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wine news, September 2011

Wine Gang Fairs - The Wines

wine gang The catalogues are being finished off now for our events in London (October 29th) and Edinburgh (November 12th) and with around half the wines still to be listed our collective mouths are already watering: Don't miss the Pinot Noir from Bodega Chacra in Patagonia, a cult wine that is very difficult to find normally, as are our whole tableful of Oregon wines including the brilliant wines from Domain Drouhin and Bergstrom Cellars. Classicists will love wines like Fontodi Chianti Vigna del Sorbo 2007 and the Volnay Champans 1er Cru from Domaine Marquis D'Angerville, but both the Old and New worlds are very well represented. Amongst some extraordinary tasting opportunities, who will be making a beeline for the 2006 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon which retails at £105.00 per bottle, or the Fonseca Vintage Port 1985, which sells for £85 per pop? These all-day festivals also have free 'wine walks' conducted by the Gang, and tickets cost just £15 (Earlybird discount price). And don't forget the extraordinary programme of masterclasses at each event including Bollinger Champagne, Michael Chapoutier, Bodegas O Fournier, the icon wines of Yalumba, Portugal's best kept secrets, Magnificent malbec, the Key valleys of Chile and So you think you know Chablis?

Scottish fun and games

map October 1st sees Scotland adopt new laws concerning the sale of alcohol that will mean a total ban on promoting alcohol through multiple purchase deals. Not only does it mean the end of "two for a tenner" and "buy two, get one free" deals, but it also means a wine merchant cannot offer case or six bottle discounts: the price of each bottle in any multiple must be the same as the price of a single bottle. It remains to be seen how the various retailers, small and large, work with this law, but two interesting and contrasting approaches have already emerged. Majestic will offer their Scottish customers what is, on the face of it, a very generous deal: the price they pay for single bottles will be exactly the same as the price being paid in England on a multi-buy deal. So Scottish shoppers picking up a single bottle that's on a "buy two and save 20%" deal in England will also save 20% on a single. Sainsbury's on the other hand have just circulated their list of all price promotions for October - 70 of them in total. 62 of these are on multi-buy deals, but not, it appears for Scottish customers: against all of them it says "not available in Scotland."

Champagne App

app screen Sometimes it feels like there's a wine app overload, but this one is free for the next couple of weeks from the i-Tunes app store using promo code XWF6TJJYMN99. InChampagne promises "A travel guide to the sparkling wines from the Champagne region in France. Find your way to the famous Champagne houses, including all members of the Club des Grandes Marques. Presentation of each Champagne house, their history and their Champagnes," so it could be handy for those visiting the region. Swedish authot Staffan Sölve also tells me it contains a dictionary of Champagne terms, facts and history about Champagne and tips on where to stay in the region. Download.

Dom Pérignon stays cool

bottle and box Amongst the plethora of Christmas wine gift ideas that will soon be winning our way comes a new limited edition package for Dom Pérignon, based around their brilliant 2002 vintage. The Dom Pérignon Shield Box encompasses a bottle of the Dom Pérignon 2002, protected in an insulated case that will help maintain the temperature of a chilled bottle. The design is apparantly "inspired by the clean lines of the iconic Hautvillers Abbey where monk Dom Pierre Pérignon himself worked. The stained glass and rosary window of the Abbey and the Dom Pérignon shield icon are clearly reflected in the intricate engravings and cut-out window of the box. Its minimalist black form captures the strict, profound Benedictine spirit." Take all that with as large a pinch of copywriter salt, but as Elsa Corbineau, marketing director in the UK, says, "It is an exquisite gift box that is as practical as it is beautiful." Harrods, Selfridges, Majestic and other retailers from October 2011.

63 Cheers

chef Staying in Scotland, the small Perthshire restaurant 63 Tay Street was the deserving, but perhaps surprising winner of the Louis Roederer 'Wine List of the Year' chairman's award at a ceremony in London last week. Beating off competition from heavyweight names all over the UK the wine list was praised by judges as "surprisingly ambitious." They went on to say the 32-cover restaurant "manages to combine crowd-pleasers with well-chosen oddities. The great selection of wines from Germany, in particular, adds a real point of difference, as does the large half-bottle selection, while the food-pairing chart is a stroke of genius." Graeme Pallister (right) Chef/Patron of the restaurant said "We are absolutely delighted that our efforts have been acknowledged. Our list continues to evolve along with our passion and we are very proud that we have one of the best lists in the UK."