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Unsigned Talent Trade Tasting

Decanter News - wo, 04/07/2018 - 15:17

Taste exceptional Decanter World Wine Award winners from the 2018 competition, all looking to secure distribution in the UK.

Join us at the OXO2, London on the 20 September to taste exceptional DWWA 2018 award-winners that are currently seeking distribution in UK markets.

This tasting is open to all the UK trade, including merchants, sommeliers, wine buyers and importers.
Due to limited spaces producers will not be able to attend.

Date: 20 September
Time: 2 – 5:30pm
Location: OXO Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, Southbank, London, SE1 9PH

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Comparing Artadi terroirs: Single vineyard wines

Decanter News - wo, 04/07/2018 - 13:00

A recent sale preview tasting at Christie's gave Sarah Jane Evans MW an opportunity to examine Artadi's terroir-driven approach...

Artadi TerroirThe clay-limestone soil of some of Artadi's best vineyard sites.

From the beginning, Artadi’s focus has been on the terroirs of their vineyards – hence the strapline on their tasting sheets: ‘Artadi Is Terroir’.

In 2014, says fifth-generation owner Juan Carlos López de Lacalle, ‘I moved to a single vineyard [Burgundian] concept, from the more old-fashioned coupage approach of Bordeaux. The age of the vineyard is not what’s important; it’s the soil.’

Scroll down to see Sarah Jane’s tasting notes & scores You might also like: Are these Spanish whites in your cellar? Best Rioja: Top wines to try The changing face of Vega Sicilia Valbuena

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Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Comparing Artadi terroirs: Single vineyard wines

Decanter News - wo, 04/07/2018 - 13:00

A recent sale preview tasting at Christie's gave Sarah Jane Evans MW an opportunity to examine Artadi's terroir-driven approach...

Artadi TerroirThe clay-limestone soil of some of Artadi's best vineyard sites.

From the beginning, Artadi’s focus has been on the terroirs of their vineyards – hence the strapline on their tasting sheets: ‘Artadi Is Terroir’.

In 2014, says fifth-generation owner Juan Carlos López de Lacalle, ‘I moved to a single vineyard [Burgundian] concept, from the more old-fashioned coupage approach of Bordeaux. The age of the vineyard is not what’s important; it’s the soil.’

Scroll down to see Sarah Jane’s tasting notes & scores

 

You might also like: Are these Spanish whites in your cellar? Best Rioja: Top wines to try The changing face of Vega Sicilia Valbuena

The post Comparing Artadi terroirs: Single vineyard wines appeared first on Decanter.

Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

From the archive: Bottle variation and the best laid plans…

Decanter News - wo, 04/07/2018 - 12:21

Of all the mysteries of wine, bottle variation can be one of the most frustrating. In this article from our archive, Richard Hemming MW investigates the science behind the phenomenon, and explains why the old adage that ‘there are no great wines, only great bottles’ often rings true.

Originally published in Decanter magazine's June 2013 issue and now available online and in full for Premium members.

bottle variationDo you know the five key influences on bottle variation?

At an apocryphal blind tasting, six bottles of red wine are poured for the assembled experts. In silence, the wines are assessed with the speed and accuracy brought only by many years of olfactory experience.

A discussion ensues – they are Bordeaux, of course, and surely Left Bank. The host concurs. Agreement cannot be reached, however, about which châteaux are represented. The debate threatens to be endless, until it is revealed that they are in fact the grand vin of one château alone.

Originally published in Decanter magazine’s June 2013 issue. 

Read more Decanter magazine articles here

 

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Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

From the archive: Bottle variation and the best laid plans…

Decanter News - wo, 04/07/2018 - 12:21

Of all the mysteries of wine, bottle variation can be one of the most frustrating. In this article from our archive, Richard Hemming MW investigates the science behind the phenomenon, and explains why the old adage that ‘there are no great wines, only great bottles’ often rings true.

Originally published in Decanter magazine's June 2013 issue and now available online and in full for Premium members.

bottle variationDo you know the five key influences on bottle variation?

At an apocryphal blind tasting, six bottles of red wine are poured for the assembled experts. In silence, the wines are assessed with the speed and accuracy brought only by many years of olfactory experience.

A discussion ensues – they are Bordeaux, of course, and surely Left Bank. The host concurs. Agreement cannot be reached, however, about which châteaux are represented. The debate threatens to be endless, until it is revealed that they are in fact the grand vin of one château alone.

Originally published in Decanter magazine’s June 2013 issue. 

Read more Decanter magazine articles here

 

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Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

New grapes on the block: Varieties to watch

Decanter News - wo, 04/07/2018 - 12:01

New wine grapes are being created all over the world, but with thousands already out there, why do we need more? Maggie Rosen explores efforts to build a better grapevine..

Aromella grapes, New grape varietiesAromella

Aromella, Mystique, Divico and Floréal may sound like distant galaxies or characters from Game of Thrones, but in fact they are among the newest wine grapes available to winemakers.

Right now, in agricultural research stations and experimental vineyards around the world, hundreds of grapes are somewhere on the complex journey from bright idea to bottle.

 

Maggie Rosen writes about wine for English- and French-language trade and consumer publications, and helped to launch Coravin in the UK

Read more articles from Decanter magazine here

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The Decanter interview: Sacha Lichine

Decanter News - di, 03/07/2018 - 19:00

Always a man on a mission, this son of Bordeaux broke free of familial ties and went on to establish a new benchmark for quality in rosé wines in the southeast of France. Jane Anson reports after her latest visit to Château d’Esclans in Provence.

Sacha LichineSacha LichineThe Decanter interview: Sacha Lichine

 Sacha Lichine at a glance

Born 1960 in Margaux as Alexis André Serge Lichine to parents Alexis Lichine and Gisèle Edenbourgh – their second child, after his sister Alexandra

Education Lycée Française, New York;Boston University (though he didn’t graduate: ‘I went to one university with one teacher, Alexis Lichine, and one pupil…me’)

Career Ran Château Prieuré-Lichine from the late 1980s to 1999, working on his own after his father Alexis’ death in 1989. Bought Château d’Esclans in 2006 for €13 million

Family Married to Mathilde Lichine, five children

Hobbies Sailing his boat Snapper, which is moored in St-Tropez; collecting wine-related art

 

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The Decanter interview: Sacha Lichine

Decanter News - di, 03/07/2018 - 19:00

Always a man on a mission, this son of Bordeaux broke free of familial ties and went on to establish a new benchmark for quality in rosé wines in the southeast of France. Jane Anson reports after her latest visit to Château d’Esclans in Provence.

Sacha LichineSacha LichineThe Decanter interview: Sacha Lichine

 Sacha Lichine at a glance

Born 1960 in Margaux as Alexis André Serge Lichine to parents Alexis Lichine and Gisèle Edenbourgh – their second child, after his sister Alexandra

Education Lycée Française, New York;Boston University (though he didn’t graduate: ‘I went to one university with one teacher, Alexis Lichine, and one pupil…me’)

Career Ran Château Prieuré-Lichine from the late 1980s to 1999, working on his own after his father Alexis’ death in 1989. Bought Château d’Esclans in 2006 for €13 million

Family Married to Mathilde Lichine, five children

Hobbies Sailing his boat Snapper, which is moored in St-Tropez; collecting wine-related art

 

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Getting better with age: Old-vine Chenin Blanc in South Africa

Decanter News - di, 03/07/2018 - 16:20

Efforts to seek out and preserve old-vine Chenin Blanc are currently reaping rewards for South Africa’s winemakers. Tim Atkin MW finds out how one of the country’s oldest varieties has become its newest source of world-class wines...

Old Vine Chenin BlancOld Chenin Blanc vines at Boschendal in Franschhoek, South Africa.

The Cape winelands is one of the most beautiful vineyard regions in the world, all craggy peaks, sweeping vistas and cobalt blue skies.

By these dramatic, almost cinematic standards, the Mev (Mrs) Kirsten vineyard is something of a disappointment. Situated in the Jonkershoek Valley, close to the untidy urban sprawl of Stellenbosch, it has none of the grandeur of some of South Africa’s greatest crus.

And yet this 0.7ha parcel of Chenin Blanc is undeniably special, a distinction that’s reflected in its historical importance as well as the quality of its wine.

Scroll down to see Tim’s pick of the best South African old vine Chenin Blanc

 

You might also like: Decanter travel guide: Stellenbosch, South Africa Great value South African wines under £20 Luxury travel: top 10 wine hotels in South Africa South Africa wine quiz – Test your knowledge

 

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Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Getting better with age: Old-vine Chenin Blanc in South Africa

Decanter News - di, 03/07/2018 - 16:20

Efforts to seek out and preserve old-vine Chenin Blanc are currently reaping rewards for South Africa’s winemakers. Tim Atkin MW finds out how one of the country’s oldest varieties has become its newest source of world-class wines...

Old Vine Chenin BlancOld Chenin Blanc vines at Boschendal in Franschhoek, South Africa.

The Cape winelands is one of the most beautiful vineyard regions in the world, all craggy peaks, sweeping vistas and cobalt blue skies.

By these dramatic, almost cinematic standards, the Mev (Mrs) Kirsten vineyard is something of a disappointment. Situated in the Jonkershoek Valley, close to the untidy urban sprawl of Stellenbosch, it has none of the grandeur of some of South Africa’s greatest crus.

And yet this 0.7ha parcel of Chenin Blanc is undeniably special, a distinction that’s reflected in its historical importance as well as the quality of its wine.

Scroll down to see Tim’s pick of the best South African old vine Chenin Blanc

 

You might also like: Decanter travel guide: Stellenbosch, South Africa Great value South African wines under £20 Luxury travel: top 10 wine hotels in South Africa South Africa wine quiz – Test your knowledge

 

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Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

French officials threaten to deport Japanese winemaker couple

Decanter News - di, 03/07/2018 - 16:01

A ruling that could force a Japanese winemaker couple in Roussillon to leave France has sparked an online petition to keep them in the country.

roussillon vineyardsVineyards near to Collioure in Roussillon.

Rié and Hirofumi Shoji, former students of Alain Ducasse Tokyo, acquired a small estate of 3.5 hectares in the vineyards around Collioure, just north of Banyuls and close to the Spanish border.

They named it Pedres Blanques and the debut 2017 vintage, made with Grenache Noir and produced in a ‘natural’ style, has won early admirers, reportedly including one of the world’s best restaurants, El Celler de Can Roca, over the border in Girona.

But the Shojis’ story has threatened to turn sour in 2018 after the local government – or ‘préfecture’ – for Pyrenées-Orientales refused the couple a residence permit.

‘The residence permit could not be issued, and on 3 April 2018 they were notified of an obligation to leave French territory by 12 April,’ said the préfecture.

An online petition to keep the couple in France has been signed by more than 30,500 people.

The Shojis have appealed and their lawyer, Maitre Jean Codognès, told Decanter.com, ‘The préfecture justifies having taken its decision due to the initial business plan provided by Rié and Hirofumi Shoji for obtaining their bank loan.

‘The business plan was based on an estimated [retail] price of 12 euro per bottle [for their wine], which would not provide a monthly salary of 2,000 euro.

‘But it is illusory to examine the profitability of a new venture from the first day. The business plan is only a projection of the future.’

Currently, the 2017 red vintage of Pedres Blanques was being sold for between 25 euros and 30 euros per bottle in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Sweden – although Belgium’s Altrovino listed it as out-of-stock.

Maitre Codognès said that 75% of the 2018 vintage was already sold, meaning earnings should not be an issue.

The Shojis studied winemaking in France and have done internships at several wine producers, including at JF Mugnier in Chambolle-Musigny and Château La Tour du Pin Figeac in St-Emilion.

A decision on their appeal was expected by 6 September.

Editing by Chris Mercer

The post French officials threaten to deport Japanese winemaker couple appeared first on Decanter.

Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

French officials threaten to deport Japanese winemaker couple

Decanter News - di, 03/07/2018 - 16:01

A ruling that could force a Japanese winemaker couple in Roussillon to leave France has sparked an online petition to keep them in the country.

roussillon vineyardsVineyards near to Collioure in Roussillon.

Rié and Hirofumi Shoji, former students of Alain Ducasse Tokyo, acquired a small estate of 3.5 hectares in the vineyards around Collioure, just north of Banyuls and close to the Spanish border.

They named it Pedres Blanques and the debut 2017 vintage, made with Grenache Noir and produced in a ‘natural’ style, has won early admirers, reportedly including one of the world’s best restaurants, El Celler de Can Roca, over the border in Girona.

But the Shojis’ story has threatened to turn sour in 2018 after the local government – or ‘préfecture’ – for Pyrenées-Orientales refused the couple a residence permit.

‘The residence permit could not be issued, and on 3 April 2018 they were notified of an obligation to leave French territory by 12 April,’ said the préfecture.

An online petition to keep the couple in France has been signed by more than 30,500 people.

The Shojis have appealed and their lawyer, Maitre Jean Codognès, told Decanter.com, ‘The préfecture justifies having taken its decision due to the initial business plan provided by Rié and Hirofumi Shoji for obtaining their bank loan.

‘The business plan was based on an estimated [retail] price of 12 euro per bottle [for their wine], which would not provide a monthly salary of 2,000 euro.

‘But it is illusory to examine the profitability of a new venture from the first day. The business plan is only a projection of the future.’

Currently, the 2017 red vintage of Pedres Blanques was being sold for between 25 euros and 30 euros per bottle in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Sweden – although Belgium’s Altrovino listed it as out-of-stock.

Maitre Codognès said that 75% of the 2018 vintage was already sold, meaning earnings should not be an issue.

The Shojis studied winemaking in France and have done internships at several wine producers, including at JF Mugnier in Chambolle-Musigny and Château La Tour du Pin Figeac in St-Emilion.

A decision on their appeal was expected by 6 September.

Editing by Chris Mercer

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Highlights: Decanter World Wine Awards 2018 tasting

Decanter News - di, 03/07/2018 - 13:05
Decanter World Wine Awards Tasting 2018

The Decanter World Wine Awards 2018 tasting was held at Vintners’ Hall in London on 2nd July. See some of the photo highlights below.

Search DWWA 2018 award winning wines here  The free awards supplement will be available on Wednesday 1 August with the September issue 

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Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Highlights: Decanter World Wine Awards 2018 tasting

Decanter News - di, 03/07/2018 - 13:05
Decanter World Wine Awards Tasting 2018

The Decanter World Wine Awards 2018 tasting was held at Vintners’ Hall in London on 2nd July. See some of the photo highlights below.

Search DWWA 2018 award winning wines here  The free awards supplement will be available on Wednesday 1 August with the September issue 

The post Highlights: Decanter World Wine Awards 2018 tasting appeared first on Decanter.

Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Top-rated Crémant from France

Decanter News - di, 03/07/2018 - 12:30

A great value alternative to Champagne, crémants offer characterful regional sparkle from all over France. Sue Style recommends her favourite bottles...

Cremants from France

Without the deep pockets required to drink grande marque or grower Champagne, I’m always on the lookout for well-made sparkling wine from other regions of France.

There are, of course, many Champagnes available at relatively modest prices. They find a market because there’s something magical about the brand, but they can be deeply disappointing. Decent crémant is often a far better bet.

Scroll down to see Sue’s top 18 Crémants from France You might also like: Jefford on Monday: Burgundy’s other self Do crémants age as well as Champagne? – Ask Decanter Sparkling wine guide

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Penfolds to make Napa Valley wine and Champagne

Decanter News - di, 03/07/2018 - 12:15

Penfolds is set to make a California wine, a baijiu-infused Shiraz and a Champagne as part of a plan by owner Treasury Wine Estates to expand the brand.

Penfolds Grange 1951The first vintage of Penfolds Grange, from 1951, sold for over AU $50,000 in 2017.

Penfolds will begin sourcing grapes in Napa Valley from the 2018 harvest, in order to produce California wines under its brand name, announced Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) today (3 July).

It marks a significant expansion for a wine brand so closely associated with some of the finest Australian wines.

‘We are striving to add outstanding Californian-sourced wines to our offering by fiscal 2022,’ said Penfolds’ chief winemaker, Peter Gago.

TWE cited a precedent for the move in that Shiraz cuttings from the Kalimna vineyard in Barossa – source of Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz – were previously taken to Camatta Hills Vineyards in California’s Paso Robles area in the 1990s.

The new Penfolds California wines will be taken from the ‘best of the best’ Napa Valley grapes, TWE said.

Also as part of the pension expansion plan to ‘enhance the Penfolds global footprint’ will be a range of ‘Penfolds Special bottlings’.

These include:

  • a baijiu-infused, fortified Shiraz known as Lot 518, to be released in September 2018;
  • a 28-year-old brandy, named Lot 1990, available now

Penfolds will also launch a Champagne in 2019, in time for its 175th anniversary.

Gago said of the moves, ‘The Penfolds winemaking team is delighted to engage in a profound expansion of our core range, while preserving Penfolds DNA and at the same time, building upon the creativity, ingenuity and boldness of our winemaking ancestry. This will broaden our base and help future-proof Penfolds.’

TWE’s chief marketing officer, Michelle Terry, said, ‘These extensions will consolidate Penfolds as a luxury brand that transcends beyond its existing sourcing regions and categories; positioning it for its next chapter.’

The news follows the launch of a Penfolds Grange ‘blend of blends’ known as g3 late last year.

See also: An exclusive report on the latest Penfolds Collection

The post Penfolds to make Napa Valley wine and Champagne appeared first on Decanter.

Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Penfolds to make Napa Valley wine and Champagne

Decanter News - di, 03/07/2018 - 12:15

Penfolds is set to make a California wine, a baijiu-infused Shiraz and a Champagne as part of a plan by owner Treasury Wine Estates to expand the brand.

Penfolds Grange 1951The first vintage of Penfolds Grange, from 1951, sold for over AU $50,000 in 2017.

Penfolds will begin sourcing grapes in Napa Valley from the 2018 harvest, in order to produce California wines under its brand name, announced Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) today (3 July).

It marks a significant expansion for a wine brand so closely associated with some of the finest Australian wines.

‘We are striving to add outstanding Californian-sourced wines to our offering by fiscal 2022,’ said Penfolds’ chief winemaker, Peter Gago.

TWE cited a precedent for the move in that Shiraz cuttings from the Kalimna vineyard in Barossa – source of Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz – were previously taken to Camatta Hills Vineyards in California’s Paso Robles area in the 1990s.

The new Penfolds California wines will be taken from the ‘best of the best’ Napa Valley grapes, TWE said.

Also as part of the pension expansion plan to ‘enhance the Penfolds global footprint’ will be a range of ‘Penfolds Special bottlings’.

These include:

  • a baijiu-infused, fortified Shiraz known as Lot 518, to be released in September 2018;
  • a 28-year-old brandy, named Lot 1990, available now

Penfolds will also launch a Champagne in 2019, in time for its 175th anniversary.

Gago said of the moves, ‘The Penfolds winemaking team is delighted to engage in a profound expansion of our core range, while preserving Penfolds DNA and at the same time, building upon the creativity, ingenuity and boldness of our winemaking ancestry. This will broaden our base and help future-proof Penfolds.’

TWE’s chief marketing officer, Michelle Terry, said, ‘These extensions will consolidate Penfolds as a luxury brand that transcends beyond its existing sourcing regions and categories; positioning it for its next chapter.’

The news follows the launch of a Penfolds Grange ‘blend of blends’ known as g3 late last year.

See also: An exclusive report on the latest Penfolds Collection

The post Penfolds to make Napa Valley wine and Champagne appeared first on Decanter.

Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Vasse Felix buys Watershed vineyard to increase Chardonnay production

Decanter News - ma, 02/07/2018 - 12:57

Margaret River’s Vasse Felix winery is set to acquire the Watershed vineyard, in a bid to increase its Chardonnay production by as much as 30 per cent in coming years.

Vasse Felix buys WatershedWatershed vineyards in Margaret River.Vasse Felix buys Watershed vineyard

This site is in the ‘golden triangle’ of Chardonnay production in Margaret River, with Leeuwin Estate, Voyager Estate and Xanadu Wines as neighbours.

The deal, which is expected to settle in July, includes an 80-hectare vineyard, winery, thermomass-built barrel room, restaurant and cellar door, on what is arguably one of the best sites in the region.

Watershed will continue to sell its wines under its own label and operate the cellar door and restaurant for a two-year period.

Vasse Felix chief executive, Paul Holmes a Court said no plans have yet been made for the buildings on the property.

‘We purchased a portion of the Watershed vineyard a few years ago as it produces excellent Chardonnay. This new acquisition allows us to increase Chardonnay production, while continuing to make wines at our original Vasse Felix site.’

The deal will see Vasse Felix’s vineyard holdings increase to over 300-hectares across four sites in the Margaret River region.

Once finalised, Vasse Felix will commence an immediate conversion of the vineyard, focusing on the existing Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon vines that were planted in 2001. Other varietals in the 80-hectare vineyard, such as Merlot, will progressively be replanted with Chardonnay.

‘We have been converting our vineyards to organic practices in recent years and will continue that transition at this new site,’ Holmes a Court added.

‘Our focus at the new vineyard with primarily be Chardonnay. We cannot meet existing demand from the domestic and international market for our Chardonnay and this vineyard will allow us to progressively develop those channels.’

‘It’s naturally sad to be selling the Watershed vineyard, but we’re delighted a leading, local winery is taking it over,’ said Watershed managing director, Geoff Barrett.

The post Vasse Felix buys Watershed vineyard to increase Chardonnay production appeared first on Decanter.

Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Vasse Felix buys Watershed vineyard to increase Chardonnay production

Decanter News - ma, 02/07/2018 - 12:57

Margaret River’s Vasse Felix winery is set to acquire the Watershed vineyard, in a bid to increase its Chardonnay production by as much as 30 per cent in coming years.

Vasse Felix buys WatershedWatershed vineyards in Margaret River.Vasse Felix buys Watershed vineyard

This site is in the ‘golden triangle’ of Chardonnay production in Margaret River, with Leeuwin Estate, Voyager Estate and Xanadu Wines as neighbours.

The deal, which is expected to settle in July, includes an 80-hectare vineyard, winery, thermomass-built barrel room, restaurant and cellar door, on what is arguably one of the best sites in the region.

Watershed will continue to sell its wines under its own label and operate the cellar door and restaurant for a two-year period.

Vasse Felix chief executive, Paul Holmes a Court said no plans have yet been made for the buildings on the property.

‘We purchased a portion of the Watershed vineyard a few years ago as it produces excellent Chardonnay. This new acquisition allows us to increase Chardonnay production, while continuing to make wines at our original Vasse Felix site.’

The deal will see Vasse Felix’s vineyard holdings increase to over 300-hectares across four sites in the Margaret River region.

Once finalised, Vasse Felix will commence an immediate conversion of the vineyard, focusing on the existing Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon vines that were planted in 2001. Other varietals in the 80-hectare vineyard, such as Merlot, will progressively be replanted with Chardonnay.

‘We have been converting our vineyards to organic practices in recent years and will continue that transition at this new site,’ Holmes a Court added.

‘Our focus at the new vineyard with primarily be Chardonnay. We cannot meet existing demand from the domestic and international market for our Chardonnay and this vineyard will allow us to progressively develop those channels.’

‘It’s naturally sad to be selling the Watershed vineyard, but we’re delighted a leading, local winery is taking it over,’ said Watershed managing director, Geoff Barrett.

The post Vasse Felix buys Watershed vineyard to increase Chardonnay production appeared first on Decanter.

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Steven Spurrier on ‘wine – a way of life’

Decanter News - ma, 02/07/2018 - 12:43

Decanter’s long-standing consultant editor reflects on his lengthy and varied career in wine on the publication of his new book: Wine – A Way of Life...

steven spurrier man of the yearSteven Spurrier.

A couple of years ago, my eight-year-old grandson asked, ‘Grandpa, why are you famous?’ And all I needed to do was to show him a copy of George Taber’s book, Judgement of Paris – California vs France and the historic 1976 tasting that revolutionized wine.

I’d always thought of writing a slim volume to tell the grandchildren about my life, and bit by bit it grew into something bigger. However, Wine – A Way of Life remains a memoir, not an autobiography. For my 21st birthday, my maternal grandmother gave me membership to The Wine Society and a 12-bottle wine rack.

While these presents added to my enjoyment of life, my paternal grandfather had lit the flame eight years before after a Christmas Eve dinner at the family house in Derbyshire, saying I was old enough for a glass of Port.

It was quite amazing. ‘What’s this, Grandpa?’ ‘Cockburn’s 1908, my boy.’

In the 1950s my parents took me and my elder brother abroad with them to France and Italy, where the bistros and trattorias epitomised the ‘conviviality’ of wine drinking, leaving a colourful impression compared to grey, post-war Britain.

At the London School of Economics I joined the Wine Club, but already, thanks to my family, there was never any doubt that wine would become my profession.

Steven Spurrier A Way of LifeFrom joining Christopher & Co, London’s oldest wine merchant, in 1964, moving to Provence on my wedding day in 1968, relocating to Paris two years later to purchase a wine shop in the city (‘Your wine merchant speaks English’ ran my ad in the International Herald Tribune), founding the first private wine school in France, creating the Paris Tasting, expanding into restaurants and warehousing, and then losing it all in the late 1980s, it has been a rocky ride.

The chapter on my return to London in 1990 is entitled ‘The Road Back’, which began with a brief spell running the Harrods wine department and then meeting Sarah Kemp in 1993 and joining the Decanter team.

The next chapter –‘Life with Decanter’ – sets the scene for what is still my main focus after a quarter of a century, and while my 300th column will be in the October issue, I cannot hope to match the 430 columns of my mentor Michael Broadbent MW.

The last roll of the Spurrier wine dice has been Bride Valley Vineyard in Dorset – a risky step that caused Eric de Rothschild to say with sympathy, ‘Welcome to the Club’, which is covered in the final chapter, ‘Poacher turned Gamekeeper’.

My attitude to wine – apart from my mantra ‘drink for mood and not for food’ – is based on the Three Ps: Place – where the vineyards are, generally very nice to visit; People – those who produce wine, who are generally good, and if they are bad they will make bad wine; Product – the result of P1 and P2.

Looking back over a lifetime around the Three Ps, I am still totally in love with it all. I have been very fortunate indeed, for wine has brought me more than I ever could have imagined.

Wine – A Way of Life (£20, Adelphi, May 2018) Buy it here

Vita Vinea, Kisi Amber Dry, Kakheti, Georgia, 2016 Royal Tokaji, Nyulászó 6 Puttonyos Aszú, Tokaji, 2013 Altos Las Hormigas, Uco Valley, Gualtallary Malbec, 2014

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