The Wine Merchant Top 100 Winners 2016

 

Embed or link this publication

Description

The Wine Merchant Top 100 Winners 2016

Popular Pages


p. 1

THE WINNING WINES OF 2016 AS CHOSEN BY THE INDEPENDENT TRADE

[close]

p. 2



[close]

p. 3

Contents 4 Introduction 8 The judges 10 Director’s review 14 Trophy winners 28 Sparkling wine winners 29 White wine winners 39 Rosé wine winners 40 Red wine winners 58 Fortified and dessert wine winners 60 Highly commended wines 67 Top performing countries 71 Top performing suppliers Supplement published by Graham Holter Ltd July 2016

[close]

p. 4

INTRODUCTION Above: Sophie Nicholls and Edouard Dautreix Below: Ed Wells and Pip Gale The Wine Merchant Top 100 2016 4

[close]

p. 5

It’s nice to be popular. The Wine Merchant Top 100 attracted a record entry this year, with just about every serious player in the independent wine trade represented. We have a waiting list for merchants who want to be judges, and enquries from suppliers about this year’s competitions started to fly in from last autumn onwards. Clearly we’re doing something right. We’re now in our fourth year and as you’d expect we’ve made some tweaks in that time, the most obvious one being the decision to change from a Top 50 to a Top 100 last year. But the fundamentals are the same. All wines have to be aimed primarily at independents, with no multiple distribution. They have to be available from UK stock. And, of course, all our judges have to be specialist independent wine merchants. We’re delighted to present this year’s winners: a superb mix of countries, styles and price points that reflects the diversity of independent wine retailing in the UK right now. THE WINE MERCHANT. An independent magazine for independent retailers Issue 45, March 2016 Thanks for giving us your seal of approval in the reader survey Turnover dips as indies increase wholesale trade THIS MONTH 2 BACCHUS Independent wine retailers saw turnover fall by 5% last year, according to figures compiled by The Wine Merchant. Average sales per business slipped by more than £40,000 to £765,617, which equates to an average turnover per store of £558,852. This year’s Wine Merchant reader survey shows that confidence levels among reliance on shop sales for their turnover has fallen to 68.4%, the lowest figure since the survey was first carried out four years ago. Online sales have seen a significant leap to almost 6% of average turnover, the highest ever recorded in the survey. You really, really need to register for the AWRS 4 comings & GOINGS Kilmacolm is finally on the wine trade map 8 tried & TESTED independents has taken a slight knock, and the proportion of respondents expecting to take on extra staff has fallen significantly. But overall confidence levels remain high and the percentage of merchants who are considering opening additional branches remains roughly the same as in 2015. Margins are holding up well, except in the wholesale channel where average levels dipped slightly to just under 20%. This year’s survey found that merchants’ how independent sales are split Other 5.2% Wholesale 20.7% Online 5.7% Shop 68.4% Based on 137 responses Wholesale margins have taken a knock Once again Boutinot and Liberty lead the popularity stakes among their independent customers, though the survey also gave merchants the opportunity to vent their frustrations with suppliers generally. There are concerns raised about the “archaic” high level of minimum drops, which some say is making direct shipping increasingly attractive. Retailers also rail against a lack of channel management from some suppliers, and reps who fail to make an effort to work in partnership with their retail customers. There is annoyance in some quarters at the way London dominates the tasting calendar. “We neither have the time or funds to attend,” says one Yorkshire-based merchant. • Eight pages of survey coverage begins on page 22 with more to follow in our April edition. Earthy goodness and Turkish delight in this month’s line-up 10 RODNEY DENSEM The Cheshire merchant sticking to traditions 16 david williams Saluting the mavericks who border on the unnatural 18 borough wines Can Muriel Chatel really open five branches this year? 38 english WINE Independents reap the reward of a domestic product 49 make a date The April tastings worth the train fare 52 supplier Bulletin Essential updates from agents and suppliers THE WINE MERCHANT. An independent magazine for independent retailers Issue 46, April 2016 Come and taste the winners with us at Olympia © Syda Productions – stock.adobe.com Line continues to blur between shops and bars The proportion of specialist independent wine merchants selling wine for consumption on the premises has jumped by 24% over the past year. This year’s Wine Merchant reader survey found that 28.4% of retailers now offer wine for on-premise consumption, compared to 22.9% in the 2015 poll. The survey found that 4.5% of respondents have started selling wine in this way in the past 12 months. The trend towards a hybrid wine shop/ wine bar model has been taking hold among independents in recent years, but the survey results make it clear that the concept does not work for everybody, often due to space constraints or a lack of enthusiasm for the extra work involved. Indeed more than half of respondents insist that they have no plans for on-premise sales – though this figure has dropped markedly since last year’s survey. Food is also playing an increasingly important role in independents’ businesses, with four in 10 now selling food of some description, up by 13% on last year’s figure. The number of respondents saying they have no plans to offer food of any kind has fallen sharply to just under 45%. • Six pages of survey coverage begins on page 20. THIS MONTH 2 BACCHUS A new TV wine show; and Gene Vincent’s cool again 4 comings & GOINGS The bullish independents expanding their businesses 8 tried & TESTED Finally, a Vinho Verde that could rouse an elephant 12 last try wines Twickenham merchant takes the own-label plunge 18 david williams Being loyal to suppliers isn’t always the best idea 28 website review The Lockett Bros site gets some expert scrutiny 38 FOCUS ON CHAMPAGNE Joanna Simon looks at how indies approach the category 53 make a date The LWF isn’t the only trade event happening in May 55 supplier Bulletin Essential updates from agents and suppliers The hybrid wine merchant/wine bar concept has become increasingly popular, but isn’t for everyone THE WINE MERCHANT. An independent magazine for independent retailers Issue 48, June 2016 There’s no room for passengers on our journalistic journey THIS MONTH 2 BACCHUS What was all that stuff about Saturday Kitchen and indies? 4 comings & GOINGS Openings, closures, expansion and new owners © ollirg – stock.adobe.com 8 tried & TESTED Join us in a canvas tent for hedgehog and a glass of red tHhuenUgKa,risatnarwtiningewpirtohdaucreecres natretalsotionkginhgotsotebdubildy TbhreidWgeisnewMitheirncdheapnet.nMdeonret woinnepamgeersch2a8nttos in 31. Membership milestone for Vindependents group The Vindependents is almost half way towards its long-term target of 50 members following the recruitment of four more merchants in recent weeks. Mr & Mrs Fine Wine in Southwell, Appellation Nation in Cirencester and Cheltenham, Prohibition Wines in London and Loki Wines Birmingham have brought the membership total to 24. Members pay an annual fee of £1,000, which entitles them to buy from Vindependents’ exclusive agency wines and take advantage of “We are aiming for a total of 50 members over the next few years. We want to take on members slowly but surely over this time to allow demand for the wines to build. “We work with many small producers so to take on lots of new members all in one go would be a bit of shock for many of them. “We want to be able to offer our suppliers nationwide distribution so now we will specifically be looking to take on members from areas of the country that are not well covered already.” the 5% margins that the business works on. Director Jessica Hutchinson says: “The Vindies concept has been far more successful Although some Vindependents members now source as much as 25% of their ranges from the than any of us dared hope for. Continues page 2 12 the beckford bottle shop What exactly is that huge red sofa doing there? 18 david williams Nobody really understands the ageing process 22 AWRS UPDATE So you’re not on the HMRC register. Do you face jail? 32 FOCUS ON new zealand Merchants are looking beyond Sauvignon Blanc for their Kiwi capers 48 focus on australia The premium end has appeal for independents 56 supplier Bulletin Essential updates from agents and suppliers Graham Holter Editor and Publisher The Wine Merchant The Wine Merchant Top 100 2016 5

[close]

p. 6

THE JUDGES A record entry required a record number of judges, who took time out of their businesses to put the 650 wines through their paces. We mix up the panel each year, so for all but one of our team (Philip Amps of Amps Fine Wines in Oundle) it was the first time they had taken part. Our thanks to Nigel Pound, Totnes Wine Company, Devon; Tamsin Jones, Mission Wines, Polzeath; Rachel Gibson, Wine Utopia, Hampshire; Rupert Pritchett, Taurus Wines, Surrey; Dave Eglington, Wolseley Wine Loft, Stafford; Will Bentley, Bentleys Wine, Ludlow; Jackie Sugden, Grassington Wine Company, Skipton; Ed Wells, HarperWells, Norwich; Rachel Higgens, Corks of Bristol; Chris Bailey, Mr and Mrs Fine Wine, Southwell; Pip Gale, Gales of Llangollen, Denbighshire; Tom Fisher, The Square Wine Company, Warwick; Mo O’Toole, Carruthers & Kent, Newcastle; Chris Rackham, The Salusbury Wine Store, London; Laurence Hanison, Mill Hill Wines, London; Sophie Nicholls, Highbury Vintners, London; and Edouard Dautreix, Friarwood, London.

[close]

p. 7

Above: Tom Fisher and Philip Amps Below: Chris Bailey, Laurence Hanison, Chris Rackham and Rachel Higgens The Wine Merchant Top 100 2016 7

[close]

p. 8

THE JUDGES The Wine Merchant Top 100 2016 8

[close]

p. 9

Clockwise from top left: Tamsin Jones; Rupert Pritchett; Nigel Pound; Jackie Sugden; Mo O’Toole; Will Bentley; Dave Eglington; Rachel Gibson The Wine Merchant Top 100 2016 9

[close]

p. 10

Indie merchants are best placed to know what works for independents.

[close]

p. 11

2016 REVIEW Among the professionals What works in an independent wine shop? It’s a question that the 20 independent wine merchants that comprised the judging panel at this year’s Wine Merchant Top 100 ask themselves every day. Over the years, they’ve learned what kind of wines move off their shelves at what kind of prices – even if they’ve followed a few unfounded hunches and made a few mistakes along the way. It’s that hard-won experience – that local knowledge of a wine-selling scene that is very different from a supermarket or an online merchant – that we ask our judges to draw on as they make their way through the flights on judging day. We’re asking them to judge as if they were making a buying decision in their shops – not, as they are asked to do in other competitions, with reference to some nebulous aesthetic criteria. And it’s this rigorous application of the specific commercial realities of the independent sector that we feel marks out The Wine Mechant Top 100 from other competitions. Our aim here is not to compile a list of the “greatest” or “best” wines in the world – although there are most certainly candidates here for that status. Instead, the wines featured in this supplement are there because they’ve been passed by your peers – people who know what works for your customers, and for you. David Williams Competition Director The Wine Merchant Top 100 The Wine Merchant Top 100 2016 11

[close]

p. 12

How we get to The Wine Merchant Top 100 The Wine Merchant Top 100 judging process works in two stages. On judging day, our independent merchants are divided into teams, each of which is asked to make their way through roughly 65 wines each in the first session. This is a process of elimination, with the judges asking themselves the following questions: Is the wine interesting? Is it a good example of its genre or perhaps noteworthy because it’s offering something different to the norm? Is it a wine the merchant would be confident to sell at that price? If it is, it goes through to the next round. If not, it’s rejected. Our senior judges spend time tasting with each of our teams, to ensure nothing deserving slips through the net. It’s a highly subjective business and as you’d expect there are often clashes of opinion. But in the end we reach a decision that reflects the majority viewpoint. This year, 202 wines made it through to the final judging stage in the afternoon from a total of 650 entrants. They were reflighted and tasted again, but this time we asked merchants to mark them out of 100, supervised and checked by competition director David Williams. The winners are the 100 wines that emerge with the highest scores, while the remaining 102 are awarded a Highly Commended status – subject to a few final checks on their credentials, to ensure they are exactly what the suppliers say they are. The Wine Merchant Top 100 2016 12

[close]

p. 13



[close]

p. 14

TROPHIES Champagne Taittinger Nocturne Sec nv Champagne Taittinger had a very good year in the 2016 competition, with two high-scoring entries in the final 100. The beautiful blanc de blancs prestige cuvée Comtes de Champagne stole the hearts of the judges for its sheer quality. Pound for pound, however, the judges were even more impressed by the joie-de-vivre of the house’s version of the lesser-spotted sec style of Champagne, Nocturne, handing it the top trophy in a particularly strong field. According to Taittinger, Nocturne, as its name suggests, is a softer style designed for drinking at the end of the evening. As with all sec Champagnes, it has a slightly higher dosage giving it a balanced hint of sweetness that the judges thought would work just as well with fruit desserts as it would in a nightclub.“It’s just really well balanced, beautifully done,” the judges said. “The sweetness is subtle rather than overwhelming, and it has a lovely soft creamy finish.” Supplier Hatch Mansfield rrp £51.90 abv 12% SPARKLING WINE TROPHY “A beautifully balanced, endof-the-evening Champagne” The Wine Merchant Top 100 2016 14

[close]

p. 15



[close]

Comments

no comments yet