Wine merchant news: Hatch Mansfield gains first Italian portfolio addition with Gaja

Imbibe Editorial

Imbibe Editorial

08 January 2019

What's going on in the world of your go-to wine merchant? Keep up to date with the latest portfolio additions here

Hatch Mansfield has secured its first Italian producer with the exclusive UK distribution rights for the Gaja family’s three estates Gaja, Ca’Marcanda and Pieve Santa Restituta.

The Gaja family has produced Barbaresco and Barolo wines since 1859, making significant investments in Tuscany in the last 25 years with the takeover of the Montalcino winery Pieve Santa Restituta in 1994 and the creation of the Ca’Marcanda estate in Bolgheri in 1996.

The winemaker previously worked with Armit Wines for thirty years and Vinum Terra for eight. It also employed Bibendum to distribute its Ca’Marcanda estate wines. Gaja’s partnership with Hatch Mansfield marks the first time its three estates will be supplied by a single importer.

‘We are absolutely delighted to represent the Gaja family estates in the UK, our first Italian producer,’ said Hatch Mansfield’s managing director, Patrick McGrath MW. ‘Gaja has been at the forefront of revolutionising the Italian wine scene for many years and we are very proud to represent them and to continue building their distribution and profile in the UK.’

Gaja’s wines will be available from Hatch Mansfield from 1 March. They join the wines of Champagne Taittinger, Louis Jadot, Joseph Mellot, Jean Luc Colombo, CVNE, Viña Errazuriz, Caliterra, Domaine Carneros, Robert Oatley, Villa Maria, Esk Valley, Vidal, Left Field and Kleine Zalze in the Hatch Mansfield portfolio.

08.01.19 – Kate Malczewski

Joannes and Thierry at Domaine Violot-Guillemard
Joannes and Thierry at Domaine Violot-Guillemard

Flint bolsters Burgundy offering with four new producers

Flint Wines is stepping up its Burgundy game with the addition of wines from four young winemakers to its portfolio. The producers joining the Flint fold are Domaine Yvon Clerget, Domaine Henri Magnien, Domaine Jean-Marc Millot and Domaine Violot-Guillemard.

Based in Volnay, Domaine Yvon Clerget is headed up by winemaker Thibaud Clerget. Clerget previously worked at Hudelot-Noellat and Henri Boillot, and his family has been in Burgundy since 1268.

Domaine Henri Magnien, led by Charles Magnien, claims just six hectares of vines in Gevrey-Chambertin, and incorporates organic approaches in its vineyards.

Another producer taking up the mantle for organic practices is Domaine Jean-Marc Millot, with Jean-Marc’s daughter Alix at the helm. The domaine includes three Grand Crus vineyards, an Echezeaux vineyard, a Grand Echezaux vineyard and a Clos de Vougeot vineyard.

Domaine Violot-Guillemard rounds out Flint’s new Burgundy additions. Joannes Violot-Guillemard oversees the domaine, with vineyards ranging across the Cote de Beaune, Meursault, Monthelie, Auxey Duresses, Volnay and Pommard.

The wines of all four producers will be available to try at Flint Wines’ 2017 Burgundy En Primeur tasting in January.

31.10.18 – Kate Malczewski

Enotria&Coe (E&C) is growing its portfolio with the addition of wines from three very different winemakers – Chaffey Bros from Australia, Kir-Yianni from Greece and familiar faces Brancaia from Italy.

Chaffey Bros founders and brothers-in-law Daniel Chaffey Hartwig and Theo Engela
Chaffey Bros founders and brothers-in-law Daniel Chaffey Hartwig and Theo Engela

Marrying buzzwords like minimal intervention, artisan and small-batch, Chaffey Bros' offering centres on Riesling, Shiraz and Grenache from Eden Valley and Barossa Valley, South Australia.

‘The Chaffey Bros aren’t afraid to try something new, and for me, this is what new wave Australian wine is all about,’ said E&C’s Australian buyer, Maggie Macpherson.

The Kir-Yianni estate
The Kir-Yianni estate

Meanwhile, the wines of Kir-Yianni focus on Greece’s indigenous grape varieties, including Xinomavro. The producer’s main estate is in Naoussa in north-western Greece, and it also grows at higher altitudes in the cooler climate of Amyndeon.

‘Ramnista, a pure Xinomavro, is the flagship wine of the estate and is widely acknowledged as one of the finest available,’ said Richard Lewis, Enotria&Coe’s Greek buyer. ‘We are also listing Kali Riza from Amyndeon – an amazing, ethereal, perfumed expression from old vines. Its white wines, made from Assyrtiko, are exceptionally fresh, mineral wines that offer great value.’

Barbara Widmer, Brancaia's winemaker
Barbara Widmer, Brancaia's winemaker

Rounding out the portfolio are the wines of Brancaia, a Chianti producer that is reclaiming E&C as its supplier after working with New Generation for a stint.

‘Many years ago, we were the proud agents for this top Chianti Classico, and then our paths went in different directions,’ explained Sergio de Luca, E&C’s director of buying for Italy.

‘Over the years, I continued tasting its wines and kept an eye on what winemaker Barbara [Widmer] was doing. Brancaia remains one of the top producers in their region, and I’m extremely proud to welcome them back into our portfolio.’

08.10.18 – Kate Malczewski

Novus BH Magister looks to raise profile of Moldovan producers in UK market

Recently established Moldovan wine importer Novus BH Magister is introducing six producers to the UK market at a trade tasting in London on 10 October.

Novus BH Magister founders Aliona Braileanu, and Irina and Sergiu Hriplivii
Novus BH Magister founders Aliona Braileanu, and Irina and Sergiu Hriplivii

Moldova, which sits at the same latitude as Bordeaux, has a long history of winemaking that dates back beyond 3,000 BC. However, the country remains reliant on wine exports to Russia, and Novus BH Magister is looking to raise the profile of its wines with the UK on- and off-trade.

The wineries debuting at the event include Salcuta, Cricova, Fautor and Timbrus, which is co-owned by Spanish winemaker Manuel Ortiz, and organic producers Equinox and Poiana. Châteaux Vartely, one of the first of a new wave of smaller private wineries from Moldova, will also be exhibited.

Eastern European wine expert Caroline Gilby MW will host masterclasses at the tasting, looking at local grape varieties Feteasca Regală and Neagră, as well as the wide spectrum of international grapes such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon grown there.

‘The tiny country of Moldova is so often overlooked, yet with 81,000 hectares of noble vines, it is a bigger producer than Bulgaria, Hungary and even New Zealand,’ Gilby said. ‘It grows more vines per person than anywhere else on earth and so many people depend on grapes for living, which is great motivation to get it right.’

FMV adds biodynamic producer to its books

Fields, Morris & Verdin (FMV) has been busy expanding its portfolio of late, and its grown further with the addition of biodynamic champagne house .

The family-owned company was founded in 1872, expanded in 1955 and has been biodynamically certified since the 1980s.

There will be 13 wines available, split across three different ranges: Classics, Single Vineyard and Specialités.

‘Over the past few years Leclerc Briant has been given a new lease of life through the acquisition of new vineyards, renovated facilities, a new style of wine, and renewed ambition and drive,’ said Pierre Bettinger, commercial director at Leclerc Briant. ‘We cannot wait to harvest the fruits of this new collaboration.’

11.09.18 – Laura Foster

Jascots aims to step up its sparkling offerings with Sekt

Jascots has secured Rheingau producer Schloss Vaux’s traditional-method Sekt wines as part of an effort to expand its sparkling-wine portfolio.

Schloss Vaux winemaker Christoph Graf
Schloss Vaux winemaker Christoph Graf

The merchant will offer Schloss Vaux’s Cuvée Vaux, a vintage blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Riesling, as well as varietal wines such as a Riesling Brut.

‘Sparkling wine sales continue to grow in the face of turbulent market conditions and consumers are eager to discover great quality sparkling wines from sources other than champagne and prosecco,’ commented Jascots managing partner Miles MacInnes.

‘[Sekt] wines are refined, elegant and complex, not to mention breathtaking value for money when compared to champagne.’

The Jascots portfolio already lays claim to a Grand Cru grower champagne from André Roger, English sparkling wine from Harrow & Hope, organic prosecco from Fidora and a cava from Can Descregut.

The Schloss Vaux Sekt wines are launching at Jascots’ annual tasting on Tuesday 25 September alongside 70 other new additions, including the four sustainable wines announced last month.

05.09.2018 - Kate Malczewski

Armit Wines to release anticipated Torre de Oña Martelo 2014

Armit Wines is set to release La Rioja Alta’s Torre de Oña Martelo 2014 this September. The vintage from the well-known La Rioja Alta, which has had the 20ha estate since 1995, has already been lauded by critics with James ‘Suckling and Robert Parker giving the wine 92 and 94 points respectively.

Made up of a blend of 95% Tempranillo, 5% Mazuelo, Garnacha and Viura, the wine was aged for two years in American and French oak barrels and has been described as outstandingly fresh and balanced with plenty of fruit.

‘This second vintage of Martelo stands out for a growth cycle with very suitable weather that met the expectations of a great vintage,’ said Julio Sáenz, winemaker at La Rioja Alta.

‘We picked during the first week of October, looking for the highest aromatic expression from selected plots in the Martelo, Camino de la Iglesia and Las Cuevas vineyards.

‘The vines here are over sixty years old, with good exposure and achieved balanced ripeness and were picked in a magnificent condition. The 2014 Martelo is remarkable due to its outstanding freshness and elegance.’

Those who can’t wait to whet their lips with the release will be able to get a preview at the agency’s annual tasting on September 5th.

31.08.2018 - Jane Ryan

Flint adds wines of three Italian producers to portfolio

Flint Wines continues to grow its Italian portfolio with the wines of three different producers: Andrea Felici, Marangona and Tenuta di Castellaro.

Tenuta di Castellaro in Lipari
Tenuta di Castellaro in Lipari

The wines of Azienda Agricola Andrea Felici are produced on a small, organic-certified estate in Le Marche; the Marangona estate in Lugana produces minimal intervention, whole-bunch wines; and Tenuta di Castellaro dedicate its vineyards to indigenous varietals, including Corinto Nero, Carricante, Nero d’Avola and Malvasia di Lipari.

‘Over the past two years, we have really focused on our Italian portfolio,’ said Philippa Saunders, Flint’s Italian buyer.

‘Italy is one of the most exciting wine regions at the moment. Improvements in winemaking and viticulture management mean that quality has never been better.’

The three new additions join the wines of Italian producers I Clivi and Borgo del Tiglio in the Flint portfolio. The supplier secured the two Friulano-focused estates’ offerings earlier this year.

22.08.2018 – Kate Malczewski

Friarwood ushers La Rioja producer Carlos Moro into portfolio

Friarwood is expanding its Spanish portfolio with the La Rioja wines of Carlos Moro.

The producer’s La Rioja project focuses on blends from estates in San Vicente de la Sonsierra in addition to single estate wines.

Friarwood will stock Moro’s Rioja Crianza CM 2015 and Rioja Prestigio CM 2015, as well as the brand’s single vineyard wines Ribera del Duero DO Rento 2014, Rueda DO Finca Las Marcas 2015 and Cigales DO Finca Valdehierro 2014.

‘Considering Spain is usually associated with reds, the Finca Las Marcas is a very interesting white wine and its richness makes it a great contender to a classic Chardonnay,’ said Auriane d’Aramon, Friarwood’s head buyer.

In 15 years, the single estate making Ribera del Duero DO Rento has produced just five vintages; the Rueda and Cigales regions yield less than 11,000 bottles of the Finca Las Marcas and Finca Valdehierro. Friarwood said its selective nature allowed for higher levels of consistency in the wine.

‘When we got the opportunity to taste Carlos Moro, we found their range very consistent in terms of quality,’ commented d’Aramon. ‘Their wines are well-structured with great complexity.’

17.08.2018 – Kate Malczewski

Jascots brings wines of four sustainable producers to the UK

Jascots is ramping up its sustainability efforts by introducing the wines of four environmentally-conscious producers to the UK on-trade.

Among the wines making a debut are the biodynamic offerings of Mas des Caprices in Fitou; still wines and ports from the family-owned Vieira da Sousa estate in Dour; organic, rare (Xarel.lo Vermell, Sumoll) indigenous Catalan varietal wines and  traditional-method cavas from Can Descregut; and both dry and sweet wines from award-winning Hungarian producer Zsirai.

‘We welcomed each of these four producers to our portfolio based both on the exceptional quality of their wines and because as people and companies they also share our commitment to sustainability,’ said purchasing and channel strategy director Adam Porter. ‘These growers combine sustainable vinification and low intervention winemaking with redefining regional traditions.’

The wines from these producers will launch at Jascots’ autumn tasting event on 25 September – register here and try them for yourself.

13.08.2018 – Kate Malczewski

Domäne Wachau moves distribution to Gonzalez Byass UK

Gonzalez Byass UK is taking over the distribution of Austria-based winery Domäne Wachau in this country.

Renowned for its Grüner Veltliner, Domäne Wachau draws on some of the best vineyards on the steep terraces of the Wachau.

Martin Skelton, managing director of Gonzalez Byass UK, said: ‘We have been blown away by the amazing quality of Domäne Wachau’s wines. They are a fantastic addition to our portfolio and we know they will be enthusiastically received by our customers throughout the trade.’

Domäne Wachau wines will be available from Gonzalez Byass UK from 1 September 2018.

30.07.2018 – Dave England

Bancroft Wines expands portfolio with Austrian winery Brokenwood

Bancroft wines is now representing Australian producer Brokenwood, after Negociants UK folded in May.

Brokenwood was founded by Sydney-based solicitors John Beeston, Tony Albert and renowned wine critic James Halliday in 1970.

Based in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Brokenwood’s strategy of sourcing from ‘all the right regions for all the rights reasons’ has seen it expand its offering to include wines from Mclaren Vale in South Australia, Margaret River in Western Australia, and Orange in New South Wales.

‘Brokenwood grew from a family and friends winery into a world-class operation and one of Australia’s most respected producers,’ said Bancroft Wines' buying director Barney Davis.

30.07.2018  – Dave England

Mastroberardino joins FMV's Italian selection

Fields, Morris & Verdin has announced that it is augmenting its already heavy Italian portfolio with wines of Mastroberardino, the family-owned winery hailing from Campania.

The producer has a long history in the region. Founded in 1750, Mastroberardino concentrates on working with and preserving native grapes varieties like Aglianico, Fiano, Piedirosso Greco and beyond.

Accordingly, FMV will offer a range of wines that reflect this focus. Wines on offer include the 2017 Mastro Greco, 2011 Radici and 2017 Morabianca.

Mastroberardino joins a number of other Italian wineries in the FMV portfolio: Giovanni Rosso, Luciano Sandrone, Monte Bernardi and Lis Neris already distribute through the supplier.

10.07.2018 – Kate Malczewski

Tortuga gains exclusive rights to Xeco Wines

Fresh-faced Tortuga Brands is quickly bulking up its portfolio, this time with the addition of sherry company Xeco Wines.

Xeco is relatively new on the scene, launched by an all-female team in September 2017 – but its sherries are produced by a family-owned bodega in Jerez that was founded in 1876. Now the brand is kicking things into high gear by handing Tortuga the exclusive rights for the UK distribution of its sherries, which currently include a fino and an amontillado.

Tortuga is already working with brands such as William Barentsz Gin, Raven Rare Blended Scotch Whisky, Dark Matter Spiced Rum and, most recently, Lambay Irish Whiskey. Xeco is the distibutor’s first foray into the sherry market.

09.07.2018 – Kate Malczewski

Delicato switches from Bibendum to Bancroft

From 1 August, Bancroft Wines will be plumping up its portfolio with the addition of Delicato Family Vineyards, which has, to date, been looked after by Bibendum.

Delicato is the seventh-largest exporter of Californian wines and its brands include Noble Vines, Gnarly Head, Brazin, Stone Barn, and Black Stallion Estate Winery, which won the IWSC trophy for Best USA Wine Producer in 2017.

Family-owned and operated, Delicato is one of the fastest-growing wine companies in the US, with over 1,700 hectares of vineyards across Lodi, Monterey, and Napa Valley.


Hallgarten & Novum grows Kiwi portfolio

Hallgarten & Novum Wines' Kiwi portfolio continues to grow: The merchant  has secured the exclusive UK distribution rights to Marlborough’s Lake Chalice Wines, bringing the brand to the UK off- and on-trade for the first time.

The deal adds ten wines – four Sauvignon Blancs, one Pinot Gris, one Riesling, a Chardonnay, a Merlot and two Pinot Noirs – from three Lake Chalice ranges to Hallgarten’s New Zealand selection. These ranges, dubbed ‘The Nest’, ‘The Falcon’ and ‘The Raptor’, are produced by winemaker Chloe Gabrielsen in the central Wairu Valley.

Lake Chalice itself is part of the Saint Clair Family Estate, a family-owned and -operated winery that purchased the brand in 2016.

Saint Clair is already tucked away in the Hallgarten New Zealand portfolio along with Rockburn Wines from Central Otago.

Kate Malczewski – 22.06.2018

Like brother, like brother: FMV takes on Rafael Palacios’ wines

It’s all in the family at Fields, Morris & Verdin (FMV): the distributor is now the exclusive UK trade supplier of Galician wine producer Rafael Palacios, whose wines join those of his brother Álvaro Palacios at FMV.

The supplier adds Rafael Palacios’ 2017 Louro de Bolo Godello and 2016 As Sortes Val do Bibei to its Spanish portfolio.

‘We are delighted Rafael is joining our portfolio of already exemplary producers,’ said Catriona Felstead, Berry Bros & Rudd’s wine buyer for Spain.

‘His vision and passion for the vines and wines of this far-flung corner of the north-west of Spain has driven many to emulate him. He is a truly inspirational winemaker.’

13.06.2018 – Kate Malczewski

Wine Rascals takes on its first Canadian wine

Canada continues to make its presence known in the UK market as The Wine Rascals becomes the latest distributor to take on an Ontario-based wine company.

Henry of Pelham is a family-run winery in the Niagara Peninsula that focuses on crisp whites and bright, berry-rich reds. Wine Rascals is adding the winemaker’s still and ice wines to its portfolio, following in the footsteps of suppliers like Flint Wines, which recently brought Canadian wineries Le Vieux Pin and La Stella on board.

13.06.2018 – Kate Malczewski

Kingsland Drinks joins forces with Schmitt Söne

In a major win for the UK supplier and its portfolio of German wines, Kingsland Drinks has secured exclusive distribution rights for Schmitt Söhne, one of Germany’s biggest wine producers.

Schmitt Söhne already has a significant presence in the UK, its second-largest export market. By uniting with Kingsland, the family-owned winery seeks to bolster its distribution for both retail and the on-trade – and Kingsland hopes to meet an increasing demand on the home front.

‘Our recent proprietary research, WinePRO, indicates clearly that the UK taste for sweeter and lighter wines is growing,’ said Neil Anderson, marketing director at Kingsland.

With Schmitt Söhne best known for its Riesling range, the winery is well-suited to help Kingsland meet this demand.

13.06.2018 – Kate Malczewski

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