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Ara appoints UK BDM

Published:  05 May, 2009

Winegrowers of Ara, the premium Marlborough producer, has appointed Julie Williams to the newly created position of business development manager for the UK and mainland Europe.

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Penfolds releases 2004 Grange

Published:  01 May, 2009

Penfolds has released the 2009 instalment in its ongoing Luxury & Icon Australian fine wine range.

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Maison Trimbach joins Enotria

Published:  28 April, 2009

Maison Trimbach, one of Alsace's most famous wine producers has announced it is joining agents Enotria's portfolio from May 1 in a move to up its profile in the UK market.

Jean Trimbach, 12th generation of the founding family, said: "We are not in the habit of changing agents - this is the first change for us in 35 years. But we saw in Enotria the capability to really develop our On Trade presence in the UK. Enotria's reach, as well as their strong wine credentials, make them an ideal partner for us."

Tim Sykes, Enotria director of buying, added: "Naturally we're absolutely thrilled to be taking on such an iconic supplier - it's a huge honour for us, and really underlines Enotria's credibility as a source of fine wines. Trimbach are listed in every single one of the 26 Michelin 3-starred restaurants in France, and we will be looking to mirror that considerable achievement in the UK. At the same time, there is huge potential to bring Trimbach's wines out to a wider drinking public."

Enotria chief executive, Alison Levett said that the deal was a major coup for the company.

"It's fantastic news - we are truly honoured to be involved with one of the world's greatest white wine producers."

Jean Trimbach will be presenting his wines on Enotria's stand F52 at the London International Wine Fair from May 11-13.

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Carol Emmas -Roaming around the Rhône

Published:  25 April, 2009

The great thing about a wine trip is how much you can learn from a two or three day visit to a producer or an area - as it doesn't matter how much you read, you can never learn fully from the pages of a book.

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Wines in the Press April 19-20

Published:  21 April, 2009

What our national wine critics had to say for the weekend of April 19-20

Guardian

Victoria Moore's friend thought she hated all Italian white wine, until she realized it's not all Pinot Grigio. Or Trebbiano added Moore, who says, "Trebbiano is even more innocuous than Pinot Grigio, and I don't mean that in a good way."


This realisation that Italy has other whites may not quite be up there with Archimedes' eureka moment, but it is a joyous one, says Moore, as she focuses on wines from the north west.


Piedmont is famous for its Barolo - tannic, acidic, austere, she explains. And red. But it also makes glorious whites from Arneis, Favorita and Cortese (which is responsible for Gavi), while, just to the south, Liguria, with its rocky shorelines and tiny beaches, specialises in Vermentino.


For a good example of the latter, try Laura Aschero Vermentino 2007, Riviera Ligure di Ponente (£18, swig.co.uk)


Financial Times

Bordeaux's powerful consultant winemaker Stéphane Derenoncourt genuinely thought he wouldn't be making any wine in 2008 reports Jancis Robinson. "He was far from the only one to suspect that grapes so swollen by summer rains, ravaged by mildew and threatened by rot were unlikely to survive in any flavourful form long enough to be picked and fermented into wine," she says.


As harvest approached, the malic acid in the grapes was so high that they tasted more like cooking apples, explains Robinson.


Robinson also claims the wine commentators and wine merchants who descended on Bordeaux to taste the 2008 vintage did not expect to find such attractive wines, but, she explains, most of the reds are now tasting very well with succulent St Emilions and Pomerol on "better form than ever."


Although the performances of different châteaux vary considerably in 2008 she says, particularly among top wines, there seemed to be no geographical weak spot.


Times

Jane McQuitty also talks about Bordeaux 2008 vintage as being the," the no-go area that economic pessimists feared."


She was likewise surprised at, "just how good some of the wines are."


The finest 2008 clarets are attractive deeply coloured wines with surprisingly sweet, floral and vibrant fresh red fruit ripe flavours, she says. But adds, "there were plenty of disappointments too."


She also explains that "how fine the slow-growing Bordeaux 2008 wines are," is causing heated debate and quotes Robert Parker, as letting it slip that apparently 2008 is better than the excellent 2006 and 2004 claret vintages and nudging the great 2005.


"Absurd," she exclaims. "Last year's is a miraculous, weather-defying vintage of just above average quality, made and saved by a small crop, late-season sun and a fruit-concentrating northeasterly wind."


This is not to devalue the best wines of 2008, she says. "I tasted some gorgeous clarets that were very good indeed, but, overall, while the vintage is much better than the lacklustre 2007, it is somewhere between 2001 and 2006 in quality."


"The big question now," asks MacQuitty, "is how the blinkered Bordelais will pitch their 2008 campaign prices."

Observer


If anybody knows a member of the Comité Régional d'Action Viticole, could you ask him to get in touch? Asks Tim Atkin,


When I say in touch, I'd rather the person in question picked up the phone or sent me an email, rather than use the calling card his organisation usually favours - small explosions and walls daubed with paint.


CRAV is an illegal organisation that targets anyone in the south of France who sells or imports foreign wine, as well as French wineries that are owned by overseas companies.


"It's hard to see what CRAV is trying to achieve," says Atkin. "And its call for more subsidies to prop up a series of under-achieving domaines and co-operatives is crazy."


On the face of it, these are depressing times for the Gallic wine industry, he reports. Recent figures confirm that France is still leaking market share like a splintered barrel and the situation is getting worse.


The irony of this is that France is making better wines today than at any point in its history especially between £4.99 and £7.99.


Try the sun-kissed, plummy, herby 2007 La Différence Carignan, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes (£4.99, 13.5%, Sainsbury, Tesco, Asda, Co-op).


Independent


The last time I saw Alvaro Espinoza, Chile's leading organic winemaker, it landed me in a mountain of steaming dung after his four-wheel drive got stuck and so we had to be pulled out by a tractor, recalls Anthony Rose.


He wondered if Charles and Camilla would suffer a similar fate when they visited him at Viñedos Emiliana Organicos in Casablanca recently. "No such luck," he says.


Espinoza has been one of the leading proponents of sustainable vineyard methods in Chile, Rose explains. Having latterly applied his skills to the production of a powerfully rich and spicy Syrah. "

And Syrah," he says, "is Chile's latest big thing."


My current preference is for the more elegant northern Rhône styles emerging, of which the pepper-infused, aromatic 2006 Matetic Syrah, San Antonio Valley, around £18, (Genesis Wines - 020-7963 9062),.

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The second part of Natasha Hughes' marathon tasting round Argentina

Published:  16 April, 2009

Argentina, 14-22 March 2009

I was lucky enough to be invited to spend a week in Argentina recently. The focus of the trip was on Rio Negro and Nequen in Patagonia and Argentina's heartland, Mendoza.

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Daniel Marzotto on how he ended up at Osteria dell'Angolo in Westminster

Published:  16 April, 2009

Daniel Marzotto, the assistant manager at Claudio Pulze's latest restaurant, Westminster's Osteria dell'Angolo, on the twin challenges of learning English and convincing customers that food and wine matching is still worthwhile in a recession.

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Comments - Duncan Watts

Published:  16 April, 2009

It's not enough just to list a good selection of wines in your restaurant, says Duncan Watts, owner and managing director of the Rocket group, you also have to find ways of making that list accessible to your customers

 

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Latour first of the blocks with lower price

Published:  14 April, 2009

Château Latour has become the first of the Bordeaux First Growths to name its price for the 2008 vintage, and as expected it is some way below the opening price for its 2007.

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Anne Krebiehl: Fourth blog from New Zealand harvest

Published:  14 April, 2009

Red eye: am on the early coach from Nelson en route to Renwick. State Highway 6 winds its way through coniferous forests, crosses the turquoise Pelorus River in a picturesque, narrow valley and continues south to reach the expansive vineyards of Marlborough: Renwick, a sleepy highway village, sits amidst these and it's yet again a case of dropping the rucksack, grabbing bicycle, helmet and map and heading off to hit the cellar doors.

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Anne Krebiehl's third wine harvest blog from New Zealand

Published:  07 April, 2009


South Island - what a difference! Anne Krebhiel continues her tour around the wine regions of New Zeland - this week she crosses over into the South Island.

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Sparkling wine sales continue to soar

Published:  30 March, 2009

Sparkling wines continue to enjoy success at the expense of Champagne, it has been claimed by a buyer for one of the UK's most popular supermarkets.

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Anne Krebiehl, blog March 23, harvest blog from New Zeland

Published:  27 March, 2009

Hello again - this time from Martinborough in the Wairarapa - this must be the most bijou little town ever and seriously makes me think of emigrating....

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Anne Krebiehl, blog March 23, harvest blog from New Zeland

Published:  27 March, 2009

Hello again - this time from Martinborough in the Wairarapa - this must be the most bijou little town ever and seriously makes me think of emigrating....

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Anne Krebiehl, wine writer's blog from the New Zealand harvest

Published:  25 March, 2009

Kia Ora from New Zealand and welcome to the first instalment of my Kiwi wine adventure: I have come here from London to harvest grapes at the illustrious Felton Road estate -- one of the world's most southerly vineyards -- in Central Otago on New Zealand's South Island. To make the most of this long journey I decided to come early and taste my way through the various wine regions to give my shamefully Eurocentric palate a real understanding of Kiwi wines and their huge success on the world stage.

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Anne Krebiehl, wine writer's blog from the New Zealand harvest

Published:  25 March, 2009

Kia Ora from New Zealand and welcome to the first instalment of my Kiwi wine adventure: I have come here from London to harvest grapes at the illustrious Felton Road estate -- one of the world's most southerly vineyards -- in Central Otago on New Zealand's South Island. To make the most of this long journey I decided to come early and taste my way through the various wine regions to give my shamefully Eurocentric palate a real understanding of Kiwi wines and their huge success on the world stage.

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PLB takes Grove Mill from Paragon

Published:  24 March, 2009

PLB has picked up another wine agency from Paragon Vintners, which recently announced its closure due to adverse market conditions.

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Wine importers urged to stall Indian investment

Published:  23 March, 2009

Foreign importers are being urged not to invest in the Indian wine market until at least 2010 or risk becoming "frustrated" and out of pocket.

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Wines in the Press, March 7-9

Published:  10 March, 2009

What the national wine critics had to say this weekend, March 7-8

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Opinion: The Tate's Hamish Anderson on holding your ground in tough times

Published:  09 March, 2009

Hamish Anderson, head sommelier at the Tate, explains how to get your priorities right in challenging times.

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