Cono Sur at Fizz

When you are VERY successful, when you have the highest-selling red wine in the UK and a range of awards in your award cabinet (we all have one, don’t we?), do you rest on your laurels? Do you sit back and admire your success? No, you don’t because the a) there’s someone right behind you, keen to take the top slot and b) Why would you? There are always new things to do so why not do them?

Thus it was that I met the team from Cono Sur at Fizz, the Sparkling Wine show last October. Cono Sur Bicicleta is the most successful range of red wines in the country and Cono Sur have gained a reputation of drinkable, good quality wines, both from Bicicleta and from their other ranges, including and perhaps especially Reserva Especial and Silencio. So now, the front-runner in red is launching sparkling wines: a single Brut and a Rosé – no fancy marketing, no grand story, no alternate versions, just those two wines made to be easy and pleasant to drink. This is what sets Cono Sur apart – clarity, simplicity and an adherence to their vision of “No family trees, no dusty bottles, just quality wine” and uncluttered labeling. It’s a formula that works. In fact, their policy of simplicity and clarity run through everything they do so, when I spoke with them at the show, the interview was remarkably short – to the point, comprehensive and, yes, clear:

Wines of Brazil

Brazilian wines. You’ve seen them – they’re the ones that look just like anyone else’s wines. They are in Waitrose, Marks and Spencer and other retailers but don’t go looking for bright Brazilian colours or the yellow, green and blue of the Brazilian flag – they’re nowhere to be seen. Brazil takes its wine pretty seriously and they see no need to appear faddish. Is this a good idea? Well, I spoke with Judy Kendrick of JK marketing about this: JK marketing this year won both the International Wine Challenge 2015 ‘Generic Campaign of the Year’ and The Drinks Business Awards 2015, ‘Best PR Company‘ for the campaign for wines of Brazil so, if anyone should know, she should. I met her at Fizz, the Sparkling Wine show in Church House in London.

Premium Cava at Fizz with Richard Hemming MW

Fizz, the Sparkling Wine Show in London every autumn is a terrific opportunity to get your taste buds and nose around some of the best new non-Champagne sparking wines on the UK market. It’s held in Church House in London in their glorious round hall and is organised by the indefatigable Ben Campbell-Johnson. It is also a great place to learn new things. For example, you may have Cava pigeonholed as a low-quality, volume drink to take to parties where you can foist it on other people, while you scoff the Champers but, according to Richard Hemming MW, you’d be, at least partly, wrong! Cava is emerging as one of the top non-Champagne sparklers. Now this came as a surprise to me so I went along to ask him what he means by this:

Champagne Bureau Annual Tasting 2015

The Champagne Bureau’s Annual London Tasting was held this year in One Great George Street, ’round the corner from Downing Street, the Palace of Westminster and along the park from Buckingham Palace. As ever, the Peretti team set up a splendid bash. The great, the good, the adequate and the befuddled congregated like wildebeest to watering hole.; they all wanted to find out what’s gnu in Champagne. (sorry)

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Fizz – The sparkling Wine Show

Once again, Ben Campbell-Johnston has put on a show of sparkling wines other than Champagne (other than a few specialists or boutique producers). This time held in Church House, a terrific venue. A grand time was had by all.