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How will you change your wine list in 2013?

Published:  22 January, 2013

As we go into 2013, we ask some industry sommeliers how they'll be looking at changing on their wine lists this year.

Wine director at Sketch restaurant, Frederic Brugues, has a list of 1,600 with wines from over 19 countries to play with: 'Le jardin des cepages: The varietal garden' was created by Brugues in order to provide a wine list from as many different varieties as possible, and as many different locations. It was awarded 'Best Award for Excellence' by the Wine Spectator and given the AA Guide's award for 'Best UK Wine List'. For 2013 one of Brugues new moves is to endorse bio-dynamic wines and has created a dedicated list that will be available in all its restaurants.

He says: "Biodynamic wines begin in the vineyards (vine/grapes & soils) and does not start in the winery. In the winery, people can use a lot of technology, making what we could technically call faultless, though some would say soulless wine. It's people who care about their future generation and people who look after low sulphite wines that will buy biodynamic wines."

Brugues thinks biodynamic wines have a better commercial reception, these days but unfortunately, doesn't not think there is a better understanding of the category yet.

Of the future he says "Like for every category of wines, Biodynamic will suffer its own success. They are becoming sought after wines within the £10 to £35 marks which is where a lot of other competition is at the moment. There are rules to respect to get the Biodynamic label and I believe that a lot of people will just follow the rules blindly in order to get that 'biodynamic' label. They will not adopt a case per case attitude that should be used according to the climate condition of the vintage, I believe."

Over at D&D's Coq d'Argent head sommelier, Olivier Marie is planning to introduce more fruit friendly wines to its list. Marie is one of the most experienced sommeliers at D&D and has been with the group for 14 years. He has worked at l'Oranger Restaurant under Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing and private members' Bluebird Club.

He says: "There are just so many wines that are big, rich and tannic sitting around the 14-15% abv mark. I want to find more wines that come in at around the 12 -13.5% volume mark. These are wines that are more versatile when matching with food and when customers are ordering wines with large volumes they are less likely to order another bottle, whereas with wines that display a lower level of alcohol, they will. So I'll be looking to Europe and the more cooler regions of Australia such as Clare Valley and more coastal South African regions. I'll also be introducing more aromatic varieties to the list for summer such as Gerwurtz, Muscat and Viognier, I think people are now getting a bit fed up of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

Marie adds he will be also introducing more obscure varietals to the list and a dedicated Sherry section. "At the moment they are all incorporated in the fortified wine section, but I think sherry needs a section of its own and I'll be introducing a new range of Manzinillas, Finos and Manzinilla Pasadas. They'll always be a hand-sell, theie success all depends on how the customer reacts."

Agustin Trapero from D&Ds Launceston Place, says 2013 to him will be the same as 2012, as he changes the wine list on a daily basis. His wine includes little-known appellations and family winemakers, who Agustin likes to champion. "If I go to a wine tatsing or taste a new wine I like from a supplier I just pop it on the list, so the wine list is ever evolving. However, I will be looking at smaller appellations more and towards more exclusive wines. I recently attended a Cote Du Jura tasting and have was very impressed and will be adding a white and red Savigny to the list. You can taste the essence of the place in the wines. It will always be a hand sell, but that's my job."

Trapero adds he will also be looking towards southern Spain for full-bodied strong winter wines from small producers. "The more unknown and exclusive, the better," he says.