Meet the new producers!
By Elisa de Luca
From big names to rising stars, we’re kicking off the year with a bang, by adding 13 new producers to the Walker & Wodehouse portfolio. Our buyers have ventured into some of the most extreme corners of the globe, marking our first foray into exciting new categories.
We’re jumping ahead of the curve for one of 2020’s predicted trends by bolstering our Austrian wine range with Weingut Nittnaus; branching into the world of ‘extreme’ winemaking with rising stars Bodega Otronia in Patagonia and Ghost Corner in Elim; and exploring lesser known regions with the Beqaa Valley’s Domaine Wardy. Also in the fold are big names of the winemaking world, Bibi Graetz and Robert Mondavi, alongside some fantastic new producers from Burgundy and Provence.
Walker & Wodehouse’s Director of Buying, Andrew Shaw, says, “Championing interesting and artisanal producers is at the heart of what we do, and I’m so excited that we are bringing on such an incredible group. From Patagonia to Burgundy, our buyers have scoured the globe to bring our customers some truly outstanding wines, all of which have an amazing story behind them. We can’t wait to share them with our customers.”
Big Names in Winemaking
Robert Mondavi, Napa Valley, USA
Cult Californian Cabernet.
Few names are as iconic in American winemaking as Robert Mondavi. His eponymous winery not only produces some of the world’s most famous Cabernet Sauvignons, but is also upheld as the pioneering force in bringing worldwide recognition to the Napa Valley. The winery’s long and illustrious history aside, the Robert Mondavi range is renowned across the globe for its elegant complexity, rich fruit and structure.
Bibi Graetz, Tuscany, Italy
Creative wines from one of Tuscany’s most eccentric winemakers.
In just two decades, artist-turned-winemaker Bibi Graetz has risen to become one of Tuscany’s most ingenious cult winemakers. Turning his back on both the constraints of the traditionalist Chianti DOCG, as well as the international varieties favoured by the Super Tuscans, his aim was simple: to make the best wines possible, from the best growing areas he could find in Montepulciano. In his own words: “I don’t decide the flavour of the wines… the terroir determines that.”
Melini, Tuscany, Italy
World leaders in the production of Chianti wine for centuries.
The Melini family have been making wines in Chianti since 1705. Widely renowned as a world leader in the market, they have been at the forefront of innovation in Tuscany since their inception, from being the first to vinify their wines by vineyard, to introducing the famed Chianti straw flask in the 19th century. As one of Chianti’s institutions, it comes as no surprise that their vineyards have some of the best positions and aspects in the area. Today, the winery uses only estate-grown grapes, and aspire to the highest levels of quality in their range.
Francois Millet et Fils, Burgundy, France
A new project from one of Burgundy’s most renowned winemakers.
One of Burgundy’s legendary winemakers, Francois Millet is world-renowned for his winemaking prowess at Comte George de Vogue. In 2017, Francois, together with his sons, started an extremely exciting project to create their own family wines. They draw on Francois’ extraordinary experience and knowledge to produce some truly phenomenal, limited-production wines, more than worthy of the cult of their winemaker. Francois only works with known growers in the Cote d’Or, using minimal intervention methods that preserve all the innate freshness, juiciness and clarity of the terroir. Contact with the grapes is only undertaken when deemed necessary to achieve the truest expression of nature.
Regions off the beaten track
Ghost Corner, Elim, South Africa
Powerful, yet elegant wines from one of South Africa’s emerging wine regions.
Ghost Corner’s wines are as intriguing as the land they come from. The vineyards are situated in Elim, one of South Africa’s newest and most exciting winemaking regions, where high light intensity, cooling sea winds and lime-rich soils all combine to create a wholly challenging and unique terroir. The range is exceptional; powerfully concentrated and elegantly fruit driven. Winemaker David Nieuwoudt is no stranger to working in some of the most interesting and extreme corners of the country, making South Africa’s highest altitude wines in the Cederberg.
Bodega Otronia, Chubut, Argentina
Extreme winemaking at the southernmost point of Argentina.
Few producers operate under conditions as extreme as Bodega Otronia. As the southernmost producer in the country, this is Argentinian winemaking as you’ve never seen it before – the wines are subject to challenging conditions of minimal rainfall and staggeringly high winds. Yet this region, labelled ‘Patagonia Extrema’, is giving rise to some exciting expressions. These are phenomenal wines, characterised by delicate fruit aromas, electric acidity and a refreshingly savoury complexity.
Domaine Wardy, Beqaa Valley, Lebanon
Light and delicate wines produced in the heart of the Beqaa Valley.
Domaine Wardy’s range stands out from the big, bold flavours of Lebanese wine. Unusually, this is a range defined by its light, delicate flavours and a refined elegance. The Wardy family have been crafting wines in the Beqaa Valley for four generations and hold an unwavering determination to remain true to Lebanon’s winemaking traditions. The winery has committed to a ‘return to nature’, and are in the process of converting every one of their vineyards to organic farming and solar methods. This evolution is an effort to express the true character and terroir of the Beqaa Valley.
Weingut Nittnaus, Gols, Austria
On-trend wines from the unique micro-climate of Neusiedlersee.
With Austrian wine’s popularity growing in the UK, and sustainability taking centre stage when it comes to purchasing decisions, you’d be hard pressed to find a more exciting producer than Weingut Nittnaus. Biodynamic farming, organic practices and indigenous grapes are the cornerstones of their winemaking prowess, and it’s paid off. From harmonious reds, to fresh and fruity whites, to elegant dessert wines – this is a range that truly reflects the unique micro-climate of Neusiedlersee; an area characterised by its long days of sunshine, hot and dry summers, and moderating breezes from the surrounding lakes.
France with a twist
Domaine Pavelot, Burgundy, France
Some of the best Premier Crus in the appellation.
There have been members of the Pavelot family working vines in Savigny-les-Beaunes for generations. Handed down from father to son, Hugues Pavelot is now leading the domaine and crafting some of the best selection of 1er Crus in the appellation. Utmost emphasis is place on work in the vineyard, with the Pavelots holding true to their founders’ belief that this is where quality is born.
Domaine Nicolas Rossignol, Burgundy, France
A biodynamic approach that’s turning Burgundy on its head.
Part of the fifth generation of the renowned Rossignol family, winemakers in Burgundy for centuries, Nicolas Rossignol started his own domaine in 1997 and never looked back. Nicolas holds to the belief that the future of wines lies in innovation, rather than sticking to the rules of the past. He actively enterprises to make rich, elegant wines that fight people’s preconceptions of what each region in Burgundy can produce, from delicate Pommards grown in clay-based soils to big, bold and punchy Volnays. His innovation extends to his techniques. His approach is highly influenced by biodynamics, and he manages vineyards with minimal intervention, paying heed to the lunar cycle in everything he does. For 2016, Nicolas build a state-of-the-art winery just on the outskirts of Beaune. The estate is about 17ha today.
Ultimate Provence, Provence, France
Provencal wines with an innovative urban twist.
Despite having over two centuries of winemaking history under their belt, Ultimate Provence are pioneers when it comes to innovation, creativity and a modern approach. This is a producer with rose wine in its DNA; an institution in the region, they not only cultivate scores of Provence’s finest vineyards, but also boast a unique knowledge in blending, that results in some of the most beautiful wines in the market. The range is traditional with an urban twist, combining some of the finest, classically Provencal wine with contemporary packaging.
Chateau Saint Roux, Provence, France
Iron-rich soils translate to unique, deep and complex flavours.
Chateau Saint-Roux are committed to flying the flags of tradition, terroir and ecology alike. The winery’s roots dates back to the 15th century, when it was founded by an Italian nobleman who, astounded by the unusual red soils of the area, named it ‘Roux’. Yet the distinctive vermillion and orange hues of the soil are significant; caused by high levels of iron, they translate into uniquely deep, complex and punchy flavours in the wine. Chateau Saint Roux today are governed by an eco-friendly approach, which extends far beyond their wines. Aside from running a sustainable restaurant, the winery is also home to a working farm rich in biodiversity, and home to a herd of 50 goats.