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Monthly Archives: May 2017

  • The launch of Sake

    With Japanese eateries popping up across London, we're delighted to introduce our revamped sake portfolio, which includes a handpicked selection of sake from some of Japan's oldest, quality-focused breweries.

    Sake has been part of Japanese culture for more than 2000 years; however, in the west there are still many misconceptions surrounding it. For example, contrary to popular belief, sake is not a wine or a spirit; it’s actually closer to beer as it’s brewed from rice – the usual alcoholic strength ranges between 13% and 17% ABV, which also means it's a fantastic base for cocktails.

    The Market

    There are roughly 1300 breweries in Japan: 15 are massive and responsible for 55% of total production, 200 are medium, and 60% are tiny. The vast majority of these are family owned.

    While domestic consumption has been decreasing, according to the Japanese Ministry of Finance, Japanese Sake exports have increased 89% by volume and 288% by value since 1995. The US is a well-developed market where Japanese cuisine became popular in the 1970s; however, it’s only become mainstream in the UK in more recent times.

    America accounts for 27% of all Japanese sake exports by volume and 36% by value. Export to the US has increased 7.5% per year since 2000, and sake bars are common in urban hotspots such as Los Angeles and New York. In Singapore, where a small group of sake professionals and chefs are sparking a sake revolution, export of Japanese Sake almost tripled in the past 20 years. There are good reasons to believe that London will follow in the footsteps of New York.

    It’s difficult to determine the total volume bought in the UK, as sake doesn’t have its own unique import commodity code. However, research from Bibendum shows that the UK Sake market has expanded by a whopping 240% in the last 10 years. What’s more, the UK is the biggest European market, and in 2014 we were the ninth largest importer of Japanese Sake by value.

    According to sake consultant Barry McCaughley, 2014 was the year in the UK when sake “came away from Japanese restaurant wine lists, and into restaurants of all types”, such as Chiltern Firehouse and Gavroche.

    The Breweries 

    Our all-new range includes a variety of sakes, each distinctly different from the other. Old, traditional, family-owned breweries, covering different styles ranging from the fruity and aromatic styles of the north, to the rich and earthy styles of the south. Whether they’re using traditional methods of production, top quality soft water, or locally-grown rice, the focus is the same: quality.

    line-up 1. Fukukomachi Daiginjo Hidden Glade, Kimura Shuzo 

    Tasting note: Hidden Glade presents bright and full aromas of green apple, melon and cucumber. It is velvety and light-bodied with defined structure resulting in a neat, precise, fruity and elegant sake. Superbly refreshing.

    2. Fukukomachi Junmai Karakuchi Evening Sky, Kimura Shuzo 

    Tasting note: Light and subtle aromas of strawberry and creamy rice with a mineral, crisp and dry structure and mild body. Acidity seems pronounced due to the dryness but, when warmed, acidity mellows and notes of fresh grass, vanilla and oats develop. Simple and easy to drink.

    3. Gozenshu Futsushu Ancient Mountain, Tsuji Honten 

    Tasting note: Delicious and warming, this sake has notes of sweet cereal, soy and mushrooms on the nose, with smooth & creamy rice flavours resulting in a rich, medium-bodied sake with light acidity.

    4. Gozenshu Junmai Bodaimoto Nigori Misty Mountain, Tsuji Honten

    Tasting note: A fresh fragrance and a vivid flavour with notes of zesty lemon, passion fruit & pepper with a slightly thick mouthfeel, and a long and peppery aftertaste.

    5. Konishi Silver Ginjo Hiyashibori, Konishi Shuzo 

    Tasting note: Light-bodied with lower alcohol, low acidity and a delicate fragrance resulting in a very silky and elegant Ginjo. Fragrance is a breeze of fresh, refreshing, flowers with a subtle touch of gingerbread. Gripping, inviting and extremely easy to drink.

    6. Shirayuki Edo Genroku Redux, Konishi Shuzo

    Tasting note: Rich, bold & absorbing, this sake has notes of nuts, dried fruits, fig, brown sugar, liquorice & soy. Sweet, devilishly delicious & with buckets of umami and a long, lingering finish.

    7. Kodakara Nanko Umeshu, Tatenokawa Shuzo 

    Tasting note: A rich & sweet flavour perfectly balancing the tartness of the plums. Kodakara Umeshu is best served chilled and straight up, on the rocks, or with soda. It also makes an excellent cocktail ingredient.

    8. Gozenshu 9 Yuzushu Sake, Tsuji Honten

    Cloudy and yellow in colour with a vivid aroma of ripe yuzu fruit.  Rich, sweet yet balanced marmalade flavours with a long, pronounced finish. Suitable as an aperitif, dessert sake or cocktail ingredient.

    If you'd like to find out more about our new sake range, please get in touch with your Account Manager.

  • Spotlight on LaOsa

    We sat down with Noelia da Paz, of the newest addition to our Spanish portfolio, LaOsa. 

    How did you become a winemaker?

    In or around 1998, my father and his brothers bought some vineyards, and shortly after they built a winery. Because of my personality and experience, they asked me to work with them. And while I had never worked in wine before, I had a lot of experience in sales. It didn’t take long for me to fall passionately in love with wine and everything that goes into the production and enjoyment of it. It was clearly my life path and I felt that everything I had done and worked for, led me to this path.

    What is the story of your winery?

    Unfortunately, in 2014, for personal family reasons, the winery was sold. However, I couldn’t abandon my passion and wanted to find a way to continue. At the start of 2015 I started my own brand, my own label. Everything inside of me pushed me to do it, even though I didn’t necessarily stop and think about it too much. With all the experience and the contacts I had, it was easy to continue on. I rented a winery in the area and started procuring grapes to make my first harvest. 

    LaOsa_4

    What’s your winemaking philosophy?

    The philosophy of the project is the respect for the authenticity of the regions, traditional varieties and winemaking process. In order to complete my mission of elaborating small productions of high quality, expressive wine, it takes time, and a respect the varieties and the land.

    Tell us about the grapes – why are they special and what are their characteristics?

    LaOsa_7The main varieties are “Prieto Picudo red” and “Albarín white”. They are indigenous from León, at the moment “Prieto Picudo” can only be found here. The Albarín blanco hails from the south of León and to the north in Asturias, and there are around 30ha in León. Prieto Picudo bunches are small, tight and the grapes have a pointy shape and are quite blue colour. The ripening is late and the harvest is usually done in late September or early October. The Prieto Picudo variety is characterized by its vegetable notes in both nose and mouth, marked by tannin and high acidity. Due to these main characteristics of the grape, it is excellent for producing wines with long ageing in oak as well as longer ageing in the bottle. Albarín bunches are very small, with thick skins and a juicy, very flavourful flesh. The grapes are harvested with low yields. It is very aromatic with beautiful citrus and floral notes, with a great balance of alcohol, fruit and acidity. 

    What does Trasto mean?

    I want the project to reflect who I am; everything I do means something to me. Trasto means rascal, and like the label says, my Mama used to call me a rascal. The design of the label makes me a bit nostalgic for my childhood, the writing and calligraphy of grade school and the mention of my Mama. I would like to continue being a rascal and never lose my spark!

    What is the meaning behind the bear logo and the winery name?

    LaOsa is my nickname, I gave myself this name. I love bears, they’re tender yet strong, with a savage character. When it came time to design the logo, the graphic that I brought to the designer was the head of a Grizzly. After working on it for a long time, we consider the logo to be much more tender and feminine, and most of all personal.

    LaOsa_6

    What are the characteristics of the region?

    León is a flat highland in the southwest of León in Castilla y León. The soil is clay with river stones and it’s close to 750m in altitude. León has a continental climate with long, cold winters, and summers that have hot days and cold nights.

    Who are your greatest wine heroes/influences?

    For me Raúl Pérez has been a very important influence. I have been lucky to know him and call him a friend for a long time. He showed me how to make wine with passion not based on technical data.

  • On the up with Chivite

     

    Navarra’s winemaking history is long and checkered, stretching all the way back to the Roman conquest of Spain. While it’s been in the game for years now, the region has yet to define a lasting identity, and continues to seek a path to success. Perhaps the most distinctive element of the whole region is the eclectic terroir and grapes; however, this diversity has blurred it’s focus and message to the world. Undoubtedly, living in the shadow of its neighbour, and Spain’s most powerful brand, Rioja, has not helped their quest to greatness.

    The jewel in Navarra’s crown, Chivite, is one of the few success stories to come out of the region. The well-revered and super premium estate, also lays claim as one of Spain’s oldest winemaking families. Always at the forefront of innovation, Chivite’s position amongst the best in Spain is thanks to their dedication to producing top-quality wines from the most special terroirs in the region, coupled with a strong commercial history.

    With tradition on their side, Chivite is now looking to modernise and reinvigorate the brand.

    Julian

    Julián Chivite, President of Grupo Chivite said, “Chivite has constantly changed throughout its history and is continuing to do so. We never stand still. That being said, we’re now undergoing an intense period of revitalisation: refreshing the look of many of our well-established brands and launching new products such as Las Fincas Rosado, Las Fieles and the Baluarte range, which respond to market demand and occasion driven opportunities.”

    Innovation, Julián says, comes thanks to small but meaningful changes, and always keeping the consumer front of mind.

    Rosé revolution

    Historically, rosé has been perceived to be a wine lacking in sophistication – an easy drink on a summer’s day, but one that cannot hold its own against serious sommelier-favoured wines, or those that work in a gastronomic setting.

    However, the dial is slowly moving on this as a new wave off winemakers are following a path towards a more versatile, complex, and premium rosé. The emergence of this category has been widespread, with brands such as Whispering Angel and Minuty & Miraval taking the market by storm, whilst in Spain, Chivite is leading the pack.

    Chivite’s breath of fresh air

    Spanish wine law dictates guidelines for how a wine must be made in order to be granted a certain level of qualification. Historically, in the Navarra region, you were legally not allowed to produce a pale-coloured rosé in the appellation and put DO on the bottle. While Chivite recognises that the DO system is still the number one guarantee for quality, they admit there’s certainly room for innovation. So, they took it upon themselves to challenge the status quo, and pursue a path towards a premium, pale rosé.

    “We noticed there was a trend towards lighter coloured, more serious rosé wines at the premium end of the market. As Spain’s leading rosé wine producer – with our well-known brand Gran Feudo – we could see that we were in a perfect position to take advantage of this. But we wanted it to be something different; a wine that stood apart from other Spanish rosés, and appealed to the consumer who knew his wines and knew what he wanted to drink,” Julián Chivite said.

    chivite blog

    The result? Las Fincas; a fetching rosé made in collaboration with Juan Mari Arzak of the three Michelin-starred restaurant Arzak in San Sebastián – it’s also the only Spanish restaurant with three Michelin stars sine 1989.

    Of the daring new venture, Julián said “My relationship with the Arzak family began long ago and over the years we have enjoyed many long evenings, gathered around the table, where exceptional food and wine were always present. And it was during those conversations that the idea of making a wine together formed. Juan Mari has always loved rosé wines and maintains that ours is the best. Thus, we began to conceptualize our perfect rosé, that wine we would always want to drink, and from there Chivite Las Fincas was conceived.”

    Las Fincas Rosado is the first wine produced by the Chivite Group under the appellation of Indicación Geográfica Protegida Vino de la Tierra 3 Riberas. For Spain, this is a new style of rosé. It’s dry and fruity, light and new, compared to the original Spanish rosés. 

    Back to the future

    The success of Las Fincas has been unprecedented, with strong sales throughout Spain and abroad too. This daring new wine also heralds a new era of modern winemaking for Chivite.

    Looking towards the future, Julián says he’d like to continue to retain a reputation for producing fine wines from distinctive Spanish terroirs, whilst building value into our proposition, and continue to innovate and produce wines which reflect the quality and individuality of their region in Northern Spain.

    When it comes to Navarra more broadly, and how winemaking will evolve, Julián says undoubtedly “we will see that the path of offering the best of our terroir – that some of us started many years ago – will be mandatory for all producers in the quest of excellence. Only those who are faithful and devoted to the identity of their land, and those who share these values with their consumers, will conquer the most demanding palates.”

  • Costa & Pampa joins the Enotria&Coe portfolio

    Argentina boasts a rich cultural legacy in relation to wine, with more than 400 years of history, built on a tradition that fuses together New World and Old World wine regions. Over the last five years, Argentina has been taking the UK wine market by storm. As a result, Argentina has become the envy of other wine producing countries.

    In the past couple of years, here at Enotria&Coe we’ve been focusing our efforts curating an Argentinian portfolio that is one of the slickest and most diverse in the market. With the likes of Trapiche and El Eseteco on board, our range covers everything from Malbec and Cabernet Franc, to Torrontes and Bonarda. To bolster this already impressive collection of wines, we’re now thrilled to add Costa & Pampa to our portfolio – an exciting experimental project of Argentina’s first South Atlantic Ocean wines.

    Costa & Pampa

    Located in a unique region called Chapadmalal near Buenos Aires, and just three kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean, the Costa & Pampa are vineyards is a special place to craft wines. Indeed, they’re treasures hidden between the seas and the Argentine pampas. Planted at sea level, the vineyards grow under a more humid and cooler climate than Argentina’s mountain varietals, resulting in a range of wines that are fresh, delicate, with great aromatic complexity.

    The new wines we’re bringing in, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, are produced in tiny parcels, with less than 10,000 bottles of each.

    Of the new coastal wines, Kathrine Larsen MW said: "These wines have a wonderful freshness and crisp lively fruit character, and a saline, mineral hint underlies and crunchy citrus fruit notes."

    If you'd like to find out more about Costa & Pampa or any of our Argentinian portfolio, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

  • Matthew Jukes 100 Best Australian wines

    We are thrilled to announce that 10 wines from our burgeoning Australian portfolio have been included in Matthew Jukes’ 100 Best Australian Wines Report 2017/18. The report was launched at Australia House yesterday, where more than 300 hand-picked members of the international wine trade including key press, buyers, educators and winemakers were invited to taste the winning wines.

    At the launch Matthew, who is one of the world’s most respected experts on Australian wines, said: "These wines are Australia’s magnificent vinous vanguard and as always, I will showcase them nationally and internationally in a continued effort to alert the wine loving public to the great wines made in Australia.”

    Hailing from across Australia’s finest wine-growing regions, the 10 producers who made the cut this year are Glaetzer Wines, Heartland, Fowles Wines, Kooyong, Tempus Two, Henschke, d’Arenberg, Stargazer, Howard Park and Skillogalee.

    maggie

    Australian Buyer Maggie Macpherson said: “Over the past three years we’ve keenly focused on creating a portfolio of wines that reflect the exciting landscape of winemaking in Australia. We’ve sought out what we believe to be some of the finest, most innovative and expressive wines to come out of this relatively young country. More than ever before, winemakers Down Under are experimenting with new techniques and varieties, and we’re excited to be part of the journey as they continue to carve out a new identity for Australian wine. Our strong representation in this year’s Matthew Jukes report is testament to this, and gives us confidence in knowing this innovative category has a bright future.”

    Our winning wines

    BOTTLE SHOT

    2010 Henschke, Hill of Grace Vineyard

    2015 Skillogalee, Trevarrick Riesling

    2015 Glaetzer Wines, Anaperenna, Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon

    2016 Kooyong, Massale Pinot Noir

    2014 Heartland, Sposa e Sposa Lagrein/Dolcetto

    2014 Fowles Wines, Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch Shiraz

    2014 Howard Park, Miamup Cabernet Sauvignon

    2015 Tempus Two, Pewter Semillon

    2013 d'Arenberg, The Ironstone Pressings, GSM

    2015 Stargazer, Chardonnay, Coal River Valley

    If you are interested in finding out more about these wines, or our wider Australian portfolio, don't hesitate to get in touch or contact your account manager for more information.

    To read the full report, you can purchase a digital copy from Matthew's website

  • The Wine Merchant Top 100

    It’s been a busy start to the week with awards streaming in for our wine producers, and the latest ones to add to the collection are from The Wine Merchant Top 100.

    The competition, run by The Wine Merchant magazine – the only trade publication devoted to specialist independent wine retailers – is devoted to wines in the indies trade, and is judged entirely by specialist independent wine retailers.

    Now in its fifth year, judges said the competition this year was brutal with 700 entries. We’re proud to announce that seven of our wines made the Top 100, while a further six were included in the Highly Commended list. What’s more, Man Family Vineyards Free-Run Steen Chenin Blanc 2016 was named the Best Value White Trophy Winner.

    Enotria&Coe Top 100 Wines

    Man Family Vineyards Free-Run Steen Chenin Blanc 2016
    La Nelina Riesling 2012
    Mohua Pinot Noir 2014
    Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel 2014
    Castelo do Mar Albariño 2016
    The Money Spider Roussanne 2016
    Primitivo Puglia IGT Organic 2015

     

    Enotria&Coe Highly Commended Wines

    Madfish Blue Chardonnay 2014
    Vina Leyda, La Kadun Sauvignon Gris 2014
    Court Garden Classic Cuvee 2013
    Bianco IGT Puglia Organic 2015
    Chateau St Michelle Dry Riesling 2015
    Lobban Sparkling Shiraz NV

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