Pulling the cork on recent wine stories

Pulling the cork on recent wine stories

Sting in the tale

Sting, former frontman with the Police and now a solo star and vineyard owner, has underlined the importance of place and occasion in evoking memorable wines. An interview in Decanter Magazine discussed the singer’s favourite bottles. As a connoisseur who produces Tuscan wines at his estate near Florence, Sting might be expected to have high-end names on his list. And, to be fair, he did have Chateau Margaux among his choices. But the wine that caught the eye in his selection was Mateus Rosé, a blast from the past that was renowned for its flask-shaped bottle and favoured by drinkers in the 1980s, although it is still available today. It earns its place because it was a wine he shared with his wife Trudi Styler when they were dating.

French breakthrough for low alcohol wines

The French wine industry is renowned for its reluctance to break with tradition. So, it may come as a surprise that a major off-licence chain is taking a step that goes against expectations of many drinkers. Nicolas, which has been in business for almost two centuries, has announced that it will sell alcohol-free wine (although strictly speaking the term ’wine’ only applies if alcohol levels exceed 8.5%). Wine sales have been falling in France, with a dip of 13% over the past decade.

Blue bubbly an English first

An English vineyard is determined to stand out from the crowd, with a focus on making sparkling blue wine. Adgestone Vineyard on the Isle of Wight claims to be the oldest in the UK – its first grapes were planted in 1968 – and its bubbly, Something Blue, is said to be the only wine of its type made in these islands. The turquoise colour was inspired by the sea and is made from only English grapes. The wine is made using the traditional Champagne method.

When a glass is all you want

Greg Lambrecht is best known as the inventor of the Coravin wine preservation system. It allows drinkers to sample a glass of expensive wine without having to pull the cork on a bottle. Lambrecht has now solved another of the industry’s conundrums by developing a similar tool for bubbly. He has produced a device that locks in the gas and means anyone can enjoy a glass or two of good champagne and keep the rest of the bottle for up to two weeks. Its European launch is scheduled for September.

Chianti sales on the rise

There was positive news on the sales front from the Chianti Wine Consortium in Italy, which announced an upward trend for the period January-May. Its figures showed an increase of 14% compared with the same period last year and an 8% rise against the 2019 performance which was achieved before Covid-19 had an impact. At its June assembly, the Chianti Consortium sought a reduction in production yields for this year’s harvest in order to balance supply with demand and ensure that the wineries can remain profitable.

Heehaw complaints about using donkeys

Colaneri Estates in Canada has taken a step back in time by using animals to accompany guests who visit its vineyard. Earl and Phyliss, miniature Mediterranean donkeys, are the beasts in question and they feature on tours of the estate. The idea stems from seeking a connection with wine traditions. The Colaneris have Italian roots and before moving to Canada the family had donkeys that would help transport grapes around the slopes of its vineyard. The next generation is reproducing it at the family’s new home in Niagara.

The ideal job

It’s called nominative determinism when people gravitate towards a job that matches their name. And there can be few better examples of it in action than Eleanor de Kanter, a multi-lingual, multi-talented business specialist, who has been appointed to the role of deputy chair at the Wine Society.