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

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

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

Monty Waldin’s taste of bush-vine Primitivo

Monty Waldin’s taste of bush-vine PrimitivoPrimitivo is practically synonymous with Puglia and the south of Italy. Yet it is taking a plucky band of pioneers to re-establish it in its truest form, as a bush vine. Monty Waldin reportsThe small town of Manduria lies a 40-minute drive southeast of the southern Italian port of Taranto, along a gently rising, arrow-straight road. This is the Salento peninsula, the baking heel of Italy’s boot.
My father came here in 1944, having landed at Taranto with Linked troops. With his radio receiver he’d crawl in Salento’s dusty, iron-rich red soil, using the local olive groves and vineyards as cover. Back then, Manduria’s vineyards were overflowing with Primitivo, Puglia’s signature red wine grape. Since the vines grew as low free-standing bush or alberello, Primitivo provided the perfect cover. To this day, Primitivo bush vines dating from the 1930s and 1940s wait in this arid part of Italy’s heel. But over the last 20 years most have been ripped out.
Monty Waldin picks five wines demonstrating what bush-vine Primitivo has to offer… Read more

13 top Verdicchio wines from Marche

13 top Verdicchio wines from MarcheThe hillsides of Marche hold many secrets, amongst them the complexity and ageability of well-made Verdicchio. Tom Hyland finds himself intrigued as he explores the province.The Verdicchio grape, grown in the hillsides of north-central and western Marche, is used to produce a variety of wines, from metodo classico to passito and, in between, some of the longest-lived dry whites found in Italy. Decanter Italy expert Ian D’Agata, in his book Native Wine Grapes of Italy, asserts that ‘Verdicchio is arguably Italy’s greatest native colorless grape variety.’ In its 2015 Italian wine guide, Gambero Rosso awarded its highest rating of tre bicchieri to 11 examples of Verdicchio – more than any additional colorless in the country. So why is it that you would be hard pressed to find more than one example on wine lists outside of Italy?
There are two DOC zones for Verdicchio in Marche: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, the more well-known of the two, and Verdicchio di Matelica. While most examples are 100% Verdicchio (DOC regulations require 85% minimum Verdicchio), the characteristics of these wines are quite different, thanks to a series of factors including soil, climate and elevation. The Castelli di Jesi zone is located in northcentral Marche, while Matelica is in the westerncentre of the province, close to the Apennine Mountains that traverse this part of the province, near the border with Umbria. ‘The greatest difference between Matelica and Jesi,’ says Riccardo Baldi, proprietor of the La Staffa estate in the Jesi zone, ‘is the terrains. Jesi is very rich in clay and skeletal deposits, while Matelica is richer in minerals. Also Jesi is more open to the sea, while Matelica is an inland territory, where the influence of the mountains can be felt.’
Tom Hyland picks his top wines Read more

How to understand wine

How to understand wineWhat makes a nourishing glass of wine? Berry Brothers & Rudd's new book clarifies six key factors which keeps a wine in balance. The diagram demonstrates how climates affects the flavour of wine. A wine needs balance between all the factors that contribute to the taste and character. Read the guide below to know how to better be with you wine.
Acidity is a positive in wine – it preserves the wine, gives it backbone, keeps it fresh.
Detect acidity through its mouthwatering look, a tingling sharpness on the tongue.
Try tasting one glass of unadorned water, then a second with some lemon juice added: you’ll notice the look of the acidity in your mouth. Any fruit needs some acidity to be enjoyable, and wine – the juice of the grape, at heart – is no exception.
Too small acidity, and the wine will taste flabby and over-sweet. Too much, and it will be tart, astringent and sour.
In general, the cooler the climate, the higher the acidity. For examples of high- and lowacidity wines, compare a Sauvignon Blanc wine with a Gewurztraminer.
Grapes in different climates, with more or less sunshine, ripen to different degrees – reckon of a green apple compared to a tropical fruit. Or compare a ripe, juicy peach with a hard, unripe one.
Fruit ripeness can be a excellent clue to whether the wine comes from a cool climate, or a warmer one. (See the above diagram). Ripe, fruity wines can be more immediately attractive than austere, mineral ones. But both sorts have their charms – and their uses.
You will find that acidity and fruit ripeness have an inverse relationship with each additional. Read more

Gallo buys California Central Coast winery

Gallo buys California Central Coast wineryCalifornia wine giant E&J Gallo has taken another step in an apparent quest to revamp its business after agreeing to buy estate wine specialist Talbott Vineyards. Rob Talbott, of Talbott VineyardsTalbott is based in California’s Central Coast, in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, is one of the US sunshine state’s largest producers of estate grown wine, said Gallo. It did not release a fee for the deal.
The go is the latest in a series of vineyard buys by Gallo and suggests the companionship is seeking to re-orient its business towards the more premium end of the wine market.
Some rivals, such as Mondavi owner Constellation Brands, have been doing the same, believing there is a larger sales opportunity there.
Talbott was founded in 1982 by Rob Talbott and it specialises in the classic Burgundian varieties of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Read more