New Accolade CEO says Australian wine must remember its roots

New Accolade CEO says Australian wine must remember its rootsAustralian wine should never forget where it came from while pursuing a more upmarket strategy, according to the newly appointed CEO of Hardys owner Accolade Wines. Paul Schaafsma, Accolade Wines CEOPaul Schaafsma, who takes over as Accolade CEO from John Ratcliffe this Thursday, praised Australia’s renewed focus on regionality and premium wines.
But he added: ‘I’ve always said it’s about balance: we need the engine room of the Australian wine industry to work. Our rationale for being in the UK started with being consistent in terms of flavour.
‘We can never forget where we came from. Having commercial wines that deliver that flavour and value is essential. But, there’s much more to Australia than that.’ Read more

Top Italian varieties from California

Top Italian varieties from CaliforniaCalifornian producers are finally building a selection of quality Italian grape variety wines. See Decanter expert Jon Bonne's top picks.The description of Italian grapes in California has been, to be candid, a near-total failure. Its greatest success was found in the mid-20th century, when jugs of not-quite-Chianti were made from Carignan, Zinfandel and many additional varieites California had inherited.
But the Californians success has changed when they thought less about copying Italy and more about incorporating the right grapes into its Pacific culture.
Jon Bonne gives us his top 10 picks of the best Italian varieties in California: Read more

Gordon Ramsay lists English sparkling wines at Bordeaux restaurant

Gordon Ramsay lists English sparkling wines at Bordeaux restaurantGordon Ramsay’s new restaurant, Le Pressoir d’Argent, will feature a selection of English sparkling wines, including Gusbourne Estate, Coates & Seely, Camel Valley and Ridgeview. Le Pressoir d'Argent in Bordeaux will include English wines on the menuLe Pressoir d’Argent, at Bordeaux’s Grand Hotel, will officially open its doors to the public on Friday September 25.
For the initial opening period, Ramsay will be present in Bordeaux on alternate weeks with Clare Smyth, chef patron at his Michelin three-star Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in London. Full time executive chef is Gilad Peled, earlier from Les Sources des Alpes in Switzerland.
‘The challenge in Bordeaux is ensuring the food is at the same quality level as the wine,’ Ramsay told ‘This restaurant needs to draw on the exceptional local knowledge and produce… and then draw on our experience to get creative with it.
‘We are working with several local winemakers, but it’s hard to single out a particular progression or wine; this is an oasis of magical growers that can’t be matched anywhere in the world. My objective is to have the wine to become our epicentre’.
The wine list has been developed by the team in Bordeaux, led by sommelier and buying director Frederic Rouglan, with input from Ramsay and his wine buying team in London.
‘The wine list will be mainly from Bordeaux, but we have gone outside the province also. And we had to include English sparkling wine,’ Ramsay said, who has just bought a property in Cornwall in the Camel Valley. ‘We haven’t had a riot yet’.
Le Pressoir d’Argent is Ramsay’s second restaurant in France following the Trianon Palace in Versailles and both hotels are owned by Michel Ohayon.
Ramsay is the third huge name chef to open in the city over the past few months, following Joël Robuchon and Philippe Etchebest. Alain Ducasse is reportedly in talks to finalise a location.
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For the weekend: Wines under £20

For the weekend: Wines under £20Decanter international tastings director Christelle Guibert hunts the tastings to find exciting, fantastic value wines, all for below £20. See the latest here.Christelle Guibert and Decanter’s tasting team search the key tastings to hunt down the best value wines the supermakerts, high street and wine merchants can offer, all for below £20.
Branch out from your usual wine choices with something new, without breaking the bank.
This week includes a sparkling rosé wine from the Bio Bio Valley in Chile, a Burgenland Pinot Gris, Californian Chardonnay, New Zealand Pinot Noir from Nelson and an exciting Côtes Catalanes. Read more

Amazon France opens online wine service

Amazon France opens online wine serviceAfter several fake starts, Amazon France has started selling over 34,000 food and alcohol products, in a direct challenge to the power of French supermarkets.
Starting on 23rd September, the number of products available on Amazon France is around three times more than the average supermarket in France, according to industry observers. But so far there are no frozen or fresh crop.
There are, but, already over 4,000 references of wine, Champagnes, beers and spirits, in a go that will again threaten traditional distribution channels.
Delivery is free for orders over €25, and the opening range has over 800 different wines including Moët & Chandon Imperial for €41.29, Château Labégorce 2010 for €35.90, and a wide range of international wines – a category that is traditionally underserved in French supermarkets.
The number of wines available is expected to rise substantially.
Amazon France Food Retail Director, Yannick Migotto, told trade paper LSA Commerce & Consommation, ‘our objective is to offer low prices each day, but to combine that with excellent benefit’.
To mark the launch there are also a number of ‘exceptional products’ available, such as gourmet hampers. Read more

DAWA tasting at “The Magnificent Chefs in Macau”

DAWA tasting at “The Magnificent Chefs in Macau”A special tasting of Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015 winners will take place at the Institute of Visiting the attractions Studies restaurant in Macau on 16 October 2015 at 6-8pm. Guests at “The Magnificent Chefs of Macau”, taking place on Friday 16 October 2015, will have the chance to taste winning wines from the Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015. The wines are specially selected at the judging of the competition in early September 2015, to show support towards development and learning within the wine trade in Asia. Decanter is also sponsoring two scholarships at the Institute to award academic distinction and encourage wine studies, which is named the ‘Decanter Scholarship’.
Winning wines showcased at the tasting are: Read more

Cornas ‘legend’ Noël Verset dies at the age of 95

Cornas ‘legend’ Noël Verset dies at the age of 95Cornas winemaker, Noël Verset, has passed away in the town of Guilherand-Granges, on 14th September 2015, at the age of 95.Born in Cornas, in December 1919, Noël Verset was considered by many a legend in Cornas winemaking, particularly for his stubbornness about keeping his vines on very steep slopes.
He started working in the vines in 1931, at the age of 12 with his father, continuing until 1943.
After the phyloxerra crisis and the fantastic recession in France, wines from Cornas were predominantly sold in bulk. Prices dropped and the vintners started to plant vines in places that were simpler to plow, such as the plains.
Noël Verset, with his fellow colleagues, Auguste Clape and René Balthazar, persisted in working with his vines on steep slopes, despite the hard nature of work.
Noël Verset highlighted the quality found in Cornas and helped open the way to younger generations, such as Thierry Allemand, Laurent Courbis and his nephew Franck Balthazar.
His traditional winemaking practices became a benchmark for many winemakers working in the province today: low yields, full maturity, fermentation in cement vats and ageing in ancient demi-muids (600-litre barrels).
Despite owning some of the best terroirs in Cornas, like Chaillots, Reynard and Sabarotte, Verset produced only one cuvee, which was assembled from all of his terroirs.
In 1985, he chose to sell his Reynard parcel to one of  his philosophical heirs, Thierry Allemand. In 2001, in preparation for his retirement, he sold his Sabarotte parcel to Auguste Clape and Laurent Courbis, and a few years before long, sold the Chaillots parcel to his nephew, Franck Balthazar.
The 2000 was his last vintage, but he continued to make wine for himself and his family until 2006.
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