Fresh legal action launched against government’s Covid restrictions

12th October, 2020

The UK government is facing fresh legal action against its coronavirus restrictions in England as a group of leading officials, brewers and restaurants back the challenge.

According to the Guardian and Manchester Evening News, the move is being led by Sacha Lord, the night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester. The action challenges the legality of shutting hospitality outlets in areas with high levels of coronavirus cases ahead of a government announcement later today.

Lord is being supported by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), major brewers JW Lees, Joseph Holts and Robinsons and around 10 other companies which include pub operators, bars and restaurants.

Lord said in a statement: “There is currently no tangible scientific evidence to merit a full closure of the hospitality and entertainment sectors. Our discussions and ongoing calls for evidence have been ignored and we have therefore been left with little choice but to escalate the matter further.”

Michael Kill, chief executive of the NTIA, added: “These new measures will have a catastrophic impact on late night businesses, and are exacerbated further by an insufficient financial support package presented by the Chancellor in an attempt to sustain businesses through this period. Systematic closure of businesses across the UK must be challenged when there is no clear evidence or reason.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said the government’s support package to aid affected businesses announced last week does not go far enough.

He said: “While it may be possible for people on middle or higher earnings to live on two thirds of their salary, that is not the case for the low-paid staff who work in hospitality. They do not have the luxury of being able to pay only two thirds of their rent or their bills.

“Earlier this year, the government set its national furlough scheme at 80%. We can see no justifiable reason why the local furlough scheme should be set at 67%. To accept it would be to treat hospitality workers as second-class citizens and we think that is wrong. Many of these workers have already faced severe hardship this year.”

Lord has instructed lawyers to submit a draft of the challenge to Downing Street today. Last week Jeremy Joseph, the owner of nightclub chain G-A-Y launched a legal challenge to the UK government’s restrictions on the hospitality and leisure sector. 

The news comes as the Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce new restrictions in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19. It has been reported that Johnson will announce the introduction of a three-tier system for controlling the virus, allowing specific areas of the country to be placed in lockdown.

The Liverpool city region is expected to face the tightest restrictions as part of the new scheme. However, there are now reports that while pubs will be forced to close, restaurants may be allowed to remain open.

It is thought that Manchester may also face the strictest level of restrictions.

The changes to the coronavirus guidelines will be announced in the House of Commons later today, before a press conference is held at Downing Street at 6pm.

According to the latest data from Public Health England, the number of confirmed acute respiratory infection incidents (which includes Covid-19, flu and other respiratory pathogens) last week from food outlet or restaurant settings was 33 (out of a total of 782), of which 24 had at least one linked case that tested positive for Covid-19.

This compares with 296 incidents from educational settings, 204 from workplace settings and 143 incidents from care homes.

Read more:

UK CHEFS PETITION FOR A HOSPITALITY MINISTER

UK CORONAVIRUS CURFEW LIKE ’SHOOTING THE WOUNDED’ SAYS TOP CHEF

Q&A: Gino Colangelo, Colangelo & Partners

12th October, 2020

What is Colangelo & Partners and what do you do?

Colangelo & Partners (www.colangelopr.com) is a fine wine and spirits PR agency.  We offer five basic services: 1) Press Relations, 2) Social Media / Influencer Relations, 3) Event Marketing, 4) Trade Relations and 5) Content Marketing.  We have our main offices in New York and San Francisco, and we have key staff in the UK, France and Italy as well as other key cities in the US such as Miami. With a staff of 55 (representing 14 nationalities!), we’re relatively boutique-sized by US standards for a generalist agency. However, within the world of fine wine and spirts, we’re quite large. Our team is technically trained and certified in wine and spirits/cocktails as well as the disciplines of communications. 

Who Does Colangelo & Partners work for?

We represent clients from all over the world as well as the US. Our clients are wine and spirits companies as well as trade marketing institutions. We’re very proud of our prestigious client list. On the institutional side, our clients include Wines from Spain, Wines of South Africa, the Prosecco DOC Consortium, the Chianti Classico Consortium, Trentodoc, Crus Bourgeois, Vinho Verde and many others. On the company side, we work for Charles Krug, Far Niente, Foley Estates, Frescobaldi, Jackson Family Wines, Larkmead, Louis Martini, Louis Roederer, Luce, Ornellaia and numerous others. 

What are the chief challenges of the US market currently?

The Covid-19 pandemic has created challenges in the way our team works and communicates as well as the ways in which we support our clients’ efforts to build their brands and drive sales of their products. I’ve been incredibly impressed by the agility and adaptability of our team. Since March, when we went to (largely) remote working, we’ve hardly missed a beat in terms of the results we’ve been able to generate, thus keeping our clients in the news and helping to create direct selling opportunities. 

Of course, tastings and events – which are fundamental to the world of fine wine and spirits marketing and are a big part of our business – are not possible now. But we’ve quickly pivoted to more retail-driven promotions and activations with key influencers (sommeliers, bartenders) on virtual tastings that often lead directly to sales. Our press relations, social media and content marketing is more important than ever in helping our clients compete during the pandemic. 

What are some key trends you’re seeing?

I would point to three trends that are fundamental to the fine wine and spirits business:

The convergence of commerce and communications. Online retail and marketplace platforms, as well as brick & mortar retailers, are increasingly becoming a primary source of information and education for wine and spirits lovers. While a recommendation from a fine wine retailer has always been critical for brand development (and sales), digital communications are creating more opportunities for consistent communications to customers on a much larger, geographically diverse scale. Conversely, media companies are looking for new revenue streams in areas such as data analytics and events as well as selling stuff (wine, spirits and accessories). 

Relaxation of interstate commerce rules and reduction of barriers to Direct to Consumer sales. Covid has accelerated ecommerce and DTC business. Americans can now order cocktails on demand for home delivery, for example, and buy wine from restaurants for take-out. Interstate shipping of wine is becoming easier for domestic as well as international wines. The 3-tier system, which regulates the US alcoholic beverage business state by state, is evolving quickly. 

Hybrid strategies for digital and in-person events. Our clients are realizing that they can touch many more consumers much more efficiently and cost-effectively through digital channels than they could in-person. While nothing will replace the visceral experience of tasting with a winemaker at an intimate dinner or even better – at the winery – much more can be done virtually than we realized before Covid. 

How has the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated/worsened these trends?

All three trends mentioned above were happening pre-Covid; they’ve simply been accelerated because of Covid. The one overwhelming challenge that Covid has created for estate wine producers and craft distillers is the lack of trial and experimentation. Wine lovers and craft spirits aficionados would often discover new favorite products through events, from Somm recommendations and at their favorite wine shops. Retail sales have been very resilient during the pandemic (obviously, restaurant sales have plummeted) but consumers are buying, not shopping. In a world without physical event and tastings, generating trial for new and boutique brands is the number one challenge our clients face.

Where, on the other hand, are the opportunities in this situation?

There are more opportunities to sell direct to consumer, more e-commerce opportunities, and more opportunities for brand owners to build relationships directly with target audiences, whether they be trade audiences or wine and spirits lovers. As for press, wine and spirits writers typically have spent much of their time on the road. It’s actually easier to engage press now than pre-Covid because they’re not traveling! With new sampling technologies, brand marketers can send tasting samples to writers, influencers and buyers efficiently and cost-effectively. Retailers are looking for promotional support in terms of education and content. This is a big opportunity for brand marketers as well as wine marketing institutions. 

What can wineries do to compete?

Communicate and connect. Explore alternative channels for direct selling and brand building. Work closely with their importers to activate retail promotions and engage fans of the brand virtually. Speak directly to key customers, trade and consumer, through digital platforms – or by simply picking up the phone.  Create vibrant, compelling content (video, animation, graphics) and disseminate the content across marketplace platforms like Vivino and online retailers like Wine.com. Allocate marketing dollars that were intended for travel & entertainment to digital promotions, hyper-targeted online advertising and other communications activities. There’s a lot that can be done! It just takes agility to shift course and work in new ways. Those who adapt the fastest and most strategically will come out ahead in the long-term. 

iDealwine update: When in Rhône

12th October, 2020

The Gonon brothers farm and ferment in the traditional method, and their meticulousness has led to them becoming a leading light of Saint-Joseph.

In the northern Rhône, the Saint-Joseph appellation has lived in the shadows of the illustrious Hermitage hill across the river. Yet the Western bank of the Rhône is home to many increasingly successful and sought-after crus; Saint-Joseph is one such appellation, along with neighbours Cornas and Condrieu. Pierre and Jean Gonon have contributed hugely to this renaissance of sorts. Their Saint-Joseph releases are exemplars of fine winemaking in the northern Rhône.

At the turn of the 20th century, Pierre Gonon farmed a few parcels of vines while living from polyculture. His son, Émile, on the other hand, pursued other interests leaving the domaine’s vines to decline. Only one parcel of old vines thus remained when his descendent, Pierre Gonon, decided to restore the vineyard in the 1950s.

From the age of 15, he began by replanting vines, then went on to vinify and sell his wines to the local négociant. In 1964, Pierre and his wife bought a parcel of land on which to making a white wine. At the time, white Saint-Joseph was not particularly prized by local merchants, but the winemaker produced his own cuvée, making it the domaine’s first. In 1989, Pierre handed over direction of the property to his sons, Pierre and Jean. The likeable, talented brothers worked hard to put the domaine on the world wine map and continue to produce show-stopping Saint-Joseph with a growing international aura.

Saint-Joseph earned AOC status in 1956; at the time, very little land was under vine, centring around the town of Saint-Joseph and neighbouring villages Mauves, Tournon and Saint Jean de Muzols. In 1971, the appellation expanded, bringing in an era of poor-quality wines. The Gonon family, however, bucked this trend, using only the finest grapes grown with utmost care. The domaine spans 10 hectares of certified organic land – a choice that is all the more back-breaking, given how steep the vineyards are. The work on these slopes is done with the help of winches and hoists, indispensable on such terrain.

Spread over the best communes in the appellation, Tournon, Mauves and St Jean de Muzois, the finest plot was bought from Raymond Trollat in 2005. The vineyards’ eastern exposure gives the grapes fewer hours of sunshine, conferring on them a freshness unusual in the region. The domaine eschews herbicides and pesticides, using only natural composts on its soils, which are made up of decomposed granite and calcareous limestone. Vines are replaced with cuttings from the strongest vines, thus perpetuating healthy rootstock and a continuity of style. The yields are kept low by pruning, between 30 hectolitres per hectare and 38hl/ha; grapes are harvested by hand and are strictly sorted.

In the chai, the Gonon brothers favour similarly uncompromising methods. Solely indigenous yeasts are used to start fermentation, and the wines are fermented traditionally in open oak vats. The estate produces two white cuvées and two reds. The white Saint-Joseph Blanc Les Oliviers, a blend of Marsanne and Roussanne, is produced from the lieu-dit Les Oliviers, terraces perched above the town of Tournon. This site, which lies across the river from Tain L’Hermitage, is reputed to be the finest for producing white Saint Joseph. The second white cuvée is a Chasselas released as a Vin de France.

For both, whole clusters are pressed gently with a pneumatic press, the juice allowed to settle before being racked into fermentation casks. The wines are then aged in barriques and demi-muids on fine lees for 11 months, undergoing frequent batonnage. These incredibly fragrant  whites have impressive ageing ability, easily surpassing 10 years.

About iDealwine.com

> iDealwine is an international finewine e-merchant with offices in Paris, Hong Kong and London. Specialising in online auctions and fixed-price sales, iDealwine was launched in France in 2000, and is now the online auction leader in Europe, supplying to 50 countries in Europe, Asia and the US.
> Wine is sourced from private European cellars and directly from the wineries, with a large range that includes rare bottles and vintages.
> iDealwine provides wine-market data and analysis, with more than 60,000 price estimates based on more than three million auction prices.
> Contact: Arthur de Lencquesaing – arthur@idealwine.com

RARE RED
The reds include a Saint-Joseph rouge, for which grapes are partially destemmed, vinified in large open vats with pumpovers or punch-downs twice a day for two to three weeks, then they mature for 14 to 16 months in foudres and demi-muids. Les Iles Feray, on the other hand, is a Vin de Pays de l’Ardèche aged for 10 months in old demi-muids.

The portfolio is completed by a rare Saint-Joseph Vieilles Vignes. These are top-drawer Saint-Josephs – the finest in the appellation – that showcase the purity of the northern Rhône. Redolent with the typical Syrah notes of dark fruit, violet and pepper, brought together with a hint of leather and black olive, there is a freshness in all of Gonon’s releases.

Very little of the wine is available to buy from the property, and all cuvées are increasingly coveted by enthusiasts. Demand for Gonon has recently rocketed – 2017 saw the start of an upward trajectory in prices, which has intensified over the past 12 months. The US market is particularly receptive to Gonon.

An auction record for Gonon’s releases was set in July 2020, when a 2010 Saint-Joseph Vieilles Vignes went under the hammer for €688 (£629); the 2007 made just under €400. Only one barrel of this cuvée is produced – on the rare occasion that it is produced – from hundred-year-old vines in the Aubert lieu-dit in the Saint Jean de Muzols commune. Raymond Trollat sold this parcel to the Gonon brothers when he retired, and his last vintages from the early 2000s are seeing price hikes at auction, much like Gonon’s releases.

Their classic Saint-Joseph – the 2007 vintage – went for €160 this summer, and all vintages of this cuvée now frequently fetch over €100. The 2016 Chasselas Vin de France was also an auction highlight last year, selling for €224, while this year the 2018 vintage made €209.

The Gonon brothers are another example of producers that, having earned an international reputation for their resolutely traditional winemaking,
become coveted by a new kind of wine drinker and collector.

October restaurant and bar openings in London

12th October, 2020

With autumn upon us, we’ve rounded up a trio of exciting new venues opening in London this month, including a retro ramen restaurant and a Cuban cocktail bar.

Kol – opening 20 October

Mexican chef Santiago Lastra’s long awaited London debut venture will finally open its doors in Marylebone this month. Aiming to fuse fiery Mexican flavours with impeccably sourced British ingredients, among the dishes on the debut menu will be kohlrabi, pink mole, pumpkin aguachile and smoked beetroot ceviche; seared lamb leg, guajillo mayonnaise, wild herds and corn crisp tostada; and roasted skate wing, achiote, cabbage purée and clams xnipec, served with salsa, pickles and fresh tortillas. The interiors are as eye-popping as the dishes, taking you straight down Mexico way with earthy orange hues and brightly coloured patterned tiles.

 

Bar Bolivar, Canary Wharf – opening 20 Oct

Named after South American freedom fighter Simón Bolívar, Bar Bolivar in Canary Wharf is from the brains behind Portuguese piri piri palace Casa do Frango in London Bridge. Inspired by 1950s Havana, the cocktails, like The Hemingway Highball, made with white rum, cherry soda, cranberry juice and vermouth, tip their hat to the city and its famous inhabitants. The food, meanwhile, is being looked after by Venezuelan street food outfit Pabellón. Among the highlights are Cubano sarnies, packed with honey-roasted ham, Emmental, shredded pork, pickled cucumber and American mustard. As for the décor, expect well-travelled vintage suitcases, tropical plants and brightly coloured tiled walls.

 

Heddon Yokocho – soft opening 15 October

Mayfair has a new noodle bar in the form of Heddon Yokocho on Heddon Street, a pedestrianised food quarter just off Regent Street. Retro in look and feel, the venue, inspired by 1970s Tokyo, will serve hearty bowls of steaming broth that give you a glimpse of regional Japanese cuisine. Hakodate Shio is a salt and miso-based broth ramen, while Sapporo Miso is a miso-based chicken and pork broth ramen. There’s even an Italian-inspired vegan version filled with tomatoes and mushrooms.

Darren Gough’s South African wine is retail partner’s ‘most successful product’

9th October, 2020

A South African wine label launched by Freixenet Copestick and spearheaded by cricketer Darren Gough has become one online retailer’s most successful listing to date.

The Care for Wild wine collection was launched at the end of September to raise for the South African wildlife charity of the same name.

Erin Smith, digital marketing director for Slurp, said: “The response and popularity of the wines has been remarkable. Our existing customers really got behind all the wines, but it also helped us introduce Slurp to a lot of new customers. Our biggest problem now is ensuring we can keep our customers stocked up.”

The launch was spearheaded by ex-England cricketer Darren Gough, who is the brand ambassador for the Care for Wild Wine Collection and the Care for Wild Sanctuary based in South Africa.

“Darren and Anna Gough have been absolutely amazing. They work tirelessly to support the charity, are incredibly selfless with their time and so passionate about the Care for Wild project. It really does seem like all the stars aligned behind this range of wines,” said Smith.

Freixenet Copestick, which makes the Mionetto Prosecco and i heart Wine brands, are now aiming for national on and off-trade distribution in the UK as well as international sales.

Robin Copestick, Managing Director for Freixenet Copestick, added: “We have learned so much from the Slurp launch and are now in a position to introduce it nationally and internationally in 2021. We have really strong interest from big companies in the UK and from many countries around the world.

25,000 UK hospitality businesses not trading due to Covid-19

9th October, 2020

The number of licensed premises currently trading across Britain is 25,000 down on pre-Covid levels, according to stark findings from the latest Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners.

With some 90,000 outlets trading by the end of September, compared with 115,000 in March, the fall-off represents a drop of of more than 20%, and, with further trading restrictions in Scotland from today, and expected elsewhere in the UK soon, the CGA report highlights the vulnerability of the sector.

The research shows the scale of the pandemic’s impact on the country’s on-trade. It also highlights its vulnerability ahead of major new restrictions on trading in Scotland from today – where 8,000 licensed premises are subject to closures and severe new limits on trading. Similar measures are expected to be announced by the Government for many areas of northern England.

One area expected to fall under these new restrictions, the North East, is the UK region with the highest percentage of pubs, bars and restaurants trading again, according to the report. The region is nearest to pre-pandemic capacity with 83.8% of sites now reopened.

The Market Recovery Monitor shows that just over 90,000 premises around Britain were trading by the end of September – a net increase of nearly 4,000 sites in a month. But the figure is sharply down on the 15,500 sites that opened during August, when rising consumer spending and the popularity of the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme incentivised many operators to return. Openings slowed in September after business and consumer confidence was dented by new trading restrictions. The current trading total compares to around 115,000 licensed premises recorded by CGA in March.

The Market Recovery Monitor shows that pubs have been much quicker to reopen than restaurants, and more than nine in ten are now back trading. But with ongoing measures including distancing and curfew requirements making conditions much tougher for late-night operators, fewer than three quarters (73.2%) of all known bars and barely half (56.2%) of nightclubs are trading. The sports and social club sector (63.0%) has also been severely affected by limits on socialising.

In the restaurant sector, nearly nine in ten (87.3%) casual dining venues are now open. But with many leading brands announcing CVAs or closure programmes, there are now 1,200 fewer sites than there were in March.

The report also emphasises significant challenges to independent operators and the London market. Fewer than three quarters (73.3%) of independent businesses have returned, compared to nine in ten (91.7%) managed sites, and there are now 21,000 fewer independents trading than before the pandemic hit in March. In London, three quarters (75.6%) of all sites are open, well down on other major cities including Manchester (83.6%), Liverpool (85.6%) and Edinburgh (82.3%).

“Britain now has around 25,000 fewer licensed premises than it did before the pandemic, and the big question is how much of that shortfall will ever be recovered,” said Karl Chessell, business unit director for food and retail at CGA.

“While there are encouraging signs in some parts of the market, it is clear that capacity is closely following the pattern of suppressed consumer demand. August was a strong month of recovery for hospitality in both site numbers and trading, but these figures show that momentum has stalled. Very damaging new restrictions in Scotland and areas of England will undoubtedly weaken the market further, and sustained government support is urgently needed if the industry is to protect sites and jobs over the autumn.”

AlixPartners managing director Graeme Smith said: “Companies and their investors are deeply concerned about the spectre of new restrictions, such as those introduced in parts of Scotland and those expected to follow in the north of England. Cash remains king and operators will continue to seek ways to preserve as much as they can, but there is a significant risk that without increased government support in affected areas, businesses will not be able to survive further lockdowns. The sector is steeling itself for tough times ahead as we head into the autumn and winter months.

“Those that have taken on additional debt to survive this crisis will have a focus on how quickly profits can recover in order to pay this back and recover shareholder value. Of course, there is pain to come but the net result could be a set of leaner and more agile companies.”

The Market Recovery Monitor has been launched by CGA and AlixPartners to track the openings and closures of Britain’s licensed premises over the second half of 2020 and beyond. It is based on CGA’s exclusive Outlet Index, a constantly updated database of the country’s premises.

‘Drunken Princes’ scroll sells for US$41m

9th October, 2020

A 700 year-old painted scroll from Yuan Dynasty China which features ‘five drunken princes’ has been sold for HK$307 million (US$41.8m/£32m) in Hong Kong.

The six foot long scroll was sold by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong for many times its original asking price of US$10-$15.5m, with over 100 bids received on the item.

The successful bidder in the end was the Long Museum in Shanghai and it is the most valuable Chinese ink painting ever sold by Sotheby’s Hong Kong, the second most valuable Chinese artwork Sotheby’s has ever sold in the city and the most valuable artwork the auctioneer has sold in Asia this year.

It is one of just 21 paintings made by the artist Ren Renfa in the 14th century and depicts several princes from the earlier Tang Dynasty drunkenly returning home on horseback after a party.

One of the princes in the picture, and the more sober of the five,  is Li Longji who would later become Emperor Xuanzong, the seventh and longest-reigning emperor of the Tang Dynasty.

This particular scroll was smuggled out of the Forbidden City in 1922 by Pu Yi, the last emperor of China when the Qing Dynasty fell. It is covered in the seals of several Chinese emperors who reigned in the centuries following its creation.

Steven  Zuo, head of fine classical Chinese paintings for Sotheby’s Asia, said: “When I first unrolled this highly important and exquisite scroll by Ren Renfa, I knew that bringing this masterpiece to auction was set to be one of the most exciting moments of my career at Sotheby’s.

“Today the market spoke, and the extraordinary price achieved for an artwork that marries impeccable provenance with painterly brilliance, rarity with exceptional condition, is thoroughly deserved. Its rapturous reception at our pre-sale exhibition was a harbinger for the flurry of bids we received today, which elevated it to a final price that stands as the most valuable Chinese ink painting we have ever sold.”

Limited offer: award-winning wines for sale right now

9th October, 2020

Through our friends at Wine Picker we are able to offer a selection of standout wines from our Global Wine Masters, all of which have achieved over 90 points from our Master of Wine judges.

See below for the brilliant selection of independently-judged and highly-awarded wines on offer for a limited period only for UK-based drinkers, taking in great-value German Pinot Noir (pictured above), top Provençal rosé, class-leading Prosecco and an exciting English red from a brilliant vintage, along with first-rate Malbec from Argentina and a famous Shiraz from Australia, as well as our highest-scoring Champagne of 2020.


To order any of the below, simply click on the Chatbot to your right on the site, and follow the prompts, and then click through to find the wine or wines you want.

RARE 2006

France, Champagne Brut

Our top Champagne of 2020 is crystal-clear in colour, with bright yellow hues. On the nose, there are aromas of apricot pastries, orange zest and mango, followed by more pronounced notes of vanilla, toast and Oriental spices. The complex bouquet of spices leads to a delicate, long finish. Opulent, rich and intense, Rare 2006 is a testament to this sunny vintage resulting in a Champagne with great concentration.

£169.00

BOTTEGA SPA IL VINO DEI POETI NV

Italy, Prosecco

The bouquet is very fruity, with aromas of apple, white peach, citrus fruits, and a delicate floral acacia notes. Fresh, delicate, balanced, with a harmonious blend of acidity and softness

£13.50

BISOL CREDE BRUT 2018

Italy, Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene

Wildflowers and fresh orchard fruits from apples to pears dominate this elegant, dry style of Prosecco.

£18.75

BOTTEGA SPA ROSE GOLD SPUMANTE BRUT NV

Italy, Lombardy

As you can’t yet sell pink Prosecco this just labelled Spumante, but it’s actually a rosé variant of Bottega’s brilliant Prosecco, and therefore packed with fresh pear and melon fruit flavours, along with a touch of red berries and rose petals. Delicious and pretty to look at.

£ 20.75

BISOL CARTIZZE SUPERIORE 2017

Italy, Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene

Delicate scents of banana, honeysuckle and tropical fruit lead the nose on this foaming wine. The off-dry palate offers ripe white peach, pineapple and a dollop of vanilla pastry cream alongside a silky mousse.

£30.25

HUSH HEATH ESTATE BALFOUR LUKE’S PINOT NOIR

United kingdom, Kent

Bright ruby red, with a very clean and aromatic nose. Classic cool-climate Pinot Noir characteristics with cherry, violets, and blackberry. The palate is light and fresh, ripe red berry and cherry flavours supported by a touch of sweet spice.

£25.00

CHARLES HEIDSIECK RESERVE NV

France, Champagne brut

Radiant pale gold with fine, persistent bubbles. Complex pastry aromas, with an opulent combination of ripe apricot, mango and greengages, dried fruits, pistachio and almond. The palate begins with a silky smooth sensation, developing into ripe fleshy apricot, melon and enticing plum pastry notes and delicate spice. A perfect balance of freshness and generosity

£45.25

CHARLES HEIDSIECK BLANC DE BLANCS NV

France, Champagne brut

Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Blancs is a pale, crystalline gold colour. The nose is characterised by aromas of mature Chardonnay; white peach, candied citrus with notes of lime, honeysuckle and fresh hazelnuts giving way to subtle hints of tangerine and lemon. On the palate, the Blanc de Blancs bears all the hallmarks of a Charles Heidsieck Champagne: boldness, generosity and elegance. Embracing yet light, it displays appealing mineral, slightly salty, iodine notes, and has a silky, creamy texture – unexpected from a Chardonnay – that leaves a lasting impression.

£65.00

PIPER HEIDSIECK BRUT NV

France, Champagne brut

This wine is pale golden in colour. On the nose, there are intense notes of almonds and fresh hazelnuts, with flavours of fresh pear and apple with a delicate hint of citrus. It is lively and light with added depth from the Pinot Noir, creating beautiful balance.

£35.25

CHATEAU D’ESCLANS ROCK ANGEL 2019

France, Cotes de Provence rosé

A blend of Grenache and Vermentino, it’s a fresh cocktail of stone fruits, roses, citrus and vanilla spice.

£25.50

CHATEAU LEOUBE LOVE BY LEOUBE 2019

France, Cotes de Provence rosé

This beautifully balanced wine has ripe berry flavors and intense acidity. The wine is crisp while juicy and fruity. Spice and pepper from the Grenache in the blend come through at the end.

£15.50

YEALANDS ESTATE Sauvignon blanc 2019

New Zealand, Marlborough,

All the classic cool-climate characters of Marlborough Sauvignon come through on this wine: gooseberry, citrus, nettle, jalapeño and freshly cut grass are all there in equal measures. Acidity on the palate is a little searing, particularly without the fleshy fruit to back it up. But there’s texture and an herbaceousness, particularly on the finish, that make this a solid drop.

£13.25

CHATEAU STE MICHELLE Riesling 2018

USA, Washington

The Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling is a dry, refreshing style of Riesling with beautiful fruit flavours, crisp acidity and an elegant finish. It offers inviting sweet citrus aromas.

£12.50

YEALANDS ESTATE STATE OF FLUX Chardonnay 2018

New Zealand, Marlborough

Creamy and complex, with with flavours of baked apple, peach and dried apricots and a perfume of almond, and spices.

£24.75

PETH-WETZ Pinot Noir 2018

Germany, Rheinhessen

Notes of bright red cherry, blueberry, clove, black tea leaf and cinnamon are consistent from the nose to the palate, where they are met by crisp acidity and round tannins.

£19.25

BODEGA CATENA ZAPATA ARGENTINO Malbec, 2017

Argentina, Mendoza

The Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino shows a rich dark violet colour with ruby reflections; the nose offers cassis, blueberries and violets and delicate creamy oak characters. It combines density and sweetness on the one hand, with gripping, lightly saline flavours of mocha, dark berries, spice, and minerals; a palate-staining finish dominated by sweet black and blue fruits.

£70.75

YEALANDS ESTATE LAND MADE, Pinot Noir, 2018

New Zealand, Marlborough

Riper and rounder than its Burgundian cousins, this Pinot Noir is bursting with plums and raspberries, complemented by a touch of spice.

£14.25

LA MASCOTA Malbec 2018

Argentina, Maipu

Intense and rich Argentinian Malbec, packed with black fruits, both fresh and baked and freshened with a waft of liquorice and vanilla

£13.25

PATZ & HALL Pinot Noir 2016

USA, Sonoma coast

An outstanding combination of Pinot Noir grapes from a range of Sonoma Coast sites, fragrant with five spice and cocoa and offering delicious flavours of dried cherry, cranberry, strawberry and a drop or two of Kirsch.

£47.25

SCALA DEI CARTOIXA Grenache blend, 2016

Spain, Priorat

Intense aromas of ripe black fruits, plum plus a touch of violet intermingle with distinct mineral notes from the licorella slate terroir which give it its distinct Priorat typicity. Its ageing in barrels gives it spicy aromas such as vanilla, pepper and toasty notes. On the palate it is robust, buttery, supple with intense mature tannins, with full rounded body and a long lingering finish.

£44.50

TRAPICHE TERROIR SERIES FINCA COLETTO Malbec 2015

Argentina, Mendoza

A deep and intense red-violet color, with aromas of red fruits, plums, black cherries and forest berries such as blackberries and blueberries. Fresh and full as it enters the mouth, with sweet, juicy and ample tannins and a very elegant finish.

£31.00

HENSCHKE JOHANNS GARDEN 2016

Australia, Barossa

This blend of Rhone grapes is crimson with garnet hues, and has bright, lifted aromas of redcurrant, rosehip and raspberry along with baked plum pudding, anise, nutmeg, mace and a hint of white pepper. The soft, luscious palate is complemented by complex flavours of spiced berry compote, raspberry and red licorice that fill the mouth. An elegant style with fine, velvety tannins and balanced acidity.

£34.50

HENSCHKE KEYNETON EUPHONIUM 2015

Australia, Barossa valley

This Shiraz blend is a deep crimson with garnet hues. Enticing aromas of blackcurrant, blackberry and cassis are enveloped by herbal notes of sage and bay leaf that lead to subtle nuances of red fruits, black pepper, vanilla and cedar. A generous palate offers rich flavours of red and blackcurrant, dried herbs and black pepper, with great purity, balance and texture forming a delicious mouthfeel, while velvety tannins provide great length and complexity.

£45.00

UK chefs petition for a hospitality minister

9th October, 2020

A group of top UK chefs, including Angela Hartnett and Marcus Wareing, are petitioning for the government to appoint a hospitality minster to defend the sector.

Marcus Wareing is one of the chefs leading the petition

Led by the likes of Paul Ainsworth, the online petition has already received 5,568 signatures. If you would like to support the move, you can sign the petition here.

“Responsible for around 3m jobs, generating £130bn in activity, resulting in £38bn in taxation, yet, unlike the arts or sports, we do not have a dedicated minister,” the petition says. “We are asking that a minister for hospitality be created for the current, and successive governments.”

“Policy has been made and unmade without consulting those that are impacted most,” campaign organiser and editor of Chef & Restaurant Magazine, Claire Bosi, told the BBC.

Angela Hartnett is calling for a hospitality minister

“Our country is renowned for having a hospitality sector that is synonymous with excellence, innovation and inspiration.

“As such a vital part of both the country’s economy and reputation, it seems fair that we are given a representative voice in Parliament,” Bosi added.

The hospitality sector has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. While the Eat Out to Help Out scheme brought in much-needed revenue in August, the recently imposed 10pm curfew in England has dealt the industry a crippling blow, with many urging the government to explain the science behind it.

Calls to review the 10pm curfew are gathering momentum, with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer both demanding that Boris Johnson proves that the decision was based on scientific evidence.

“Lockdown and the government’s contradictory communication around it was the start of many difficulties for the industry, with the introduction of a curfew across the country the latest.

“With no representation in Parliament, the government was ill-equipped to assess the potential damages of its policy, or the ways in which these might have been mitigated,” the group told the BBC.

The chefs are hoping the appointment of a minister for hospitality would provide a voice in parliament for the industry’s concerns about taxation and legislation. With the government’s furlough scheme coming to an end this month, the hospitality industry is on a knife-edge, with mass redundancies on the horizon.

Just yesterday db reported that restaurants, pubs and bars in cities including Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle could soon be forced to close after reports that further restrictions will be announced in the north of England next week.

From today, pubs in Glasgow and Edinburgh have been forced to close for two weeks, while restaurants, pubs and bars in other parts of Scotland have to close at 6pm, with no alcohol able to be sold indoors.

The week in pictures

9th October, 2020

It’s not often we get to start a story with this photo of Gene Simmons.

But this week you’re in for a treat as glam rock band Kiss is working with a Swedish merchandising company on a line of spirits.

Kiss, known for their heavy make-up, daring costumes and bassist-turned reality T.V. star Simmons, have partnered with Sweden’s Brands for Fans on two full-strength, premium spirits due for release this year.

Through a deal brokered by brand management company Epic Rights, Kiss and Brands For Fans will launch them in Europe, Japan and Australia before the end of 2020.

It comes nine years after the band first delved into the drinks industry. Kiss partnered with wine distributor Rewine to release their own brand of wines and beers in 2011.

Brands for Fans has something of a Magic Touch (sorry) when it comes to creating merchandise for rock legends, having previously worked with Motörhead, Slayer, Ghost, Judas Priest, Scorpions.

We tried to shoehorn I Was Made For Lovin’ You into this little section here but really it was too hard. Here’s another photo of Simmons instead.

 

In harder hitting news, a feature documentary about the history of winemaking in Lebanon and the resilience of the Lebanese entrepreneurial spirit seen through the lens of war and instability has been released worldwide today (9 October).

The film looks at the challenges of making wine in a region that has always witnessed upheaval, and yet one that around 7,000 years ago, through the Phoenician trading empire, did nothing less than give the gift of wine to the world.

The film is inspired by the award-winning book Wines of Lebanon by Michael Karam, a journalist who lived in Lebanon for 25 years and who is no stranger to war himself.

 

 

Scotland may be a tough place for the drinks sector right now, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Hendrick’s Gin, owned by William Grant & Sons, has released a digital glimpse behind it’s secret walls to celebrate the 2 year anniversary of the Hendrick’s Gin Palace, based in Girvan, Scotland, which is currently closed to the public due to *gestures wildly at the air*.

In keeping with the gin brand’s typically eccentric style, the distillery tour film sees a fictional roving reporter jump down from a hot air balloon into the private walled garden in front of the Hendrick’s Gin Palace, where he is then whisked away on a telling tour.

 

A Spanish breed of terrier known for keeping wine cellars in Jerez free of mice and rats has been awarded protected status in the Andalusian city.

As reported by Spanish website The Local, Jerez has declared the Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz as part of the city’s cultural heritage. It is the first Spanish breed of dog to be awarded such protected status in the country.

On 30 September the city council announced the decision to honour the breed, which was created in Jerez and has long been employed to hunt for rats and mice within the city’s numerous Sherry bodegas.

 

Exmouth-based chef Michael Caines has partnered with Lyme Bay Winery in Axminster on a high-end English fizz called Lympstone Manor Cuvée.

The fizz will be made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier grown at the grade II listed Lympstone Manor, where Caines works as a chef.

The vines were planted in 2018 on a southwest-facing vineyard overlooking the Exe estuary within the grounds of the listed building, which boasts a hotel and restaurant.

The 2020 grape harvest will begin in early to mid-October and the first vintage of Lympstone Manor Cuvée will go on sale in 2023.

 

When in Rome, the boxed wine business that recently partnered with Phillip Schofield, has now teamed up with The Wine Show to introduce a pair or Portuguese wines to the UK.

The wines are set to launch later this month to coincide with the launch of The Wine Show‘s series 3, which is largely based in Portugal.

 

Michael Lunn, former chairman and chief executive of Whyte and Mackay Group, is building launching a new whisky brand called Wolfgraic and plans to spend £15 million on a new distillery in Sterling.

He is creating the new brand with co-directors John Moore and Jamie Lunn.

Working alongside the management team will be a trio of industry experts including Dr Alan Rutherford OBE, former production director at Diageo who was awarded an OBE for his services to the Scotch whisky industry, former Bacardi UK Operations Director Iain Lochhead, and renowned master distiller Ian Macmillan.

South African wine wholesaler and importer DGB has just acquired Fryers Cover, a west coast winery three hours from Cape Town.

Tim Hutchinson, Executive Chairman of DGB, said in a statement the purchase was made through Artisanal Brands, a DGB subsidiary focussing on the “niche and artisanal” wine sector.

Its portfolio includes Old Road Wine Co. in Franschhoek, which Artisanal Brands developed from scratch and also includes a tasting room and restaurant in Franschhoek’s old main road.