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Open-minded importers are urging major supermarkets and restaurants to get behind wines from emerging regions like Croatia, Slovenia and Moldova.
Throwing down the gauntlet to the UK’s big retail chains, Thierry’s buying director Lindsay Talas said: “I would love to see one of the big retailers leading the charge and promoting something like an own-label Malvasia from Croatia.”
Indigenous white grape Malvasia works well with seafood, salads and creamy pasta dishes, according to Talas, and can be a “great value” proposition for drinkers.
Following Talas’ recent buying trip to the country, Thierry’s has added six wines from Croatia to its portfolio, along with three Moldovan wines, five from Slovenia and seven from Turkey. The new wines aren’t “novelty wines,” Talas said, and they have big potential in the UK if the trade gets behind them.
Among consumers “there’s a demand for something a bit different,” added Thierry’s buying director Dominique Vrigneau, who said wines from the emerging regions have seen huge leaps in quality, with producers creating and reviving different styles and varieties. He highlighted Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir as varieties that are showing particular promise.
Echoing Thierry’s sentiments is importer Pacta Connect, which specializes in Croatian wine. “Croatian wines is a movement that is here to stay – it’s not a fad, they’re fantastic food wines,” said Judith Burns.
It’s vital the trade recognises Croatian wines’ ability to match with international gastronomy, added Pacta Connect’s Trevor Long, who said the wines are “extremely food friendly” and offer complexity and rich flavours that can stand up to a wide range of dishes.
Story by Laura Heywood
Courtesy of Harpers Wine & Spirit Trades Review