Our Journal

Annual Portfolio Tasting 2016

25th January, 2016

Annual Portfolio Tasting 2016

We were joined by 150 producers and 801 guests at The Oval on Tuesday 19 January for our Annual Portfolio Tasting. Managing director David Gleave MW attributes the draw of this tasting to the opportunity for customers to meet so many producers in one day: “We think we’re selling wine but the key thing is we’re telling the stories of the producers, which is what distinguishes each wine from the other”. Who better to tell these stories to our customers than the producers themselves?

Our guests had the opportunity to taste several new additions to our portfolio, including Spice Route, Gabriëlskloof and Tim Martin Wines from South Africa, Weininger from Austria, and Gasper from Slovenia. Wine buyers Jennifer Docherty MW and Nicholas Moschi discuss these and other picks from Domaine Les Alexandrins, Cantina di Gambellara, and Terrapieno in this video.

David’s highlights from the day focused on Italy, Australia and New Zealand. Italy had a lovely vintage in 2015, producing ripe and forward red wines, although it will be a while before we see these wines start to come through. For David, however, there are a host of exciting wines to enjoy in the meantime, including the 2010 Brunello Riservas, the most recent Soave Classico releases and our new addition from Cantina di Gambellara. Mike Stewart (Head of Sales, Scotland, North England and Northern Ireland) chose the 2014 Rosso de Montalcino from Conti Costanti as his pick of the Liberty Wines classics. As vintage conditions did not allow for a Brunello di Montalcino to be made in 2014, all of Costanti’s best fruit went into this wine. Mike commented: “The result is exceptional, comparable to the outstanding 2002”.

David also observed that Australia continues to shine at the premium end, “and no wonder when you taste the wines!”. From exciting new blends, such as S.C. Pannell’s Tempranillo Touriga, to new wave Chardonnays from Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria, and Pinot Noirs from around Victoria, Australia continues to showcase its tremendous capacity to produce diverse and exciting wines.

Our New Zealand table was busy all day long. When asked whether New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc will be able to sustain the success it has enjoyed in recent years, David was very optimistic: “New styles such as Greywacke Wild Sauvignon, a barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc made using indigenous yeasts, sold equally well for one customer as the Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc, which is made in a more conventional style. This proves that the interest is there if the producers continue to prove that diversity is possible”.

We’d like to thank all those who travelled to The Oval and made the day such a success. It’s a wonderful chance for us to showcase the depth and diversity not only of our portfolio but also of the fascinating people who are behind the wines. As David concluded: “We’ve continued to work hard at bringing in exciting people, and those people are bringing on their ever-more exciting wines”.