NB

London W1H 7SB

London W1T 1QH

The Gay Hussar

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 43

make a date

new generation mckinley 14 Kennington Road London SE1 7BL T: 020 7928 7300

Please join us for our Spring Spirits & Sparkling Tasting on Wednesday 7th March at Opium, 15-16 Gerrard Street, Chinatown, London W1 We’ll be showing spirits from our wide ranging portfolio, including Cognacs, liqueurs

and organic vodka from ABK6, award-winning mezcals from Corte Vetusto, moonshine,

rye and bourbon from Van Brunt Stillhouse, Calvados and Le Gin from Christian Drouin, and rum from Bristol Classic Rums.

In addition, there’ll be some stunning Champagne, Prosecco, crémant and English

sparkling wine to taste, as well as a few must-list classic wines which no wine list or shop shelf should be without.

Please email london@ to register, and look out for The Jade Door.

Famille Helfrich Wines

Famille Helfrich is the independent specialist arm of Les Grands Chais de France ... yes, still a family – with real people! Joseph founded the company in 1979 with 5,000 fr and we have grown to become

1, rue Division Leclerc, 67290 Petersbach, France

the leading producer and exporter of French wines and spirits. 07789 008540

the best terroir France has to

@FamilleHelfrich @family_helfrich_gcf_wines

Don't let the size put you off, it has helped us create an independent portfolio of

over 400 wines and we now own over 45 domaines and châteaux across some of offer.

Having the infrastructure

allows us to consolidate all of our wines at one central

location in Alsace, where you

can either come and collect or we can deliver a single mixed pallet to you.

REMEMBER, we are a

producer, a family producer, not an agency as some people think.

Working with Famille Helfrich Wines gives you the ability as an independent to buy

direct from a producer from appellations all over France, with one delivery.

A perfect solution to help you grow and experiment with France and all it has to

offer ...

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 44

supplier bulletin

richmond wine agencies

De Wetshof launches ‘Limestone Hill’ to add to its Chardonnay range

The Links, Popham Close Hanworth Middlesex TW13 6JE

registered wine estate in the Robertson Wine Valley, De Wetshof

020 8744 5550


The name De Wetshof has been synonymous with the production of fine wines in South Africa since the 1970s. As the first

has become known internationally as South Africa’s eminent Chardonnay House due to the pioneering role it played in introducing this noble Burgundian grape to the country.

To add to its award winning range of wines De Wetshof has just

launched into the UK market LIMESTONE HILL CHARDONNAY 2017.

An unoaked wine, with notes of grapefruit and nuts, with

the complexity balanced by a nuanced elegance with a delicate ripeness.

Available exclusively to the independent sector – please contact

us to order.


berkmann wine cellarS 10-12 Brewery Road London N7 9NH London, South, Midlands, South West 020 7670 0972 North & Scotland 01423 357567

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” Rupert Berkmann and his team invite you to attend the Berkmann Wine Cellars 2018 Portfolio Tasting. Wine may be our passion, but without people we are nothing. From the producer, to our own team, to you the customer, it is individual personality that brings wine to life. This independence of spirit is no longer a given in today’s competitive market. But as long as we celebrate character – in wine and in people – we will continue to stand out from the crowd. So join us to experience our distinctive, evocative wines and to meet the talented individuals behind them.





The Brewery 52 Chiswell Street, London EC1Y 4SD 10:00-18:00

Aspire 2 Infirmary Street, Leeds LS1 2JP 10:30-17:30

RSVP by Tuesday 13th February:

RSVP by Tuesday 13th February:

@BerkmannWine #WineIndependence #BerkmannTasting2018

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 45

supplier bulletin Larry Cherubino Wines was awarded Best Value Winery of


the Year in the 2017 by the James Halliday Wine Companion Awards. Recognised as one of the Australian wine industry’s highest

Dallow Road Luton LU1 1UR 01582 722 538

honours, Halliday’s Best Value Winery award recognises producers whose portfolio confidently displays that most holy of unions –

outstanding wines and great value for money.

From Cherubino’s award-winning range, we have added two new wines to our portfolio.

Larry Cherubino Wines ‘Beautiful South White’, Porongurup 2016


James Halliday – 97pts: “The wine is indeed beautiful, with its multitude of

fruit flavours seamlessly bound together, only leaving room for the texture of the barrel ferment oak, not its flavour per se. In a tropical mode throughout

until the finish, when cleansing citrussy acidity surges on the aftertaste. Perfect winemaking.”

Larry Cherubino Wines Cabernet Sauvignon, Frankland River 2014 James Halliday – 96pts: “Deep crimson-purple; this is Cabernet as only

Frankland River can do it. Autocratic blackcurrant fruit, black olive and bay leaf, fine tannins and great length.”

Inside Humble Grape’s new store in Liverpool Street, London

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 46

supplier bulletin

marussia beverages 0207 724 5009 MarussiaBeveragesUK

Marussia Beverages UK are importers and distributors of the finest spirits from around the world. Since 1984 we have been sourcing rare and wonderful premium spirits to share with you and your customers. Sample Bourbon, Scotch, Irish and world whiskies, unique

American and London dry gin, superb French and Italian liqueurs, premium rum from Barbados and the highest quality traditional brandy from Cognac and Armagnac. These are just a taste of the range of spirits we supply.

@marussiabeveragesuk @MarussiaUK

buckingham schenk

For all things Spanish

68 Alpha Street South Slough SL1 1QX

If you’re looking for something interesting from Spain then we can help. Buckingham

01753 521336

March, Sky Gardens, London) so come and taste some of these great wines for yourself.


Schenk has an extensive range of exciting and quality wines from some of Spain’s most interesting regions. We’ll be at the forthcoming Wines from Spain Annual Tasting (6th Highlights from our range include:

Bodega Otazu Chardonnay Con Crianza (Pago de Otazu) Located in the heart of the Navarra DO, Otazu is one of the 14 wineries

to have Vino de Pago status. The maritime climate and alluvial soils lend

freshness to the finished wines and this Chardonnay is a great example. It has beautiful tropical fruit aromas with toasted notes and the palate is fresh and aromatic. Aged for seven months in new French oak barrels.

Bodegas Larchago “Chavarri” Rioja Gran Reserva 2000

This is a new release, named after the Chavarri family who own Bodegas

Larchago and is their top Rioja with very limited production. A Rioja with

outstanding ripe fruit aromas, hints of plum and wild berries and spice notes.

With intense flavours and ripe tannins, this wine has good acidity, structure and a long finish. Packaged in wooden cases.

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 47

supplier bulletin

liberty wines

An exciting spectrum of premium Chardonnays

020 7720 5350

The demise of Australian Chardonnay, long predicted by those who remember


by David Gleave MW

the overblown style of the nineties, has been grossly exaggerated, to misquote Mark Twain. Over the last 10 years, wines from Australia’s best regions have evolved from the over-oaked, tropical Chardonnays of the past to strikingly elegant and restrained wines that better express their regional diversity.

Such an evolution is being rewarded with an increase in sales. Research for

Liberty Wines’ Premium On-Trade report shows the sales value of these wines has risen by 25% in the past year, a trend that the independent off-trade is well placed to capitalise on.

Whether from Margaret River, Tasmania, the Adelaide Hills or the Yarra Valley,

the wines display a balance that can only really be rivalled by Burgundy – but with price tags that are no rival to white Burgundy. These are precise wines that will age well but

are ready for drinking now. Their appeal has not gone unnoticed, with Jancis Robinson

MW full of praise after recent tastings in Western Australia. In addition, Decanter named Giant Steps’ Yarra Valley Sexton Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 as one of their tasting panel’s top wines of 2017.

Better value than ever before, especially in the context of high demand and rising

prices in Burgundy, these wines are worth more than a second look.

department 33 Frazer: 07557 053343 Chris: 07515 555807 @department_33 @department33wines

A ‘public’ THANK YOU to all of our customers for their custom in 2017! Watch this space for a Department 33 Wines Portfolio Tasting later in the year! French flair, producers a-plenty and our full range of 150+ wines to entice and enjoy.

We’ll kick off 2018 with a launch of our 2018 Wine List at SITT Spring in Manchester (26th Feb) and London (28th Feb). Expect new wines, new vintages and a VERY SPECIAL guest star on our table:

M. Olivier Brun, the talent behind our top selling

83 Provence rosé, will be showing off the new 83 rosé 2017, his new Villa de Brigue rosé and his (no added sulphur) Heritage Red.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Department 33 Wines (Importers of southern French appellation wines, direct from

Department 33 et la France WINES OF BORDEAUX -

the château/domaine, specifically for the independent wine shops of the UK)

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 48

supplier bulletin

negociants uk

With Mother’s Day coming up, make sure you have some suitably delicious treats

Davenport House Bowers Way, Harpenden Herts AL5 4HX

R&R are grown-up vignerons who never quite left their boyhood behind.

for your customers to gift this Mother’s Day.

Their passion for wine is matched only by their love of spending as

much R&R time with their families and what better way to kick back and

01582 797510

relax than with a bottle of dry Grenache Rosé from the Barossa?

for one to two hours to develop colour and flavour. Half of the grapes are

Twitter: @NegociantsUK Facebook: NegociantsUK

The Grenache that produced this rosé is sourced from bush vines. The

grapes are harvested and transported in small bins and held in the press pressed directly to barrel for natural fermentation, using the indigenous yeast population.

No further adjustments to the juice are made, and at completion of

fermentation, the wines are topped and left to mature on their lees

for a month before blending. The result is a pale coral colour, savoury

rosé, which has a lovely balance between red fruits and a savoury briny texture with oyster shell and pink grapefruit acidity.

To make the decision easier, we are offering a listing discount for orders placed before Mother’s Day. For more information please contact

fine wine partners Thomas Hardy House 2 Heath Road Weybridge, KT13 8TB 07552 291045 toby.spiers@accoladewines. com

Fine Wine Partners: championing regional Australia Fine Wine Partners are distributing some of the most highly renowned and respected wineries across the breadth of Australian fine wines. We are extremely excited to be showing our wines to independent wine merchants

throughout the UK in 2018 and we have a clear strategy on how we will do this and are happy to share this with you. Our regional champions are

Houghton, Petaluma, St Hallett, Grant Burge, Stonier and House of Arras. We feel there is an

amazing opportunity to tell the

somewhat unknown or forgotten story of regional Australian

premium and fine wine and we want to do that together with

your help. We will be doing our

utmost to bring our wines to life over the year ahead.

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 49

supplier bulletin

mentzendorff The Woolyard 52 Bermondsey Street London SE1 3UD 020 7840 3600

Mentzendorff Annual Portfolio Tasting 2018 The Mentzendorff Portfolio Tasting on Wednesday 8th of March at One Great George Street brings together leading winemakers from around the world, showcasing our

entire range of family owned wine, fortified and spirit producers, including three new wine estates appearing in our 2018 list for the first time.

We also invite you to experiment with innovative cocktails produced from our niche

spirits range and created by a guest mixologist in “Ludwig’s Lounge” – named after our

founder Ludwig Mentzendorff who first brought the eponymous Kummel to England in 1851.

hatch mansfield

A Modern Classic ...

New Bank House 1 Brockenhurst Road Ascot Berkshire SL5 9DL

Monopole Clásico 2015 – a remake of the traditional style

01344 871800

the modern Monopole style in that it sees some barrel ageing in old @hatchmansfield

Monopole wine CVNE used to produce over 40 years ago. Hand-made in small batches, this wine is created using a blend of

white grape varieties including Viura and Palomino. It is different to oak and also has a small percentage of Manzanilla Sherry added for structure, with permission from the Rioja appellation.

Chief winemaker Maria Larrea created this wine with the help of

Ezequiel García who was CVNE’s winemaker from the 1940s until

the 1970s and was in charge of making the original Monopole wine. The wine, amongst others, will be available to taste at the All Points North tasting – Monday 5th March, The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh Our portfolio: Champagne Taittinger · Louis Jadot, Burgundy · Joseph Mellot, Loire · Jean-Luc Colombo and Colombo & Fille, Rhône · C.V.N.E, Rioja · Viña Errazuriz and Caliterra, Chile · Domaine Carneros, USA · Robert Oatley, Australia · Villa Maria Estate, Vidal, Te Awa Collection and Esk Valley, New Zealand · Kleine Zalze, South Africa.

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 50

supplier bulletin It’s a Killer Kiwi Winter!

walker & Wodehouse

Valley of Spies launches this month

109a Regents Park Road London NW1 8UR 0207 449 1665 lmcgovern@walkerwodehousewines. com

Exclusive to Walker & Wodehouse

Located in the Waihopai Valley, in the heart of Marlborough’s wine community sits a mysterious spy base.

Not much is known about its activities, but just down the road lies some of New

Zealand’s best grape growing conditions.

From this top Kiwi terroir we are delighted to launch

two great wines from the team at Spy Valley.

2017 Valley of Spies Sauvignon Blanc – elegant

mineral and tropical flavours combine with crisp acidity resulting in a balanced and delicious wine.

2014 Valley of Spies Pinot Noir – handpicked from Spy Valley’s estate vineyards this Pinot offers vibrant ripe fruit with subtle spices and a long elegant finish.

Contact your Walker & Wodehouse account manager for details of pricing and availability.


Visit us at the Annual Portuguese Tasting 22nd February 2018 The Royal Horticultural Lindley Hall – Westminster

28 Recreation Ground Road Stamford Lincolnshire PE9 1EW 01780 755810



Join us and taste with representatives from Herdade do Mouchão, Quinta do Portal and Howard’s Folly.

Don’t miss the exciting new labels from Quinta do Portal, each one telling a different story based on Luís de Camões epic poem “Os Lusíadas”.

For more information about the wines on pour or any of our Portuguese producers, please contact Joanna Clarke at

Our Portuguese portfolio: Herdade do Mouchão, Howard’s Folly, João M. Barbosa Vinhos, Monte da Ravasqueira and Quinta do Portal

THE WINE MERCHANT february 2018 51

The Wine Merchant issue 66  
The Wine Merchant issue 66