Wine news February 2007

Best of Chile

x The 4th Annual Wines of Chile Awards have just taken place in Santiago, Chile. This year the Judges were all from the United States, and over three days nine judges blind tasted 425 wines from 95 Chilean wineries. They awarded 31 Gold, 83 Silver, and 126 Bronze medals, and the top, trophy-winning wines were awarded to:


Viña Casas del Bosque ReserveViña Hacienda Araucano, Reserva
Viña Odfjell, Orzada
Viña Porta, Winemaker Reserve Syrah
Viña Concha y Toro, Marques de Casa Concha
Viña Nuevo Mundo, Tacón Alto
Viña Millaman, Barrel aged Zinfandel
Viña Estampa, Reserve Cabernet/Carmenère/PV
Viña Miguel Torres, Santa Digna Reserve Sauvignon Blanc
Viña MontGras, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Viña Chocalan Rosé

With comments that remarkably reflected those of previous British Judges, this year’s American experts made special mention of the high quality of Chile’s cool climate and distinctive Sauvignon Blancs, and also the consistent excellence of the Cabernet Sauvignons.The overall Best Wine in Show award went to Casas del Bosque for their 2006 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc. Commenting on the Awards Michael Cox, Wines of Chile’s UK Director said: “it’s gratifying to see the Annual Awards becoming well established. As in previous years, the judges have brought into sharp focus the giant strides forward Chile has made in the premium wine market internationally.”

Fairtrade fortnight

Want to indulge in a glass of wine and feel worthy at the same time? The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent certification body that awards the FAIRTRADE Mark to products that meet international Fairtrade standards. This label appears on products as a guarantee that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal. More than five million people across 58 developing countries benefit from Fairtrade. Fairtrade Fortnight is fast approaching (26 Feb – 11 March), so impress your ethically aware friends by serving Fairtrade wines, perhaps choosing from two new wines in Somerfield stores from the Fairhills winery in South Africa; a Merlot/Pinotage blend and a Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay blend, both of which are priced at £4.99 x

the other Cabernet

x 90 Loire producers have now signed up for ‘Project Cabernet Franc’, an initiative sponsored by InterLoire, a marketing board for Loire Valley wines. The project has grown from 11 participating producers in 2006, to involve 21 this year who will be fully implementing the wine-making protocol. A further 69 have also expressed interest in joining the soon-to-be formed exporters’

club – making a total of 90 wine makers now involved in the project. British-based MW and consultant Sam Harrop is work with an on-site oenological team as part of the project’s effort to increase the market share for Cabernet Franc. The brief is to help develop wines of a consistent quality which are better suited to the UK export market without compromising the unique terroir styles. Sam Harrop says: “Wine can only express the individual site characteristics if the grapes are picked at optimum ripeness and if all winemaking practices incorporated from that point on work to achieve balance in the wine in all respects. This is what we are doing in this project.”

red nose podcasts

Waitrose Wine Direct has just launched a free podcast with Wine Relief founder Jancis Robinson, MW. The podcast features Jancis discussing six Wine Relief wines available at Waitrose and through Waitrose Wine Direct. For those who want to do their bit for Comic Relief but are unsure which wines to drink, Jancis is on hand to offer advice and tasting notes on selected wines. Simon Hayward, Waitrose Wine Direct Manager says; ‘We are looking at different ways of helping our customers choose their wines. Wine Relief is the perfect time to launch our first podcast. We are delighted that Jancis has been able to bring to life, information about these wines and about this very worthy cause’.The 15 minute podcast features tasting notes, background information about the wines regions/countries and information on grape varieties. Customers can download the podcast for free at 10% of the selling price of these wines will be donated to Wine Relief, helping to relieve poverty in the UK and abroad. x


Grands Crus for Grands Amateurs

x From 12th-13th May 2007, the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux is offering wine amateurs the chance to taste like an expert at ‘Le Weekend des Grands Amateurs’. This will be the 2nd year that this event has taken place and it enables wine lovers to sample wines from more than 100 great Châteaux, all under one roof.On Saturday 12th May, from 10.30am-5.30pm, the Tasting will take place in the centre of Bordeaux. Wine enthusiasts are invited to spend the weekend tasting wines from over 100 prestigious estates belonging to the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux. Each Château will be presenting two vintages: 2004 and the vintage of their choice from 1996 to 2003. As well as tasting the wines, there will be opportunity to meet the men and women behind the great wines of Bordeaux and find out

more about their Châteaux. The entry fee for the tasting is 53 euros (for reservations made before 10th May 2007) and 68 euros after this time. Half price entry is offered to wine professionals and students. In the evening, dinners will be organised at Châteaux in the Médoc, Graves, Sauternes, Saint Emilion and Pomerol regions. The cost of the dinner is 130 euros per person. On the Sunday, visitors will be able to discover the great growths, with personalised tours and tastings in Châteaux in the regions. To book, please contact:

Last chance for St Valentine

On the back of a highly successful Christmas sales campaign, Heidsieck & Co. Monopole, the number five Champagne brand in the UK Off-Trade, has introduced a limited edition gift bag for its Rosé Top NV for Valentine’s Day. Exclusive to Tesco, the shimmering chiffon-wrapped rosé Champagne will be on sale between 1st February and 14th February at a promotional price of £19.99 (£4 off its usual RRP). Presented in pale pink chiffon, the re-useable bagged bottle will be available from over 130 Tesco stores.”Whilst Rosé Champagne sales are very buoyant at the moment anyway, the sector always sees an upturn during the Valentine’s period, so this gift packaged Rosé Top NV is an attractive proposition to Tesco consumers,” comments Vranken Pommery Monopole Marketing Manager Colin Cameron. x