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rhône, syrah -

When I first entered the wine industry, I worked at a wine shop in Manchester which taught me so much about selling wine to customers. Selling wine is fundamental to the business, but there are so many elements: understanding the needs of each customer, being able to explain a wine passionately in an informed manner, not trying to sell a wine to a customer that clearly doesn't want it but selling them a wine they didn't know they wanted, introducing a new wine to the customer, always on your toes, and always making it personal. Or just pointing at a...

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barbera, italy, piemonte -

Sorting the best Barbera from the average Barbera...

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amber wine, australia, cabernet sauvignon, frankland river, mclaren vale, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, western australia, yarra valley -

Living here in California, I’ve learnt that Australian wine can be a difficult sell. There are preconceptions, often based on the success of yellow tail, that all Australian wine is simple and fruity. And as Australia has a similar climate to California and trends have paralleled since the 1990s, then why drink Australia instead of California? Well, dig a little deeper and you’ll discover esoteric winemakers, unexpected grape varieties, historic but lesser-known wine regions, and a wide range of quality wines. Let’s start with Grenache, because there are plenty of old vines which represent the tapestry of Australian winemaking history...

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australia, california, grenache, mclaren vale, san luis obispo -

Grenache has always been one of my favorite grape varieties, ever since I first started drinking wine. It's the heart of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, one of France's great appellations, and is grown across the Mediterranean: southern Rhône, Provence, Languedoc, Roussillon, north-east Spain, and in Sardinia. It's made in many different styles: light-bodied, full-bodied, powerful, pale-colored, rosé, sparkling. It's used in blends, or on its own; made from young vines or from old. And yet, despite all that versatility, Grenache has gained a low reputation. It's considered to produce wines too high in alcohol, too low in acidity and tannin, lacking the balance...

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Let's talk about Pinotage. It's a grape variety that is associated with burnt rubber, paint aromas, neither of which sounds attractive. That reputation comes from several factors: South Africa's wine industry stalled in the twentieth century because of apartheid and the dominance of the government-controlled co-op KMV; quality in general wasn't as high as it should have been, and when South Africa re-emerged internationally in 1994 after the transition to democracy, there was a focus on inexpensive wine for exports; when a group of British MWs visited South Africa in the 1970s, they really didn't like the Pinotage they tasted—and...

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