Madeira Wine - all you need know about this classic fortified wine

The London Madeira Wine Experience landed in London two weeks ago giving everyone in the UK wine scene an opportunity to brush up on the different styles of Madeira wine, find out which grapes they come from, what their key tasting characteristics are and what foods they pair with. Lisse Garnett, in her first article for The Buyer, attended the event, talks to the key players, discovered some outstanding wines and provides some historical perspective on how Madeira Wine came about in the first p

Dry-farmed Chile, the exciting wines of the South (1) VIGNO in Maule –

Chile is changing, drafting a new constitution and facing up to the past. Chilean wine has been changing too, adapting to climate change and making wines that are no longer facsimiles but reflective of terroir and regional culture. Lisse Garnett and Jamie Goode travelled from Santiago to Maule to Itata to Pućon and back to meet small and large producers and taste their wines with the generous support of ProChile and Gobierno Regional de Maule. Chile has moved so far in such a short time, it’s

Gérard Basset’s widow Nina and son Romané call on UK government to appoint a specialist minister for hospitality as crisis bites –

We ask the UK Sommelier of the Year 2022 Vincenzo Arnese what it takes to get to the top and we review the help available to those in the trade through the Gérard Basset Foundation, established in memory of one of the greatest characters hospitality has ever seen In 2019 the economic output of the UK hospitality sector was nearly 60 billion according to a House of Commons report published in May. That equates to 3% of the UK’s total economic output. In March 2020 there were 2.53 million hospita

How Argentina conquered Malbec | The Spectator

When Napoleon III proclaimed himself Emperor of France in 1852, he unwittingly kickstarted quality wine production in Chile and Argentina. A mass exodus of republicans ensued, one of whom happened to be a skilled agronomist from Tours named Michel Aimé Pouget. Pouget carried with him a cache of French grape cuttings that were to change the course of wine history and formed the basis for Argentina’s wine industry today. Because of the phylloxera plague, French wine production fell by 75 per cent

Barossa meets Bordeaux with this new Penfolds x Dourthe collaboration wine, Penfolds II –

Take Bordeaux master blenders, Dourthe, add 175 years of Australian patience, grit, ambition and skill – mix in that infamous Willy Wonker of Wine – Penfold’s Peter Gago and what do you get? Two nations – at wine making war throughout the 80s, have come together, made love and had a Gago baby – and guess what: she/he/them is wonderfully at odds with what went before Founded in 1840 Dourthe are one of the best wine producers in Bordeaux, famed for their brilliant blends. Their sought-after Essen

Visiting Plaimont, a super-co-op that has changed the face of southwest France –

Forty years ago Gascony produced some of the most unloved wines in Europe. Today, the region has Plaimont – a truly radical movement, a centre of research and international debate, as well as a ground-breaking uber co-op. Exciting tangential wines are being produced – and one day they might just help save the wine world from the effects of climate change. Varieties that fell out of favour for low alcohol levels, late ripening and other reasons lost to the mists of time might well hold the key t

Domaine Hugo and Offbeat Wines: naturally made in a Wiltshire winery, these are some of the UK’s most compelling wines –

Jamie Goode and Lisse Garnett meet two exceptional producers who together make some of the best wines on offer in England today Domaine Hugo is a badly kept secret in Michelin-starred circles – Hugo Stewart’s superb sparkling wine is born of chalk, without added sulfites, on land in conversion to organic at Botley’s Farm on the Wilshire/Hampshire border. Hugo’s first project at Les Clos Perdus in the Corbières Hills, now biodynamic, was an organic conversion too – surprisingly he finds it easie

Pieter Ferreira – Modern Day Maestro of Bubbles speaks to Lisse Garnett –

Dom Pérignon is a mere fable in the face of Saffer stalwart Pieter Ferreira. Famed for his monk-like dedication to bubbles Ferreira has been making sublime traditional method sparkling wine for decades. And now he is making it in England too. Lisse Garnett met up with him to talk bubbles and to learn more about what makes a man devote his life to them. The name Champagne is owned by the French and rightly so – it’s a place in France – but méthode champenoise (known widely as ‘traditional method

South Africa comes to England: we introduce medieval Mousehall, the new Jordan winery and distillery in Mayfield, East Sussex –

Gary and Kathy Jordan are well known for their Stellenbosch winery. But back in 2018 they began their quest for the perfect soil conditions to inspire a UK venture in partnership with their daughter Christy. Today a small vineyard, sustainable gin distillery, botanical garden, bee hives and a herd of curious livestock are all housed in the beautiful East Sussex countryside. And it’s all down to the soil. What’s more this small but perfectly formed sustainable farmstead will soon be welcoming hol

Katy Balls, Nicholas Farrell, Lisse Garnett | Spectator Out Loud | The Spectator

On this week's episode, we'll hear from Katy Balls on who may take Boris Johnson’s place if he resigns. (00:49) Next, Nicholas Farrell on the potential return of Silvio Berlusconi. (06:21)And finally, And Lisse Garnett on what’s it like to date and influencer. (18:00)Produced and presented by Sam HolmesSubscribe to The Spectator today and get a £20 Amazon gift voucher:

I’m sharing my boyfriend with 60,000 other people

I fell in love with a social media influencer. I could say there are three people in our relationship but I’d be lying. There are 63,423. Imagine a world in which your partner’s private life is his professional life: with thousands of fawning acolytes all vying for his approval, all competing for online traction — a traction that comes from your other half’s thumbs. His fingers hover over the phone rather a lot, giving updates into whatever he’s up to. It’s a little disconcerting. Life with an

The Business of English Wine (2): Robin Hutson, Chairman of the Pig Hotels and founder of Hotel du Vin –

Robin Hutson’s first hotel chain, Hotel du Vin was responsible for conceptualizing a generation’s understanding of ‘boutique’. In the 80s this word conjured fusty fashion shops, pearls and dusty muted pastels; it was a concept that had fallen on hard times since its 60s heyday when it was synonymous with high fashion, punk and the infamous Kings road in Chelsea. Small, eclectically furnished, individualised, unique, boutique – the Hotel du Vin aesthetic sired an entire movement of desirable func

País, Mission, Criolla Chica: the Beaujolais of the Americas? –

Much like the Gamay of Beaujolais, twenty years ago País was seen as fit for only commonplace, lowly table wine. Today a combination of rediscovered low yielding old vines, exquisite wine making and the consumer’s taste for fresh light reds is rewriting the narrative of this ancient grape. Listán Prieto, Mission, País, Criolla Chica are all names for one grape variety that journeyed to the Americas from Europe with early Christian settlers eager to make Holy wine for the Blessed Sacrament. Liss

My ongoing war with the ‘vinfluencers’

My take on the new advertising powerbase that is ‘influencing’, and the media-doping tactics that are often used to gain that influence, remains the same. This in spite of the bile of the numerous millennials and the older... ‘Slut-shaming’, ‘sexist’, ‘garbage writing’, ‘offensive towards women’, ‘aggressively distasteful’, ‘nipple-ist’ ‘old bitch’ that I am, I stand by the article I wrote in the April issue of The Spectator about influencers and the social-media celebrities who use their looks

Thirst trap: how ‘vinfluencers’ took over the wine world

Miss Fenn is an up-and-coming ‘vinfluencer’ — that is, she uses her considerable social media presence (31k and rising @winingawaytheweekend) to sell wine. On Instagram you can also find Madeline Puckette, a graphic designer from Oregon who... The first time I saw the Instagram feed of Georgie Fenn I thought she was a model stooge. Utterly gorgeous, Fenn regularly poses in carefully picked diaphanous clothing, ‘nipple poke’ a specialty. Paid brand collaborations offer excellent returns. Her art

An ode to Carignan, Carineña, Mazuelo… –

Lisse Garnett spells an ode to Carignan, a variety that never seems to get any credit. And Jamie Goode taste tests Carignans with personality – his notes follow below. Carignan gained notoriety for its ability to produce enormous yields (up to 11 tons an acre) of deeply coloured, tannic grapes perfect for the cheap bulk wine requirements of France’s industrial North. In Europe’s wine growing countries, people used to drink cheap wine by the bucketful but by the 1980s and 90s tastes had changed.

Noble Rotters

Dan Keeling, the man who signed Coldplay before turning to drink, and Mark Andrew, a closet Master of Wine so modest he doesn’t even use his title, ferry us around the vineyards of Europe... Frank Zappa said writing about music is as absurd as ‘dancing about architecture’. Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew ask if you could say the same about wine. Our authors make light of their own or any attempts to quantify an ever-evolving liquid essence into words, points or subjective flavor interpretations whi

Deep roots steady Argentina’s small producers amid economic uncertainty –

Inflation, a challenging home market and the soaring price of garlic are testing the mettle of Mendoza’s small independent producers, but their connection with the land is proving deeper than any economic trough. Lisse Garnett revisits De Angeles in Vistalba, Lujàn de Cuyo and Finca Suarez in Paraje Altamira, Uco Valley. The vineyards of De Angeles and Finca Suarez sit on fabled terrain, surrounded by world famous wineries at the elevated foot of the Andes in Argentina’s Mendoza region. Ninetee

Cartier, Cahors, natural wine and dead Brit bits –

Alain-Dominique Perrin is the man who tipped our tastes toward luxury. Credited with transforming Cartier into a global brand, he is hugely well known in his native France. Rugby player, art aficionado and A-list-celebrity mate, he’s known famed consultant winemaker Michel Rolland since the 70s. Having fallen for the ruined Château Lagrézette in 1979, he bought it in 1980, utterly ignorant of the attached plantation rights it had for AOP Cahors. Naturally, when it came to the vineyards he asked
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