In spite of my commercial background, many people will look at my MW credentials and assume I can spot a grand cru burgundy at 50 paces! Which is easy of course.
Fortunately, I am regularly asked to judge at wine shows – most recently as one of 4 Decanter Magazine assessors of the shortlist for Trophy winners for New Zealand – and am regularly assessing wines as part of my activities overseas both on behalf of producers and importers. I therefore have a good understanding of what is ‘hot’ and ‘not’ and who the good producers are.
The key to creating a good list lies with understanding the business (its culture, people and market position), the commercial objectives and above all the consumer. Finding great wines is the fun part, and there is nothing more exciting than generating a list that fulfils a challenging brief.
Examples include the creation of the ASK Italian wine list. Working with celebrity chef Theo Randall and Carla Capalbo, we were part of the team involved in this restaurant group’s successful repositioning and re-launch in 2011.
ASK Italian – exclusively Italian list . ASK connection http://www.askitalian.co.uk/about-us/our-experts
Cabana – Brazilian concept, working with Jamie Barber
Nando’s – list creation and development of the Cara Viva range Nando’s connection. http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2012/03/portugal-celebrates-uk-support/
PizzaExpress received a great review from Tim Atkin MW in the Economist following a complete list revamp. Tim Atkin Pizza Express connection http://moreintelligentlife.co.uk/story/goodbye-peroni
Catherine Salloux, ASK Italian Markting Director
We are delighted to be working with Adrian Garforth MW, Master of Wine (one of only 300 MW’s in the world) who is one of ASK Italian’s Expert Friends. Adrian has helped us select our all-Italian wine list so that you can drink well without breaking the bank when eating in our restaurants.
We genuinely believe that like Italian regional cuisine, wine equally reflects the quality and flavours of where it is produced and have therefore chosen a short range that showcases this diversity.
Adrian has toured the country to introduce the new list to our restaurant managers and staff and has also made some great suggestions as to how to pair our wines with food.