The Wine Merchant issue 59

 

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The Wine Merchant issue 59

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THE WINE MERCHANT. An independent magazine for independent retailers Issue 59, June 2017 Feel free to call us on our mobiles at any time THIS MONTH 2 BACCHUS Grower Champagnes, lifeboats, halfwitted councils … and Professor Plum 4 comings & GOINGS A new store for Banstead and a new face at Totnes 8 tried & TESTED Wines so good you’ll turn a blind eye to the toddler fight 16 fiNgal-rock The barrister who left London to open a wine shop 24 CORKS OUT DIGS DEEP Borough fills in the gaps Turning a Chester dungeon into a swish wine bar 26 david williams Borough Wines has brought its retail estate up to nine sites with a new opening in Battersea in south London. It’s taken over a corner site of a former hardware shop in Battersea Park Road – and is planning to open its 10th store, in Chiswick in west London, in July. “Battersea’s very much a Borough Wines sort of area,” says marketing director Corinna Pyke, “on the cusp of change but not too gentrified. It’s really vibrant with a nice feel to it. “We’ve been looking at Battersea for a while because it has a very big European community there. With [founder] Muriel [Chatel] being French, and having lots of wines and people working for us from Italy, Spain or wherever, it was quite a draw. “As Chelsea is becoming more expensive, people are moving to Battersea. It’s much more local than just the big Nine Elms development and Battersea Power Station.” Borough Wines has upgraded its refill system from bag-in-box to kegs and is rolling out the concept across its estate. “It’s a good carrot,” says Pyke. “It’s a nice way of being able to introduce people to a wine shop without feeling intimidated. “Whenever we open a new shop there’s Continues page 4 We only moan about the wine fair because we care 29 South africa lunch Cape wines come of age in the independent trade 34 life after brexit How changing tariffs could cause wine trade havoc 40 supplier Bulletin Essential updates from agents and suppliers

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BACCHUS b The growers are goers for indies For some time, grower Champagnes have been on the rise in the independent trade. Now one London merchant is aiming to provide an extra boost in a month-long promotion that he hopes other retailers will also get behind. Grower Champagne Month at The Good Wine Shop – which has branches in Kew and Chiswick – involves winemaker events and tastings, as well as giveaways and linkups with London restaurants. Owner Mark Wrigglesworth says: “We’ve been passionate about grower Champagne for a long time, but Derek Morrison, our retail manager who joined us about 18 months ago, is a complete Champagne nut and pretty soon after joining us he came up with the idea.” A website has been created for the campaign (drinkgrowerchampagne.co.uk) and social media activity is linked with the hashtag #DrinkGrowerChampagne. Wrigglesworth believes that grower Champagnes – which are made by small producers using only grapes from their own estates – are a good fit for the independent trade. “You’re getting an artisan hand-produced usually small-production Champagne,” he says. “Most of these guys are producing maybe 2,000 cases a year, and that fits in with a lot of what us indies are doing. Championing the small guys over the bigger and mass-produced brands is certainly what the independent sector has been about and it fits with us very well. “A lot of consumers are not really aware that many growers over the last 10 or 15 years have stopped selling their grapes to the big houses and said, ‘actually there’s a bit of family history here … I’d like to go back to making wine again rather than supplying all the big houses’. They are producing some fantastic wine and the prices are really good when you compare Pierre Péters is one of the Champagne growers making a personal appearance them to the branded Champagnes.” Grower Champagnes make up around 70% of The Good Wine Shop’s Champagne range, though Wrigglesworth has to secure most of them on allocation as volumes are so small. “We deal with many of them for most of the year now, building up momentum from the back end of the previous year,” he says. “We might get 24 bottles a year and when it’s gone, it’s gone.” The business does carry some of the grandes marques, but with the usual hazards. “Branded Champagne can be so THE WINE MERCHANT JUNE 2017 2 heavily discounted by the multiples, so if you’re selling it you’ve got to look around every street corner to see who’s doing some kind of discounting on it, which means it’s difficult commercially.” Wrigglesworth would like other independents to get on board when the activity starts again next June. “It’s not that we want to make this idea our own,” he says. “The idea of creating the website and putting out a press release was to try and get other people on board with this, because I think certainly from the indies’ perspective, this kind of thing is our meat and drink. It’s a brilliant thing to grab hold of and make it our own as a sector. “If we make June Grower Champagne Month it’s a chance to beat the drum, raise the profile do some events and champion these wonderful Champagnes.” Lifeboats benefit from wine tasting North Wales indie Vinomondo is asking customers to choose wines that it will sell to raise money for the RNLI. It’s holding a tasting at which it will showcase blind samples of 12 wines, from which customers – along with members of the local lifeboat crew – will be asked to nominate a red, a white, a pink and a fizz. Owner Julie Mills will then have the wines bottled and branded with labels that publicise the cause and will sell them in the shop and its sister bar in Conwy. “We’ve long supported the lifeboat and each year we organise a ball which raises about £20,000 for them,” she says. “We’ll still be doing that this year but this will be a bit different. Obviously if customers are choosing wines they know they like, we hope it will drive some business our way, but it’s mainly about giving something back to the community for the loyalty that they’ve shown to us.”

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Uphill struggle for Sussex merchant Sussex merchant Noble Wines has relocated to premises further up Uckfield’s high street to overcome new parking restrictions Owner Charles Mears-Lamb says the move has helped evening trade but has not led to an increase in overall sales. It’s cost him the use of what he calls a “glorious” cellar at the old shop but has gained him more retail space for a cheaper rent. “I’ve gone to the end of the high street and you can park wherever you want,” he says. “It seems to be going on in lots of villages and small towns whereby they are taking out all the parking in the high street to create big, wide pavements – and it’s killing trade. “The council spent eight or nine months digging up the road and it has resulted in two shops moving and six others have gone under. Their excuse was to increase traffic flow but it is now far worse than it was before because, without the parking in the high street, all the delivery vehicles have to stop in the road, which stops the traffic. It’s just a nonsense.” Mears-Lamb is using social media activity to win back any lost custom. “There’s quite a bit to do,” he says. “It’ll either go very well or I’ll cry and go and do something else.” in nearby Cardiff. “After seeing the impact of the growth of board games in bars and cafés, I thought it was a wonderful opportunity to introduce it to The Bottle Shop,” Cosnan says. “There’s a nice buzz around it because there are other board game nights in the city but they’re in quite cavernous or loud venues, whereas here it’s an exclusive environment.” Some regular visitors to the Penarth store Participants can play old favourites such as Monopoly or Cluedo or try more leftfield options including Captain Sonar and Settlers of Catan. Cosnan advises other merchants who might be interested in introducing the idea to their own shops to aim for quick-to-play games. “The magic time is an hour or less, he suggests. “There should be a gentle rotation of games with people wanting to play more than one, then new people can get introduced to the games.” And the Bottle Shop has a pinball machine for them to play while they’re waiting. Flying Füchs “Our Man with the Facts” • Petite Sainte-Marie, Klevner, Breisgauer Suessling, Rouci Bile and Feinburgunder are among the many synonyms that exist for Chardonnay. • It’s unclear why Bordeaux bottles have their distinctive shape, though a popular theory is that the shoulders of the bottles were created to catch the sediment as the wine is poured. • On average it takes British and Irish workers just over 17 minutes to earn enough to buy a bottle of Moët & Chandon, according to data compiled by the American Association of Wine Economics. This compares to just under 13 minutes for workers in Germany, 1 hour 38 minutes for Russians and 22 hours 19 minutes for Indians. Fun and games at The Bottle Shop The Bottle Shop in Penarth has rolled the dice and is hoping that monthly board game nights in the shop will boost its drinking-in business. Staff member Billy Cosnan came up with the idea after seeing the idea work for ontrade venues in the south Wales town and • Apologies to our friends at The Composite Drinks Company, whose Federalist Visionary Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley 2014 was among the Top 50 in last month’s California Collection supplement. We accidentally published the image of their Lodi Zinfandel instead of the correct one, reproduced here. THE WINE MERCHANT JUNE 2017 3 • The Waiter’s Friend corkscrew was devised by Carl Wienke, a German inventor who filed a patent on his new device in 1882. It was also originally known as a Butler’s Friend or Wine Key. • Leonardo da Vinci was given his own vineyard as payment for The Last Supper. His favourite wine was apparently Malvasia di Candia.

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Borough Wines on expansion trail From page 1 always a great interest and people who haven’t seen it before are blown away by the quality of the wine. “There’s still a lot of convincing to do around it, but once they taste it, they are really shocked and get into it. “What’s nice is that they can have that as their house wine and start looking at other wines on our shelves as well.” Refill bottles are all £6.50 at the moment but Pyke says the business is looking into introducing more expensive options at some sites. Borough – which has one shop in Hastings, East Sussex, in addition to eight London branches – also supplies a number of other independents with a selection of bottled and refill wines under its Wine Corners banner. “What we are able to do with the corners is keep brand awareness, without having more stores outside of London at the moment,” she adds. Refills are priced at £6.50 a bottle Borough’s ninth branch occupies a former hardware store Ex Laithwaites duo open in Banstead Surrey’s latest independent wine shop has been created by former Laithwaites manager Jonathan Regan. Banstead Vintners is managed by Paul Everest, who also worked for Laithwaites as a wine adviser. The store occupies a former pet shop in the centre of the Surrey town. The frontage has been extended to create extra sales space. “We got a good grounding from Laithwaites,” says Regan. “But you want to branch out and do your own thing and start getting in what we would class as more interesting wines than those they were able to offer.” The pair have local knowledge of the area, which until now “has been lacking its own independent wine shop”. Regan adds: “The shop is slap bang in the middle of the high street, right opposite the main car park, which is useful to us – and the parking on the high street is free for half an hour.” The wine range will “cover a lot of bases THE WINE MERCHANT JUNE 2017 4 rather than specialising particularly on one thing” as the business gets to understand local demand. “For now, we just want good examples of good wines from wherever it might be. “What was great about the London Wine Fair was seeing such an eclectic range of things. “We’ll be using people like Liberty and Alliance but we met some smaller suppliers like Department 33 and Condor Wines; HispaMerchants were very good as well. It is nice to use some of the smaller importers because they offer you a bit more uniqueness.” The shop will focus on retail sales at this stage but Regan will consider an onpremise element further down the line. Paul Everest (left) and Jonathan Regan

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New Totnes owner looks for expansion The Totnes Wine Company has been bought by Julian Packer, a West Country entrepreneur with a long track record in the drinks trade. Nigel Pound is continuing to work for the company on a part-time basis as Packer looks for expansion opportunities for the retail and wholesale side of the business. “Nigel is staying on to help with the selection of the wines and the buying,” says Packer. “We’re also trying to do more customer tastings, more dinners, and we’re trying to go farther afield now, so there’s tastings coming up in Brighton, Cobham and all over the place.” Packer has already set about expanding the shop. “I’ve just put a planning application in to convert all the store rooms into a place where you can sit down and have your platter of meat or cheese for lunch,” he says. “It’s going to increase the area by a good third and we’ll be able to hold tastings and dinners there as well. The shop has got a full on-licence already so it really just takes it to another stage.” The business has been moved into a company called Morgan James. “The intention is to start wholesaling to pubs and restaurants,” Packer says. “We’re going to take on new wines, and import a few more wines directly as well.” Packer’s previous retail ventures were Draycott Wines and Bridge House Wines, which had estates of five or six shops, and he is hopeful of growing the Totnes estate along the same lines. His target area stretches as far north as Bristol and as far south as Cornwall. “Once we’ve fine-tuned Totnes and got it exactly as we want it, we’ve got a couple of other people we’re talking to about perhaps purchasing their shops,” he says. “It’s exciting times.” Julian Packer (left) takes over from Nigel Pound (right) Extra space at new Harrogate shop The Harrogate Fine Wine Company is putting the finishing touches to a tasting room it has created at its new premises. The business relocated last autumn from The Ginnel, its home for 31 years, to nearby Montpellier Street, which increased its floor space from 900 sq ft to 1,5000 sq ft. Owner Andy Langshaw, who took over the business 17 years ago, says the priority was to refit the ground floor sales area before starting work on the upstairs room. The custom-built shelving system allows most of the wines to lay down. “The system is very concise, with everything in sixes, so it’s five bottles behind and one in front,” he says. “In our old shop we had bins of 12, so we’ve reduced the amount we are carrying rather than the amount of lines.” The upstairs space has been fitted with toilets and prep rooms. “We would envisage it to be a tasting room that we will use primarily for our own tastings, but we’re not unhappy about using it for WSET events, for example,” Langshaw says. “It’s such a great little space. Technically we’re still not quite finished. We’ve got to do the proper decoration and then we’ll put the tables and chairs in. “It just gives us a lot of dynamic opportunities, more so than we had in our old shop. Over the next few years as we just let it organically grow we’ll see what works and what people want.” Langshaw reports good business, especially with wines from Burgundy, Beaujolais, Spain and South Africa. Tapping into south London market South London’s Bob Wines is opening a third shop in late June. The new site is in Tulse Hill and joins existing stores in Crystal Palace and Sydenham. “We’re going to have five taps to do wine by the cask,” says Crystal Palace manager Marco Floridia. THE WINE MERCHANT JUNE 2017 6

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Adeline Mangevine “We’ve been open four years here and we’ve always had that system. We’ve got one sparkling and four other taps, and we’re going to do the same at Tulse Hill. “There will also be a good selection of wines by the bottle, of course, and the focus will be on wines under £10 for customers who want to have good bottle of wine but on a kind of a budget. We’ll also have a section for organic wines. “In Tulse Hill in the future there will also be a space dedicated to allowing people to sit and taste wines, but that will be a tiertwo project.” Berry Bros moves around the corner Berry Bros & Rudd has opened a smart new store in London’s Pall Mall, just around the corner from its original home at 3 St James’s Street, which is reverting to its former role as a venue for private client meetings and events. The new shop will have over 1,000 wines and spirits on display, plus a 300-strong fine wine section and a rotating selection of 24 wines for sampling on Enomatics. It will naturally be strong on Bordeaux and Burgundy but will include the likes of Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova and Israel among more than 20 featured countries. “The range will evolve over time, changing depending on the season, staff recommendations and fashion,” says wine director Mark Pardoe MW. 300 fine wines among a 1,000-strong line-up Hasty despatches from the frontline of wine retailing It’s a quiet Monday afternoon and I’m “catching up” on Instagram. As I scroll through picture after picture of unicorn wines consumed over the weekend by people I don’t know, something grabs my eye. It’s a post by one of my suppliers of a group of four fresh-faced sommeliers from Michelinstarred joints standing in a vineyard on Santorini. “Awesome start to the trip!!” says the caption. “Time to taste some Assyrtiko!!!” I am more than a little annoyed – and not just by the overuse of the exclamation mark. I probably shift more of this producer’s Assyrtiko in a week than do all four somms combined in a month. I’ve championed it and built up a loyal following. Yet I have never been invited to visit the place where it is created. Why? Because independent wine merchants are not rock stars. We’re the uncredited session musicians. We don’t get showered in glory when we commit to buy six bottles of an obscure, skin-contact Spanish mountain wine that will impress other members of the wine trade (but will move slower than a snail wearing lead weights). We don’t get hard-to-come-by wines reserved for us (unpaid) for months on end. A suburban shop is just not as sexy as saying your wine is listed by hot new London joint The Bathing Pool or super-cool country retreat Doghouse Manor. Yet collectively, we independent wine merchants are worth hundreds of millions. We are the alternative to supplier-squeezing multiples; we’ll take risks on unknown grapes, wines and regions; we are the people who convince consumers week in, week out to part with their hard-earned cash on a white that isn’t a Sauvignon Blanc and a red that is more than £10. But often, it feels like we’re the office juniors of the industry. If somms are the rock gods, then wine writers are the movie stars. They’re always complaining about how few parts are available to them (for parts, read column inches) – but then act as if the nation stops in its tracks to read what they write. If sommeliers are the trade’s rock gods, we independent merchants are merely session musicians Suppliers and producers swoon like fans when a well-known writer glides to their table at a tasting in the hope that these critics might write a glowing sentence about one of their wines. They’ll drop everything, including any merchant who might be tasting their wares. Instantly, we are reduced to being unpaid extras, holding empty glasses aloft. I will be kinder to wine writers who are also MWs – and MWs in general. Same goes for Master Sommeliers. They’ve had to pass all those big, nasty exams to get to a level of expertise. I am happy to play house doctor to their consultant surgeon. As for the buyers from the multiples and behemoth distributors, I see them as government ministers. Lots of attention is paid to what they say and do, much of it irrelevant to a major part of the industry: independent wine merchants. THE WINE MERCHANT JUNE 2017 7

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tried & Tested Oliver Zeter Sauvignon Blanc Fumé 2015 It might seem perverse to select a Sauvignon as a stand-out white in a room full of Rieslings at the Wines of Germany tasting. But this is a bit special: seven clones from seven Pfalz vineyards, fermented in new oak and left on lees until the summer. Ripe but restrained, with a slight smokiness: gorgeous stuff. RRP: £19.95 ABV: 12.5% Delibo Wine Agencies (07787 511806) delibo.co.uk Château de Fesles Bonnezeaux 2010 Made with botrytised Chenin grapes from a high point in the Bonnezeaux appellation, where the wind helps manage the rot, and aged in oak and acacia barrels, this is a fruity, spicy and floral delight that hides its 175g of sugar. “For me this is an aperitif wine,” says winemaker Pierre-Jean Sauvion. “Don’t put it on the dessert menu.” RRP: £27.95 ABV: 12% GCF Exclusif (07789 008 540) cdf-chateaux.com Cossetti Barbera d’Asti La Vigna Vecchia 2014 You’d imagine that working with almost 100-year-old single-estate vines would give you something of a head start as a winemaker. But let’s take nothing away from the three sisters at Cossetti who continue their father’s good work and have crafted a supple, smooth but complex wine with deep cherry flavours. RRP: £15 ABV: 13.5% The Knotted Vine (0207 998 1020) knottedvine.com Rudolf Fürst Bürgstadter Pinot Noir 2012 Anglo-Saxon wine wisdom holds that Burgundy, New Zealand and Oregon are the Pinot Noir pace setters. But Germany is in the big league too, with some world-class examples in evidence at the London tasting. This one, from a Franken estate established in 1979, is elegant, ethereal and almost perfect. RRP: £31.85 ABV: 13% Awin Barratt Siegel (01306 631155) abswineagencies.co.uk Bouchard Finlayson Blanc de Mer 2015 Riesling dominates this Walker Bay blend, but there’s Viognier, Chardonnay, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc in the mix too. It’s a tropical fruit cocktail all right, but there’s a lovely silkiness to the body and crispness to the finish that adds extra dimension. A great summer glugger and frankly a bit of a steal at under 13 quid. RRP: £12.85 ABV: 13.5% Seckford Agencies (01206 231188) seckfordagencies.co.uk Louis Jadot Macon Chardonnay 2015 Yes, you can find steelier or richer Chardonnay if you want it, but if what’s required is a straight-down-themiddle, decent quality wine for all the family, you can’t go wrong here. It’s versatile enough to pair with a huge range of summer foods thanks to its citrus bite, but the rounder, peachy elements make it a solo quaffer too. RRP: £16.70 ABV: 13% Hatch Mansfield (01344 871800) hatchmansfield.com Champagne Deutz Rosé NV It’s a shame that so much rosé Champagne gets overchilled and swigged back in a couple of gulps, often before a dash to the paddling pool to break up a toddler fight. Spend some time with this one and savour the aromas of ripe soft cheese and autumn fruits, the tang of cherries and strawberries, and even a distant hint of salted caramel. The toddlers will probably be fine. RRP: £49.95 ABV: 12% Gonzalez Byass UK (01707 274790) gonzalezbyassuk.com The Garajeest Bruce Cabernet Franc 2015 Winemaker Callan Williams wanted to be a ballet dancer but sensibly became a winemaker instead. The Zimbabwean works out of a rented cellar space near Somerset West, with fruit from cool-climate Elgin. There’s a raw, earthy appeal about her debut vintage and just enough French oak to season the juicy fruit. RRP: £30 ABV: 15.5% Red Squirrel Wine (020 3490 1210) redsquirrelwine.com THE WINE MERCHANT JUNE 2017 8

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CARSON & CARNEVALE invites you to discover something new this summer free tasting 150+ wines masterclasses discovery area food available 12th June - Brighton Angel House - BN3 1HN 11:00am - 5:00pm 14th June - London The Fable - EC1A 2FD 11:00am - 5:00pm aLL of our wines are avaiLaBLe nationwide with no minimum deLivery required summer PortfoLio tastings itinerary 11am – 5pm: Tasting open to trade. 11am – 12.15pm: Premium South America Masterclass: Rutini Wines (Mendoza) and Vina Siegel (Colchagua Valley). 3pm – 4.15pm: Premium Italian Masterclass: Tenuta Sant’Antonio (Veneto) and Malvira (Piedmont). Please note that numbers for each masterclass are limited, so to secure a seat at either of our masterclasses please request a place and your preference when registering to attend. RSVP: to register by email contact: j.carson@carsoncarnevalewines.com or by phone: 0203 261 0929 THE WINE MERCHANT JUNE 2017 9

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book review The Complete Bordeaux Stephen Brook Mitchell Beazley, £50 Bordeaux couldn’t care less about the wine-buying public. Its winemakers barely know who actually drinks their wine. As a tourist destination, the region is dismal. And the climate is unreliable, meaning that in some years even top producers can make unremarkable wines, which change hands at ludicrously inflated prices by international standards. It can be a difficult place to love, especially at a time when the most celebrated of Bordeaux’s wines are out of the reach of mere mortals. Yet when you venture beyond the arrogance and hubris, get to grips with the tangled web of classifications and legal wrangling, and see through the discredited and occasionally bizarre ritual of the primeur circus, you can discover Bordeaux’s beating heart. Stephen Brook has gone native to some extent. Nobody could attempt to write a book with a title as ambitious as The The introduction has been rewritten for 2017 Brook: speaking truth to Bordeaux power Complete Bordeaux without ingratiating himself with the people whose work he describes in such fine detail. By accepting the hospitality that the Bordelais lavish upon trade visitors, friendships and alliances have inevitably been formed, and Brook has his work cut out to maintain an aloof impartiality. For the third edition of the book, the entire introductory section, spanning some 50 pages, has been rewritten, giving the reader not just a historical perspective on Bordeaux but on recent developments too. Vignerons have become more selective and painstaking in their picking, which has helped drive the trend towards riper styles. Concentration, micro-oxygenation and lees-stirring make it harder to distinguish a decent young Bordeaux from its international competitors, though Brook maintains that the trademark “cedary aromas, whiffs of cigar box and damp earth” still resurface with bottle age. Not everyone is convinced Bordeaux has retained its personality. “Nineteen eighty-two was an atypical vintage,” says American wine importer Kermit Lynch. “But ever since, producers have been trying to make wines that taste like it.” Consultant oenologists such as Michel Rolland have become more influential, and Brook provides a useful checklist of which properties each is associated with. It’s a fallacy to say that all Rolland wines taste the same, Brook argues, though his hallmarks are certainly discernible. The changing attitude towards pigeage – a Burgundian extraction technique that has been adopted by some in Bordeaux in preference to the gentler, traditional local method of merely pumping juice over the cap – is one of several technical innovations that Brook discusses, with commentary from winemakers who see pros and cons for each. (Pigeage traditionally involves naked men jumping into fermentation tanks to break up the cap, but this is extremely hazardous, and the process is now usually mechanised, to avoid further fatalities.) Brook’s retelling of the Crus Bourgeois saga shines a light on the politics and egos that have always been part of Bordeaux’s make-up. The classification dates back to 1850 and was codified in 1932, creating confusion and legal disputes that rumbled on until last autumn. No doubt the fourth edition will reveal how successful the latest peace entreaties have been. Brook provides thoughtful and honest assessments of 1,000 properties, avoiding over-detailed tasting descriptions not least because there is so much scope for variation between bottles, and because wines continue to evolve, meaning a note from 2012 may be redundant in 2017. He openly acknowledges vintages he has not personally tasted and although his tone is consistently upbeat and encouraging, he does flag up wines and properties that have failed to reach their potential. The Complete Bordeaux could so easily be a worthy, but dry, work of reference. Brook’s informed commentary and insights make it so much more. His encyclopaedic understanding of his subject allows him the freedom and authority to venture opinions and observations that may ruffle some well-preened feathers. Those in Bordeaux who have wined and dined him should thank him for it. Sometimes, the most honest, and valuable, criticism comes from our closest friends. GH THE WINE MERCHANT JUNE 2017 10

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Stacey Anderson and Harry Crowther, M Wine Store, London Sue Butler and Jim Dawson, The Jolly Vintner Too, Bournemouth Charlotte Dean and Chris Mason, Wined Up Here, Norbiton Good to see you The Wine Merchant Top 100 stand at the London Wine Fair attracted a steady stream of independents throughout the three days, keen to taste this year’s winners Gosia Bailey, Mr & Mrs Fine Wine, Southwell Rachel and Will Gibson, Wine Utopia, Hampshire THE WINE MERCHANT JUNE 2017 11 Greg Pearce, Cloud Wine, Southampton  

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bits & BOBs FAVOURITE THINGS Jackie Sugden Grassington Wine North Yorkshire Favourite wine on my list Walter Massa ‘Derthona’ Vino Bianco made from Timorassa – an almost extinct grape variety, rescued and now flourishing on this small estate in Piedmont. Layers of flavour; truly delicious. Favourite wine and food match Shiraz from Holden Manz in Franschhoek with marinated then barbecued belly of pork – the crispy, spicy charred meat perfectly matching the black fruit, tar and spice of this deeply satisfying wine. Favourite wine trip For eye-opening discoveries of new grape varieties and impressive wines, played out against a backdrop of history and culture beset by present day troubles … it has to be the Wine Merchant trip to Turkey last year hosted by Kavaklidere Wines. Favourite wine trade person So many great people but for longevity of working relationship it must be Andy Taylor at Liberty Wines, Julia Langshaw of New Generation McKinley and Bob Ratcliffe of The Bottle Drinks Co. They were all very supportive when I set up on my own and always a real pleasure to deal with. English stampede gathers pace Magpie A record number of English wine companies were launched last year, as new vineyard owners sought to capitalise on a growing taste for their products. Sixty-four new wine businesses put down roots in England and Wales during 2016, up 73% on the previous year according to HM Revenue & Customs. Industry experts put the rise down to factors including demand from abroad as a result of the weak pound, and growing recognition around the world that English wine is not to be scoffed at. The Guardian, May 29 a third of the entire production. In order to keep pace with demand, production was ramped up to 3.55 million hectolitres last year, a 45% increase on the 2014 figure. The UK is Prosecco’s number one export market. Along with the US and Germany, it accounts for 75% of sales. The Drinks Business, May 24 • Audrey Bourolleau, president of the Côtes de Bordeaux wine union from 2010 to 2012, has been appointed a key agricultural adviser in the new government of president Emmanuel Macron. She previously worked for lobbying group Vin et Société. Decanter.com, May 24 Don’t believe the healthy wine hype Jenkyn Place: now among the old guard Brits top Prosecco world sales league The British consume 112.7 million bottles of Prosecco a year – representing The belief that a regular glass of wine is good for the heart may just be “wishful thinking”, according to a study. Non-drinkers may be former drinkers who quit due to ill health, experts say. Professor Tim Stockwell, of the University of Victoria in Canada, says: “The risks of low-level drinking are small but people should not drink solely because they believe it wards off disease.” Daily Express, May 29 winemerchantmag.com 01323 871836 Favourite wine shop I’m sure I’m not the first wine merchant to have lost an afternoon in D Byrne Cellars in Clitheroe. The sheer diversity is awesome … like an Aladdin’s Cave, and always some treasure to be found. winemerchantteam@gmail.com Twitter: @WineMerchantMag The Wine Merchant is mailed freely to the owners of the UK’s 828 specialist independent wine shops. Except one, and that’s deliberate. The magazine is edited by Graham Holter. Printed in Sussex by East Print. Registered in England: No 6441762 VAT 943 8771 82 © Graham Holter Ltd 2017 THE WINE MERCHANT JUNE 2017 14

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THE WINEMAKER FILES Mitchell Taylor, Wakefield Wines The Clare Valley estate was started by Mitchell’s grandfather Bill in 1969 and was the first in Australia to commit 100% to screwcaps. Wakefield’s new premium vintages were unveiled to the UK trade in May this year My family bought a lovely plot in the Clare Valley and planted 400 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon. The locals thought we were bananas. They were thinking, “you cannot make good fortified wine out of Cabernet Sauvignon, you just cannot do it” and we said, “no, we’re going to make this other thing called straight Cabernet Sauvignon”. The first ever Cabernet Sauvignon that came through was ’73 and that one actually won a gold medal in every single national wine show around the country. In Adelaide it went on to win the Montgomery Trophy which is for the best red wine in the show. So we thought, ‘just how friggin’ easy is this winemaking?’ We did have a different style. We were making a full bodied wine but it had elegance to it and softness and a bit of oak to age it. The technology probably wasn’t as sophisticated, but we had the best oak. I left school and did a business degree. Then I did what every Aussie has to do and came to London for a couple of years and travelled to Europe. I worked as a stockbroker in the mid 80s. One thing that got me into the family business is that a computer arrived and nobody wanted to touch it. My dad asked if I could go and sort it out and teach everyone how to use it. I agreed to go for three months, but as soon as I got in on that three-month contract I not only saw how chaotic the place was but how interesting it was. Clare is a great region because you can make really beautiful and elegant wines. There are at least about 12 varietals that do exceptionally well in the Clare Valley, because of the warm days and very cool nights. We are sitting at about 350m above sea level. It’s a premier region for Riesling because it’s got the lovely contrast in temperature through the critical ripening period. We were the first winery to go 100% screwcap. It was August 2004. Even if you don’t have cork taint, you’ve probably got another three issues you’ve got to deal with like random oxidisation. I’m all for romance, but I don’t go to work on a horse and cart anymore. TThheerfierisst ajobbigofmfeyrthI ggootinwgarsotuonwdotrhkaitnyaouwnineeerdyt, haet AwningoevteosbirneMatchLeatrhernoVuaglhe.the Mcoyreka.rMlyicdraoy-soxwideirseamtioonredloaebsoerxaitsotrwy iatnhdaqculuamlitsyycpoinetcreool bf ubtarIkgobtutthiet vwairnieesbfurogmancdork to wcoernkt. tSocrReowsecawposrathlsyoCaolllolewgem. Iiccraom-oexbidaicskattioonAntogohvaepspienn1. 9Yo7u6 caanndaglomtomstorgeetatnodwmitohrien a i1n%vomlveadrg. in of the micro-oxygen you want. Ageing wines with screwcaps is far superior. St Andrews Riesling 2016 RRP £25 “This is a single vineyard on the estate and at the top end of our Rieslings. To make this elegant, crispy limey, lovely citrus style, you don’t want to have too much skin contact or any pressing. So we start the free run and do the cut at an early stage.” St Andrews Shiraz 2014 RRP £35 “It’s a beautiful richness that you get, particularly in our reds, from the Clare Valley. This is a wine with lots of spice and liquorice. During the 2014 vintage the ripening conditions were just perfect.” The Visionary Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 RRP £75 “It’s only the fourth vintage of this wine to be produced. What we’re trying to do is make a wine that is elegant and fruit driven. The tannins are part of the wine, rather than being noticed on the edge of the wine.” Feature sponsored by Wakefield Wines, imported in the UK by Louis Latour Agencies www.louislatour.co.uk THE WINE MERCHANT JUNE 2016 15

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