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Enotria and Coe

  • In conversation with Matteo Lunelli

    On Tuesday evening, we were lucky enough to attend a seminar with Ferrari President and CEO, Matteo Lunelli, hosted by the Italian Society of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

    But it wasn’t only a humbling experience for us, but indeed for Matteo too, who, 10 years earlier, walked the halls of LSC as a student (he took a finance course in the summer of 1997).

    Although he is the third-generation of one of Italy’s most prestigious family-run companies, Matteo never took it for granted that he’d one day reside over the estate.

    From moving to New York to work at Goldman Sachs, to the course for Ferrari’s continued success into the future, Matteo spoke candidly about his entrepreneurial experiences, and the fascinating world of wine. Here, we share just a handful of the most interesting insights from the evening.

    Matteo_LSE

    ON changing anything if he were to start from scratch: Nowadays for my son I’d suggest doing some travel, and perhaps an undergraduate outside of Italy – being more international in your background is becoming more and more important.

    ON the strengths and weakness of running a family business: In winemaking, many of the most successful estates are run by families. Especially in our sector, being a family business brings a strong competitive advantage – a family can have a very long-term progression, which is crucial if you want to make great wine. From the day you first plant a vineyard, it can take almost a decade to the time when your vines will begin to produce great grapes. And even then, the wine you’re making might take a few years to mature into a great wine. So this whole cycle can take almost a generation. Being a family business in this industry allows you to work on generational projects, that you’re setting up for the next generation.

    But a family business doesn’t come without risk. This is especially true when the family puts their interests before the interest of the company and the people who work there. In my experience, what makes a successful family business is creating a set of rules and disciplines that define the relationship between the family and business. I’m thankful my father was a big promoter of creating a family constitution.

    Another risk is that if the family doesn’t promote a good management culture inside the business, it’s difficult to attract talented people from outside to come and work with you. As a family, we’re by no means the smartest people out there, so we need to be able to attract those talented people to want to work with us.

    ON the booming trend of Italian sparkling wine, and whether the growth is sustainable: Sparkling wine is growing; it is a very modern wine and is in line with the current lifestyle of people. Wine is about sociality and conviviality. Nowadays people are looking for light and elegant food, and sparkling wine matches perfectly with this. Sparkling wine evokes emotion and happiness – it is a very important wine, which is why it’s grown so much. There is certainly a bright future for sparkling wine.

    The biggest trend I’ve witnessed in the UK market is prosecco. The success is immense – we’re talking about stunning numbers here. Data from 2009 showed that the worldwide trade of sparkling wine was £4.2 billion, and it’s now £6.2 billion – almost 50% growth in the last five years. Internationally, this growth has been dominated by prosecco and Italy. Nowadays the total export of sparkling wine from Italy is 273 million litres, while from France it’s 176 million. But when you compare France to Italy, the export value of Champagne is £3.3 billion, while Italian sparkling sits at £1.2 billion. Italians export nearly more than 60% more than France, but we have just around a third of their value.

    Another important trend I’ve noticed is that an increasing number of customers are opening up to the idea that high-end luxury sparkling wine doesn’t only have to come from France. This doesn’t mean sales of Champagne will decrease, it’s still important. In my opinion, what will change in the next three years is that in restaurants you will find not only high-end sparkling wine from single regions, but you will find premium sparkling wine from the world over.

    If you think about still wines…I love Burgundy and Bordeaux and this is where Europe’s wine culture started, but on the wine lists around London you’ll find many territories for still wines; nobody would ever think about doing a wine list only with Burgundy. So, why would you make a wine list of sparkling only with Champagne.

    ON the contest between traditional winemaking, and what the consumer wants: We never change wines to adapt to the tastes of the customer. Rather, we always try to craft the best wine that we think is the expression of our own territory. In terms of winemaking we tend to be very traditional; however, this doesn’t mean we need to avoid innovation. Even if winemaking is old fashioned, you should still look for innovation in everything. It’s not about looking for one huge change, but rather lots of small steps. Excellence is not an act, but a habit. It’s not about finding one idea that changes your wine, but trying to make every single step better and better. The ability to match tradition and innovation is what sets a successful winery apart from the rest.

    ON the biggest challenges that lie ahead: One of the main challenges is to balance growth, whilst still maintaining quality. It’s important that in the future, we grow only when we find the right grapes that will allow us to continue producing the type of sparkling that we do today.

  • Our Chilean Trifecta  

    The RAW Wine Fair kicks off in London this weekend, and you’ll be able to catch our Chilean producer Renan Cancino (Huaso de Sauzal) at the two-day festival. So ahead of this, we thought we’d delve into Chile’s burgeoning wine landscape, and shine a light on our exciting portfolio.

    Historically, Chile’s wine scene has been led by large-scale, wealthy producers with little in the way of boutique, pioneering estates. It has the largest average winery size of any country, many either producing mass entry-level wines, or modelling themselves on powerful Bordeaux/Cabernet styles.

    Recently, however, this landscape has been changing, thanks to a small, committed movement of young, new-generation winemakers, who are turning heads with their human-scale, authentic and, often very traditional approach to Chilean winemaking.

    MOVI (Movimiento de Viñateros Independientes) can be accredited with drawing attention to this uprising, and VIGNO, a new co-op movement, has even developed its own covert DO for dry-farmed Carignan. For wine lovers and adventurers, these two trailblazers have started something exciting.

    This growing number of visionary young “viñateros” are bringing long lost strains of vinicultural artifacts back to life, creating startlingly unique, complex and bold wines. Each of them with a unique story to tell.

    All in the South

    The majority of Chilean wine is produced in and around Santiago, where Cabernet from regions such as DO Colchagua and DO Maipu are heralded as the heart of premium winemaking. Styles typically are generous and ripe, aiming for body, intensity and power, over freshness, balance of fruit and elegance. Down south, from where the young, maverick winemakers are rising, it’s a different story.

    The southern landscape and culture starts to change as you venture towards Concepción; where DO Maule, Itata and Bio Bio can be found. Here, the wines are gloriously fresh with a focus on minimum intervention. Stylish wines with huge sommelier appeal and individuality are out there, and, if you dig deep there are some real gems to be discovered.

    However, until recently, wine culture in the south was commonly rebuked; seen as basic, provincial winemaking, and País, the indigenous grape, was dismissed as a gutter grape, not fit for making fine wines. Today the tables are starting to turn, as all the big powerful wineries, in a bid to keep up with times, are starting to invest in these up-and-coming regions. In the right hands, País is capable of making some exceptional wines with vibrant fruit, tension, complexity and elegance.

    Our producers

    Laberinto – Maule

    Located at the foothills of the Andes, in an eastern mountainous region of the Maule Valley, this winery sits 600m above sea level, and is considered the coolest spot in Chile. Rafael Tirado is the creator of, and winemaker at this small, family-owned outfit. Rafael makes bracingly fresh Sauvignon Blanc, as well as a Pinot Noir and a Cabernet Franc blend.

    The vines are planted in unusual curves, including two vine labyrinths. These labyrinths were planted with the aim of achieving more complexity through varying exposures of the fruit to the sun. This is a family project, and since 1993 their intention has been to make human-scale, gastronomic wines for the family to enjoy. What started out as half a hectare of Cabernet Sauvignon has grown into 18ha of vines, and Rafael’s Sauvignon Blanc is fast gaining notoriety. These wines are made with food in mind – think ceviche and oysters: they’re seriously mineral with incredible poise and elegance.

    Laberinto

    Huaso de Sauzal – Maule

    Renán Cancino makes very traditional wine in a small town called Sauzal in the Maule region. He works with vines that are up to 300 years old, and produces wines without any modern technology, spraying, or sulphites. Fermentation takes place in outside lagares, de-stemming is manual using a bamboo salander, natural yeasts, gentle, manual pigeage, free-run juice followed by a gentle press using rocks (delicately placed on top of the grapes). The soils here are of granitic origin, with a naturally higher pH.

    Climatically, Sauzal is in the valley, but geographically is farther in the interior and closer to the coastal range, with a wider thermal variation and a stronger influence of the cold towards autumn. Renán studied agronomy and gained experience in a co-op before he could resist the urge no longer: in 2008 he began experimenting. Using his family’s grapes, he began making wines the natural way – just as it had been done for centuries. All wine in Sauzal is natural, both in concept and in origin – this is not a faddish turn. These hand-crafted wines are beautifully unique.

    Renan Cancino, Huaso de Sauzal

    Terroir Sonoro – Itata, Bio Bio

    Juan Ledesma is a jazz musician and an erudite, artistic soul who made his first vintage in 2013 after discovering 300-year-old vines in Itata and Bio Bio. With a growing suspicion that everything he had learnt studying agronomy was a lie, he set out on a winemaking mission to support local growers in a quest to make exceptional wines, with the hallmarks of quality and verve.

    Juan’s methods are both unusual and pioneering. Lees are suspended by the resonance of jazz music that he composes, records and then plays into the wine when it’s ageing in barrel. This combines two visions – the science of using sound waves to mimic battonage and the emotional link to jazz. A lot of his inspiration, including the names of his wines, are taken from his hero, Chilean poet, artist and scientist Nicanor Parra.

    Terroir Sonoro

    The fires our support

    In January this year, Chile suffered from devastating fires, they were widespread from Colchagua through Curicó, down to Maule Itata and Bio Bio. Nearly 700sq miles of land was ravaged by more than 100 fires. Some of the worst affected areas were down in the south, where our Chilean Trifecta reside, and it’s the small traditional farmer that has been affected the most.

    Our producers have suffered: some have lost old vines, others will see damage from the smoke, and as their partner, Enotria&Coe feels strongly that we have a responsibility to support them during this hardship. So, for every bottle that’s sold of all of these wines, we’ll donate £0.50 into an accrued pot, which will be sent out to the three producers at the end of the year, to contribute towards helping them restore their vineyards.

  • Malbec moment

    Utter the word Malbec, and Argentina immediately comes to mind. And rightly so, too. It’s the South American nation’s most popular varietal in volume and value sales, and in the last 10 years alone, Argentinian Malbec plantings have nearly doubled. There are just a handful of places around the world that produce Malbec, and Argentina is miles ahead of the pack.

    Here in the UK, we love Argentina’s full-bodied, versatile red grape. Indeed, more than half of the country’s exports shipped across the Atlantic Ocean destined for our shores are Malbec. Of the punchy grape, UK wine commentator, Olly Smith, says “Malbec is thought of as the Giant Haystacks of the wine world – burly, hefty and packing a punch. But while it can be as flavoursome as licking a blackberry the size of the Moon, Malbec is also a wine grape capable of delivering an intriguing range of aromas, from violet fragrance to gamey spice".

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    According to Wines of Argentina, Malbec leads the field when it comes to attracting millennials – there’s no question it’s a grape in the zeitgeist at the minute. In recent years, Argentina has taken the UK wine market by storm, and in the process they’ve become the envy of other wine-producing countries. But why, you might ask.

    “Because it’s cool,” confirms Enotria&Coe buyer (and self-confessed Malbec lover) Harriet Kininmonth.

    “The wines have carved an identity as exciting, quality-focused and food-lead, with plush and velvety Malbec leading the revolution and clearing the path for what’s starting to unravel.”

    “Today’s UK market is evolving and consumers are increasingly on the hunt for provenance and distinction, craving a premium and enriching experience.”

    In light of this, we’re delighted to house some of the world’s leading producers of wines born from the sun-worshipping grape – Trapiche and El Esteco.

    “With Trapiche and El Esteco on board we have one of the slickest, most diverse and fully comprehensive ranges in the market,” Harriet says._MG_5750

    Trapiche demonstrates precision winemaking at unbeatable price-points, showcasing Malbec at its best, whilst El Esteco, and its oxygen-starved altitudes reveals super-premium blockbusters. But it doesn’t stop with Malbec. “From Bonarda to Torrontes, and Tannat to Petit Verdot, our comprehensive portfolio proves that Malbec isn’t the only Messi in the team.”

    Did you know

    1. Malbec originated in southwest France, in the town of Cahors, just outside Bordeaux.
    2. During the 1950s, the variety was almost completely wiped out in France by a devastating frost.
    3. In years gone by, Malbec’s also been known as Côt, Auxerrois or Pressac.
  • National Absinthe Day

    Absinthe has been a beverage celebrated by artists and aristocrats for centuries, so it should only make sense that fans of this “green fairy” are eager to take part in a holiday simply known as Absinthe Day.

    Touted for its innate ability to inspire such writers as Ernest Hemingway and Oscar Wilde (to name but a few), this tempting alcoholic beverage is known to be a mild hallucinogenic to some of those who experience the allures of the “green muse”.

    Absinthe Day is another way to celebrate the fact that the popularity of this drink has resurfaced in recent times. Not surprisingly, the main way to celebrate Absinthe Day is to purchase a local bottle and have a glass or two. Thankfully, there are over two hundred different types of absinthe to be found in Europe and the United States, so enjoying this alcoholic homage has indeed never been easier!

    Suissesse Cocktail

    This cocktail is a staple at The Old Absinthe House in New Orleans - it’s simple to make and ideal for a hot summer’s day. It is also one of the finest ‘morning after’ remedies you will ever taste.

    absintheIngredients

    • 40ml Enigma VS absinthe
    • 15ml orgeat syrup
    • 1 egg white
    • 15ml single cream
    • 120g shaved ice

    Instructions

    Combine all ingredients in a blender, blend for five seconds and serve in a chilled cocktail glass.

  • d'Arenberg: Red Stripe Reviews

    2017 is well and truly underway, and already the team at d'Arenberg have been raking in awards and reviews left, right and centre. Here is just a snapshot of the swag of accolades they've received. Good job team! LABEL2-A739

    The Ironstone Pressings – Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre 2013

    Vinonotebook.com

    Spiced and complex nose, deep raspberry but well overlaid with inky black peppercorns and fresh earthy herbs. The traditional jubey McLaren Vale raspberry seems more subdued than usual and bunkering down for a long life ahead. Plums and chocolate rise first before a meaty, savoury prosciutto like character whilst the whole thing is dirty with fingerprints of youthful oak. Its tannins are fine and plentiful. Cellar for 10 – 15 years safely.

    LABEL2-A741

    The Dead Arm – Shiraz 2013

    93 Points // The Wine Genius

    Bright opaque ruby. Dense and ripe fruits reminiscent of blueberry, tar, a touch of menthol and tobacco are supported by sweet oak. Dry, full, dense and tannic on the palate it is a bold and robust, slightly old fashioned style although will no doubt have plenty of fans whom will appreciate its power and long finish.

    LABEL2-A740

    The Coppermine Road – Shiraz 2013

    91 Points // Wine Enthusiast Wine Buying Guide March 2017

    d’Arenberg’s Coppermine Cabernets are often tannic and austere upon release, so be warned should you decide to open one in the next year or two. The aromas and flavors are classic this year, seamlessly marrying cassis and cedar, but finishing dry, astringent and firm. Drink 2020–2030+.

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    The Money Spider // Roussane 2016

    95 Points // Andrew Smith, The Wine Smith

    Historically I’ve found The Money Spider a bit non-descript. This year’s rendition is certain & definite. In fact I would have to say it’s the best roussanne d’Arenberg has produced to date. Breaking it down: Roussanne is a white variety originally from the Rhone Valley in France. You’d be forgiven for having never tried one. It’s not high on the popularity scale and it’s almost always in a blend. The aroma has tropical flowers, mango and a hint of lemon. Similar characters hit the palate. The tropical characters are less dominating and the lemony-citrus is stronger as a flavour than as an aroma.

    The thing that really gets me jumping up and down is totally hidden in the aroma but plainly obvious on the palate. It’s an adorable green tea & jasmin character complete with a pleasurable hint of tannic grip. It’s more of a behaviour than an actual flavour. Finally the acidity swoops in to clean up ready for the next mouthful! Wow!! Overall this wine isn’t one that is all strong sweetness yet somehow still thin. (Think a strong cup of cordial and you’ll understand what I mean.) Nor is it all grip and acidity with no flavour pop (Think cold green tea.) This year The Money Spider has intensity, depth, distinction of personality and most importantly, balance. If you are looking to mix it up a little from your usual go-to white, give this a nudge. I really like it!!

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    The Footbolt – Shiraz 2013

    Andrew Smith // The Wine Smith

    Really ripe plums and confectionary totally dominate in the aroma arena. There is also a healthy lashing of oak in this mix. These aromas carry forward onto the palate. A flavour that reminds me of black jellybeans also emerges. This is a great handle to grab when pairing with dishes that use aniseed and even star anise! Breaking it down: Ever been handed an anonymous glass of red and thought you could taste ‘Old Gold 70% Cocoa’? Bitter chocolate is a definitive character that McLaren Vale is famous for imparting into it’s reds. The Footbolt has this character in spades! The oak detected in the aroma comes through quite strong on the palate too! This is great for cellaring potential. The fruit is definitely in the driving seat but the oak will help carry the wine a fair way into the future. Quintessential McLaren Vale Shiraz at a cracking price. Value for money plus!!

  • Decanter South African Chardonnay Panel Tasting

    Decanter's April edition features a South African Chardonnay panel tasting, in which praises were sung for Enotria&Coe producer, ThelemaThelema Mountain Vineyards 2015 Sutherland Chardonnay was grouped in the 'Outstanding' category (95–97 points), and was one of only four wines to do so. And as if that wasn't enough, it was also the best priced wine in the bunch.

    LABEL2-6722"Gyles Webb has been making great wines, both red and white, in South Africa for so long (since 1983 to be precise) that it’s easy to overlook his achievements. Aided by long-term winemaker Rudi Schultz and his son Thomas, he makes very different styles of Chardonnay in Elgin (crunchy and well defined) and Stellenbosch (ripe and textured). Webb was a pioneer in Elgin, now an outstanding area for the variety."

    “An alluring meaty, aromatic, reductive nose – complex stuff, It is dense, smoky and mineral, as well as long and savoury with tangy acidity. This has lovely focus and a fine, tapering finish. Very classy!” – Tim Atkin MW

    “Struck match complexity comes through to the fore; it is modern and very expressive. A truly fine Chardonnay. Spice and tightly wound richness combine with excellent freshness underpinning the whole. How can this be under £13?! This is where South Africa rules the roost – exceptional, unbeatable value in the mid-price tier.  ” – John Hoskins MW

    “It is hard to deny the complex nose of struck match reduction on this wine, which mingles with green pears and dusty granitic minerality. Lean and austere, just like a young premier cru Burgundy: super linear with rapier acidity. Serious stuff – I love it." – Greg Sherwood MW

    The 2015 Sutherland Chardonnay is due in at the end of March.

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