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THE WINE MERCHANT. An independent magazine for independent retailers

Issue 70, June 2018

Dog of the Month: Patsy Eynsham Cellars, Oxfordshire

THIS MONTH 2 BACCHUS A shop that refuses cash and another that lets you blend your own Bordeaux

6 comings & GOINGS

Worthing’s got a new wine shop, and so has Horsforth

8 tried & TESTED

Yassine Saleh of The Sampler in London and Mo O’Toole of Carruthers & Kent in Newcastle were among a group of independents who recently ventured to Turkey as part of a trip organised by The Wine Merchant and Kayra. Read what they had to say on pages 30-33.

Databases left in shreds by muddled GDPR advice Customer databases that have sometimes taken wine merchants more than a decade to build up may have been needlessly destroyed because of confusion surrounding the General Data Protection Regulation, which came into force last month. According to many experts, businesses were

required to get fresh consent from customers to remain on electronic mailing lists before

the May 25 deadline. Even the most optimistic merchants realised that many, and perhaps

most, of their customers would fail to complete

the opt-in process, and as a result some are now building up their lists virtually from scratch.

But there is irritation in the trade about the

poor communication surrounding GDPR, with

some merchants insisting that businesses which already treated their data carefully had no need to send out emails asking clients to opt back in to mailings.

One Scottish merchant, who asked to remain

anonymous, says: “I was thinking: I’ve built up

this wonderful email list of nearly 2,000 people and now it’s all gone to hell. I spent two days reading the damn thing and making sure we

ticked every single box. So we complied before

we had to comply, as a result of which we didn’t need to send out any reminders.

Continues page 12

Anyone for lemons, thyme and custard creams?

14 david williams

Why did Naked Wines lay into wine journalists?

16 manchester round table Merchants say protecting margins is vital

22 eynsham cellars

From beer and fags to genuine wine specialism

29 rias baixas trip

A flying visit to the everexpanding Lagar de Cervera

34 focus on New Zealand

Is Chardonnay now the Kiwis’ most exciting grape variety?

40 supplier Bulletin

Essential updates from agents and suppliers


BACCHUS

b Back to school for Vinorium boss

year last year, we’re doing really well this

older students.

and presented it to the school, says the

business, even though the investment

year and it’s something we can do.”

McCloskey, who came up with the idea

commitment is “emotional as well as financial”.

“The school has gone into The Vinorium

Foundation mode, so I’ve been in there giving assemblies in the mornings and working with the heads,” he says.

“I’m happy to go to the school on a

regular basis and spend time with small groups or larger groups and act as a mentor, in a way.

“I’m going in and working with the sixth

Many wine merchants have nominated

local comprehensive school to support children from troubled backgrounds and to reward good attendance and

Pupils earn vouchers for good attendance

with good behaviour earn £30 and those

a privileged background. My parents

All prizes are funded by The Vinorium

and vouchers will be redeemable at high

street retailers, though obviously not the wine shop.

“The school has 700 kids,” says

McCloskey. “They aren’t all struggling but there is a good half, 60%, that are really, really struggling. And I just thought to

myself: you know what, we had a cracking

“We are just funding it ourselves – it is

straight from our bank account and we

aren’t looking for any sponsors at this time. “It’s going to be very interesting. Already

it is changing children’s behaviour, with the buzz in the school and also the attendance rate. So nationally it could be quite

London.

form – they’ve got students that have

voucher.

job done.

arrived, at least in one corner of south

Every child at the school can earn a gift

with 97% attendance will receive a £10

– but if they do I suppose it will be literally

monotonous inaccuracy. But it’s finally

up in child poverty. This impacts on

good behaviour. Those attending 98%-99%

hand, 700 kids don’t get 100% attendance

society has been predicted with almost

Around 17,200 young people in the

Thanet and Dover areas are caught

voucher of £50 for 100% attendance with

He jokes: “Fingers crossed, on the one

For years, the advent of the cashless

behaviour.

Foundation to try to break the cycle.

a year.

Cashless wine shop on the cards

gone a step further, forging links with a

McCloskey, who has set up The Vinorium

involved could run to as much as £50,000

schools.”

the year. The Vinorium in Kent has

according to Vinorium owner Stuart

expect, any spin-off benefits for the wine

interesting to use as an example for other

charities that they support throughout

truancy rates and academic performance,

McCloskey says he does not want, or

ability, but don’t see that they have ability. “I’m a fresh face and I don’t come from

split up and I come from a council house background, basically. I had four jobs as

a kid and started my first paper round at 5.30am. I can help the kids because I’ve been there myself, in some respects.” The Vinorium Foundation has also

contributed £1,000 to a school stationery shop, staffed by sixth formers. This

helps poorer children get access to the equipment they need for lessons and

provides some commercial experience for

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 2

Hop Burns & Black in East Dulwich

decided to experiment with a cards-only policy in May. After less than a fortnight,

owner Glenn Williams had decided to make it a permanent arrangement.

“We’ve just noticed over three and a half

years that we are taking less and less cash every year and 95% of our customers are paying by card,” he says.

“I got the feeling that anyone who was

paying with cash did so because we’re a

small business and they thought the fees were too high for cards, and that’s what

small businesses want. But in fact it’s quite the opposite – it’s not what we want at all! “This just cuts down on the time

counting cash and walking to the nonexistent bank.”


Portland cements online presence Portland Wine Cellars is one of the smallest wine retailers to have its own

“We have about 54 people registered at

the moment,” he says. “We’re only a small merchant and I would like to get 250

Flying Füchs

people signed up to it.”

smartphone app, thanks to a deal owner David Smith struck with a tech-minded customer. The Southport merchant teamed up

with Ian Barber of Ijustwantanapp.com,

who was looking for a partnership with a

retailer to develop an app that could then be customised for other businesses.

“Our Man with the Facts”

says “an awful lot of man hours” have been

drinkers in history was John Mytton,

The deal means that costs so far for

• One of the most devoted Port

Portland have been minimal, but Smith

an MP born in 1796 who shipped 2,000

required to fine-tune the app and to upload information.

“A few years ago my idea was to have a

bible of all the wines we sell containing all the info, so you can refer to the page with all the tasting notes and photocopy it for

people who were asking about that wine,”

he says. “The idea now is, if you download our app, it’s all on there.”

Some people may take it a bit too seriously

Martinez hopes for mixed reaction

The app is still in development but

Still haven’t found the Bordeaux that’s

of other retailers. “He’s been absolutely

North Yorkshire merchant Martinez

Barber is happy enough with the results

just right for you? Then perhaps it’s

brilliant,” says Smith.

Wines is offering its customers the chance

to have sold the template to a number

At present the app allows click-and-

collect but it’s being adapted to accept online orders for delivery.

“We’ve put some

special promotions purely on the app

and my lads in the shop have been

sworn not to tell anybody about

them – people have to download the app

and you never know what you might find,” says Smith.

He has modest targets for the project.

time to make your own.

to do just that with a themed evening

dreamt up by owner Jonathan Cocker.

Teams of four will compete against each

other to blend the best Bordeaux-style

wine that they can, armed with bottles of

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

bottles to Cambridge University as

an undergraduate to see him through his studies. Mytton is said to have

consumed four to six bottles of Port a day until his death, aged 37.

• In Vienna, the heurigen – typically open-air taverns selling newly-

produced wine – display a sprig of pine to indicate they are open.

• In the 19th century, Champagne

houses adjusted their dosage according to the tastes of each export market. Champagne destined for Russia

contained as much as 330g sugar per litre, making it more than twice as

sweet as today’s Harveys Bristol Cream. • Vines in the northerly Vale do São

Competitors can experiment with four

Francisco in Brazil can produce fruit

one-litre vessel and presented to the other

• In Bordeaux, Merlot is by far the most

100ml test tubes to create tester blends.

Their best effort will then be recreated in a

teams, who will be asked to give “an honest mark out of 10” for the blend.

One winner will be selected by the

popular vote and a second will be decided by the expert host.

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 3

twice a year.

common red grape variety, accounting

for around 65% of plantings. Cabernet

Sauvignon makes up around 23% of the red grape vineyard area.


retailer news

A brief break from Borough Market Bedales invests £500k in refit

T

his summer is going to be a

fantastically busy one for Bedales. With a plan as creative as it is

strategic, managing director Rob Dann is keen to ‘’finally crack on with it”.’

The upheaval began in mid May with

the closure of the Borough Market site for a four-month long renovation that

will markedly increase capacity with a 50-cover terrace on the first floor.

In addition to the terrace that will

project out over the market, the

refurbishment will include an open-plan kitchen on the first floor complete with charcoal oven, temperature-controlled

Bob’s Lobster, the sister company to Bedales, now has a permanent home

wine room and private tasting area in the cellar. The shop front will also be

redeveloped to blend in with the original steel-frame windows that overlook the

didn’t want to make any redundancies.”

the extended closure pivots on Dann’s

Market, which has contributed towards the

street on the first floor.

How the business will cope with

decision, when initially taking on the building in 2012, to simultaneously

develop a second brand called Bob’s

Lobster (Bedales of Borough Lobster), serving shellfish and seafood out of a vintage van in Borough Market.

Now that Bob’s Lobster has found a

permanent home in St Thomas Street, London Bridge, all the Bedales team

from Borough will decamp to the newly established Bob’s Lobster Wine Bar & Kitchen to oversee the launch.

“The blessing in disguise has been that

it’s forced us to concentrate on the most

important thing – and that’s people,” says Dann. “We didn’t want any of our staff

to be inconvenienced financially and we

The renovations have been fully

endorsed and supported by Borough

£500,000 building costs in a project that will enhance the initial work started by Dann six years ago.

“I wanted to make sure that it remained

relevant to the neighbourhood, so I didn’t want to make it into a shiny new thing,”

he says. “We did the opposite: we stripped it back. I hand-chiselled the walls back to

brick. My blood, sweat and tears are on the feature walls.”

The “honesty and simplicity” of the

space will remain, but the new facilities will ensure an operational flow that the building previously lacked. While Dann

says the team loved the building’s “quirks and characteristics”, he admits they have “stress-tested it to the absolute limit”.

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 4

He adds: “We thought long and hard

about not wanting to take the soul or the history of the building. We want it to run

smoother and give it a touch-up but keep many of the original features such as the

exposed brickwork and the rawness of it.” On re-opening, Dann is expecting to

“rebalance” his wine range. “The reality is

that we are very busy venue and we import directly a great deal of wine. I think we’ll

probably expand with maybe some older wines and maybe some more delicate

wines that we’d be looking to hold on to a

little bit longer, but we’ll probably shift the balance rather than add more wines.

“With a broader food offering we’ll be

looking to pair our wines with that menu

through the season. I list 500 lines and they change literally every season – we don’t stand still.”


> THE WINEMAKER FILES Craig Stansborough, Grant Burge Craig is chief winemaker at the famous Barossa producer, having worked his way up from cellar manager, his role when he arrived in 1993. He was named Winemaker of the Year at the Barons of the Barossa in 2014

The Barossa as a whole is probably the greatest wine culture in Australia. Seven generations of growing and winemaking … to continue that is no accident.

The versatility of the region is amazing. The different areas in the Barossa, from

north to south and east to west, offer so many different options. Riesling in the Eden Valley is a joy to make and drink. You get some outstanding old Shiraz and Grenache which you feel privileged to make. Then there’s southern Barossa Cabernet and in

the Eden Valley, at 500 metres, you get a taste of cool-climate Cabernet and Merlot. Everybody dabbles with new varieties, including myself. Southern Italian and

some Spanish varieties are going into the ground, both red and white. They’re the

Grant Burge Filsell Old Vine Shiraz RRP: £29.99 This is one of our icon wines in Australia. People recognise it as consistent Shiraz; it's always going to deliver really typical Barossa plum, raspberry and cherry fruit. There's always a really good mouthful of sweet fruit, and always an underlying sweetness of oak that just adds to the wine as well.

things that people are mucking around with at the moment, but Shiraz is still king, to be honest.

I love Grenache. The beauty of it is we’ve got such a collection of old-vine Grenache around the place; it’s very suited to our climate around here. We have fairly dry

summers, quite warm, and that just suits Grenache down to the ground. If you go

back 15 years Grenache tended to be made like Shiraz; it was picked very ripe and generally given some new oak. But now there’s some really interesting Grenache

that’s using a lot of whole-bunch and probably picked a little bit earlier and staying

away from using any new oak. If you go to a restaurant in Adelaide or the capital the funky thing on the menu is Grenache. That’s great for the region.

Grant Burge Meshach Shiraz RRP: £99.99 This is our best-of-the-best Shiraz we can do every year, from really old vineyards. It’s always had a fair whack of new oak, generally about 50%, a combination of French and American. It’s usually in barrel for a couple of years and in bottle for three, so it is a fiveyear-old wine on release.

There’s a lot more focus on soil health and mulch and canopy management in the Barossa than there ever has been. If you go back 20 years, it was all

ploughed, there were no weeds – it was like walking in quicksand and water wasn’t penetrating. I think our water use is a lot smarter now, our use and understanding of vineyards is a lot smarter and we are now seeing the results. Some really super, super fruit is coming into the winery and standing the Barossa in good stead.

Having my own vineyard was something that I wanted to do for a long time. To

my wife’s disbelief I talked her into selling the house so we could plant and fund the vineyard before we found another house, and took the risk. That was 20 years ago. It’s a great vineyard and I love doing the work there. I have some sympathy for the growers: I know exactly what things cost, what work goes into running a vineyard

Grant Burge Miamba Shiraz RRP: £15.99 A medium to full-bodied style, aged in about 20% new French oak. For me it’s beautifully balanced. It sits in that style that’s got really lovely overt fruit, lovely soft tannins, and quite lovely length. A balanced, soft style with potential to live for 10-15 years; one of our little hidden gems.

and the inputs you need to making really good fruit, and the good growers do that.

More information from Fine Wine Partners 07552 291045 toby.spiers@accoladewines.com

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 5


What the West Sussex coast has been waiting for

Natural fit for new Worthing business When a trend moves out of the major cities and settles in a seaside town, does that mean it’s no longer a mere trend but an accepted mainstay? Worthing welcomed Bottle & Jug Dept

and its organic and biodynamic wines with open arms when it launched in early May. Co-owner Tom Flint says: “People were

coming in and saying, ‘thank god you’re here, we’ve been crying out for this!’”

He admits he’s playing it “fairly safe” to

start with. “I’ve got a couple of wines that

are quite hazy and I’ve got an orange wine as well. I’ve kind of gone for the less funky end of things just so that people can get

used to the way that natural wines taste

and I’ll slowly start introducing the stuff that’s more hazy and unfined.

“It’s a gradual process, but I’m really

pleased that the wine has been selling like it has – people have been really keen.”

Alongside a wide selection of craft beers

and a small but carefully selected range of around 20 wines, Flint has installed

a KeyKeg system. “The kegs come from

Les Caves de Pyrene, the benefit being is that it’s slightly cheaper for us and the customers because you haven’t go the

cost of bottling and the extra weight of

nothing had been done for a very long time

organic and low-sulphur. I really thought

nice space.”

importing those bottles,” says Flint.

“At present I have a white and a red, both

it would take people a while to buy into

the idea but I’ve already started selling the

and there were damp issues. He really

went to town. We’ve ended up with a really • The Wine Shed in Hastings, Mark

refill wines because people can taste them

Plummer’s restaurant that incorporated his

As a “massive fan” of English wine, Flint

running with a similar ethos of great wines,

before they buy so it’s a great way of doing

original Phoenix & Plum wine shop, is being

is stocking both still and sparkling from

local meats, cheeses and seafood.”

it.”

Albourne and Ridgeview’s fizz. He also

hopes to turn heads with some natural Prosecco and Cava.

The shop may be small but Flint is

planning on using that to his advantage with a constantly rotating stock. The

sold. Plummer says: “The new owners will be

Deptford delight for Kiwi couple East Dulwich independent Hop Burns

storage space is pretty sizeable in

& Black is opening a second branch in a

Brooksteed Ale House, run by John

Ferguson have been on the hunt for a site

up-and-coming town … there’s constantly

owned premises.

comparison as he is sharing it with a

railway arch in Deptford.

Azzopardi and Aaron Burns.

for some time and endured “a few false

sister business, neighbouring pub The Flint describes Worthing as “a really

people moving from London down here, the whole demographic is completely shifting”.

The team seem to have lucked out with

a very accommodating landlord too. “He

was fantastic – he completely and utterly transformed the shop for us. He said he was going to do a bit of work because

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 6

New Zealanders Glenn Williams and Jen

starts” before settling on the Network Rail“The negotiations took us a little while

but we’re pretty happy to be right outside the station in the market yard,” says

Williams. “There’s good foot traffic after

work, and there’s a fantastic market there on the weekends. It’s becoming a really

good food destination – I’m quite happy to be a part of it.”


Adeline Mangevine Hasty despatches from the frontline of wine retailing The original shop, which opened three

years ago, specialises in beer but has a

decent-sized wine range and a specialism in own-brand hot sauces.

“The new place will mostly have the feel

of the first place,” says Williams. “There

will be less of an emphasis of drinking in,

just only because we have less space to be able to do that.

“It will be primarily off-licence sales

with the same sort of mixture of beer and wine and cider and hot sauce as well. It is a slightly smaller space so we’re going to

have to be very creative with it, and we are going through fun and games now to fit everything in.”

Williams expects the wine range to keep

I

t’s a beautiful, sunny evening and I’m

kicking back after work with a chilled glass of Fino (en rama, obviously).

This makes it all worthwhile, I think.

Who wants rosé when you can have some glorious Sherry? After all, the liquid in

my glass is cold, pale and ever-so-dry. I start to fantasise about a new summer

promotion – “mirror mirror on the wall, who is the palest and driest of them

all” – when I am brought promptly down to earth by Mr M, who takes one look at

what I am sipping and goes “ugh, is there

and months now we’ve been increasing

more #sherryisabloodyhardsell.

our range, even if we can’t sell it on shelf,

wine-trade pariah. When I get round

• Portland Wine has closed its branch in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, following

the landlord’s decision to redevelop the premises. The company, which also has branches in Hale, Macclesfield, Marple Bridge, Sale and Tarporley, had hoped to remain at the site when its revamp as a residential and retail unit is complete. • Once Upon a Vine is the name chosen by Simon Cocks for a new hybrid wine shop in Horsforth, five miles west of Leeds. Cocks was inspired to open the business after visting Tim Watson’s The Grape to Glass shop in Rhos on Sea. “We worked together at Majestic in Bangor for a few years,” he says. “I went to visit and saw his business, which has inspired me to do the same thing myself.”

adventurous in their tastes, embracing

everything from Austrian to orange and cloudy wines – yet baulk at the mere suggestion of a Palo Cortado.

Perhaps that’s where we merchants

are missing a trick. Perhaps we should

Who wants rosé when you can have glorious Sherry? Well, most of my customers, for a start

There are exceptions on both sides

to buy good-quality wine, particularly

around the station and the high street.”

for Sherry. Quite a few are willing to be

It’s less a case of #sherryissexy and

because we are selling a fair bit online now. in Deptford because there is no good place

and love what I recommend – except

stuff.

of course – pity the poor independent

“I think that will be more of an emphasis

of my customers share my taste in wine

And there you have it. Trade versus

consumers. We love Sherry. They hate the

and natural side of things, and for months

What I can’t understand is that many

anything decent to drink?”

growing. “Wine is something we are really

championing now, particularly the organic

I’ve used the “g” word.)

retailer who admits to being “meh” about Manzanilla and avoids Amontillado. A

stop talking less about the features and

“must love Sherry” will be a core skill

will last weeks once it is opened. Want

to advertising for Alex’s replacement, requirement.

Customers who do ask for a dry Sherry

are like hen’s teeth. Scratch the surface

and you’ll find they have either a relative

in the trade, have done a stint themselves or come from Jerez.

Sometimes, I wish I had a time machine

and can travel back to the days when

Sherry was all the rage. Not centuries

back with all that pestilence and disease. The 1960s would do. Maybe I could pick up some tips on how to start the longawaited Sherry revolution.

Then I realise that most Sherry

consumed in the UK in the 1960s was

probably cheap, badly-made cream. Not

the stuff that fuels an uprising. More the

stuff that fuelled your granny. (Yes, sorry,

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 7

more about the benefits. Want to drink less? This 50cl bottle of dry Oloroso

to cut down on sugar? Pour yourself a

glass of naturally “skinny” Fino – goes

brilliantly with sushi and lettuce. Want

to buy a truly special bottle for someone? Then here’s a brilliant VORS 30-year-

old Oloroso. It’s very old and rare - and would go for hundreds if it was a wine.

If that fails, perhaps we should follow

the example of a national stationers.

Have half-price bottles of Sherry by our tills and try to upsell them with every wine purchase. The conversion rate might be small, but I reckon sales of

Sherry will better

for everyone than they are right now.


tried & Tested Villaia Verdicchio Classico, Pieralisi 2016

Castello Banfi La Lus Albarossa 2015

Here’s a wine you don’t have to work very hard

If you like liquorice and you like vanilla, you’re in for a

spontaneously fermented and then aged on fine

There’s intensity for sure but also a lightness of touch

treat, but that shouldn’t give the impression that this is

at to love. Made with beautifully ripe fruit from a

clunky, heavy-handed winemaking: far from it, in fact.

5ha vineyard right next to the winery in Marche,

in this sumptuous Piemontese wine, with red fruits

lees for five months, it’s rich but refreshing, and

and distant cloves balancing out the heavier elements.

wonderfully textured. Lemons, thyme, custard creams. RRP: £17.99

RRP: £21

ABV: 14%

ABV: 13.5%

Louis Latour Agencies (020 7409 7276)

Boutinot (0161 908 1300) boutinot.com

louislatour.co.uk

Black Chalk Classic 2015

Villa Wolf Wachenheimer Riesling Single Village 2015

We’re perhaps in danger of over-hyping every English wine launch, such is the enthusiasm engulfing the

Patrick Moellendorf and Sumi Gebauer are the current

new Hampshire project. Pinot Meunier is high in the

of Rieslings at the M7 tasting, their wine stood out for

industry as it starts to hit its stride, but this is seriously good fizz from Hattingley winemaker Jacob Leadley’s

mix in a wine with a fresh saline streak, citrus ripeness, leesy depth and even a touch of ginger. Lovely. RRP: £35

ABV: 12%

custodians of a Pfalz estate dating back to 1756 and

now part of the Dr Loosen empire. Tasted in a line-up its laser-like precision, aromatic intensity and pure fruit. Riesling from the Goldilocks zone: just right. RRP: £14.25

ABV: 12.5%

Awin Barratt Siegel (01780 755810)

Red Squirrel (020 3490 1210) redsquirrelwine.com

abswineagencies.co.uk

Chapel Down Kit’s Coty Bacchus 2016

Las Mercedes Singular Semillon 2016

Another high-profile English launch, from a producer

There’s a real honesty to the fruit here, which may not

grassy aromas and green-apple acidity. But there’s also

clunky and unbalanced, but certainly not in this zesty

sound the most enthralling prospect when it’s Semillon

that’s on a run of really impressive releases. This could

we’re talking about. In the wrong hands it’s so often

possibly be mistaken for a Loire Sauvignon, with its

example. Made with grapes from a single vineyard in

a ripe, tropical warmth lurking in the background and

coastal Maule, its richness and restraint are a revelation.

a rich, creamy undercurrent from the oak ageing. RRP: £25

RRP: £18.50

ABV: 13%

ABV: 13.5%

Las Bodegas (01435 874772)

Chapel Down (01580 766111) chapeldown.com

lasbodegas.co.uk

Stefano Lubiana Estate Pinot Noir 2016

Castello Banfi Principessa Gavia Gavi 2017

From a biodynamic estate in Tasmania comes a single-

The Italian-American Mariani family have invested in

clay, and loam over gravel. The plum and violet fruit sits

classy with it, the fresh mineral edge bringing out the

clever winemaking kit that really allows the fruit to

vineyard Pinot comprising two terroirs that sound

similar but are actually different: gravelly loam over

back a bit in a subtle, unshowy wine that combines what people love about both Old and New World Pinot Noir. RRP: £31

ABV: 14%

Vintage Roots (0800 980 4992) vintageroots.co.uk

express itself. This is joyful and hedonistic fare but

best in the exuberant Cortese grapes. An object lesson in how to balance opulence with acidity. RRP: £18

ABV: 12%

Louis Latour Agencies (020 7409 7276) louislatour.co.uk

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 8


bits & BOBs FAVOURITE

THINGS Jason Yapp

Yapp Wines Mere, Wiltshere

Prosecco producers are on the verge of allowing the production of sparkling rosé wines within the DOC. Prosecco can currently be produced with

up to 15% Pinot Noir, but the grape must be used only to create white wine.

Favourite wine on my list This changes with the wind but I am currently fixated with the Pic Saint-Loup L’Arbouse from Mas Bruguière in the sadly hail-depleted 2016 vintage. It has those inimitable wild herb and berry scents and flavours of the garrigue but a freshness and vitality too. Would that there were more of it!

If given final approval, winemakers

would be allowed to mix the signature

Prosecco grape, Glera, with Pinot Noir to create Prosecco rosé within the DOC. Decanter, May 25

wine market over the next three decades. She also predicts bottles without labels,

using smartphone technology to convey information about what’s inside. Decanter, May 21

An everyday story of reckless retailing range, which was deemed to encourage irresponsible drinking. The complainant, Alcohol Concern Wales,

said: “Spar are alluding to drinking the

product every day, and therefore indirectly encouraging immoderate consumption.” John Timothy of the Portman Group

Favourite wine trip

Adam Brett-Smith at Corney & Barrow is a great ambassador for the trade and generous to boot. He’s introduced me to some sensational wines such as Dominio de Pingus and Clos de Tart so there is a debt of gratitude there.

suggest trends that could develop in the

Portman Group for its Everyday Wine

I waited years to sample the Quenelle de Brochet (pike-perch dumpling) at the Beau Rivage in Condrieu with Christine Vernay’s Coteau de Vernon. That cost a fortune but would be hard to eclipse.

Favourite wine trade person

Gaye was commissioned by Armit to

Spar has been reprimanded by the

Favourite wine and food match

The Northern Rhône each October. There are so many great winemakers in such a small area it’s magical. Lunch at Le Mangevins in Tain L’Hermitage with Alain Graillot and his sons is always great fun so we try and ensure that is on the itinerary.

Magpie

Prosecco producers are thinking pink

Not that sparkling rosé is a new idea in Italy

Enjoy the wine, then eat the bottle

said: “Today’s ruling highlights the need

for retailers as well as producers to show considerable care around the language they use in their marketing materials, regardless of the intended audience.” The Drinks Business, May 18

• French chemists have found a way to use

Edible wine bottles and delivery by

waste grape material from wine production

drone are two of the developments

to enhance the strength of plastics that

predicted by food futurologist Dr

normally become brittle in sunlight.

Morgaine Gaye.

Digital Trends, May 25

winemerchantmag.com 01323 871836

Favourite wine shop The wine shop I have been waiting for all my life is Authentique in Tufnell Park. I love it. Hedonism is great too for sheer sybaritic excess. We always try and drop in there when we have winemakers in town.

winemerchantteam@gmail.com

Twitter: @WineMerchantMag

The Wine Merchant is circulated to the owners of the UK’s 869 specialist independent wine shops. We explain how we define these if you ask nicely, though the answer has a tendency to sound snobby. The magazine is edited by Graham Holter. Printed in Sussex by East Print. © Graham Holter Ltd 2018 Registered in England: No 6441762

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 10

VAT 943 8771 82


news

From page 1

“When we set up the business five years

ago we actually made sure that we got as

little data on our customers as possible, or

unsubscribe, or see your data, or delete all of your customer history, let us know. So

we’ve not gone to the extreme of having to

get people to opt back in. We’ve given them the opportunity to opt out.”

Hattersley, which has 3,500 customers on

its database, has adopted privacy policies

drawn up by providers such as Mailchimp and Sage.

“I was slightly worried that we wouldn’t

be able to get in touch with all of our

contacts again,” says Sarah Hattersley. “It

at least no data that we don’t actually need. All we have is name and email address. “We also made sure that we bought

© semisatch / stockadobe.com

GDPR confusion over databases Opting in was not essential after all

off-the-shelf systems, from the till system

He adds: “We’ve never had automatic

Sarah Hattersley.

“What we did then was observe what

everybody else’s emails said, and a lot of people – and this is the approach we’ve

taken – have updated their privacy policy and made sure all of their systems are in line with the new procedure.

“They’ve then sent people an email

to say, this is our updated privacy

policy – if you are not happy and wish to

already opted in, as long as it went through the proper channels under GDPR laws

initially, you didn’t have to ask people to opt back in.”

But some businesses (such as Eynsham

Cellars, page 22) have resigned themselves

“But I understand if someone’s spent

10 years making a database, that’s a long

data securely. We’ve never bought any

back and said yes, we do want to stay,” says

basically under the logic that if you’d

weren’t that important.

we’re covered when it comes to handling

“At first we thought we’d have to cull

“That was what Majestic did and it was

says. “Hopefully the ones that are missing

So we’re covered from that perspective and

our database unless people actually came

unless you don’t want emails’.

look to the future and build it up again,” he

opt-in, because I think it’s morally wrong.

went through a similar process.

in here’ to ‘you don’t have to do anything,

it’s happened now and you just have to

technological changes that are needed.”

John Hattersley Wines in Derbyshire

that I was receiving changed from ‘opt back

a bad thing. “It is a little bit annoying, but

you’re constantly up to date with any

they could always say no.”

Grigg adds: “I found it quite interesting

as it got closer to the deadline the emails

Yorkshire does not think this is necessarily

do it but the monthly subscription means

their request. We may have asked for it, but

policy.

Mal Potter of Helmsley Wines in North

It’s not necessarily the cheapest way to

someone’s given to us has always been at

any time, or inspect the company’s privacy

to effectively rebuilding their databases.

through our website to our email host.

emails or sold any emails. Any information

clear that they can opt out of mailings at

time if all of a sudden those customers At least GDPR has been a boon for suppliers of stock images

would be really sad if you had to lose that resource.”

She says there was “a lot of jargon” in the

GDPR advice, and while she understands

the need for the new rules, “it’s been a bit of a nightmare getting our heads around

it”. A consultant helped guide the company through the process.

Daniel Grigg of Museum Wines in Dorset,

which has 3,000 names on its database,

notes that some large companies were so

confident that they already complied with GDPR that they did not send out emails of any kind.

Museum Wines reassured customers

that “we sell wine, not data” and made it

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 12

disappear.”

He adds: “GDPR definitely was badly

communicated. Consultants love things

like this because people panic at the last

minute and they can charge high fees for a service that a lot of the time won’t be that helpful.

“For us it’s a little bit of a downer. A lot

of people who are regulars have clicked

that they still want the updates, but I guess for us it’s been a chance for a little bit of

database cleaning as well because you can see the people who are interested in what you’re selling.

“On the system we use we can tell which

people who have actually clicked into

the email, and if you’re sending people

an email and they’re not even clicking it they’re probably not worth sending an email to anyway.”


> THE WINEMAKER FILES Mike Symons, Stonier Wines Stonier was one of the pioneering wineries on the Mornington Peninsula. Winemaker Mike Symons started out at Petaluma in 1989, but his work and studies have also taken him to France and Italy. He joined Stonier in 2008

Growing up, we always drank wine at home. My parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were involved with citrus and table grapes. I was thinking

I worked for Antinori and had to learn

pathway. Stonier has always had that

Mornington Peninsula is a beautiful

been turning the dial a little bit, just

Italian, which was fun.

little bit more full-bodiedness to the

Chardonnay. Probably with time we’ve

I’d get into that aspect of it but wine

part of the world. A lot of people imagine

a terrific place to start because he was

beautiful undulating hills.

make is to copy the Burgundy

a great team, full of energy and very

Chardonnay is pretty good every

that tannin and structure by just giving

sensitive, you wouldn’t have lasted there.

conditions. People grow it in the wrong

captured me. I wrote to Brian Croser at Petaluma and he gave me a job. It was such a dynamic and stimulating mind

to work with – very motivating. We had

it’s a flat bit of land that pokes out

beneath Melbourne but actually there are In the Mornington Peninsula I think

argumentative. Everyone just worked

year. Pinot has a much bigger variability

When I studied in France I had to learn

place and then say it’s really hard to

their butts off and if you were a bit

French for three months beforehand and that’s when I met my wife. I was

trying to find a French girlfriend to help

to express its best; it needs certain

make, but they’re just growing it in the wrong spot.

Australian Chardonnay is definitely

me study French … and I found an Italian

much more in the middle ground now.

more years at Petaluma going back and

that, in the Mornington Peninsula you can

tightening them up.

With Pinot, a mistake a lot of people prototype without considering the fruit they’ve got. We’re not going to get it more time in barrel and longer on

skin. It doesn’t work like that – the fruit has got to be like that from the start. So we’ve moved a bit more towards

freshness and we’re giving them eight to nine months now, and we much prefer them like that.

Stonier is one of the founding

girl! So I spent all my university years

Maybe 20 years ago they were bigger and

wineries of the peninsula. We’re 40

forth to Italy then decided to move over

handle a bit of malo with Chardonnay.

we’ve got to make sure we get the best

going to and from Italy. I spent a couple there and we got married in Italy. And Stonier Chardonnay RRP: £19.99 This just seems to be a wine that appeals to both people who don’t like Chardonnay and people who do. We don’t do anything magical to it: we just look after it and hand-pick from some very good vineyards. Our top single-vineyard wines go into that so it's got a lot of pedigree. It should be double the price!

oakier with a bit more malo. Having said We never went down that really austere

years old and we’ve accumulated some of the best sites over the years, and out of them. That’s pretty exciting.

Stonier Reserve Chardonnay

Stonier Windmill Vineyard Pinot

RRP: £19.99

RRP: £39.99

Our top Chardonnay vineyards are all east-facing so they only get the morning sun. They have lovely elevated acid and a lightness of fruit. We select barrels from each batch for the Reserve blend. It’s a wine we have a bit more fun with, not just aiming for fruit purity but also a bit of winemaking artefact.

The Windmill from an early age always really stood out in our batch tasting of single-vineyard wines, so we just gave it more and more attention. It’s very red-fruited with raspberry and cherry, and quite a strong wine with an earthy character. It’s a very alluring wine.

More information from Fine Wine Partners 07552 291045 toby.spiers@accoladewines.com

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 13


just williams

Naked guns for a soft target

© AboutLife – stock.adobe.com

It’s ironic that Majestic’s sister business has picked a fight with wine journalists at a time when their influence is arguably at it weakest. So why launch a social-media attack on the fourth estate?

One of the last remaining wine writers considers his response to Naked’s slur

I

’m always hesitant to write about Naked Wines. The company – bought, lest we forget, for £70m just three years ago – presents itself as a kind of outlaw, or at least outlier, in the trade, a

plucky underdog breaker of norms and taboos, and the singlehanded protector of the struggling small vigneron.

All of which is obviously nonsense for anyone who has any

knowledge of the workings of the wine trade – or who has made even a cursory inspection of the Naked list.

But, like a wine-retailing answer to Katie Hopkins, you get the

impression that Naked is very much of the “all publicity is good publicity school”; that it doesn’t matter what you say about it,

so long as you’re saying something; that they’ll say anything, no

matter how sketchily related to the facts it may be, to provoke a response.

So, for that reason alone, I’d generally rather say nothing.

As, indeed, have most of my wine-writing colleagues for most

of Naked’s existence. We don’t tend to write about their wines because, as one very high profile wine writer said to me at a recent Majestic/Naked tasting, “their whole thing is really annoying”.

“Why would I bother with tasting

them?” he went on. “Their pricing is so bloody complicated, and unless you’re a member or angel or

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 14


whatever they’re called, the prices are ridiculous.”

Amen to that. But it’s not just wine writers who don’t get on

with Naked. One might ask if anyone – with the exception of

those working for the company (and even then you wonder) and those poor consumers still taken in by its coupons and

convoluted membership schemes – has a good word to say about them.

There will be even fewer positive words now, in the wake of

what I suppose we have to call, in the modern style, Nakedgate. For those of you not active on the hellsite known as Twitter, Naked managed to finish the job of alienating the wine-

writing community with a deliberately provocative piece of

marketing copy that told consumers not to “trust wine critic

recommendations … they need to seem useful, or they’ll be out of a job! So they invent trends and get paid to push you toward certain wines.”

The push back was swift, with the Telegraph’s Victoria Moore

making the point that “paid wine critics is a small enough group

for the statement to be libellous”, and critics from Jamie Goode to

David Williams is wine critic for The Observer

‘Maybe Gormley has played the wine-writing community like Putin or Trump, getting them talking about the brand in a way that Naked’s wines never had’

Tim Atkin and Matthew Jukes pushing for an apology that Naked

boss Rowan Gormley (below, right) eventually issued, along with a charitable donation.

If you’re feeling cynical, like Jukes, you might say that the

£1,000 Gormley donated to the Benevolent was a small price to pay for getting wine writers who have studiously, actively ignored the brand to give it the oxygen of publicity, even if it that publicity is, ostensibly, negative.

You might even feel that Gormley has played

How much that influences the wines we come to write about

is very much up for debate. Speaking personally, I hope that

it doesn’t. Certainly, the vast majority of wines I write about

come from tastings hosted by retailers, importers and generics where each wine has an equal chance

to shine. I call in samples rarely, and always

with a purpose – if I want to write about a

the wine-writing community like Putin or

specific region or grape variety for example

Trump: that this provocation got them

– and always from a variety of suppliers.

talking about his brand in a way that

In the end, however, it all comes down to

Naked’s wines never had.

trust. But then isn’t that the same for any

All of which is perfectly plausible.

journalist on any subject?

The trouble for wine writers, however, is

In any case, for me the real irony of

that – again like a piece of Putin or Trump

propaganda – in these situations some mud always sticks. And the very intensity of the

response – the “how dare they?” of so many wine writers –

Nakedgate is that it comes at a time when wine

writers’ importance is at its lowest ebb since the

UK wine boom began in the 1970s. As Moore said, there

has some people asking if there isn’t an element of truth in what

are fewer and fewer paid wine writers, and their influence,

evasive. The truth is that the wine writing field is full of grey

wine writing community’s reaction to Naked’s casual slur may

Naked says.

So is there? Well, yes and no would be my answer. I’m not being

areas. I can’t speak for my colleagues, although I suspect, like me, they’ve never been paid to write about a specific wine. But we all

accept samples, we’ve all been on paid-for trips, and we’ve all had lunches and dinners with winemakers.

drowned out by the ever-growing cacophony of online voices, is dwindling by the day. Viewed in this context, the strength of the

be only partly down to being offended at the suggestion that they might be in the pay of Big Wine. Could it, rather, be an expression of regret that the days when they might actually be worth paying are now firmly in the past?

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 15


round table

No hiding place from supplier price hikes Our round table discussion in Manchester, in association with Santa Rita Estates, inevitably turned to the issue of of pricing. Part two of our coverage starts here

B

ig price hikes have been a fact of life for independent merchants for at least 18 months now.

“We’ve had something like 250 price

changes that had to go into the database

and we’ve had to rewrite all the notes,” says Kate Goodman of Reserve Wine. “I don’t

remember ever having that much before.” So how has this affected ranges and

how have the increases been justified to

Some merchants have had to eat into

only do it once. You’ve got to protect that

Goodman is one of them. “Yes, on a

you just delist them and bring something

their own margins at times to take the sting out of increases.

couple of things we’ve had to,” she says. “I’ve got four sites and they’re all very different customer bases. On one site,

because it’s a very supermarket-driven

customers?

March, the independents present were

Champagnes on our list gives people

braced for more increases. The patchy

confidence because our Laurent-Perrier

nature of the price hikes was remarked

rosé is £65 and that’s a lot cheaper than

upon: indeed one merchant joked that

it out at £100 a bottle.

Gillibrand: “You’ve got to protect your margin”

and pay twice the price’. Consumers are

customer base, we’ve had to take a hit on

thinks that we’re taking that.”

a pre-emptive strike by putting up prices

At The Wine Merchant’s round table in

be in a restaurant. Having branded

£7 a bottle increase on shelf. The consumer

Jake Crimmin adds: “I’ve done a bit of

doesn’t seem like that much.”

pointing out how much that wine would

their prices up so much that it’s a £5, £6 or

a pound, people will kind of accept that.”

whatever. Then when you put it up again it

“We’ve gone one step further now by

moment is that some suppliers are putting

seen it before. When things go up by 50p or

currency fluctuations and short harvests or

make a difference,” says Ruth Yates.

getting more savvy. But the issue at the

comparison with because they’ve never

to go up. People understand there are

duty and other fixed costs. “It really does

menu; things like ‘buy this in a restaurant

new in that people can’t do a price

gone up, but I know eventually are going

how the price of wine is impacted by VAT,

“We use quirky tasting notes on the

“For things that go up quite a lot in price,

incrementally on things that haven’t

Corks Out uses an infographic to explain

over the road, who are probably knocking

margin.

some margins, which I don’t like doing, just to keep a couple of lines around £6 or £7.”

Edward Gillibrand of Tiny’s Tipple says:

“I think you could have a strategic review and change your margin, but you can

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 16

some suppliers must be operating on

fundamentally different duty levels, and exchange rates, than others.

Goodman says: “Whenever we get a price

increase from a supplier we ask them all of the reasons why; they need to justify that price increase.

“It gives us a chance to explain it’s not

just currency, it’s not just Brexit; we’re not

just trying to jump on the bandwagon here.


OUR panelists Jane Cuthbertson

Barrica Wines, Samlesbury

Ruth Yates

Corks Out, Cheshire

Samantha Jackson Chester Beer & Wine

Barrique in Lytham

Kate Goodman

Reserve Wines, Manchester And I think a lot of suppliers have done

a cheaper wine, but you’re going to have to

they possibly should have, but that may

can make the decision. It’s your business.

that: they have jumped on the bandwagon,

they have increased their prices more than have been because they’ve held back for

a while and then realised they can’t do it anymore.”

Sara Saunby argues that independents are better equipped to share this kind of price information with their customers than is the case with multiples.

“We can get that across fairly easily,” she

says. “As long as everyone’s well informed

in the team then you’ve not got too much of a problem.”

Barrique, Lytham

compromise on quality.

Sara Saunby

“We’ll taste them side by side and you

Really we think this is the better wine, but

you’re going to have to pay a bit more for it. “If you are upfront with people generally

Salut, Manchester

Edward Gillibrand Tiny’s Tipple, Manchester

they’re quite receptive to that. I think

we have that relationship with our retail

customers too. We explain, and hopefully most of them understand.”

THE WINE MERCHANT MANCHESTER ROUND TABLE IN ASSOCIATION WITH SANTA RITA ESTATES

Goodman adds: “Our wholesale

customers are buying food and things and

know that stuff’s going up. So we’re totally

honest. We explain this is what’s happened, and this is where we’re at: we can get you

Jake Crimmin

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 17

Manny Doidge Santa Rita Estates


round table

Not always a corking idea Confusion reigns over drink-in cost The concept of corkage – paying a premium to enjoy wine on the premises – is still lost on a lot of consumers. “People are more than happy to spend

£18 or £19 on a bottle of wine in a bar or in a restaurant,” says Jake Crimmin. “But if they see the corkage on it they just do

not get it at all. People get quite aggressive about it sometimes.”

He’s partly solved the problem by

creating a small list of wines that are

only sold for on-premise consumption,

promoted on a board. “I've got 250 bins

that are available to drink in for corkage

but 90% of the sales are from that board,”

he says. “I make the best margins on those,

so I'm more than happy for that to happen.” Ruth Yates has done something similar

at Corks Out. “Because of our hybrid model I choose to have a divide between my ontrade and my retail list,” she says. “I was

fed up with customers saying, ‘why are you charging me £10 extra?’

“Even though they could go over the

road to a restaurant and the wine might be in there at twice the price, they still don't understand.”

Sara Saunby says that when Salut first

opened, the word “corkage” appeared

on labels but was later abandoned. “We

changed it to ‘drink in/take out’, and people don't seem to have any issue with that,” she says. Customers pay a £7 premium to drink wine in-store.

Yates adds: “Some people do want to pick

something off the shelf that's not on the wine list and I give managers discretion about whether to charge corkage. If

someone's buying a £200 bottle, please don't charge £10 corkage!”

The irony, perhaps, is that customers

might pay more for the wines they choose from a dispensing device than they do through corkage.

“We do probably £4,000 a week through

Enomatic sales, just at Stockton Heath,”

says Yates. “The margin is better there than it would be if we were charging retail plus £10 drink-in.”

the role of social media Jake Crimmin

much more lifestyle-led – and we’re in

Social media is

the business of lifestyle, essentially.

number one for

Jane cuthbertson I did a post this week

us. I spend about

RUTH YATES

£100 a month on

Each of our shops has its own social

new gin – thank god for

Facebook and

media account on three different

gin! I took a photograph of the box, but

Instagram so

platforms and I bonus staff monthly on

you couldn’t see what it was. I put it on

you’re top of the

how they use those platforms.

Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and

page for everyone. The accuracy is great: you can draw up a map, you can hit people between 18 and 25 if you want, and you immediately see a response. I put a hot white chocolate on Facebook and 10 people came in that day and ordered it. It’s just much more targeted and immediate than any of the traffic we see going through the website. It seems that Twitter has become much more professional-led. Instagram is

for a delivery of a

It’s so, so important. It’s not about selling to people; it’s about that

within an hour and a half, two customers came in and said: so what’s in the box?

customer interaction. It gets them interested. We do things like: if you tag yourself as being in Corks Out during this

kate goodman We have four very different markets and the social media activity in each site is different because the demographics are different. I can’t believe how massive Instagram

month, then you go into a prize draw

is – people are not

for a magnum of Bolly. Doing things

connecting with

like that, people are really receptive.

Twitter, particularly.

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 18


THE WINE MERCHANT MANCHESTER ROUND TABLE IN ASSOCIATION WITH SANTA RITA ESTATES

Deep pockets required to make online sales profitable Websites can make a major contribution to an independent merchant’s revenue. But as our Santa Rita round table guests discussed, selling online can also be a major drain on finances

© katie_martynova / stockadobe.com

I

s the internet a threat or an

opportunity for independents? Our round table didn’t come up with a

definitive answer. Even Ruth Yates, whose

website is one of the most successful in the independent trade, has words of warning. The Corks Out strategy has been to

focus mostly on big-name wines on the

website, which is why Moët can be ordered online but not purchased from any of the company’s shops.

“Obviously online sales are national

and you have to be competitive,” she says.

“You have to make sure you have a pricing

Corks Out achieves up to £700,000 in internet sales, mainly in the London area

structure. So all of our brands are online

click alone costs the business £40,000 a

vintage – people jump on it.”

with very little margin.”

a website I would say unless you’ve got

really cost us anything. Packaging is

at very competitive prices – we watch the market constantly. They’re all good offers

The dividend for Corks Out is that online

sales contribute up to £700,000 towards turnover, but costs are high too.

“People think it’s really cheap to do,”

says Yates. “We have two full-time people running our website, and the cost of

packaging has gone up a lot, the cost of

delivery has gone up a lot, and every year you have to revamp the website. Ours

is two years old and we need to spend

£50,000 on it this year if we’re going to

continue with it, because last year, for the first year ever, our web sales dropped.”

Search engine optimisation and pay-per-

year. Yates’s advice to other independents

is simple: “If you’re thinking about opening deep pockets, don’t bother.”

She adds: “One thing we do sell a lot of

online, which is very easy to post out, is tickets to our tastings.

“I do think you need a content website,

but the e-commerce side of it is so

expensive now. If you go an outside

company that’s £3,000 or £4,000 a month.” Samantha Jackson at Chester Beer &

Wine runs a transactional website on a much smaller scale. “It tends to be for

specific products rather than general stuff,” she says. “A lot of craft beers. Sometimes we’ve got residual stock of a certain

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 19

It does make money for the business.

“But it’s very much a bolt-on and doesn’t

expensive because you can’t really insure glass or alcohol. I use Airsac now. We get very few breakages.”

Goodman at Reserve Wines is still

weighing up whether it’s worth selling

wine via her website or concentrating more on its marketing aspects.

“I’m wondering whether we should just

make it more content-rich and put loads of interesting information on there that

supports our brand. We put up videos; we

write a lot about wine. It’s more in line with what we do as an indie.”


> THE WINEMAKER FILES Andrew Hardy, Petaluma A scion of one of Australia’s most famous winemaking families, Andrew is Petaluma’s senior winemaker, leading a team that crafts award-winning wines from fruit in Coonawarra, Adelaide Hills and Clare Valley

I was in the UK in January and it felt to me like there is a renewed enthusiasm for Aussie wine. It seemed that people

are talking about Aussie wine again and that’s great.

I’m a fifth-generation Hardy family

winemaker. We were pioneers and we had

we work with 25 growers. If you took

prices and the shareholders but to their

I don’t go out pruning as much as I’d

an absolute blast. When we floated all of a sudden we had to worry about share

credit, we kept the focus on viticulture

and winemaking. We stuck to our guns

Croser out of the equation we’d probably be 75% own vineyard, 25% growers.

like to, but in the growing season and

and said it’s all about quality and doing

the lead-up to vintage I’m tramping

I’m not minimalist in that I’m going

week. Being in the vineyard, tasting fruit

what we do.

round the vineyards and I love that.

production manager for Thomas Hardy

for natural wine or orange wine, but I

and doing our own sampling is crucial.

I started at Adelaide Uni, not with a

era of the big buttery oaky Chardonnays.

Tiger snakes are horrible. We’re always

let the fruit do the talking. Get it right in

in the hills and we’re not allowed to

member so my great, great grandfather was the original Thomas Hardy. I

grew up in Adelaide and my dad was the & Sons.

think it’s all about what the fruit does.

pure intention of being a winemaker.

Don’t throw things at it that you don’t

Then I worked out in New South Wales

at a sheep station, then I decided I really wanted to do wine and came back to

Adelaide to finish my degree. I took off

to Wagga Wagga, which is the other wine

school. I got a job at Petaluma in 1982 and

I’m old enough to have been through the

need to. Our winemaking philosophy is to the vineyard and the wine almost makes itself.

Normally most of our fruit for the

I’ve been there ever since.

Yellow Labels is from our own

The early days of Petaluma were really

wines we work with a couple of

exciting. Brian Croser was the chief

growers. For the Croser sparkling wines,

vineyards, and with the White Label

We see our vineyards and growers every

We have a lot of poisonous snakes. seeing kangaroos, emus, and koalas.

The birds have become a huge problem shoot anymore, so we have to net the

vineyards, which is a pain in the neck. The lovely thing about the wine

industry is that all our vineyards are in genuinely beautiful parts of the world, and we do have pretty wonderful

wildlife. You just don’t want to drive into a kangaroo.

Petaluma White Label Coonawarra Cabernet

Petaluma Yellow Label Coonawarra Cabernet

Petaluma Hanlin Hill Riesling

RRP: £19.99

RRP: £38.99

RRP: £25.99

The wine goes into traditional barrels. It’s released younger and fresher from vineyards we grow ourselves. It’s made to have that lovely leafy Coonawarra minty lift. But it’s made to be soft and approachable for immediate drinking.

It’s Cabernet-dominant with Merlot and a bit of Shiraz. Those batches are picked and vinified separately and aged in new oak. If you want to cellar it, it will go 30-40 years. They are drinkable now too, but it’s made to age. Merlot just sings in this blend.

The fruit is so pristine. It’s handpicked, it’s bottled as soon as we can bottle it to keep all that freshness. It’s all about lime and lemon blossom and the fact that it’s dry. It ages gracefully with beautiful honey-and-toast, bottle-aged character.

More information from Fine Wine Partners 07552 291045 toby.spiers@accoladewines.com

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 20


merchant profile: eynsham cellars

Oli Gauntlett (left) and Iain Boyce, May 2018

Partners in wine Survivors of the First Quench wreckage, Oli Gauntlett and Iain Boyce maxed out their credit cards and took a punt on an Oxfordshire Wine Rack. Eight years on, their business – and friendship – is going strong

O

li Gauntlett and Iain Boyce had only known each other for a couple of months when they became business partners in 2010.

“I’m massively older,” says Boyce. “I’m 39 and Oli is 33. He was a

child when we opened up.”

“I was 24,” Gauntlett interjects. “I’ve been working in off-licences

AnitaI Mannion, since was 18.” September 2017

Gauntlett had been employed by First Quench for almost seven

years, including a stint managing the Wine Rack in Eynsham, on

the outskirts of Oxford, when the opportunity arose to take on the store.

“I was in quite a fortunate position – I knew all the shops around

Oxfordshire and 30-odd were closing overnight, and this was one of my favourites,” he says.

Boyce, a native of Sydney, worked in the wine trade in Australia

before travelling to the UK and finding temporary jobs, including

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 22


a brief stint at the Wine Rack in Summertown before First Quench

tradespeople.

and we both had this dream of being an independent merchant,”

of our customers by name and the rest by sight. it has that local

called in the administrators.

“It was just coincidence that I managed to meet Oli in that time

he says.

“We had pretty humble ambitions – we just wanted to get an

income and survive, to start with. We just bumbled along for a while.”

Gauntlett adds: “We did it on a shoestring to begin with. We

managed on loans and maxed out our credit cards. I think we put

We’re lucky here, it’s a pretty safe area. It’s an amazing

community, I love it. It’s a little piece of England. We know a lot village vibe going on.

Oli: We do quite well because people are used to shopping in

independent shops. There’s a greengrocer next door to us and there’s a butcher’s. There’s no big supermarket.

How is the wine range shaping up these days?

£20,000 in each and then credit cards on top of that.”

Oli: We’re joining the Vindependents, so we’re reviewing line by

collect their evening treats. But it’s clear that they are reaping

want to overlap too much with people locally.

The pair seem pretty relaxed in their shop as a steady

procession of locals wander in on a sunny Tuesday afternoon to the rewards of what was a giant, and risky, leap of faith. “It was

all quite daunting,” Boyce admits. “I wouldn’t put myself in that position again. But it was worth it.”

How different does the shop look now, compared to when you opened? Oli: We’ve slowly evolved. It was a Wine Rack and we wanted to

keep the customers. You can see we’ve still got the fridges so we

still sell beers and ciders. At first we weren’t brave enough to drop all the big brands.

Iain: Now we don’t list them. The focus has changed. It was a little bit of a beer and fags shop – a little bit. It was a wine shop, but it had a lot more of that.

You still have “off licence” on the window. Not many wine specialists are comfortable with that phrase.

line what we’re getting in and what will be affected by it.

We’d been thinking about wine groups for a while and we don’t

Iain: It’s taken us a little while to get to the point where we don’t

have to rely fully on wholesalers and we’re trying to put on some big-boy pants now. We’ll see how it goes.

Oli: It looks quite exciting. I was really impressed with the quality in that mid-price level. They don’t do entry-level – they do some very good quality.

Iain: It was great to see other merchants and shoot some ideas around. It’s a pretty supportive environment.

What other suppliers are you working with? Oli: We deal with Boutinot, Liberty, Mentzendorff, MMD and

Hatch. We do a bit with Walker & Wodehouse but that has shrunk considerably.

Iain: Hatch have been with us since the start.

Continues page 24

Iain: It’s funny – we kind of drop it now. I always throw the word “independent” in front of it. Most of our customers call it the

offie and that’s fine. I don’t think anyone says, “I’m just going to

the wine merchant”. The locals call us the off-licence but if we do

venture out of Eynsham we drop that and suddenly become wine merchants.

Oli: Our new hanging sign has got “wine merchant” on it. That’s a new logo for us.

What kind of place is Eynsham? Oli: There’s old Eynsham, which is prettier, and then there’s postwar Eynsham, where you get the estates. There’s a lot of money

here but there’s also working-class people. There’s a proper crosssection.

Iain: The population of the village is about 5,000. A lot of people

work in Oxford for the university or for the hospitals. The Siemens Magnet Technology factory is a big employer and there’s a lot of

Eynsham is “an amazing community … a little piece of England”

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 2016 23


merchant profile: eynsham cellars From page 25

Oli: You can’t just take everything you like because there’s only a

certain amount of storage. You have to think it all through and be

careful. We’ve got a bit of storage out the back and some external storage – we’ve got a unit elsewhere too. Do you have any wholesale business?

Oli: We wholesale a little bit. It’s very small. We’re looking at it a bit more.

Iain: It’s less than 10% of what we do, but five years ago it was

probably less than 2%. It’s still a matter of seeing who’s free that afternoon to do the deliveries, so it’s what can fit in the back of Oli’s Alfa really!

Are you selling much online? Oli: We get a couple of orders every week – it’s very small. I think

you get out of it what you put into it, and we don’t put much into it. Iain: It’s amazing sometimes the sales you get online. For example,

it might be someone in Scotland wanting one bottle of a £7 wine to be sent to Glasgow. And so you have to climb a ladder pull the box

down, and it takes you half an hour to put the package together and book it in with the courier.

Price is king on the website and you’re competing with people

who don’t have bricks-and-mortar stores.

Have the price increases over the past year or so been a pain? Oli: This year the price increases have been pretty significant for us. You have to look after your margins. You look at each invoice

line by line and we look at that product and see how much it sells and how much we think the price is important to that product. Occasionally we’ll absorb a small increase, but sometimes you have to put it up or take it off your list.

Are you selling less wine and more gin and craft ale? Oli: We’re selling more gin but I don’t think it’s necessarily at

the expense of wine. I think wine pretty much plateaued and gin increased.

As a business, because we started out as an off-licence, we used

to sell a lot of cigarettes. But since that’s all been hidden away,

the sales of those have halved, and that affected our turnover. Our turnover went down for a couple of years but our margins went

Gauntlett and Boyce have “quite similar tastes”, which simplifies the buying process

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 24


‘We don’t have a big complex formula when it comes to buying. We look at the wines and, very simply, you trust your palate’ Is there anything in the range that’s a complete indulgence on your part because you love it? Iain: Yeah, there’s some aquavit in here that’s a complete

You don’t get displays like this in a beer and fags shop

up because you don’t make anything on cigarettes – about a 6%

margin. We used to turn over about £120,000 a year on cigarettes.

indulgence and is also there as a curiosity as I don’t know a whole lot about aquavit. It’s Danish and it has dill inside it. It’s good to Continues page 26

It’s a good thing because it means we can sell what we want to be selling.

How do you divide the buying? Oli: We’ve got quite similar tastes. We don’t have specific areas each or anything like that. We’re quite flexible in our roles.

Iain: We don’t have a big complex formula when it comes to

buying, we just sit down and look at the wines and, very simply, you just trust your palate – that’s always been my golden rule. What do you think of Aussie wine these days?

Iain: I’m excited about what’s coming out of Western Australia

at the moment. Places like Great Southern are really interesting

because you can get a lot of variation in sites; there are altitude, temperature and coastal influences. Wines from the Harewood Estate are really good.

Australia has had to look at itself because it still does the big

volumes, but people are getting tired of it and looking elsewhere for alternatives to their everyday stuff. That top-level stuff is where the quality is.

Where’s the best value coming from today do you think? Iain: I think for us it’s South Africa.

Oli: Portugal as well. You can get a lot of wine for a tenner from Portugal. Our bread and butter is the £8 to £15 range.

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 25

Ask for the aquavit


merchant profile: eynsham cellars From page 25

throw strange things at people.

Oli: I try and hold myself back from doing things like that, otherwise we’d have 20 German Rieslings. How many local gins have you got?

Iain: Toad Gin is from The Oxford Artisan Distillery. They grow

their own grain and make their own base alcohol. They also make one for the Ashmolean museum in Oxford; it has myrrh in it. The gins are doing well. Bottles can be refilled from three barrels

Do you manage to get out and about very much? Oli: Not as much as we’d like.

Iain: The reality of it is that we are typically swamped with admin and we are actually looking at getting some help with that side of the business, which will help us be a bit more focused and drive the business a bit more.

Oli: We’re open until 9pm most of the week and 10pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

What kind of events do you run? Iain: Once a month we do a pop-up wine bar and we should be doing more in-store tastings than we do.

Oli: We’ve done “meet the winemaker” a few times and we should do more.

The suppliers are happy to help but we don’t get that many

offers. They come into the store during the day with the winemakers.

Iain: I think if we shouted a bit louder, we’d get more help there.

Have you got to the point of your development where you’re A subtle visual clue for customers

ready to change things? Iain: The second shop is the one that always teases you. I seem to think that you should have one shop, or four shops – having two shops is just going to kill you.

People think it will be easy and everything in shop B will be

the same as it is in shop A, but I just don’t think it works like that. I think you can grow a business out of one shop by getting your name out there and bringing more customers in.

I don’t see a second shop happening in the next couple of years

at least. I think the focus is wholesale. Do you have a customer database? The store has developed its wine specialism since 2010

Oli: We’ve got an email list and we send newsletters and notice of

events. It’s probably likely to shrink with GDPR. I think we’ll have

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 26


‘I seem to think that you should have one shop, or four shops – having two shops is just going to kill you’

BR I N GI N G YOU T HE WOR LD ’S MO ST ICO N I C W I NE S

to start from scratch and grow it again. You’ve got to be very clear with what you’re going to be sending people. Do you have part-time staff as well?

Oli: They are mostly weekends; on Sundays. We’re looking to take on an apprentice. There’s a college involved and they can help

train them and send them on courses for business administration. We can give them some WSET training and hopefully we’ll get a

kid who’s straight out of school and instead of having a gap year, they will do an apprenticeship and we can train them up so they can help us with our admin and get some wine expertise.

It’s a year-long apprenticeship and we might be able to offer

them something at the end of it. It would suit someone who

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might end up being a rep.

Is the business going as well as you want it to? Oli: We make a living. It’s not going to make us rich but we pay our mortgages.

The reliance on cigarettes has changed things quite a lot. We

grew very easily and organically for four or five years without putting that much effort into it. Then it kind of hit a plateau

because of the cigarettes. But profits were still growing. And we’re now gradually growing again.

Iain: The business is in a good state financially. We’re lucky, it’s

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not easy for a lot of traders these days.

A lot of wine merchants would love to be in your position – equal partners who can take the pressure off each other. Iain: Oli brought along a huge wine knowledge with him. I could do spreadsheets. I guess my point is, when you do partner up with someone it’s good to have slightly different skill sets.

Oli: When you’ve got a partner who you know can do all the jobs you can do, you can safely step away from the shop, and your phone doesn’t need to be on all the time. Iain: It’s a perfect partnership, really.

buy or sell your wines at

www.wineauctioneer.com

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 27

Tel : (+44) 1738 245 576


12

contenders for the next big thing

‘Can I recommend the fence-ripper?’

Gin came out of nowhere as the hottest property in the drinks world. So what might surprise us next? We take a look at the likely candidates

CASHEW FENI

TEPACHE

MERISA

It may be restricted to one province of India at

An ancient Mexican drink, originally derived

This is a useful way of using up any superfluous

the moment but there’s no reason why the rest of

from corn but now more commonly made with

dates, millet and sorghum that may be clogging

the world should be denied this Goan speciality.

pineapple rind. Often sold chilled

up the larder, especially if you have Sudanese

Cashew apples are foot-stomped (no gentle

by street vendors in the state

friends coming to stay. The brewing process is

treading here – you keep your boots on) and the

of Sonora, it’s not particularly

fairly complicated, but it yields

juice is naturally fermented in

alcoholic, and can be flavoured with

a gently-alcoholic beverage

partially-buried earthenware

cinnamon and brown sugar. Some

that is apparently popular with

pots before distillation. Serve

people find that’s not quite enough,

baboons, if not the Sharia

over ice with a slice of lime.

and simply add beer.

authorities in northern Sudan.

CAUIM

BLAAND

TONTO

Cauim is beloved of the indigenous tribes of Brazil

Ask for “a blaand” in most establishments and

Ripen some green bananas in a pit for several

and elsewhere in South America. It’s produced

you’re in danger of being served Carlsberg or

days, extract the juice and ferment it with some

from a root called manioc, or sometimes maize

Echo Falls rosé. But it’s actually the name of a

roasted sorghum and you’re well on your way

or plantains, broken down with enzymes from the

Viking-era beverage, fermented from whey, that

to your first batch of Tonto. It’s a Ugandan

saliva of the women whose job it is to chew the

was produced in Scotland for centuries,

stuff. The paste is cooked and fermented in pots,

usually by cheesemakers, before fading

speciality that’s traditionally particularly popular at Christmas, with revellers sharing

and served warm, sometimes (historically) during

away in the 1950s. Like fellow time

a large clay pot and a single

the ceremonial killing

traveller Doctor Who, it was revived in

straw, though waragi gin is now

of prisoners.

2005, though with notably less success.

often the beverage of choice.

PÁLINKA

SPARKLING SHERRY

A neutral-tasting vodka, effectively, found in

Made with a mash of fruits including plums,

Anyone who owns a Sodastream and hasn’t

the Philippines and distilled from the sap of

apricots, apples, pears and cherries, this is

attempted, at least once, to make their own

coconut flowers. After a second distillation,

a proud Hungarian brandy that now has EU

“Champagne” is guilty of a life half-lived.

alcohol content can go as high as 83%,

recognition. There are strict rules surrounding its

But what about using the technology

making it an unappealing prospect for

production, though historically quality has varied

to nuke a half-bottle of Fino or Palo

some novice drinkers. Happily one distiller

depending on the expertise and legality of the

Cortado? True, it will probably taste

now offers it in bubblegum flavour to

producer. The strongest examples

disgusting, but assuring customers that

help attract those hard-to-reach younger

are called kerítésszaggató, which

it’s what all the cool kids in Hoxton are

consumers.

literally means “fence-ripper”.

doing may yet shift those dusty bottles.

MENTA

FERNET

TEJ

Don’t be alarmed by the fluorescent green

This digestif, made with flavourings including

Ask most people for the most unfashionable drink

hue. Menta is a Bulgarian liqueur derived from

myrrh, rhubarb, chamomile, saffron, aloe and

they can think of and mead won’t be far from the

spearmint oils that is sometimes combined with

cardamom, is all the range in Argentina, where

top of their list. But this is mead with an Ethiopian

mastika (the local take on ouzo) or enjoyed with

it’s frequently mixed with cola as a long drink.

(or Eritrean) twist. It’s flavoured with powdered

milk or lemonade. As it’s much lower in alcohol

Some people prefer to pour it into their coffee,

leaves and twigs of gesho, a bittering agent from

(25%) than most spirits or liqueurs, and has a

or over ice. In San Francisco, one of fernet’s few

LAMBANOG

a species of buckthorn. Warning:

pleasant sweet taste, it’s regarded by

international outposts, it’s

some buckthorns may cause

many as quite the summer refresher,

served as a shot, followed

inflammation of the peripheral

as well as a cocktail ingredient.

by a ginger ale chaser.

nervous system.

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 28


rias baixas visiT

Galician wonderland The lagar that just gets larger

L

agar de Cervera has the biggest

vineyard holding in Rías Baixas, occupying 20% of the 4,000

hectares in the region, but that hasn’t

stopped the company in its quest to find

more sites, as difficult and time consuming as that has proved to be.

Winemaker Ángel Suárez says land in

Rías Baixas is like gold dust. He has spent the last 15 years painstakingly tracking down the owners of the disparate last

Ángel Suárez and some rather impressive stainless steel artwork

remaining parcels and negotiating their

exposed to those brisk Atlantic breezes.

Lagar de Cervera 2017

the red tape of land acquisitions he is

de Cervera this is the first year Suárez

burst of citrus flavours. Hints of

purchase.

When Suárez is not caught up in

making mouth-watering Albarino. He is particularly pleased with the 2017

vintage of both the Lagar de Cervera, a

100% Albarino and the Pazo de Seoane Rosal, 68% Albarino blended with

Caino Treixadura and Loureiro. Both are represented in the UK by Armit.

Despite the severe drought and the

threat of frost that affected many local

vineyards, both wines are full of the zest and zing so characteristic of the fruit

The harvest was early, yielding grapes

RRP £16

in “perfect condition”, and for the Lagar

Bright and breezy with a heady

unnecessary. The wine was kept on the

on a silky texture. A no-brainer

has deemed malolactic fermentation

lees and constantly stirred, a process

which lessens the need for sulphur, before bottling six to nine months later.

The skins and pips are distilled on site to

make Orujo, Vina Armenteira Blanco and

Vina de Armenteira de Heirbas. It’s made for love rather than money, as Galician

restaurants automatically serve the spirit to diners as a digestif.

quince and apples are carried to accompany seafood, but despite its complexity the

seaside freshness makes this

a friendly wine to enjoy on its

own. Just add a summer’s day. Pazo de Seoane Rosal 2017 RRP £14 The flintiness balances the

intensely aromatic overtones. The pineapple and apple flavours are powerful but thirst-quenching.

Congratulations if you can find

a supply of Percebes, a Galician delicacy, to accompany a

glass, but failing that, scallops, Lagar de Cervera was delighted with the quality of the early 2017 harvest

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 29

mussels or indeed any shellfish will do the trick.

Claire Harries


the wine merchant trip to turkey

Californian wine consultant Daniel O’Donnell sees a bright future for Turkey’s indigenous varieties

A fresh start for Kayra Team has freedom to express Turkish terroir Kayra’s young winemaking team has rewritten the rulebook and is now producing some extremely impressive wines, as our group of indies discovered

T

urkey is a country with a rich cultural and culinary

heritage and a wine story that stretches back to the very beginning. Monoliths found in the Taurus Mountains,

dating from 9500 BC, have carvings that strongly suggest the

presence of some sort of alcohol. The Sumerian and Akkadian

tablets found in Nippur, which date from 3800 BC and are amongst the world’s oldest written documents, refer to winemaking in

Anatolia and, skipping on a few millennia, we all know what keen viticulturalists the Greeks and Romans were.

Despite this history, Turkey has had an inconsistent relationship

with winemaking. When the Islamic Turks settled in Anatolia in the 11th century, alcohol was forbidden. For over six centuries

the Ottoman Empire oscillated between prohibition and a more relaxed – and therefore taxable – attitude to wine.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, was

instrumental in breathing life back in to the country’s wine

industry, charging two Frenchmen in the 1930s with the task of researching the regions, the native grape varieties and the

best places to grow them. The findings led to 28 small wineries

being built, seven of which remained government-owned until as recently as 2004.

Today, there is investment, enthusiasm and skill but there are

also strict regulations surrounding sales and wine promotion.

The Kayra story

Kayra was born when the government privatised the wineries.

Turkish investors bought them, including one in Elazığ, which was built in the south east of the country in 1942.

A period of fairly underwhelming mass-production followed and

it would be the start of this century before positive change came

about. In 2004 Mey (which owned Kayra) was bought by the TPG group, which brought in Daniel O’Donnell, an experienced wine

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 30


consultant from California, as part of its

hectares, amidst farmland, an hour’s drive from Elazig, O’Donnell

wines, the vineyards and most importantly

potential. Planted at an altitude of 1,130 metres above sea level,

has planted it with Öküzgözü and Boğazkere and is now making

radical overhaul of the business.

single-vineyard Öküzgözü that shows the variety’s very real

O’Donnell was tasked with assessing the

the potential. He grins ruefully when he

describes some of the monopoly-era wines

he tasted as being “like piss in a bottle” and his surprise when he

discovered that winemakers “weren’t tasting the wines”. His eyes visibly widen when he talks of the “65 grams per litre of residual sugar that were in some of the wines to make them palatable”.

And yet, O’Donnell did see potential. He felt strongly that there

was a bright future for Turkey’s indigenous varieties with which

he fell immediately in love. Fully committed to the task, he threw

away several million litres of wine, sold some of it to the Russians,

and set about steering Kayra onto the path of quality winemaking. O’Donnell acknowledges that over 10 years later, Kayra is still

very much a work in progress. “When I came, there was hardly any communication between wineries – no sharing of information,”

the soils here are red, stony and clay. The vines are cordon-trained and spur-pruned. It is, in every sense of the word, an immaculate vineyard; a strong visual statement of the Kayra team’s

commitment to their indigenous varieties and the production of top-quality wines.

O’Donnell’s enthusiasm for Turkey’s own grape varieties is

unbridled and also justified. The trials, the hits and the misses are continuing and with every passing vintage the increased

individuality of the wines being produced is palpable. As Mo

O’Toole says, “the really interesting story is that of bringing these indigenous grapes back to life … they may need careful foodpairing but the story is a big pull factor. It’s their USP”.

Meet the natives: page 32

he says. “That’s not my experience of winemaking in Napa. We’ve

had to start from the beginning and learn about our grapes and the vineyards and the techniques that work best.” With no text books to throw away, Kayra has set about writing its own.

independents on tour

The owners (now Diageo, which bought Mey in 2011) are

happy for O’Donnell and his sidekick, Murat Üner, to experiment

Greg Andrews & SaRA AGER

Jaded Palates. “There’s not a modern manual for winemaking in

Jeff Folkins

and this is reflected in the extensive range of wines and varying

DVine Cellars, south London

Turkey and Kayra have had to do it all themselves – the research

Dalling & Co, Kings Langley

as they have, and to do the research. It’s going to hold them in

Leamington Wine Company

styles. It’s an approach that found favour with Ian Renwick from in the vineyards, grape varieties and the winery,” he says. “It’s

ANITA MANNION

commendable that they’ve been given the freedom to experiment good stead moving forward.”

MO O’TOOLE

O’Donnell’s Turkish winemaking team have been

Carruthers & Kent, Newcastle

enthusiastically encouraged to travel and spend time at vineyards in other countries. Özge Kaymaz (winemaker at Şarkōy) has

IAN RENWICK

worked harvests in Chile and New Zealand and is hoping to head to South Africa soon. Hüseyin Adem, who is based at Elaziğ, has

Jaded Palates, Devon

them access to training is a critical part of O’Donnell’s big-picture

The Sampler, London

also added to his wine education at other properties, including a

YASSINE SALEH

stint in Mendoza. Broadening the horizons of the team and giving plan for Kayra: it will be this that sees the winery continue to improve and thrive when he eventually moves on.

When talking about viticulture, O’Donnell points out that field

Kayra wines are imported into the UK by Hallgarten. For more information visit www.hnwines.co.uk or telephone 01582 722538

blends are common and that finding “pure” sites is exceptionally rare. The Alpagut vineyard is Kayra’s fresh start. Covering 22

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 31


the wine merchant trip to turkey

Öküzgözü rules OK … or do you prefer the Boğazkere? Above: Narince grapes on the vine Below: the group enjoying a gastronomic tour of Istanbul

From entry-level quenchers to premium wines with a local twist, the Kayra range covers most bases

K

ayra’s portfolio offers everything from young and easy-

drinking through to single-vineyard superstars. You’ll find wines made from the likes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz

and Chardonnay, but the focus is on the indigenous varieties.

As the tasting began O’Donnell was quick to point out: “We are

making some of our wines for the Turkish market and if you’ve

tried the tea here, you’ll know that the home taste is for tannin!” The Buzbağ wines are what O’Donnell refers to as “entry

level” and these are geared towards the home market. The red

Öküzgözü/Boğazkere blend packs a pretty powerful punch and

was crying out for some (tasted and unanimously loved) bulgur wheat-stuffed lamb.

Two rosé wines in the line-up are both are made from Kalecik

Indigenous grapes impre

A collection of mid-priced wines has the strongest presence in

Greg Andrews, DVine Cellars

Karasi. Indeed Kayra was the first winery to make a rosé wine from this grape variety.

the UK and includes a series of single varietals, mostly indigenous,

though there is one Shiraz and a selection of Öküzgözü/Boğazkere blends. The white 2017 Narince was a real favourite among merchants on the trip.

Arguably the most exciting wines are those included in the

Versus series, as this includes the grapes sourced from the Alpagut vineyard. A short tasting through the 2013, 2014 and 2015

“Of the wines I tasted, the Versus wines really stood out,” says Andrews, who currently lists no Turkish wines. “I loved the lighter rosé too and felt that the 2016 Kayra Shiraz could work for us. “The Shiraz was a good wine at the price point … of course, I’d need to re-taste all of the wines again alongside wines of a similar price and style to see what would realistically fit. “I am impressed with the work Kayra is doing. We have

vintages showed the enormous class that Öküzgözü can

knowledgeable and curious people coming into the shop. For

when served with food.

Jeff Folkins, Dalling & Co

deliver, as well as the importance of vintage in this strong continental climate. These wines also consistently shone

The Imperial range is, in the words of O’Donnell, “what I

want to drink”. We tasted 2011 to 2014, all very much in their infancy; each 100% Öküzgözü and each strikingly unique. O’Donnell is trying out new ideas every year;

the vinification is different each time and while this is

partly a response to the characteristics of the vintage,

customers coming to tastings, the wines will be especially interesting.”

“I think the 2013 Imperial was outstanding,” says Folkins. “I thought it would compete well with other wines that we have from, say, Argentina and South Africa at that price.” Folkins was one of many to think that the Beyaz Kalecik Karasi Rosé has real mileage, along with the 2016 Shiraz. “By the glass and

it is also an ever-improving articulation of Öküzgözü.

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 32


Özge Kaymaz, winemaker at Şarköy

ess, but some more familiar names also win fans hand-sold, we can sell these wines,” he says

Ian Renwick, Jaded Palates “The wines are definitely moving in the right direction – from good

Anita Mannion, Leamington Wine Company

to exceptional!” says Renwick. Those that I thought were most

Mannion already lists a number of Turkish wines. “They sell well and

interesting were the Narince which was subtle, had delicate soft-fruit

people like them,” she says. “I could sell the Kayra wines and will

flavours and was well put together … a little like a Pinot Bianco.

probably make changes in the current range to include them. “I loved the Imperial wines; my customers would like the style and

“The Versus range was exceptional: very smooth and clean, and you can taste the varietal difference. There’s quite a strong menthol flavour that they’re seeking to encourage.

they’d fit well in the range at the price.”

“I think they’re probably worth taking a punt on. People are always keen to try something new.”

Mo O’Toole, Carruthers & Kent “The Kayra story – and Daniel – are great and that helps us sell these wines,” says O’Toole. “That and the fact that they’re really good! The

Yassine Saleh, The Sampler

2013 Versus was lovely, perfumed with breadth and complexity, and I

“I really enjoyed the tank sample of the Vintage Boğazkere 2016,”

also really liked the 2011 Imperial, which had great balance.

says Saleh. “It was ultra-tannic but also light and elegant … floral and

“I liked that they’re made from indigenous grapes. We have

really interesting.” Saleh was equally taken with the Imperial range:

customers from central Europe and there’s certainly a market for the

“all-round impressive wines, not made pretentiously, and some people

wines.”

would really like them”.

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 33


© karel1963 / stockadobe.com

focus on new zealand

Vineyards at Lake Wanaka, Otago

renewed zeal Independents are impressed by how New Zealand is changing perceptions with a wave of wines that go beyond the established classics. Three merchants discuss recent progress

R

achel Gibson fell in love with

New Zealand – “the people, the

landscape, everything” – during a

backpacking tour in her early 20s. “I spent all my money doing wine tours,” she says.

“This was about 20 years ago, and it was all about Sauvignon then. Even the Pinot Noir wasn’t really on the radar.”

Her business, with three branches in

Winchester and Stockbridge, has always been strong on New Zealand. “When we did our New Zealand festival two years

ago, New Zealand wines peaked at about

there,” she says. “Some of them are really

more than a year,” she says. “It’s dropped

Sauvignon and Pinot and gone off and done

20% of our turnover, and I think it was

averaging about 14% of our turnover for

off a little bit but it’s still a very big feature in the shop.”

Gibson has made regular trips to New

Zealand since her first visit, including a

recent tour during which she was able to take stock of the country’s progress as a winemaking force.

“There are some big shifts going on over

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 34

exciting: some of the wineries without a

doubt have broken away from the focus on all kinds of other things.

“There’s still a lot of really exciting stuff

going on. It’s still a positive picture and the

quality of the wine we were tasting was, on the whole, extraordinary.

“The exciting grape for me at the

moment is, weirdly, Chardonnay. They’re making some amazing stuff. They’re


making gorgeous, beautifully-oaked

wines at a Burgundy quality level. They’re experimenting with different yeasts and a

bit of malolactic and lees contact … they’re all doing their own thing and they’ve got a real identity. I guess with Chardonnay it’s easier for the winemakers to create their own style.

“It’s massive in Marlborough but Nelson

is also making some superb Chardonnay …

‘The exciting grape for me at the moment is Chardonnay. They’re all doing their own thing and making some amazing stuff’

we went to Aronui and met the winemaker

story, a great winemaker and a great range

if its Sauvignon Blanc is no longer “the

by Connoisseur Estates] was absolutely

F Series top-end Riesling and the Noble

lot to stop it from slipping back,” she says.

who showed me around. The wines were amazing. The Chardonnay [imported stunning. I see a real future for New Zealand Chardonnay.”

Gibson reports that her Sauvignon sales

have dipped. “In the on-trade, lots of places still sell it by the glass and still sell loads,” she says. “In

of wine, and great branding. We’ve got

Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, the Riesling.

“Akitu have been taken on by

Mentzendorff; that’s Central Otago Pinot

Noir. Premium end and fantastic, with really nice labels. Very strong

branding and really good wines. “Mahi is doing really well.

retail, we still do really well with

That’s a Berkmann wine – we’ve

the premium end, but people

don’t want it as a quaffing wine anymore.”

What are the highlights of Wine Utopia’s New Zealand range? “In terms of value

for money, Mount Beautiful in Canterbury is outstanding,” Gibson says. “It’s from Genesis Wines. It’s a Pinot Noir – full

margin on the shelf it’s £16.95. It looks

amazing, it tastes amazing – you don’t get that quality in Otago or

Marlborough for that price. They’ve got an incredible Chardonnay at the same

price, which is awesome; they’ve got a Pinot Gris, which is a bit on the

alcoholic side but it’s fine. So we’re loving Mount Beautiful and selling gallons of that.

“Liberty have got

Framingham now.

That’s doing brilliantly. They’ve got a great

got Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay

and Pinot Noir. The Sauvignon we’ve

been doing for three or four years. We’ve

only been doing the Pinot Noir in the last

couple of months since we’ve been to New Zealand. We’ve shown them at a couple of tastings and they have gone down really well.

“We tried some Albarino, which was

fantastic – there’s quite a bit of that coming on stream now. It’s big and tropical, lots

of lime, lots of mandarin, lots of citrus. It’s

more full-on than Galician Albarino, but it’s got an identity. We bought a big parcel of

Aronui Albarino and we sold it all. Nautilus have made one, I think they’re on they’re

third vintage now, and that’s selling really well.

“The sparkling wine is great and, on the

whole, most of those are staying under £25, where house Champagne starts.

We’ve got Hunters Miru Miru and Akarua.” Gibson is convinced that New Zealand

has a bright future in the UK market, even

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 35

default go-to white wine”.

“It just needs a bit more activity from us

“As retailers we definitely need to keep shouting about New Zealand.

“In the next year I’d definitely like to

do more of a marketing thing with New

Zealand. Perhaps set up a separate blog; tie it in more with the lifestyle out there and the food. They’ve got a very strong food identity out there with Asian influence

and European influence … it’s more about selling the whole thing.”

Max Holden of Mounts Bay Wine in

Penzance has recently spent a year in New Zealand.

“Like any other wine-

producing country I find

it is very mixed,” he says. “While they produce great Pinot Noir, it is

difficult to find a high-quality good-value everyday bottle.

“All the regional French Pinot Noirs or

Pinot Noirs from Chile that we sell are

30% lower in price than our entry-level

Pinot from New Zealand. The New Zealand wines we sell at the higher end, with a few

exceptions, I find are very similar in profile and taste, not having the complexity or range of Pinot from Burgundy.

“Good Sauvignon Blanc is easier to find

at the entry level in our shop – £10 to £12 Continues page 36


© mxdg / stockadobe.com

focus on new zealand From page 35

a bottle. A lot of our customers still want a

good-quality Sauvignon Blanc. I find overall it is more distinctive and complex than a

lot of the New Zealand reds of comparable quality.”

Holden is competing with local

supermarkets which offer sub-£10 Kiwi wines, and so he has made an effort to

offer a more premium alternative. “We

like the Pinot Noirs from Central Otago – Lowburn Ferry, Akitu, Felton Road – and

the great ones from Marlborough like Dry River. Also, Waipara is producing some

distinctive wines. But these are all high prices.”

Continues page 38

The modern New Zealand wine scene is more colourful than some people realise

SOME MOUNTS BAY KIWI FAVOURITES The Crossings Marlborough Reserve Wild Sauvignon Blanc 2016 One of our recent favourite New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. A great wine at its price point with complex and quite subtle stone fruit notes and balanced mineral acidity.

Lowburn Ferry Home Block Pinot Noir 2014 Again from Central Otago, another fantastic Pinot Noir, very popular with New Zealanders living or visiting Cornwall. It has delicate oak, along with all the usual raspberry, cherry cranberry and cinnamon spices. A top-class example of concentrated and fully integrated New Zealand Pinot Noir.

The Wooing Tree Pinot Noir Sandstorm Reserve 2010 We love this low-yielding Pinot Noir … a great example of one of the best Central Otago Pinot Noirs.

The Cloud Factory Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2016 Made by Boutinot, this is our best-selling entry-level New Zealand Pinot Noir. Overall a very nice everyday affordable wine: the labelling, however, does divide some of our customers.

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 36


focus on new zealand From page 36

M

elanie Brown of The New

Zealand Cellar in London is a

Kiwi herself who believes that

the country “sits in an extremely strong

position” in the UK market. Its commitment to sustainable and organic practices is part of the reason for this, she believes.

‘It’s hugely exciting to see new styles unearthed: sommelierfriendly Sauvignons and wines that really push the boundaries’

“There is no danger of New Zealand’s

our consumers are understanding styles

what New Zealand is about. “It’s a very

“I don’t think anyone is becoming

Sauvignon Blanc we have specifically

and North Canterbury.”

reputation deteriorating if the consistency in quality is upheld.

complacent or resting on any laurels,”

she adds. “It is evident that the quality

remains paramount. It is hugely exciting

to see new styles unearthed: sommelier-

friendly Sauvignons and wines that push the boundaries.

“Pinot Noir is developing an intense

regional and sub-regional following and

produced here. Pinot Noir is our biggest

exciting time for the other whites of New

seller in store, and although we love

Zealand,” she says. “Watch out for Nelson

reduced our collection of this variety to

It all bodes well for the future, she

encourage consumers to explore other

believes. “We’ll be seeing a collection of

exciting white wines of New Zealand.”

Aromatics are a big hit with Brown’s

customers – “approachable wines with

new producers come to market, which is

energy and excitement” – and she’s finding that Gruner Veltliner and Albarino fit

naturally into people’s expectations of

hugely positive,” she says. “I believe New Zealand will retain a premium position

and will in turn gather a broader following thanks to the way Sauvignon Blanc navigated its way to our shelves.”

five stars from mel’s menagerie Neudorf Rosie’s Block Chardonnay The best value New Zealand Chardonnay with undeniable poise and elegance.

Felton Road Pinots Because they have turned into a cult winery.

Millton Chenin Blanc Biodynamic greatness, and a grape and wine that pushes boundaries.

Te Mata Gamay Noir The perfect chilled accompaniment, often overshadowed by the success of New Zealand Pinot. Exciting and good value.

Te Awa Albarino The ultimate in the “other white” category. Exceptional value and approachability.

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 38


THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 39 © bogdanserban / stockadobe.com


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

New from Spain Raventós de Alella, located just north of Barcelona in the tiny DO of Alella, is a specialist in cultivating Pansa Blanca, a local clone of Xarello. This native variety is only found in this corner of the Mediterranean where it flourishes in the poor sandy granitic soils of this area. The wine is intensely fruity upfront with

a herbal, stony and savoury streak. A unique wine with real richness, depth and character. RRP £14.99 and one for the cellar …

A vineyard in Rioja that will be almost certainly accepted as a Viñedos Singulares, Finca Alto Cantabria, is produced by Bodegas Valdemar. This 11-hectare vineyard in Rioja

Alavesa rises to 100 metres above the river Ebro and lies

on one of the oldest fluvial terraces in Rioja. The location is ideal for producing Viura due to its elevation, moderating

temperatures and soils. With acacia honey notes and a long tangy, grape fruity finish, this Viura ages exceptionally well too. RRP £17.99.

mentzendorff The Woolyard 52 Bermondsey Street London SE1 3UD

Great white wines for summer Raise a glass to warmer weather as Mentzendorff explores what to sip this summer.

Summer wine should embody the joyful mood of the season – wines that are easy to drink and full of hedonistic pleasure. Our top picks…

Ashbourne Sauvignon Blanc Chardonnay 2017 is a fresh, vibrant, perfumed Sauvignon

020 7840 3600

Blanc enriched by unwooded Chardonnay,

making this a beautifully balanced and highly

info@mentzendorff.co.uk

versatile wine. Fertuna Vermentino 2016

www.mentzendorff.co.uk

stands out for its aromatic style, rich but

delicate, combined with a remarkable acidity.

Château Des Ferrages Roumery Blanc 2016 is elegant and very pale, bright and subtle.

Peach and apricot aromas, with a fresh palate showing pronounced citrus aromas nicely

set off by a touch of acidity. The Crossings Awatere Valley Grüner Veltliner 2017 is

a typical ‘Grüner’ style with notes of peach, honey and spice.

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 40


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LOUIS LATOUR AGENCIES 12-14 Denman Street London W1D 7HJ

0207 409 7276 enquiries@louislatour.co.uk www.louislatour.co.uk

Henry Fessy at the annual Beaujolais Trade Tasting Beaujolais’ long overdue resurgence seems to well underway and this June we are looking forward to the Beaujolais Trade Tasting in London at The Trampery in

Shoreditch, an annual celebration of the region’s wines with a focus on the area’s 10 cru appellations.

2018 marks Henry Fessy’s 10th year in our portfolio of wine producers. The wines

come from Henry Fessy’s extensive domaine which

includes sites in nine of the 10 crus and a beautiful and historic hillside Beaujolais-Villages site.

These holdings are unique in Beaujolais and give the

Henry Fessy team an unrivalled knowledge of the region and its vintages.

Two particularly special Henry Fessy wines are the

Chateau des Labourons from Fleurie and the Château des Reyssiers from Regnie.

Winemaker Laurent Chevalier makes a selection of

the best grapes from these two old vineyards to produce

wines which express both fruit purity and vibrancy with a clear expression from each vineyard’s own terroir.

Samples are available for anyone wishing to try them.

liberty wines

Chablis weathers the storm

by David Gleave MW

020 7720 5350

2016 and 2017 have been the two most testing consecutive vintages in Chablis since

order@libertywines.co.uk www.libertywines.co.uk

the region regularly – three trips in the last six months – coming away with three new

@liberty_wines

the end of the Second World War, with supply dramatically reduced and prices rising.

As a result, our buying team has taken the opportunity to review our range and visit producers to complement Domaine Laroche and Domaine Corrine Perchaud, whose wines are already in our portfolio.

Each of these new domaines is family-run and farms about 30 hectares of vineyard.

Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix claims to be the oldest domaine in Chablis, dating back to 1610. In fact, their Monopole ‘Clos des Moines’ is said to be one of the first plots planted by the monks of Chablis. Traditional in style, the current release of the two Premier Cru wines we’ve shipped is 2003.

Domaine Vrignaud is now run by the fifth generation of the family.

They are based on the right bank of the Serein, producing wines of great

purity and texture. Like Vrignaud, Les Hauts de Milly, situated, as their

name suggests, in the village of Milly, run their vineyards organically. And

like Vrignaud, winemaker Sylvain Defaix ferments his wines primarily in stainless steel to retain the purity that makes Chablis such an exciting wine. Our buying team isn’t stopping there. Watch this space!

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 41


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new generation

Spirits take pride of place at Imbibe Live

14 Kennington Road London SE1 7BL

As customers of New Generation know, our portfolio is wide-ranging and

T: 020 7928 7300

to Imbibe Live where we’ll be showcasing our wide range of spirits from across the

london@newgenwines.com www.newgenwines.com

bursting at the seams with exciting wines, Champagnes and spirits. With the dust just settling on the London Wine Fair, we’re now turning our attention

globe. Alongside old favourites such as the Cognacs and liqueurs from ABK6, rums

from Bristol Classic Rums and Calvados (and the ever popular Le Gin) from Calvados Christian Drouin we will also be showing the award-winning mezcals from Corte

Vetusto, the Van Brunt Stillhouse spirits from Brooklyn, New York, including their moonshine and bourbon, and

Ekiss, our organic Single Vintage Vodka from the Camargue.

Furthermore, we’re planning

to launch a couple of very special

new additions to our ever-growing spirits range. Curious? Pop along to Imbibe Live on 2nd & 3rd July and see what we have to offer. Or get in touch on london@

newgenwines.com. See you there!

buckingham schenk 68 Alpha Street South Slough SL1 1QX 01753 521336 sales@buckingham-schenk.co.uk www.buckingham-schenk.co.uk

@BuckSchenk

The importance of family For family-owned wine producers, putting their own name on a label is an incredibly proud, but also daunting, prospect. We’re lucky enough to work with a carefully-

selected number of family-owned producers. We’ve hand-picked a couple of favourites

below, but please ask us for a copy of our 2018 Wine List where you’ll find plenty more. Garcés Silva Amayna Sauvignon Blanc

Garcés Silva Family Vineyards are based in the heart of the Leyda Valley, and

their Amayna range, launched in 2003, is considered one of the driving forces behind the rise to fame of this stunning cool-climate region. This Sauvignon Blanc captures the essence of Leyda Sauvignon – a vibrant, intense nose of

mango, pineapple, passionfruit and citrus, with complex floral and spicy notes. The palate is long, fresh and balanced. Sorby Adams Tristan Shiraz

With over 30 years of winemaking experience, Simon ‘Sorby’ Adams’ philosophy is that great wines are made in the vineyards. This classic Barossa Shiraz is a deep crimson colour with beautiful fruit aromas of black plum, bramble and summer berries. Asian spice, liquorice, chocolate and violet flavours shine

through on the palate, making this a smooth, rich Shiraz perfect for barbecues.

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 42


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hatch mansfield New Bank House 1 Brockenhurst Road Ascot Berkshire SL5 9DL

Left Field – The Birthplace of the Unexpected ... A sense of exploration runs deep at Left Field, just like the ancient Ngaruroro River

winding its way through the Gimblett Gravels, always seeking a different path. When it comes to winemaking, curiosity reigns and rules are made to be broken, weaving together a rich tapestry to bring forth Left Field wines ... Left Field Albariño

Left Field Malbec

Gorgeous little citrus

Down a dark alleyway

in the sunshine, always

liquorice meet the heroically

01344 871800 info@hatch.co.uk www.hatchmansfield.com @hatchmansfield

flowers link arms with

melon and peach to dance

maintaining an air of class. Meanwhile lime lingers

in the shadows vying for attention.

the brooding and intense

characters of blackberry and proportioned mass of dark

chocolate draped in smooth, fine velvet.

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, Left Field and Esk Valley, New Zealand · Kleine Zalze, South Africa.

AWIN BARRATT SIEGEL WINE AGENCIES 28 Recreation Ground Road Stamford Lincolnshire PE9 1EW 01780 755810 orders@abswineagencies.co.uk www.abswineagencies.co.uk

@ABSWines

TOKARA launches pinnacle wine at 67 Pall Mall: TELOS On May 15, TOKARA owner GT Ferreira and general manager Karl Lambour hosted a lunch to launch their

new pinnacle wine project. The Cabernet Sauvignon-

dominated blend shone in a line-up of arguably some of the world’s best Cabernet Sauvignon blends.

TELOS [tel-os, tee-los] noun; the end term of a goaldirected process; especially, the Aristotelian final cause. Guests included Stephen Spurrier, Tim Atkin MW and

Greg Sherwood MW; all agreed that TELOS not only held

Photo by Greg Sherwood MW at 67 Pall Mall where TELOS was launched alongside four 100 point (Wine Advocate) Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated Grand Cru wines from Bordeaux.

its own, but was perhaps the only faultless wine in the line-up.

“A really polished, faultless, old world leaning expression that is undoubtedly a new and impressive tour de force on the South African fine wine scene." (Wine Safari Score: 97/100 Greg Sherwood MW) – gregsherwoodmw.com For more information regarding availability and pricing, please contact Elliot Awin: ejma@abswineagencies.co.uk.

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 43


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hallgarten Dallow Road Luton LU1 1UR 01582 722 538 sales@hnwines.co.uk www.hnwines.co.uk

@hnwines

Famille Helfrich Wines

Famille Helfrich is the independent specialist arm of Les Grands Chais de

1, rue Division Leclerc, 67290 Petersbach, France

the leading producer and exporter of French wines and spirits.

cdavies@lgcf.fr 07789 008540

the best terroir France has to

@FamilleHelfrich @family_helfrich_gcf_wines

France ... yes, still a family – with real people! Joseph founded the company in 1979 with 5,000 fr and we have grown to become 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 June 2018 44


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fine wine partners Thomas Hardy House 2 Heath Road Weybridge, KT13 8TB 07552 291045

Three Top 100 winners and seven Highly Commended wines in this year's competition

toby.spiers@accoladewines. com

enotria & COE 23 Cumberland Avenue London NW10 7RX www.enotriacoe.com

up. Spearheaded by our vivacious buyer Maggie Macpherson, this is a project of

passion, driven by a true desire to showcase an inspiring collective of innovators who are shaking things up in the world of wine. What’s more, it’s the perfect opportunity to give your customers the chance to try something off the beaten trail. Our Summer parcel wines have just landed,

and from South Africa to Spain and everywhere in

020 8961 5161

Experimental, exclusive and exhilarating – this is our Parcel Project all wrapped

between, we’ve collected some of the most exciting

@EnotriaCoe

wines in production right now, with rosés and chilled reds leading the way.

Alongside these quirky gems, this summer

we’re championing our collection of large-format wines. Not only do they add a touch of theatre to any occasion, but they also help foster a sense of

conviviality. Tapping into the trend of the summer –

yes way rosé anyone? – we have two bulbous bottles

of blushing rosés. From pink wine’s spiritual heartland, Provence, we have Château Gassier’s Esprit, while from the high-altitude vineyards of La Rioja Alta, there’s

Ramón Bilbao’s Lalamoba Rosado. If rosé doesn’t take your fancy, then from Galicia we have Mar de Frades’ zingy Albariño, lifted by a streak of Atlantic coast salinity.

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 45


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marussia beverages 0207 724 5009 www.marussiabeverages.co.uk info@marussiabeverages.com 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

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 46


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richmond wine agencies The Links, Popham Close Hanworth Middlesex TW13 6JE 020 8744 5550 info@richmondwineagencies.com

@richmondwineag1

Château de Pennautier: an exceptional terroir Situated in the tiny AOP Cabardes, the vines cling to the sun-drenched, rocky hillsides

that form the southern foothills of the Montagne Noire, at between 700 and 1,000 feet above sea level. From here a panoramic view embraces the Pyrenees to the south, the Massif Central to the north, and the famous medieval city of Carcassonne.

The Château de Pennautier is listed as an historic monument and has been in the

possession of a single family since 1620.

Since 1960 the 182 hectares of vineyards (102ha in AOP and 80ha in

IGP) have been entirely renewed, and vines planted at higher altitudes.

The direct descendants of the Pennautiers, Nicolas and Miren de Lorgeril,

are the tenth generation of winemakers since the creation of the domaine. Wines available via RWA:

• Rosé de Languedoc, Bastion de la Cité 2017

• Domaine de Pennautier Viognier ‘Lorgeril’ 2017 • Syrah Viognier 1620 ‘Lorgeril’ 2016 • Pinot Noir 1620 ‘Lorgeril’ 2016

• Cabernet Franc 1620 ‘Lorgeril’ 2016

All on offer in our Summer Promotions booklet. Contact us for your copy!

walker & Wodehouse 109a Regents Park Road London NW1 8UR 0207 449 1665 orders@walkerwodehousewines.com www.walkerwodehousewines.com

New Releases of Top Catena Wines Argentinean superstars Catena release the latest vintages of their top wines this month with their White Stones and White Bones

Chardonnays from the 2015 vintage, their single vineyard Malbecs from 2016 and flagship Nicolas Catena Zapata 2016. Demand

for some of the wines often outstrips availability but W&W has

allocations of all the wines for independent merchants. For more information on availability and to request an allocation, please speak to your Account Manager.

Champagne Palmer Blanc de Blancs Magnums We tasted this again recently and were reminded just how special

Palmer’s Blanc de Blancs is in larger formats. Labelled as NV but actually sourced entirely from the 2005 vintage – a secret only

revealed once the cork has been popped – it spent 11 years on the

lees (compared to a mere four for the 75cl Blanc de Blancs which is currently made from 2012 wines) and has picked up gold medals left right and centre over the last few months.

THE WINE MERCHANT June 2018 47


The Wine Merchant issue 70  

The Wine Merchant issue 70

The Wine Merchant issue 70  

The Wine Merchant issue 70

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