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  • Fontanafredda: European Winery of the Year

    We're thrilled to announce one of our oldest producer partners, Fontanafredda, has been crowned European Winery of the Year, in Wine Enthusiast's Wine Star Awards.

    The prestigious awards, promoted by the American magazine, honours companies and individuals within the world of wine that have had a major impact in the industry, distinguishing themselves for their innovative vision and the significant achievements they've achieved.

    Fontanafredda, the only Italian winery in the running, faced fierce competition, made up of highly-renowned companies such as the German Dr Loosen, the Alsatian Domaine Shlumberger, the Spanish Gonzalez Byass and the Portuguese DFJ Vignos.

    Wine Enthusiast's Italian Editor, Kerin O'Keef, emphasised the excellent quality of the wines which today is "higher than ever", and the "extraordinary beauty" of the estate which has recently expanded its hospitality services.

    Oscar Farinetti, President of Fontanafredda, expressed his immense satisfaction following the announcement: "For us it is the culmination of 10 years of work during which we have passed to organic farming and spent all of our efforts trying to interpret, with respect, lightness, and depth, the wonderful fruits that the Fontanafredda hills offer us.”

    Located in the commune of Serralunga d’Alba, Fontanafredda, with its stunning beauty, large park and iconic, striped buildings, is the largest contiguous estate in the denomination. The firm has hundreds of acres across several townships dedicated to the production of local classics like Barolo, Barbera, Moscato and Dolcetto. It also makes metodo classico­ sparklers from its vineyards in Alta Langa.

    Besides using estate grapes, the winery also sources grapes from more than 350 trusted growers that have supplied fruit for generations. The firm’s primary focus remains Barolo,­ and the firm makes about 800,000 bottles of Piedmont’s flagship red each year. Its calling card, the elegantly structured, single-­vineyard Barolo Vigna La Rosa, is one of the most sought bottlings in the denomination.

  • McWilliam’s Wines Group joins the Enotria&Coe stable

    Enotria&Coe has galvanised their stable of exceptional Australian producers today, with the announcement that McWilliam's Wines Group (MWG) will be joining the portfolio in November. The partnership will see Enotria&Coe representing both the company’s flagship McWilliam’s brand and their iconic Mount Pleasant collections in both the On and Off Trade

    Enotria&Coe Buyer, Maggie MacPherson said, “We’re thrilled to be working with this iconic Australian wine family. The breadth and scope of their range, focused on premium NSW regions, is hugely exciting. Their business continues to evolve and modernise, making them the perfect choice for Enotria&Coe. Additionally, having the opportunity to distribute the wines from Mt. Pleasant is a buyer’s dream! We’re looking forward to taking these wines and their stories to the market, and working in partnership to build compelling brands with a focus on customer needs and consumer experience.”

    McWilliam's Family

    MWG brings a wealth of impressive wines to Enotria&Coe’s already award-winning portfolio, showcasing not only some of the best wines offered by the Hunter Valley, but new and innovative styles that are in high demand by contemporary wine consumers.

    Scott McWilliam, Sixth Generation Winemaker and Company Director said, “When looking to continue building the momentum of our portfolio within the UK market we needed to find a partner who would understand both the provenance of our brands, and the elegant wine styles my family has been perfecting for over 140 years. We feel that Enotria&Coe has the right strategic thinking, drive and reach to share with the market our vision for an elevated expression of Australian wines.”

    “Our McWilliam’s wines are distinctly cooler climate wines sourced from some of the most cutting edge wine regions of Australia. Our skilled viticulturists and winemakers carefully select fruit from these regions to complement the McWilliam’s elegant, food friendly wine style,” he continued.

    Enotria&Coe now represents four of the 12 members of Australia’s First Families of Wine. As they continue to build a portfolio of the very best producers, this is testament to their position as the UK’s best specialist wine company and reinforces the focus on quality and character.

    Australia’s First Families of Wine – what you need to know:

    Four of our producers, McWilliams' d’Arenberg, Burch Family Wines and Henschke are members of AFFW. This is a collective of 12 multi-generational family-owned wine producers, representing 17 wine growing regions and 48 generations of winemakers. The aim of this group is to showcase a diverse range of the very best of Australian wine – real wines, beautifully crafted, with true character. The families joined forces to challenge and change the perception of Australian wine production as a great corporate entity – this initiative is all about the unique stories and equally unique personalities.

  • The Henschke heart

    When it comes to Australian wine, you don’t get much more history and prestige than Henschke. With some of country’s oldest vines, the Henschke family has been making wine for more than 150 years. Over the passing years, each generation has left their own mark on the business, and today it’s fifth-generation Stephen and Prue Henschke steering the ship, passionately upholding the family name and reputation.

    Since stepping into their respective roles, Stephen as winemaker and Prue as viticulturist, the estate has grown from strength to strength, with the duo keenly focused on future-proofing the winery and investing in new styles of grapes and winemaking techniques, alongside meticulous and innovative viticultural management. Importantly, although respect is paid to their forebearers, the husband and wife team has ensured that Henschke is continually modernising and moving with the times. For a winery steeped in history such as theirs, this commitment to innovation has been critical to ensuring the Henschke wines remains relevant for consumers in the 21st century.

    During a fleeting visit to London, where Prue and her sixth-generation daughter Justine were attending the Australian Women in Wine Awards, we sat down with Stephen and Prue to learn more about their family business.


    Stephen, you have a rich family history in wine, but how did you decide wine was something you wanted to pursue?

    S: “I’d always had a real interest in it, but I didn’t know if I’d end up becoming a winemaker. I was always incredibly interested in marine biology, so I nearly went down that path. But then the opportunity came up to study at Geisenheim University in Germany, so I abandoned my plan to study at in Australia at Roseworthy and packed my bags to head north. Prue and I had met years before at university where we shared a subject in botany, so when I decided to move to Germany, we got married and made the leap together. Although I spoke some German from my schooling days, Prue didn’t speak much at all, so it was a big leap.”


    You were in Germany for two years, how did this time influence how you make wines today?

    P: “It definitely influenced our viticulture. At that time, Germany was really the hot bed for emerging viticulture practice – a research centre on a lot of work on trellis, clones and root stocks – you name it, they were doing it.

    “Interestingly, during the time we were in Germany they actually had a huge issue with diabetes, so they were really focusing on reducing sweetness right through their whole diet, so they had dry wines, and that’s what we got attached to. We found the dry wines were actually better than the sweet wines, which were masking unripe characters.”

    S: “Looking back, it was really beneficial in terms of the precision in their winemaking – everything from removing oxidation and using refrigeration, to using good filtrations and fining, all those sorts of things. But we also wanted to maintain the Henschke style, and didn’t suddenly want to start making sweet wines and become something we were not. In any case, your style should be driven by your climate, so there were only certain elements of what we learnt in Germany we could bring back home.”


    Could you imagine a life if you weren’t in wine – what would you be doing?

    S: “It’d be deepest darkest Africa for you, Prue!”

    P: “I did a lot of special projects in zoology during my studies and was offered the chance to go to East Africa to study baboons. I was also fascinated by botany, and had an honours degree in algae. There’s this amazing cold current that comes up underneath the bottom of Australia and we have some of the most diverse algae in the world. There was a lot of work to pursue down that path, I decided I wasn’t a good enough swimmer for that!

    “When the opportunity to move to Germany presented itself I made the switch to wine, but having that strict botany behind me meant it was really easy to drop into viticulture because I had all the physiology and bio-chemistry.

    “It’s been a great partnership, and it meant Stephen could hand over the very challenging viticultural side of thing. I’ve been doing a lot of research in the area, so it’s a huge benefit to have that focus on our long-term future of viticulture. It’s actually the part of the wine business that takes up the most personnel. We basically have one person every five hectares (and we have 100ha) so that’s half the personnel of the whole business working in the vineyard in hands-on viticulture.”


    Perhaps one of biggest legacies you’ll leave behind is your range of parcel wines. How did you come to start working with these alternative varieties?

    S: “My dad was on the Barossa Vine Improvement Group, so he was actually quite involved and interested in other varieties. He was making a few interesting white­s from Ugni Blanc and Sercial, but in reds we really didn’t have much other than Shiraz, Cabernet and Malbec in those days. However, that’s also what consumers wanted. They were a lot more used to just getting varieties that made a nice big red wine.

    “Because of our travels and interest in varieties, and seeing the potential for other varieties in certain places within our vineyard’s scope of Adelaide Hills and Eden Valley, we started planting some Tempranillo, Nebbiolo, Barbera and Grüner Veltliner which is looking spectacular. It’s really interesting to see how those varieties which back in the 80s were seen as pretty uninteresting, are now coming back out again of obscurity into popularity.”


    On that note, how much weight do you give to consumer trends – do you let them influence what you’re doing in the vineyard?

    S: “It’s interesting: you don’t really know whether it’s winemakers who’ve inspired people to drink different things or whether the consumer is actively looking for something new. It’s the ‘chicken or the egg’ scenario. However, I think as people become more confident and knowledgeable about wine, they’ll tend to branch out and try something different.”

    P: “I think it’s really important to watch the market. We were innovators with Pinot Gris in the mid-90s when we saw that become one of the alternative varieties that was taking off, and now it’s reached that point where it’s saturated, almost to the point of being bulk wine. You have to work out when to start pulling back from varieties because we can’t afford to produce low value, low quality bulk wine. It just doesn’t work for us.”

    S: “It’s also not part of our brand identity. Our economic model is to be better rather than bigger. To be better you have to really do everything by hand, you have to focus and push into that organic and biodynamic area and ensure you’re building the quality all the time.”

    P: “Perhaps most importantly, if you want to go down the path of alternative varieties, you really have to know your land and soil profile like the back of your hand. These new varieties are popular but you have to know what you’re doing – you can’t just plant them anywhere, so site selection is a huge part of the process.”


    When it comes to food and wine, what is your pairing philosophy?

    S: “We recently did some cheese and wine pairing with a local South Australian producer, and when we initially matched the cheeses, we found the fresh goat’s cheese was much better suited to the Pinot Noir than the mature goat’s cheese. So we swapped the sparkling and the Pinot over to suit the flavour of the cheese better.

    J: “It’s always something we’re really careful about when we release Hill of Grace, and do media previews and launch dinners for our customers. We always start with that list of wines and give that to the chef, and then let them tailor the menu to the wines. When you say Shiraz people often think steak, so with Hill of Grace we’re trying to find other options like kangaroo and duck, which suit our more elegant style of Shiraz.”

    S: “We did some interesting dinners during our travels in Spain, and I think one of the things that’s often missing is the person who tastes the wine with it, rather than just assuming it’s going to work or retrofitting wines to a menu.”

  • African dreaming

    In a bid to shake off the doldrums this gloomy British summer has brought on, Kathrine Larsen MS reflects on her trip to South Africa earlier this year – when blue sky abounded – and shares eight lesser-known facts about this New World wine country and our producers in the region.

    1. Around 75 different grape varieties are authorised for planting in South Africa, the majority of which are white, with Chenin Blanc taking the clear lead.

    2. Chenin Blanc, native to France’s Loire Valley, first arrived in South Africa in 1655, when Jan van Riebeeck of the Dutch East India Company founded Cape Town and planted its first vineyard with the variety. Today, 20% of South African vineyards are planted with Chenin Blanc.

    KLarsen 399 3. The most planted red grape is Cabernet Sauvignon. Lesser-known, on-trend varieties include Cinsault, especially when produced in a slightly natural style, and Tinta Barocca when crafted from old vines in Swartland.

    4. Made from 100% Chenin Blanc, Ken Forrester’s sparkling wine, Sparklehouse, is named such because Ken thinks of Chenin as the workhorse of the South African wine industry.

    KLarsen 3395. Leaves on vines can act a sunshield, and help prevent grapes from getting burnt. “Due to the Sparklehorse vineyard’s exposure to sun, we ensure the leaves on the afternoon side of the canopy are not removed. If the vines get burnt, this is an easily noticeable flavour in the finished wine”, said Ken.

    6. Bush vines produce lower yields and more concentrated clusters with smaller grapes and thicker skins than their trellised counterparts.

    7. One of the main purposes of Ken Forrester’s Petit range of wines, is to provide work for people who desperately need it. But Ken’s social philanthropy doesn’t stop there. He’s also donated a van to a member of the community, who then went on to successfully set up their own business driving the vineyard staff to and from work each day.

    8. While visiting Thelema, I began to truly understand just how important social sustainability is in South Africa. While driving through the vineyards, we pass by the staff housing and Thomas Webb explains to us that when his parents started Thelema back in 1983, workers were paid in envelopes. Over the years, they’ve helped all the staff set up bank accounts, and to become properly integrated in the system.

    KLarsen 323
  • Australian wines come up trumps

    The godfather of Australian wine writing and judging, James Halliday, has announced his scores for the 2018 edition of The Australian Wine Companion, and we’re delighted there’s such a strong showing of producers from the Enotria&Coe stable.

    The pinnacle of these annual awards is the coveted title of Wine of the Year, which this year was taken out by Henschke Hill of Grace 2012.

    Following the announcement, Halliday commented that Henschke is the best medium-sized producer in Australia, and has gone from strength to strength over the past three decades under the guidance of winemaker Stephen and viticulturist Prue Henschke.

    “I would really like for the Henschke vineyards to be seen as Australia’s first grapes … I would like people to perceive that’s what this is about; there’s no other wine in Australia that’s made from vines that are 100 years old and then made from them for another 50 years,” Halliday said.


    Tasting and whittling down nigh on 10,000 wines for the guide is no mean feat for Halliday, and this year more than 1200 wineries across Australia have been featured.

    Inclusion in the renowned guide is one thing, but several of our producers went one step further raking in 90+ scores for their wines: Henschke and d’Arenberg both received 33, Howard Park 27, Kooyong 15 and Fowles 14. Other Aussie estates to feature include Glaetzer, Heartland, Stargazer, Skillogalee and Tempus Two.

    Enotria&Coe’s star-studded Australian portfolio is nurtured by our passionate buyer Maggie Macpherson who, and under her guidance the portfolio has grown from strength to strength with each passing year..

    “As a buyer, nothing makes me prouder than to see my producers gaining this sort of recognition from such esteemed people as James Halliday. I’ve gone through the hard yards with each of these producers – I know first-hand how incredible these wines are and, what’s more, how passionate the people who produce them are – so it’s incredibly rewarding to see them enjoy some time in the spotlight.

    “Australian wine is going from strength to strength, and now these producers can confidently share the world stage. Australian wine is in a really good place now, but I’m even more excited for the future,” Maggie said.

  • Behind the scenes with Cecchi

    Words: Leonardo Bassano

    The story of the Cecchi family began in 1893, with Luigi Cecchi and his formidable tasting talent. Fast forward to the 1930s, and Cecchi wines were being exported outside Italy. In the 70s, the family moved to Castellina, the historical Chianti Classico production zone. In the 80s they invested in San Gimignano, and then in the 90s, they purchased the vineyards of Val delle Rose in Maremma. At the turn of the century, the estate crossed regional borders and invested in Umbria, with Tenuta Alzatura in Montefalco. In 2015 Cesare and Andrea, the fourth generation, returned to Castellina, with the purchase of Villa Rosa.


    The oldest of the family estates is Villa Cerna, the vineyards of which stretch across the first hill that you come across when arriving from Siena. The historical estate is 280m above sea level and the exposure of its vineyards, the diversity of the soils, and the micro-climatic nuances create the particular features of the wines crafted here. The estate now comprises of 80ha of vineyards planted with Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Colorino Toscano.

    At Castel Montauto the vineyards are densely planted, allowing for lower yields. Twenty of the estate’s 48ha are planted with Vernaccia at 300m above sea level. In Maremma, the Val delle Rose now consists of 150ha with a new cellar equipped with the latest technologies in winemaking for the production of fresh Vermentino and Morellino. Tenuta Alzatura, in the Sagrantino di Montefalco production zone, has three vineyards, and the terroir of each expresses unique social and cultural roots of local viticulture.

    I met Isotta, from the Cecchi Marketing team, who showed me around the main winery in Villa Cerna. A wonderful place where tradition, history and modernity combine. Isotta is young and smart, and when I was asking my usual questions about soil/winemaking, she showed off her knowledge and business acumen. This demonstrates how this family business combines a passion for great wines produced from unique terroir, with a market-driven approach and consumer focus. I was then treated to a wonderful lineup of wines for our degustazione.


    Vermentino Litorale 2016, Val delle Rose: smell of sea breeze, herbs, apples, pears, beautifully easy to drink, but with great character, perfumed, crisp, fresh and dry. Aurelio 2015: on the nose, lots of ripe red and black fruit, pepper, cedar, tomatoes and rosemary. Fantastic balance between acidity, tannin and fruit concentration.

    Morellino di Scansano Riserva 2011, Poggio al Leone: perfumed nose (roses and violets), a crisp palate, quaffable but with great structure.

    Ciliegiolo 2015, Maremma: this was the unusual one. Good red fruit, very cherry-like, medium tannins, good acid, very singular and characterful with hints of dark chocolate.

    Chianti Classico 2014, Cecchi (6 months in oak): vibrant nose, lively, flowers, cherry. Lovely drinking, smooth tannins, good acidity, easy to understand, crushed red plums.

    Villa Cerna Chianti Riserva 2013: Primary, secondary and some tertiary aromas too. Earth, mushrooms, sweet spices, cloves on the nose. Very soft tannins, subtle, crushed ripe cherries, crisp. This wine is very enjoyable now but can also age 10 or 20 years. Elegant and expressive.

    A big thank you to Isotta and the Cecchi team. Great wines, great people. This brief visit was inspirational and makes me want to return to Tuscany.

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