New Year. New Wine Pleasures!

New Year is the perfect time to start planning your wine buying event agenda. Two must attend event dates are:

Wine Pleasures B2B Workshop Buyer meets Cellar in Spain – 5 – 7 March 2018

Wine Pleasures B2B Workshop Buyer meets Cellar in Italy – 22 – 24 October 2018.

Wine Pleasures B2B Workshops allow wine importers to pre-arrange meetings with producers they can do business with at the event. New for 2018 is the introduction of an online tool My Wine Pleasures which will enable you to

  • Search and find producers you want to meet
  • Use advanced search functions including region, wine interest and price ex cellar
  • Pre-schedule your meetings with the online calendar via your own inbox

Enhance your time away and schedule a visit to Spain or Italy by registering today.

Each year, Wine Pleasures B2B Workshops bring together around 50 global wine importers to meet around 60 boutique wine producers under one roof to find undiscovered wines, discuss business for the next year, and share knowledge to move the industry forward. Find out who you will meet at the Wine Pleasures Workshop Spain

Need more information?

Our team are here to help you with any of your questions about attending Wine Pleasures B2B Workshops. Get in touch: [email protected]

50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2018 Revealed

Top 50 Sparkling Wines of the World. Our experts tasted through premium bubblies from around the Old and New World to bring you the best 50 available for 2018. Anthony Swift, Competition Director looks at the results.

Yet again, the competition to find the 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World has popped a breathtaking range of award – winning sparkling wines from around the world. Close on 100 sparkling wines were entered from diverse terroirs and countries with the top 50 dominated by bubbles from Italy, Portugal & Spain.  Diverse too were the grape varieties used to make top quality sparkling wines such as Alvarinho and Touriga Nacional from Portugal, Glera, Trebbiano & Sangiovese from Italy, Macabeo, Perellada & Xarel.lo from Spain as well as the classic Champagne varieties based on Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir made in Australia and Slovenia.

In the case of sparkling wines made using the traditional method these were classified and tasted according to dosage and ageing time on the lees. In many cases there was significant ageing on the lees giving wines great character and complexity. Gold medals and classified as exceptional each with 97 points are Donna Giulia by Le Terrazze di Antonio Terni (Italy), Rovellats Gran Reserva Brut Nature by Rovellats (Spain) and Vía de la Plata Rosado by Vía de la Plata (Spain)

Sparkling wines made using the Charmat method were classified and tasted according to dosage. Most demonstrated a combination of great finesse with a fine mouthfeel and crisp acidity. Just two gold medals awarded for this method of production: Verduzzo Gran Dessert by Cormons (Italy) and Prosecco Spumante DOC Brut by Bacio della Luna Spumanti (Italy). Once again, this year saw a couple of Frizzantes by Fratelli Agnes (Italy) make the 50 Greats.

Quality was high – all of the Sparkling wines included in the competition have scored at least 90 points. Traditional method vintage production dominated the competition with some nice prices, most ranging from €6 to €25 Euros. Charmat method production wines range from €5 to €20.

Bubble lovers will more than likely find it a tough task to find the sparkling wines amongst the 50 Greats published here in their preferred wine retailer as most wines are “boutique” and therefore not mass produced. Best option would be to look online to see if the producers sell direct to the wine lover or if there are any online retailers selling the product.

We hope the results of the competition will encourage both the trade and the wine lover to find, try and enjoy the most exceptional sparkling wines at Christmas and during 2018.

Discover the 50 Great Sparkling Wines here>>

Bubbles of Gold: Wine Pleasures announces the 50 Great Cavas for 2018

4 December 2017

Yet again the only annual wine competition for Cava has uncorked a breathtaking range of Brut Nature and Brut Cavas from young to long aged ready for Christmas and throughout 2018.

Freixenet Casa Sala 2007 wins the competition with Gold and receives a score of 98 points has been classified as Exceptional.  Also with Gold and classified as Exceptional with 97 points is Celler Vell Brut Nature Reserva 2014

Still in the Gold medal category and classified as Outstanding (96 & 95 pts) are the following Cavas: Ramón Canals Reserva Numerada 2013, Duran 5V Gran Reserva 2012 & Ramón Canals Gran Reserva Limitada 2011 (Ramón Canals Canals), Adernats XC 2013 (Adernats) Castellroig Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2013 & Sabaté I Coca Josep Coca Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2011 (Castellroig), Cossentania Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2011 (Castell d’Or), Cava Reyes de Aragón Gran Reserva 2010 (Bodegas Langa), Rovellats Gran Reserva Masia Segle XV Brut Nature 2008 (Rovellats), Nuria Claverol Homenatge 2013 (Sumarroca), Gramona Imperial Brut Gran Reserva 2011 & Gramona Celler Batllé 2006 (Gramona). Outstanding Rosé is the Vega Medien Rosé 2015 by UVESTE.

23 Cavas classified as Highly Recommended were awarded Silver medals. Most of the medals were awarded to producers in the Penedès wine region (Catalonia) with some awards going to producers located in Calatayud (Bodegas Langa), Extremadura (Vía de la Plata), & Valencia (Bodegas Vegalfaro & UVESTE). Some interesting retail prices too amongst the 50 Greats ranging from €4,50 to €50 Euros making Cava a luxury you can afford whenever you wish.

Those looking to splurge on long aged Cava (Cava Grand Reserva Larga Crianza) should try and get their hands on prize winners from prestigious Cava producers Agustí Torelló –  kripta Gran Añada 2008 (96 months), RRP €47 & Gramona – Celler Battlé Brut Gran Reserva 2006 (120 months), RRP €50.

The results of the 2018 edition of annual competition 50 Great Cavas can be viewed at http://www.winepleasures.com/50-great-cavas-2018 and contains all the Gold and Silver medal winners with photos and tasting notes for each. 50 Great Cavas 2018 is a useful resource for both the trade and the end wine consumer/wine traveller.

Gran Reserva 2004 Brut Nature Magnum – the pride of Montesquius Cava

A patchwork quilt of vineyards greets you as you wind your way down the 2 lane road the leads to the small town of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia.  Off in the distance, you see the silhouette of the jagged mountains, and as you get closer to Cellers Most Doré (producing Cava under the brand name of Montesquius), the mountains become real as you can make out the details of trees and rugged rocks. A quick walk to the front doors from the car park leads you to a modern chic tasting room hugged by a large brick archway, which acts as the focal point in the room. In addition to a long tasting bar, chic old barrels have been painted white, and act as tables for tastings.

Founded in 1918, Montesquius has changed ownership a few times, but is currently owned by five workers who bought back the company in 2013.  Due to the change of ownership, and business structure of the larger organization who purchased the company in the 1990’s, the company decided to only keep 4 important hectors.  The rest of the grapes used in Montesquius wines are purchased from 720 farmers, who are empowered to farm their land, make their own decisions, and grow the best grapes they can.

The company has a wide range of products, from entry level wines to premium.  Montesquius makes DO Cava, DO Penedes still wines, and DO Catalonia still wines.  In addition to utilizing the traditional 3 grape Cava blend, Montesquius also uses Chardonnay in many of the Cavas.  A focus on long-aging Cavas continues to excite the two winemakers, and an interest premium Rosados is also a fun and unique project.

The underground cava is quite extensive.  Four floors deep, covering over 6 kilometers, it houses, on average, 6 million bottles of Cava, as the specialty is long-aging Cava.  The company prides itself on a quality and personal touch.  Because of this, the Cava bottles are inspected and hand-stacked for aging, in the cold, humid cave. The temperature stays between 16-17 degrees Celsius all year, and the oldest part of the cave was hand-carved about 100 years ago. Not only is this better for the wine, but it also provides more jobs to the local community, something that is very important to the owners.  They employee about 50 people at this site.  And, they understand the dependence of the business on the community, and the community on the business.  Without one, neither would be successful.

2017 sees the Montesquius Cava amongst the 50 Great Cavas for the first time. 50 Great Cavas is a unique and annual competition only for Cava produced under the rules and regulations of the DO Cava.

Montesquius Gran Reserva 2004 Brut Nature Magnum (94 pts 50 Great Cavas) – A very complex Brut Nature Gran Reserva. Roasted nuts, damp earth and orange peel on the nose. Complex in the mouth , long and citric.

Robert J Mur Millesimé 2012 Reserva Brut Nature (93 pts 50 Great Cavas) – Quite floral and musky on the nose with a hint of red fruit character.

Source 50 Great Cavas 2017>>

Montesquius Gran Reserva 2004 Brut Nature Magnum also won a prize competing with sparkling wine producers from around the world in the annual competition 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World obtaining a gold medal with 95 pts!

Torelló, amongst the 50 Great Cavas for 2017

The Torelló estate dates all the way back to the 14th century shown by a document dated the 17th of June, 1395. Throughout the years the name has changed through marriages but today it remains the original Torelló name which is the 22nd generation on this estate. Finca Can Marti, as it is also called, occupies 135 hectares; 80 of which are strictly for grape vines. They first produced Cava in 1951 and have been producing high quality wines ever since.

The great-grandfather of the current operator Ernestina Torelló helped replant the vines in Penedès that were destroyed in the devastating phylloxera plague that lasted until the end of the 19th century. There is a monument in the council square and even a street honoring him in the town of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, Penedes. There is now a two day festival in September celebrating the end of this terrible disease where Cava, music, and traditional food takes place. Be sure to wear the color yellow!

When you first arrive to the Torelló estate you drive down a long windy driveway lined with olive trees and vineyards. The 439 olive trees on this estate are centuries old and are still producing olives used to produce bottles of their own olive oil. There are two main buildings on this estate both of which are from the Medieval ages. The upper house called the Can Marti De Dalt is the agriculture center whereas the Can Marti de Baix, the lower house, is the center of the cellar and where the installations are situated.

Here in the Alt Penedes they grow the Macabeo, Xarel.lo, Parellada, Malvasia, Chardonnay, and Muscat white grape varieties, as well as Garnacha, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Syrah red types. No grapes are imported from other areas to make the wines here at Torelló. The Cavas and wines at this winery are produced with one main objective: the strict and passionate care of the vines and grapes on the Can Marti estate.

When you begin your tour you follow your guide throughout the process of wine making where you can see they still harvest and sort through the grapes by hand. You’ll learn about disgorgement, the bottling process, and you will also understand the different ageing processes and times. You’re then brought up to the upper level looking over the pool and courtyard where you get a stunning view of the estate and the perfect backdrop.

Then you are taken to part of the family’s house where your guide will show you the original family document dating from 1395 protected in a frame hanging on the wall. It is written in old Catalan and Latin since those were the languages back then. Be sure to look at the bride’s box and the antique secretaire chest. Both were used in the family in the past and have incredible history.

The passion for quality is very prevalent when visiting this winery. You’ll quickly learn that the winemakers here at Torello prefer more complex and mature styles of Cava and still wine. They say that the bubbles should be in your cheeks more than anywhere else when you take a sip which makes it perfect for summer, celebrating, or just when you want to have a high quality glass of wine.

2017 sees the Torellló Cava amongst the 50 Great Cavas for the first time. 50 Great Cavas is a unique and annual competition only for Cava produced under the rules and regulations of the DO Cava.

Cava Torelló 225 Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2010 (94 pts)  – A classic Brut Nature Gran Reserva. Fine bubble and mousse with clean yellow straw appearance. Complex toasty notes on the nose, slightly earthy, long and fine.

Special Edition Brut Reserva 2011 (92 pts) – Fine creamy bubbles and mousse. Baked apples, quince and vanilla character follows through from the nose to the palate. Crisp and precise wine.

Source 50 Great Cavas 2017>>

Great Cava with Indigenous Grape, Trepat by Carles Andreu

Low seated bush vines separated by fields of golden wheat follow the rolling hills within the basin of the small county of Conca de Barbara in the town of Pira, 115 km northwest of Barcelona.  As you approach Celler Carles Andreu, you feel the serenity of the crater.  Isolated from the rest of Spain, with its own unique weather conditions and soil, Conca de Barbara is the perfect setting for the Trepat grape to thrive. The oldest vineyards, planted by the grandfather of the family, are over 80 years old; the second oldest Trepat vines in Conca de Barbara.

Today, the family owns about ninety hectares of vineyards in the Conca de Barberà county, where they mainly grow the traditional grape varieties in this region (Macabeo, Parellada and Trepat).  The largest vineyard is only 6 hectares, allowing for more diversity in the vineyards.

The vineyards extend across the municipalities of Pira, Forès, Sarral, Solivella, Barberà de la Conca and Montblanc. After decades of growing grapes, in 1991, Carles Andreu established the bodega that still bears his name today. A small bodega housed in the old manor house of Cal Celdonitakes advantage of the space where wine used to be fermented many years ago, respecting the facings and architectural shapes of the house, which was built in 1796.

The Andreu family has long respected tradition, and only produces wine with 1/3 of their grapes.  The remaining 2/3 are sent to the local co-opp in order to better support the region. From the 1920’s to around 1985 there was no private production in this area.  Then, in 1985, Bernat’s father began making Cava.  In his first year, he produced 4,000 bottles.  Now, the Andreu family is responsible for the production of about 140,000 bottle.  All 250,000 kilos of Andreu family wine grapes are hand-picked.  The remaining 750,000 kilos are machine harvested and sent to the local co-opp.  And, during harvest you will be sure to find Bernat’s father (55 years young) still active in the vineyard.

The star grape, Trepat, is local to this region.  With a total of 1,000 hectares of in Conca de Barbara, Trepat accounts for about 20% of the total wine production in Conca de Barbara; not to mention, 90% of the world’s Trepat is grown here. The weather in Conca de Barbara is very supportive to the needs to Trepat.  They are not coastal, need lots of sun during the day and cool nights.  At 400 meters above sea level, this crater seems to be the nursery the Trepat grape needs in order to thrive. Although the Trepat grape has a dark skin, the sugar concentration is more similar to a white grape, and even during cold and dry years, they are still able to produce.  The sugar content in this late ripening grape is ideal for Cava (as well as a beautiful red), with good acidity and low tannin.

Although both the building and family tradition date back centuries, the Andreu family has embraced technology in order to increase the standard of their final product.  In 2002, construction began on a tunnel and two cellars.  Two years later, the project was completed, and if you’re lucky enough to get a tour, you will see the tail end of the Cava process in the dark, cool caves under the front vineyard.  This is where the family allows the Cava to take its time and age gracefully.  You cannot rush a good thing, and the family embraces this slogan.  Many of the Cavas are aged well past the required number of months for the Reserva and Gran Reserva categories, allowing consumers to enjoy a superior product. Indeed Carles Andreu has 3 Cavas amongst the 50 Great Cavas 2017 which are as follows:

Carles Andreu Reserva Barrica 2012 A very distinctive style with notes of vanilla and spice on the nose. The palate has fine bubbles & a very attractive forward fruit style with notes of preserved lemons & a long salty finish.
Cava Rosat Brut Carles Andreu 2013 A toasty style with more lees ageing evident on the nose. Tart, crisp acidity, ripe strawberry fruit, long & salty.
Cava Brut Nature Carles Andreu 2013 More notes of time spent  on lees – toasted bread, brioche, honey and roasted nuts. Complex, crisp & fresh but with a real depth of ripe peach fruit character & a long finish. Stands out from the crowd.

Source 50 Great Cavas 2017>>

Castellroig Cava & Wine Tourism Penedès (Barcelona)

In the heart of the Penedès wine region, you’ll find Castellroig.  A family, rich with historic value has spent generations perfecting wine and collecting an impressive and extensive collection of wine making and other historic tools and artifacts that would challenge most wine museums.  You begin your visit by taking a journey through time.  Walking via the path through history, you’ll find vintage ploughs, pumps, pottery, barrels, carts, and other old wine making tools.  The rust of the metal, and wear on the pottery allow you to imagine how it used to be.  After your leisurely stroll along the path through time, you come upon a serene sitting area and some beautiful views.  As you look down and out, you see cliffs of stone to your left, meticulous rows of vines below, and in the distance, row after row, plot after plot of vines.  In the far distance, you can see the mountains and gain a better understanding of the how the land and its surroundings contribute to the vines and the terroir.

Once you have filled your eyes with the beautiful views of the natural surroundings, take a stroll down the stairs and make your way under the archway of grapevines back to the main building.  Here, you will find more history, as well as the wine.  Before you jump into tasting, Castellroig offers a very educational tour of the museum’s interior.  Room after room, you will find another slice of history.  A 3,000 piece vintage key collection, old fermentation vats which were used in the 18th century to stomp grapes from above, more pottery, old 1,000 litre barrels, and more.  For decades, Marcel (the grandfather) has been collecting pieces to add to the collection, as he continues to do today.  As you make your way through the maze of rooms, you come upon an old chapel, which Castellroig has dedicated to Sabaté i Coca Gran Reserva Magnum 2006 and Robert Parker (a famous US wine critic), who rated this vintage 93 points, and put Castellroig on the international wine map.  Since then greater fame has been achieved with 3 Catellroig Cavas amongst the 50 Great Cavas 2017 namely Castellroig Brut Nature Reserva 2012 (95 pts), Sabaté I Coca Reserva Familiar 2008 (93 pts) & Castellroig Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2010 (92 pts) Lastly, you walk through a large oak barrel and as you come out the other side, you see where history meets present day technology: the fermentation room.  Now, the winery prefers to utilize large stainless steel ferment tanks and other modern technology, but you cannot forget the past.

Although the family has embraced technology, they have kept some of the traditional wine-making and viticulture techniques.  The family’s ecological perspective encourages them to avoid irrigation and to hand-harvest all grapes.  In addition, they soft press the first 60% of the juice and sell the remaining 40%, in order to ensure quality.

The family is from the Riudebitlles Valley, and has been growing grapes for four generations.  Prior to the establishment of the label in 1985, the family, similar to others in this region, sold its grapes to a larger company.  After finishing his studies in enology and agricultural engineering, Marcel completed his first vintage in 1986 using some of the grapes, normally sold to a large wine making company.  Because he chose to begin making his own wine, the company cancelled the contract to buy grapes, and Marcel was forced to produce wine using all of this family’s grapes.  The family quickly bought this cellar, made it their own, and began making quality wine with the family’s vineyards.  The vineyards date back to 1914, with the oldest vines being Xarel-lo.

To view 50 Great Cavas 2017 by Wine Pleasures please click on the image below:

Deliciously Catalunya! Wine Pleasures Wine Buying Tour

The 2017 Wine Pleasures Buying Tour programme (part of the Wine Pleasures B2B Workshop Buyer meets Cellar in Spain annual event) for Wine Importers in Spain was a great success. A whole year of planning resulted in a truly memorable buying tour for all involved.

20 wine importers from diverse markets such as Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Panama, Slovakia, Sweden, UK and the USA, extended their stay to participate in the Wine Pleasures Buying Tour programme with visits to Clos Montblanc (Conca de Barberà), Agustí Torelló (Cava), Mas Blanch i Jové (Costers del Segre), Carles Andreu (Conca de Barberà & Cava) and Can Feixes (Penedès). Emphasis was placed on boutique wines produced in unique terroirs made with indigenous grape varieties such as Macabeo, Malavasia de Sitges, Sumoll, Trepat, Parellada and Xarel.lo. Two of the Cava producers visited have Cavas amongst the 50 Great Cavas 2017

Catalunya was also enjoyed through its cuisine. Here are some of the highlights of the two day intensive programme of visits:

Next up will be the International Wine Tourism Conference in Sicily:

Next Wine Pleasures B2B Workshop will be in Italy later this year:


The Wine Pleasures team

Wine Pleasures B2B Spain 2017 – it’s been a great event!

We hope you had a great Wine Pleasures B2B Workshop…

Wine Pleasures B2B Workshop Buyer meets Cellar in Spain 2017 has ended. A whole year of planning resulted in a truly memorable event for all involved. We wanted to thank both wine importers and producers for taking the time to attend, and a special thank you goes to all of the producers travelling from Corsica,  France, Germany and Portugal for blending in extra flavours.

Here are a few photos taken during the event:

Next up will be the International Wine Tourism Conference in Sicily:

Next Wine Pleasures B2B Workshop will be in Italy later this year:


The Wine Pleasures team

50 Stellar Sparkling Wines for 2017

50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World by Wine Pleasures

Top 50 Sparkling Wines of the World. Our experts tasted through premium bubblies from around the Old and New World to bring you the best 50 available for 2017. Anthony Swift, Competition Director looks at the results.

Close on 100 sparkling wines were entered from diverse terroirs and countries such as: Argentina, Austria, Australia, Brazil, Chile, France, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa and Spain.  Diverse too were the grape varieties used to make top quality sparkling wines such as Alvarinho and Touriga Nacional from Portugal, Trebbiano & Sangiovese from Italy, Macabeo, Perellada & Xarel.lo from Spain as well as the classic Champagne varieties based on Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir made in Australia, France and South Africa.

In the case of sparkling wines made using the traditional method these were classified and tasted according to dosage and ageing time on the lees. Sparkling wines made using the Charmat method were classified and tasted according to dosage. This year saw a couple of Frizzantes make the 50 Greats.

Quality was high – all of the Sparkling wines included in the competition have scored at least 90 points. Traditional method production dominated the competition with some nice prices, most ranging from €6 to €35 Euros with several coming in at €40 and anything up to €145. Charmat method production wines range from €6.50 to €15

Sparkling Wines made using the Traditional Method

Champagne Collet wins the Traditional method production category with a Gold triple Esprit Couture (NV), Brut Vintage 2006 Collection Privée, and Millesime 2006 each receive a score of 97 points have been classified as Exceptional

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

10 Sparkling Wines also with Gold and classified as Exceptional are Soldati la Scolca D’Antan Blanc de Blancs Brut & Soldati la Scolca Spumante Brut by La Scolca (Piemonte, Italy), The Rosé by Velenosi (Marche, Italy), QM Alvarinho Super Reserva by Quintas de Melgaço (Vinho Verde, Portugal), La Pamelita & Insolitam by Lobban Wines (Penedès, Spain), Mascolino Metodo Classico Vino Bianco Spumante Brut 60 Mesi by Faccioli Enzo (Veneto, Italy), Brut Art Deco by Champagne Collet (Champagne, France), Cremant D’Alsace Brut Rosé by Caves Meyer Thuet (Alsace, France) & Montesquius Gran Reserva 2004 Brut Nature Magnum by Montesquius (Cava, Spain).

Sparkling Wines made using the Charmat Method

Welgemeend Estate Winery  Sparkling Symphony 2016 (Paarl/ Stellenbosch, South Africa) & La Canosa Brut Rosé (Marche, Italy) top the ratings each with 95 points and are awarded Gold.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Silver medal winners with 94 points include Bettili Cristiana (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy) Prosecco Brut Polzner and Velenosi (Marche, Italy) Passerina Brut.

The 2017 edition of 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World takes the form of a 18 page full colour collectable publication and contains all the Gold and Silver medal winners with photos and tasting notes for each. The magazine also outlines how Sparkling wine is made, clarifies the difference between the Traditional and Charmat method. 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2017 is available to view free and is a useful resource for both the trade and the end wine consumer/wine traveller.

Read more about 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World>>

50-great-sparkling-wines-for-2017Also of interest:

50 Great Cavas 2017 – the best of Cava for 2017>>

50-great-cavas-2017