Just over ten years ago, in 2007, the Cru Bourgeois ranking system was in tatters. The system brought in to give consumers a better view of the great and the good of the red wines of the Médoc (outside the 1855 classifications) was at breaking point. Legal battles, rumours of nepotism by ruling councils, and even bribery had some Châteaux crying foul and walking away. How did it get to that?
Berry Brothers and Rudd are the oldest wine merchant in the UK. Based out of St James’s in London’s trendy Mayfair area, this is where they’ve been operating in one guise or another since 1698. When I was coming through in the banking world all those years ago, all the senior lads and lasses had Berry Brothers accounts. It’s almost a right of passage for fine wine buyers in London and the wider UK. Last week I made my first purchase from there, and it was pretty bloody impressive.
For the past year or so, since an eye opening trade tasting last year, I’ve had a soft spot for the wines of Vinho Verde. It’s Portugal’s largest and most northern wine region, sitting between the Spanish border to the north, and the famous Douro Valley to the south. For many years now wine drinkers round the world have a set picture of what the wines of Vinho Verde are: spritzy, acidic, light, white wines. But scratch the surface a bit more and you’ll find some real belters!
Wine behemoth E&J Gallo is fast closing in on a hundred years of business. Little did brothers Ernesto and Julio know when they started peddling wine after the repeal of prohibition in 1933, that their company would be so vast, and (crucially) still in family hands. I caught up with Paul Sorrentino at the Californian Wine Party earlier this year to ask him what it’s like to work for the largest family owned wine business in the world…
In Part 2, Amelia and I explore that “special relationship” those two berks Tony Blair and George Bush kept banging on about, by having a look at English and American fizz options for Christmas. We’ve got the super fresh Exton Park Brut, and the sublime Domaine Carneros Classic Cuvée…enjoy!
I’m just coming off the back of a really enjoyable evening meeting a fella called Felipe Tosso. He’s a Chilean winemaker, responsible for the wines at Ventisquero, wines that are soon to be even further available throughout the UK, so do keep an eye out. We had a focused tasting and talk through three wines he’s particularly proud of, all three were joyous to drink, but one in particular is one I wanted to write a quick blog on. Some wine-o’s will have heard of it, some won’t, it’s from a wine grape called Pais.