World of wines for the independent mind

08 February, 2008

The Specialist Importers' Trade Tastings are a one-stop shop for independent retailers looking for something to make them stand out from the multiples. OLN picks out some of this year's highlights

The tastings take place in Manchester 's Bridgewater Hall on February 25 and London's Vinopolis on February 27. For more information and to register visit

Wines from around the world will be on taste and unusual regions from Switzerland to Slovenia and Greece to Geelong, Australia, will be rubbing shoulders with Burgundy, Bordeaux and Rioja on the tables of 42 exhibitors.

OLN and Wines of Chile will be unveiling major new research about wine merchants across the UK in an off-trade forum, chaired by consultant editor Graham Holter (see page 18).

Generic bodies will be "speed dating" at the event in a bid to strengthen ties with the independent sector. New Zealand Winegrowers will be launching its Independent Wine Merchant Promotion 2008, in which independent retailers can win a buying trip for two to New Zealand. ViniPortugal is launching its 2008 bursary scheme, which helps independent merchants hold tastings, dinners or promotions . Wines of Chile and Wines of Australia will also be at the events.

New Zealand winemakers John and Brigid Forrest will be on Adnams' Haughton Agencies' stand to talk visitors through part of their range, which spans vineyards in Marlborough, Hawkes Bay, Otago and Waitaki.

Prestige Agencies from Playford Ros is introducing the winemakers from its two newest agencies, Rioja producer Bodegas Bret ón - which is launching five new wines priced from £6.95-£27.65 - and Prosecco winery Villa Sandi, which is showing three Prosecco wines priced from £7.95-£11.95 .

Cachet Wine is previewing two wines from New Zealand's Mount Kuki - Riesling 2007 and Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (both £9.39) - due to arrive in the UK in mid-March. It is also launching an off-dry rosé and a fruity red from California's Route 66 winery (both £4.99) .

ABS is launching three wines from

Australia's Cranswick Estate - Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2007 and Estate Shiraz 2007 (both £6.79), and Saurus Shiraz 2007 (£8.49). Other new wines on taste include Jurtschitsch Grüner Veltliner Dechant 2006 (£14.99) and Fabiano Prosecco Spumante Extra Brut Castello 4357 (£7.99) .

Genesis Wines is unveiling a selection of additions to its range, including two organic whites - Grüner Veltliner Hoher Rain 2006 from Austria's Weingut Geyerhof (£10.50) and EQ Sauvignon Blanc 2006 from Chile's Matetic (£8.95) - plus two biodynamic wines: 2005 Arbois Chardonnay "Les Bruyères" from Stéphane Tissot (£15) and 2005 Clos Marie "Simon" from Pic Saint Loup (£16).

There will be new arrivals from across the globe at the Wine Treasury's table. Look out for Bilancia Syrah 2004 from Hawkes Bay (£16.85), Duckhorn Estate Napa Valley Merlot 2004 (£38.50), Midolini Ronco del' Angelica 2006 from Friuli (£12.50) and Willamette Valley Vineyards' Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2006 from Oregon (£19).

Astrum Wines has expanded outside Italy, listing four new producers - Edi Simcic and Sutor from Slovenia, Weingut Pfaffl from Austria and Weingut Rebholz from Germany. New wines at the stand include Haidviertel Weinviertel DAC Grüner Veltliner 2006 (£11.18) and Andrea Oberto Barbera d'Alba "Giada" 2004 (£24).

Spanish specialist Burridges of Arlington Street is showing two new organic wines - Efe oak-aged 2004 (£5.95) and Trilogia 2005 (£11). There will be new wines from Toro - Corrales de Campana 2006 (£9.95) , Quinta Quietud 2003 (£16) and MDV Graciano 2004 from La Rioja (£10), and Plot Tempranillo 2006 (£8.25).

Emporia Brands will be showing its new fine wine range alongside its premium spirits portfolio. Wines to look out for include Hugh Ryman's Le Petit Noir Viognier 2006 Vin de Pays d'Oc (£5.19), made by Robert Joseph and Hugh Ryman , Château Caroline 2000 Moulis en Médoc (£12.29) and Domaine des Grandes Maisons Château La Rame Réserve AOC St Croix du Mont 2000 (£22.29). Cape North Vodka from Sweden, Saffron Gin from Dijon and Nardini Grappa Blanca will be among the spirits on taste.

Swiss and Italian specialist For the Love of Wine is unveiling a whole range of new wines, with highlights including a pink Prosecco at £8.25; Bombino Bianco from Puglia (£6.35), which they say is fresh and zippy with green apple and almond notes , and Primitivo di Manduria DOC 2003 Donna Maria, also from Puglia (£8.75), made from 40-year-old vines.

McKinley Vintners is showing three new wines from the Rhône - Château Unang Côtes du Ventoux La Croix 2004 (£13.99), biodynamic Domaine de Mayran Côtes du Rhône 2005 (£8.49) and Domaine Duseigneur Côtes du Rhône Villages Laudun 2005 (£19.99).

What else is new?

Seckford Agencies is adding a California winery to its portfolio, which already includes wines from Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile. Expect new wines from Stellenbosch producer Brampton/Rustenberg.

Louis Latour will be showing a range of Beaujolais wines from new acquisition Henry Fessy.

Laytons is releasing four wines from the Diemersdal Estate in Durbanville, South Africa. Three new Riojas from Marqués de Reinosa will also be launched at the tasting.

Hispamerchants is unveiling a number of additions to its range - including its first sparkling wine, made by traditional method in Neuquén, Patagonia - Malma Cuvée Reserva Extra Brut NV (£12.99).

New on taste at Winegrowers Direct's stand will be Tavel Rosé 2007 from Domaine La Rocalière (£9.99) and Moulin-à-Vent 2006 Manoir du Carra from Beaujolais (£11.99).

Vinites UK has two new sherries - La Bota de Manzanilla las Canas (£15) and La Bota de Palo Cortado Bota Punta (£50).

Thorman Hunt is expanding its Italian portfolio and has recently signed up Tenuta di Argiano from Piedmont - its Rosso di Montalcino 2006 (£11-£13) and Brunello di Montalcino 2003 (£25-£27) will be on taste.

Manzanilla "La Rubia" from Bodegas Valdivia (£7.99), Finca Los Altos Gran Reserva 1999 from Valdepeñas (£7.55) and Aragonez Cortes de Cima 2004 from Alentejo (£17.75) are among the new wines on taste from Laymont & Shaw.

Charles Hawkins & Partners is showing wines from Champagne Binet, South Africa's Vins Julien Schaal, Portugal's Esporão and Takutai from New Zealand .

South Africa specialist Yeo & Co is launching two wines from Bosman Family Vineyards - Chenin Blanc 2007 (£9) and Cabernet Sauvignon (£10).

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