On Tuesday, with two members of the Duddells’ team, I flew out to Barcelona to see Albert Jané of Acústic and Auctòcton cellars. Many of you will know of his wonderful creations, especially the Acústic wines from Montsant that we have been importing since the 2004 vintage, a year after Albert bought his first vines in the region.
It was a year for the very best vineyards and the very best producers to shine. Skilled and dedicated winemakers farming the best sites of Barbaresco have pulled it out of the bag. And none more so than the brilliant Andrea Sottimano.
Eating perfectly cooked grouse with a judiciously selected bottle or two is one of the great gastronomic delights. But what to pair with (arguably) Britain's most delicious game bird? Good, old red Burgundy 'The traditional answer to the question of what to drink with grouse is 'a bottle of good, old red burgundy.
2016 PIES NEGROS RIOJA Crianza Bodegas y Viñedos Artuke [caption id="attachment_29446" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Artuke Vines[/caption] Brothers Arturo and Kike (Artu-ke) are making such great wines in their beautiful corner of Rioja and this 2016 Pies Negro - their Crianza - is another complete gem.
When the sun beats down out of a clear blue sky, and the garden starts to frazzle; when the designer shades are donned and inadvisably exposed skin is allowed to soak up the ultra-violet; the vinously inclined have hitherto been apt to reach for crisp white wines and the palest of pale rosés of course, all nicely chilled, leaving any red wine undisturbed in the wine-rack until the Autumn.
One of the great thrills of working in this business is the chance to get into the cellars and taste wines straight from the barrel with the winemaker. To taste a wine in its most natural, 'un-mucked-about-with' state is a great experience.
Spain could lay claim to being the most exciting wine country in the world at present. A real sense of adventure has taken grip in the lesser known regions whilst new life has been breathed into the established areas with a new generation of younger winemakers and a new vision of what can be achieved.
'Manni Nössing is one of Italy’s most talented winemakers. In fact, all his wines are so good that it’s virtually impossible to pick the best of the lot, or even a favourite.' Ian d'Agata, www.
[caption id="attachment_28311" align="aligncenter" width="508"] Cantine Dei with the town of Montepulciano perched on the hill beyond[/caption] Hot on the heels of last year's success with their 2013 vintage, Cantine Dei has just been awarded the top Italian Wine Award 'Tre Bicchiere' for its stellar Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2014, the estate is quite rightly in the spotlight once again - what an amazing achievement! The Estate - in the heart of Montepulciano is located right in the middle of Tuscany's beautiful Montepulciano region just on the eastern slopes of this 'picture-perfect' hilltop town.
Yesterday we held our 'Annual Tasting' - the biggest showcase event for our wines each year. As we closed the doors of the beautiful Trinity House at just after 8.30 last night the whole team were 'abuzz' after a fabulous, exhilarating day of tasting, chatting to the 20 winemakers who came to present their wines and catching up with so many customers and journalists too.