SITT up and take notice

19 February, 2010

There will be some new faces at this year’s Specialist Importers? Trade Tastings??, according to organiser Judy Kendrick.

Argentinian specialist? Las Bodegas will be showing what it believes to be the world’s first commercially available blend of Malbec and Torrontés, Malbrontes.

The generic body for Sud de France will be joining the Wine Institute of California in appearing at SITT for the first time, alongside Wines of Chile, New Zealand Winegrowers and ViniPortugal.

There’ll be a chance for independent wine merchants to participate in New Zealand Winegrowers’ Independent Wine Merchant Promotion 2010?, where a buying trip for two to NZ? is on offer.

Paul Shinnie and John Gauntley will be showcasing their collaborative venture Rh?ône to Rioja. Gauntley says: “We focused on researching and seeking out leading estates in both Spain and France, working alongside growers to develop their wines in the UK. We endeavour to unearth distinct and flavourful wines with individuality and a story.”?Sommelier Frederic Grappe’s Dynamic Vines will also be joining Terroir Languedoc, and New Generation Wines will be attending for the first time, representing predominantly family-owned winieries which produce organically and bio-dynamically made wines.

Now in its sixth year, the tastings provide the opportunity for independent retailers to meet suppliers and importers. Kendrick says she has kept the number of exhibitors around the mid-40s mark so visitors can get to see “everyone they need to”.

This year will see the Manchester tasting ending at 6pm, rather than 4.30pm as in previous years.

Samantha Jackson, owner of Scatchards Wine Merchants in Chester, will be going to this year’s event. She says: “I use a lot of suppliers and some of them don’t do their own trade tasting, so it’s a good chance to try some of their products without having to lean on them for free sample bottles all the time.

“Even if I am familiar with a product, it’s always nice to revisit it, particularly if a vintage has moved on. It’s also good to meet up with suppliers? and other independent shop owners.

“You can feel a bit isolated as a small business owner – it’s good to have the chance to swap experiences with others in the same boat.

”??Seckford Agencies will have three winery representatives attending both venues. Larry McKenna, winemaker and owner of Escarpment Wines from Martinborough, New Zealand, will be showing his 2008 Pahi, Kiwa and Te Rehua single vineyard Pinot Noir wines to the UK trade for the first time?. These wines have an rrp of £19.50 and are produced only in exceptional vintages. Vernon Henn, general manager of Thandi in South Africa, will be showing the latest vintages of his Fairtrade offerings available exclusively to independents. Emma McRobb, UK sales manager for Ferngrove Estate in Frankland River?, Western Australia, will also be presenting the current vintages.

Burridges of Arlington St, shipper? and distributor? of fine Spanish wines, will be unveiling a new listing from San Jos?é DO Jumilla – single varieties made from Garnacha, Monastrell, Merlot and Syrah. Among the other?s on show will be those from Bodegas del Medievo, DOC Rioja, Bodegas Piedemonte, DO Navarra and the newly? released Castillo de Almansa Colecci?ón White 2009, made from a blend of Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc.

Specialist Vineyards is a merger of South Africa specialist Yeo & Co and New Zealand Wine Distribution. New wines include South Africa’s Bosman Family Vineyards Pinotage 2008?, New Zealand’s Tarras Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2009, from Marlborough (rrp £12.99), and Tarras Vineyards The Steppes Pinot Noir 2008, from Central Otago (rrp £25).

Independent importer Wine Treasury will be joined by Bodegas Luz?ón and will be unveiling two new wines: Duckhorn Vineyards’ Decoy Napa Valley Merlot 2007 (rrp £19.95) and La Spinetta Barbaresco Bordini 2006, from Piedmont (rrp £47).

Richards Walford will be showing the new labelling for the Picpoul de Pinet 2009 from Domaine Félines-Jourdan, its agency from Coteaux du Languedoc. It will also be introducing its new agency from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine

a Boutinière, and launching the newly? packaged Viña Farnadas (Treixadura), from Pazo di Vieite in Ribeiro, Spain (rrp £10.49).

Armit says all the wines it is showing this year are new to its portfolio. Take a look at the “large selection” of wines from Spanish agency La Rioja Alta, as well as two new wines from Sardinia.

For the Love of Wine’s Ian and Robert Steel have been searching Italy and Switzerland for “great?-value” wines and will be joined by Stefano Civino from Cantina Sampietrana in Puglia.

Louis Latour Agencies will have new wines from Vidal-Fleury and Simonnet-Febvre, including its Chablis Premier Cru Montmains 2008 (rrp £17.99), plus new vintages from Henry Fessy, Warwick and McHenry Hohnen.

Family-owned McKinley Vintners is showing seven new French wines, including Cuvée Marie-Justine Rosé 2008 (rrp £11.99), “LE”? Domaine Clavel 2006 (rrp £16.99) and Château Champ de Grenet 2006 (rrp £9.99). It will also be showing three new wines from Limar?í Valley, Chile, and three from San Juan in Argentina.

From Spain, Carlos Escolar, winemaker for the Montsant co-operative Celler El Masroig, will be joining Indigo Wine at the London tasting.

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