Come and taste the winning wines

The winners of The Wine Merchant Top 50 will be revealed on September 15, with all details published in a supplement sent out with the magazine itself.

But we’re going one better than that. Independents can taste the winning 50 wines for themselves at events in Manchester and London.

David Williams and Graham Holter will be pouring the wines at The Honours Room, Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Talbot Road, Manchester M16 0PX on Monday, September 16 from 2pm till 5pm.

Then on Tuesday, September 17 they’ll be at The White Horse, 1-3 Parsons Green, London SW6 4UL, again from 2pm till 5pm.

These events are strictly trade only and aimed at independent wine merchants and their staff. If you don’t fall into that category, drop us a line if you’re thinking of attending and we’ll check your credentials with the FBI and Interpol.

Stop trying to be cool

New World winemakers have become obsessed with ‘European elegance’, a trend that’s so boring it’s enough to make you yearn for the ripe, oaky Chardonnays of yesteryear, argues Graham Holter

IT’S ONE OF the great ironies of modern winemaking that producers who spend so much time waffling on about “a sense of place” are actually turning out wines that taste pretty much the same, wherever they’re from.

“Cool climate vineyards”, “moderating ocean breezes”, “restrained oak” and – most jarring of all – “European elegance” are phrases which routinely crop up on back labels or in other marketing bumph.

There is nothing inherently wrong with any of these things. In fact they’re rather attractive ideas: just saying them aloud is enough to inspire a Pavlovian sprint to the nearest wine fridge, and a sudden impetus to write off the rest of the afternoon. But you can have too much of a good thing.

A barrel tree, yesterday. An endangered species?

A barrel tree, yesterday. An endangered species?

New World producers can’t wait to play the subtlety card. “Yes, our wines used to be jammy, over-oaked and unbalanced, and we apologise unreservedly,” seems to be the message. “But now we’ve seen the error of our ways and understand that we should be making wines like the French, the Spanish and the Italians.”

This overlooks the fundamental point that we already have plenty of stuff made by the French, the Spanish and the Italians. The New World is meant to offer an alternative to European wines (at least with the products it exports to the UK). Trying to ape the Old World is a pointless and self-defeating ambition.

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