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Sweet & sour

Published:  23 July, 2008

Say no to oak - help put the fruit back in wine.' This sign, posted up behind the tasting bar at Trimbach, is a neat summation of the charms of Alsace. Wines with great poise, a good structure of acidity and, of course, some of the best food wines you'll ever taste. Why, then, does it appear to be an underappreciated wine region, one that never grabs the headlines?

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My sweet love

Published:  23 July, 2008

The most baffling thing about Sauternes is how its producers survive. It's not just the unpredictability of Botrytis cinerea; in 2004 the yield at Chteau Climens was less than four hectolitres per hectare (4hl/ha). At Chteau Suduiraut in the same year they left three-quarters of the grapes behind. The opening price of the wine, what there was of it, was 32 at Climens, 22-26 at Suduiraut. Both prices were less than the cost of production.

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Chile 2010

Published:  23 July, 2008

Talking to dozens of winemakers on a recent trip to New Zealand, a common topic of discussion was Sauvignon Blanc and what a double-edged sword it has become for the Kiwi industry. Sure, being known as the place that does brilliant Sauvignon' is a coup that gives a small wine country enormous global visibility, but it is also a potential glass ceiling that could stifle other aspects of the New Zealand industry.

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Stratford's goes cool

Published:  23 July, 2008

Paul Stratford, managing director of Stratford's Wine Agencies, has decided to focus the attention of the business on searching for new wines from cooler climates.

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Wonderful world of Oz (Clarke)

Published:  23 July, 2008

Oz Clarke is one of the best-known names in the wine trade.

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John Power Head Sommelier, Prestonfield

Published:  23 July, 2008

Prestonfield
Priestfield Road
Edinburgh EH16 5UT
Tel: 0131 662 2305
www.prestonfield.com

John Power began his career at the five-star Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, where he trained as a sommelier before moving to the Witchery by the Castle in 1998. Earlier this year he took on the new role of central wine buyer for all of James Thompson's Edinburgh restaurants, including the Witchery by the Castle, Tower restaurant in the Museum of Scotland and Rhubarb at the five-star Prestonfield hotel, where he is now based.

Key suppliers: Raeburn Fine Wine, Cheviot Wine, Corney & Barrow, Justerini & Brooks, Fine & Rare Wines.

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The Interview: Kevin Griffin, Proprietor, Maison du Vin

Published:  23 July, 2008

What possessed you to buy a shop on a really busy A' road between the two parts of a Kent village?

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Raising the bar

Published:  23 July, 2008

It's easy to conclude that hiring an external wine list consultant is purely for the restauranteur with more money than sense. How hard can it be to write a wine list after all?

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Never raining

Published:  23 July, 2008

Across many northern hemisphere countries, the 2005 vintage was exceptionally dry, while a few had the opposite problem. Harpers rounds up the most important harvest reports from an already much-hyped year

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The Interview: Steve Edwards, Group food & beverage service manager, ABode

Published:  23 July, 2008

How did you get into this business?

I was in the RAF for seven years, in a catering squadron, and when I left I planned to go home to Sydney. But I had a house in Torquay that I wanted to sell first. In the interim, I needed a job and I spotted an ad for a general assistant at Gidleigh Park Hotel. I had never heard of Gidleigh and had no idea about Relais & Chateaux or Michelin stars. I remember driving down this narrow, winding road and coming round the last corner to see this mock-Tudor mansion embedded in the hillside. Paul Henderson, the owner at the time, is a former US marine, so we spent most of the interview discussing my time in the service. He took me on and I ended up staying until 2002.

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France under one roof

Published:  23 July, 2008

France Under One Roof
Wednesday 22 March
The Nursery End Pavilion,
Lord's Cricket Ground, Wellington Road,
London NW8 (North Gate Entrance)
10am-5pm
For more details contact Jane Hunt MW on 01451 831682; janehuntmw@aol.com

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Adamas seeks partners

Published:  23 July, 2008

A new Burgundy brand, Adamas (Greek for diamond'), has been launched in the UK by recently established Beaune-based ngociant La Nouvelle Alliance (LNA).
Speaking to Harpers at the launch in London on 23 February, LNA's Franco-Scottish co-founders Manol Bouchet and Dan Connolly said that they had already secured several distribution agreements around the world and were looking for regional wholesalers with whom to work on an exclusive basis in the UK.
They have linked up with Wine Services to cover the London market and Inverarity Vaults for Fife in Scotland. Abroad, they have gained listings with Discovery Wines in Bermuda, Duty Free in Singapore and, most recently, the Swedish state monopoly.

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Due South

Published:  23 July, 2008

This year's ViniSud will be the biggest yet. More than 1,500 producers are expected in the south of France, along with 32,000 visitors.
ViniSud is essentially a shop window for the entire Mediterranean. And while the majority of exhibitors are French-based, the event also showcases the following countries: Italy, Spain, Portugal, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Macedonia.

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Bibendum to distribute Lion Nathan in Europe

Published:  23 July, 2008

Bibendum Wine has created a new business, Bibendum Wine International, to manage distribution for a number of wine brands in Europe.
A key partner in the new set-up is Lion Nathan, which shares a joint venture with Bibendum in the UK. The new company will be run by Lars Venborg, who is a former commercial director of Michel Laroche.
Bibendum MD Dan Jago said: There are products, skills and processes that the UK industry can successfully offer to other distributors in Europe, and we intend Bibendum to be at the front of this integration.'
Lion Nathan MD Peter Cowan added that the new venture will create a very efficient and effective export management structure'. Lion Nathan brands include St Hallett, Petaluma and Knappstein from Australia, Wither Hills from New Zealand, and Oregon-based Argyle.

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Don't miss out on the 04s

Published:  23 July, 2008

Despite, or perhaps rather because of, the plethora of 2004 Burgundy tastings in London last week, a consensus on the quality and style of the vintage was slow to emerge, raising questions among tasters as to whether the sampling of still-unfinished wines was even more treacherous than usual. All those who tasted the wines early last year agreed that the wines have benefited enormously from levage, including exceptionally long malolactic fermentations, but that they have often tightened up when bottled as samples.

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Screwcap initiative goes global

Published:  23 July, 2008

The New Zealand Screwcap Initiative has decided to encompass the world and form the International Screwcap Initiative (ISI).
Chablis producer Michel Laroche, who, controversially, bottled some of his grand cru wines under screwcap, has been enlisted as European representative of the ISI, while Lorraine Carrigan has been appointed ISI coordinator.

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Hospital cases

Published:  23 July, 2008

The significance of the 145th Hospices de Beaune auction on Saturday and Sunday 19-20 November was wider than that of its historic role as a predictor of the price trend for the most recent vintage. As in Bordeaux, so in Burgundy, 2005 is being hailed as an exceptionally high-quality vintage, while this year the auction was being conducted by Christie's and opened to private buyers for the first time. The auction prices - which have been an accurate predictor of the general trend in 12 of the past 13 years - were therefore anticipated even more keenly than usual.

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Canadian club

Published:  23 July, 2008

Picture something quintessentially Canadian. For many people, that prompt either draws a complete blank or it connotes polar bears, the Inuit (formerly known as Eskimos) and perhaps ice hockey. But vineyards and barrel-lined cellars don't fit among those frosty symbols. Wine is not really a Canadian emblem. At least not in the public mind. Informed oenophiles and members of the drinks trade, however, recognise Canada as the world's largest source of, appropriately enough, Icewine.

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Laroche and AXA buy L'Avenir

Published:  23 July, 2008

Michel Laroche, the Chablis-based producer with interests that span the globe, has bought high-profile South African estate L'Avenir.

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The new dynamic duo

Published:  23 July, 2008

When Warren Adamson was starting as an apprentice in worsted spinning at Feltex Yarns in New Zealand, Fernando Ferr was graduating from the Universidad Catlica Argentina with a business administration degree.

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