Simply Italian 2015 – highlights

Simply Italian 2015 – highlightsSee the highlights from this year's Decanter Simply Italian tasting in London.... The Decanter Simply Italian tasting took place at the historic Stationers' Hall in LondonClick on the icon in the bottom right corner to make images larger.
Members of the wine trade and keen wine enthusiasts loved an array of Italian wines at the Decanter Simply Italian 2015 tasting in London. Nearly 30 producers from wineries across Italy showcased their wines at Stationers’ Hall in central London. Read more

Top 10 New Zealand Syrah

Top 10 New Zealand SyrahThere's never been a better time to drink New Zealand Syrah, according to Decanter expert Bob Campbell MW. Learn his top 10 New Zealand Syrah. Surprise an expert and choose any one of these 10 New Zealand Syrah and supply it alongsside a glass of excellent Rhone from the same vintage. He or she won’t find it simple to pick the French wine.
New Zealand’s best Syrahs have similar floral, pepper and dark berry notes to many of the wines from the northern Rhone. And when Kiwi winemakers co-ferment their Syrah with a small Viognier, the aromatics and texture of the resulting wine are remarkably like Cote-Rotie.
New Zealand’s top Syrah regions are Waiheke Island, just 18km from Auckland, and Hawke’s Bay on the east coast of the North Island. The Waiheke wines tend to be richer and more vinous than the fruit-all ears wines from Hawke’s Bay. Read more

See photos of Decanter Retailer Awards winners 2015

See photos of Decanter Retailer Awards winners 2015See photos from the Decanter Retailer Awards 2015 ceremony in London. Decanter Make pleased Director, John StimpfigFind all Decanter Retailer Awards winners pictured below with their certificates. Photos were taken by Cath Lowe for Decanter.
Asda won best supermarket 2015
Decanter Retailer Awards chairman, Peter Richards MW, Asda Wine Manager Phillippa Carr MW and Decanter Tastings Director Christelle Guibert. Asda won Best Supermarket, with Inscription & Spencer as the sprinter-up. Read more

Anson on Thursday: Oak ageing holds key to wine sweetness

Anson on Thursday: Oak ageing holds key to wine sweetnessNew research to learn how some of the world’s greatest wines develop sweetness without the presence of sugar has pinpointed specific types of oak ageing as key, writes Jane Anson in her weekly column. Oak barrels influence flavour in wine more than we realise, suggests researchJean-Baptiste Lécaillon of Louis Roederer has been working with imminent Bordeaux oenologist Axel Marchal on a groundbreaking new project on oak ageing that has flowed out of that simple question of sweetness without sugar.
He has just taken delivery of three new oak vats in his cellars in Reims that will be used with Chardonnay grapes for Louis Roederer Cristal and Blanc de Blancs. The inside of the vats have seen only the lightest of toastings to limit their aromatic imprint on the crisp minerality of the Chardonnay.
But what the new vats should do instead is to subtly impart a series of taste molecules.
The two most dominant of these, first exposed during Marchal’s PhD research project, are called Quercotriterpenoside I and II (or QTT). These vats are the first worldwide to be cast iron to contain these molecules in each stave, as each one has been examined and approved by Marchal prior to delivery. Read more

Hardy’s owner sells share in Matthew Clark distributor

Hardy’s owner sells share in Matthew Clark distributorAccolade Wines has sold its 50% stake in UK wine, beer and spirits distributor Matthew Clark, prompting the share fee of buyer Conviviality Retail to soar on the London stock exchange. Matthew Clark Shares in Conviviality Retail, the owner of the Bargain Booze and Wine Rack chains, rose by aroun 25% following the announcement this week.
Conviviality will buy all of Matthew Clark after the distributor’s only additional shareholder, pub chain Punch Taverns, said it would also sell its stake to the retailer. The deal is value at around £200m.
Matthew Clark specialises in distributing wine and additional drinks to restaurants and bars around the UK.
Accolade Wines is itself owned by Australian finance companionship Champ Private Equity, based in Sydney.
Champ made Accolade after buying 80% of Mondavi owner Constellation Brands‘ business in the UK and Australia in January 2011. The deal built-in strong’s in Australia, as well as a 50% stake in Matthew Clark in the UK.
As part of the deal with Conviviality, Accolade said it had secured a 10 year contract with Matthew Clark to ensure that its wines continued to be distributed in bars, pubs and restaurants.
There have been additional high profile deals in the UK wine trade recently. In August, wine merchant Enotria said it had bought rival Coe Vintners for an undisclosed fee.
That followed an announcement last year that Bibendum had agreed to buy PLB, making one of the largest wine suppliers to supermarkets and bars in the country.
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Asda wins best supermarket for wine at Decanter Retailer Awards

Asda wins best supermarket for wine at Decanter Retailer AwardsAsda has beaten rivals such as Inscription & Spencer to win best supermarket for wine at the 2015 Decanter Retailer Awards. See who else won prizes. Peter Richards MW at the Decanter Retailer Awards ceremonyDecanter Retailer Awards judges praised Walmart-owned Asda‘s commitment to making a diverse and different wine range with the launch of its Asda Wine Atlas, using the tagline ‘a passport to wine discovery’.
This is what sealed Asda’s victory ahead of sprinter-up Inscription & Spencer, even though judges also praised the ‘adventurous spirit’ and high quality of the M&S range.
‘The winner may come as a surprise to some in the room, but it is fully deserved,’ said awards chair Peter Richards MW at the Decanter Retailer Awards ceremony at London’s Connaught hotel last nighttime.
‘It feels incredible to win,’ said an thrilled Philippa Carr MW, Asda wine manager, immediately after collecting the certificate. Read more

Oregon Pinot Noir: Expert’s Choice

Oregon Pinot Noir: Expert’s ChoiceThe province has taken off in the 50 years since its first modern-era plantings, with sustainability-minded producers building wines with identity, finds sommelier Laure Patry.It all started in 1961 when Richard Sommer planted Oregon‘s first post-Prohibition vinifera grapes, including Pinot Noir, in the Umpqua Valley.
A few years before long, in 1965, David Lett planted Pinot Noir at Eyrie Vineyards in the Willamette Valley, as the cooler climate there was better suited to this Burgandian grape variety.
The temperate climate and costal marine influence in Oregon is ideal for cool-climate grapes such as Pinot Noir, and more wineries started to spring up. By 1974, the province’s wine producers recognised Oregon’s need to import excellent cool-climate clones from Burgundy, amongst others.
See Laura’s 18 top Oregon Pinot Noir wines: Read more

New Moet Champagne that took 15 years to create

New Moet Champagne that took 15 years to createMore than a decade of experiments has culminated in a new Moet & Chandon Champagne that some critics have described as one of the most complex available. Moet & Chandon's MCIII ChampagneThe new Moet Champagne, MCIII Brut 001.14, may not be the most catchy of Champagne names, but wine critic Tyson Stelzer believes that ‘Moet & Chandon has contrived what might rank as the most complex recipe for a standing cuvee yet’.
Its go comes at a time of heightened consumer interest in standing cuvee Champagne, as reported by companies such as Pernod Ricard and Moet’s owner, LVMH.
Moet has spent the past 15 years trialling its new Champagne, and several untried bottlings have fallen by the wayside, writes Stelzer in an imminent feature for Decanter magazine.
‘The blend that did make it is based on small more than one third of the 2003 vintage ((50% chardonnay and 50% pinot noir) and a small more than one-third of three vintages (2002, 2000 and 1999), vinified in tanks and aged for 5–7 months in 5000L oak ‘foudres’,’ writes Stelzer. Read more