New Zealand will always be that dream country everybody talks about in the pub after the fifth beer upon realising in what kind of shithole they live in. It stands by its lonesome self in the Pacific Ocean and stretches for 1,600 km from sub-tropical Northland to the world’s most southerly grape growing region Central Otago. It’s a country that’s not too cold and not too hot and it’s famous for iconic wines, LOTR scenery and nice job opportunities. Do you really need anything else?
On the 16th of January, just one day before Liberty Wines’ APT 2017, I attended the exciting Great New Zealand Wine Tasting held at Lindley Hall, London. If the wine flowed for one more day, I swear I’d put “attended a wine marathon” in my CV. At this event, 90+ wineries came to present their best selections, mainly led by Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Pinot Noir, but with some special gems as well (holla to the fans of Viognier & Malbec). Continue reading “10 Great New Zealand Wines to Enjoy in 2017”
Getting a chance to attend the Annual Portfolio Tasting of Liberty Wines in London was a professional beauty in my agenda. The company was founded in 1997 by David Gleave MW as a start-up with just four people working as staff. Today, it employs 130 individuals and has an annual turnover of £45 million. With awards annually pouring in from IWC, Decanter and SWA (On-Trade Supplier of the Year, Merchant of the Year, Wine Educator of the Year…), I honestly don’t see the need to bore you further with data and statistics of what Liberty Wines is in the international market today.
The APT 2017 was held on the 17th of January in the fascinating Kia Oval cricket ground in South London. This is the chief event of the company and gives wine lovers a chance to taste over 600 wines, spirits, beers, ciders and olive oils from over 150 representatives. To be frank, I only tasted around 250 samples. I started off slow and focused on my writing, but after a few hours I figured out how time is soaring by without me trying anything French or Italian. Luckily, eight hours presented a perfect time period to keep me sane and awake (though a lil’ dehydrated), so I cherry-picked the most sophisticated examples in the last 60 minutes. Being a WSET Diploma student, I really can’t complain about the producers selected for this event, because everything I wanted to cover and rehearse for the upcoming Unit 3 exam was there – Barolo, Tuscany, Australia, Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, South Africa, Rioja… Continue reading “Top 10 Wines @ Liberty Wines Annual Portfolio Tasting 2017”
When reviewing 2016, I can’t help but think only one thing – what a shitty year for the world. Alan Rickman, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen died, Donald Trump became president of the US, refugee crises overflowed the news, people still think that sweet wines are cheap rubbish that should solely be paired with poor life decisions. Oh well, at least true wine lovers have been drinking some nice stuff to drown their sorrows and enter 2017 in style, like Kanye West did at the MTV Awards a few years back. But before you go anywhere and start analyzing the trends of next year (which you probably won’t follow), allow me to introduce you to the first Grape Nomad annual recap! Here, you’ll read about MY highest rated wines of 2016, wines that have blown me away with their sexiness and helped me rethink the complexity of this business. Because I decided to discover Italy in detail this year, you’ll see that their wines are pretty dominant in the selection. As a side-note, these are not bottles necessarily released during the year, nor are the scores something you have to blindly follow. I urge you to explore, be open and enjoy whatever gems you find from these top 10 picks. Continue reading “Grape Nomad’s Top 10 Cellar Picks of 2016”
With certainty, I can say that most people who are reading this article do not think of rosé as their first option at dinner and there is a very good reason for this. It is well-known that some producers have the constant goal of throwing rosés onto the market because it’s chic now to have a meek wine and call it “an aperitif” for sipping by the pool without blacking out on the burning sun. But fortunately for us, everything has its positive side; you just have to make a hell of an effort to discover it. Continue reading “There’s Never a “Right Time” for Rosé”
The wine list is a very important part of communication between the restaurant and the guest, so its quality is mostly placed head to head with the restaurant’s menu. Although most restaurant owners engage into the selection of wines themselves, I believe that it is never a bad idea to listen to the advice of those who are professionally occupied with wines.
Head to a restaurant and ask the owner what’s the most important thing for a good wine list. Most will tell you that it’s definitely a wider selection of prestigious and expensive wines. Consumers think differently. With the exception of a few wine lovers, the most important thing is that the wine list is readable, understandable, and well designed. There is truth in both statements, but the goal is to take a little from both worlds.
When I consider the essential purpose of a wine list, a few general principles come to mind. First, it should be presented as a precise catalogue of available wines and an effective tool to improve sales and service. Look at it as free marketing of the wine program. The design and organization tell a lot about a restaurant. If the wine list is dry and plain, it is likely that the restaurant will be the same. On the other hand, if it is creative with inventive descriptions that are dedicated to pairing wine and food, it will set priorities in a totally different way. Wines should not be listed by prices, because guests will feel inferior, as if they will be judged by how much money they spend. Descriptions should be the same length for each wine. If the staff devotes itself only to premium labels, neglecting, for example, medium-quality wines, they give the impression of being condescending or arrogant. The difference between a good wine list and excellent wine list is in focus. It is necessary to take into account the food being served. Wines on the list may be good, but if they do not go with the food, the point is missed. Continue reading “How to Create a Successful Wine List”