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Gastronomy and Wine Portal

Madrid Fusión: three days, dozens of forums, a million of enogastronomic experiences

On January 22-25, the 21st Congress of Madrid Fusión took place in Madrid under the motto Sin limites (“Without limits”).

The Madrid Congress is the most important international forum in the field of hospitality. Every year, it gathers the most outstanding professionals in the modern gastronomic field in Madrid and is considered a  window of opportunity. After all, it is at this representative site that you can find out all the news and get information about cutting-edge technologies related to gastronomy.

Madrid Fusión

Madrid Fusión is three full days, during which visitors can not only observe presentations of the best chefs in the world, but also attend competitions, master classes, tastings, as well as take part in parallel panels, such as:

  • Madrid Fusion The Wine Edition, focused on wine brands and their promotion;
  • Madrid Fusion Pastry – all about confectionery and bakeries;
  • The Drinks Show, an international gathering for hospitality professionals that brings together innovation and trends in order to offer a unique experience in the world of cocktails and spirits.

Thanks to the fact that I managed to attend several discussion panels and master classes, I can single out a few of the most vivid topics. The most interesting, in my opinion, was the discussion called “Unknown Spain”, which was moderated by the first MW of Spain, Pedro Ballesteros. It was attended by such influential persons in the world of wine, as MW Andreas Kubach, co-founder and CEO of Península Vinicultores (Madrid, Spain), Pepe Mendoza, owner of Casa Agrícola (Liber, Alicante, Spain), Pedro Ruiz Aragoneses, CEO of Alma Carraovejas (Valladolid, Spain), one of whose projects – Pago de Carraovejas – is a Wine Travel Awards nominee, Loreto Pancorbo, Tandem Wines SC wine consultant, Luis Sande, co-owner of Pagos de Brigante (Betanzos, A Coruña, Spain) and others.

Madrid Fusión

Representatives of different wine-producing regions of Spain shared their views on such important topics as the stability of the development of the industry, the improvement of quality and the search for new sales markets. Loreto Pancorbo, oenologist from Rioja, shared her impressions of the experience of working with the local Tenerife variety Listán Negro, and Pedro Ruiz Aragoneses – about plans to increase the planting of biodynamic vineyards.

The stand with the island wines of Tenerife and the Canary Islands, whose volcanic soils have a tremendous influence on these wines, impressed me with the variety and such “other” aromas and tastes.

Madrid Fusión

The wines of Viña Zanata 2021 deserve extra attention for the explosion of tropical aromas and flavors, made from grapes with the no less exotic name Marmajuelo.

Madrid Fusión

And also, I found Qoli 2020 from a blend of Gual, Verdelho, Vijariego Blanco and Albillo Criollo varieties very interesting: aromas of jasmine, white ripe fruits, a creamy taste with a salty aftertaste and a touch of balsamic.

Madrid Fusión

Needless to say how sophisticated the master class was with the tasting of Dom Perignon champagne of the 2004, 2008 and 2013 vintages paired with various types of black caviar presented at a high level by Eric Vildgaard, chef, owner of Jordnaer (Copenhagen, Denmark).

Madrid Fusión

The Congress, along with all the activities, left a positive and pleasant aftertaste, as well as the desire to further explore Spain.

Photo: Nataliia Burlachenko

On January 22-25, the 21st Congress of Madrid Fusión took place in Madrid under the motto Sin limites (“Without limits”). The Madrid Congress is the most important international forum in the field of hospitality. Every year, it gathers the most outstanding professionals in the modern gastronomic field in Madrid and is considered a  window of […]

Tre Bicchieri Week in Rome

The editor-in-chief of Drinks+ visited the Vatican and was at the center of events organized by Gambero Rosso.

The leading Italian media holding Gambero Rosso once again presented the wines awarded by Tre Bicchieri to Vini d’Italia Guide. Three glasses from GR today are quoted as the highest award for Italian winemakers. D+ Editor-in-Chief Olga Pinevich-Todoriuk took part in exclusive events in Rome: a closed vertical tasting of the best of the best Tre Bicchieri Vini d’Italia 2022, an evening meeting of the Gambero Rosso Special Awards Winners 2022 and a two-day Tre Bicchieri 2022 ceremony. Thus, joining the team of wine guide led by Marco Sabellico – one of the most respected wine experts in Italy, editor in chief of Vini d’Italia Guide.

Tre Bicchieri Week

Only the representatives of the selected international wine press were able to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of Roman wine intensity and, I must admit, to the rather exciting work of the Vini d’Italia wine guide team. The reception was sumptuous in all senses of the word. Tiina Eriksson, Director of International Director at Gambero Rosso, commented on the organization of the visit: “We wanted to create an informal atmosphere for the invited international press, make it warm, move away from formalities, show all the details of the team’s work. After all, journalists are special guests, our friends and partners in promoting Gambero Rosso International’s global mission in the world.”

Tre Bicchieri Week

This year, 6 journalists from Ukraine, Japan, Germany, the Czech Republic, Canada and Russia were lucky enough to represent the international wine press. Our “Vacation in Rome” turned out to be so rich and dynamic that the stated concept of Friendly Informal Evenings was very relevant, allowing to discuss all issues, unite with the GR team, understand the nuances and global level of their work and get a special tasting experience. Well, let’s move on to the details.

Exclusive vertical tasting of The Best of The Best: Argiano, Livio Felluga and Guido Berlucchi

We started from the top: the first day was dedicated to the best of the best. I would like to mention the location chosen by Gambero Rosso for this event, which gives a special atmosphere to the journalistic get-together, our hard work, and even the wines. The meeting place was located at the gates of the Vatican Chorus Cafè. Its tall windows overlook the Via della Conciliazione, which connects the Castle of the Holy Angel and the Church of St. Peter, as well as tourists, priests and pilgrims from all over the world. The atmosphere is just breath-taking.

International wine press, including the editor-in-chief of D+, together with the team of Gambero Rosso and Gambero Rosso International, represented by meters – Luigi Salerno (CEO), Paolo Cuccia (president), Marco Sabellico and Gianni Fabrizio (authors, editors and curators of Vini d’Italia), Tiina Eriksson (International Director), Lorenzo Ruggeri (author and international editor), Giuseppe Carrus (author and co-editor of Gambero Rosso Vini d’Italia), Michela Ricotta actually went into space that day, tasting the wines of the highest awards for Italian winemakers: Red Wine of the Year 2022, White Wine of the Year 2022, Winery of the Year 2022.

Tre Bicchieri Week

I will keep saying that this is an exclusive vertical tasting, which, as they say, is “neither told in a fairy tale nor described with a pen”, but the profession also requires a pen. So, let’s try to convey a special atmosphere, as well as a layer of various historical events and current philosophy, which influenced the formation of the best households according to the “Red Shrimps”.

Red Wine of the Year 2022. The best red wine Brunello di Montalcino Vigna del Suolo’16 from the Argiano winery – one of the most outstanding locations, without exaggeration – the historical monuments of the Montalcino region. An estate with a unique wine history, dating back about five centuries. In 2012, the estate was acquired by Brazilian businessman André Santos Esteves. Having come a long way of modernizing and improving technology since 2019, Argiano is the first company in Montalcino to abandon plastic, using the technology of complete processing of raw materials at all stages of production. The motto of oenologist Francesco Monari and CEO Bernardino Sani is to have a respectful approach to growing vines in view of the region’s climatic conditions.

Tre Bicchieri Week

In the annotated tasting led by Marco Sabellico, we tasted the Argiano Brunello di Montalcino 1971, 1978, 1979, 1980 and 2006 vintage and the Argiano Brunello di Montalcino Vigna del Soulo 2015 and 2016.

Tre Bicchieri Week

Tasting notes

Argiano Brunello di Montalcino 1971 – undergrowth aroma, tertiary notes, wine has almost finished its “wine path”, but balsamic notes give it energy.

Argiano Brunello di Montalcino 1978 – in the aroma, complex tertiary notes, spices, orange and kumquat, the wine still shows a wide fruity profile, pleasant tannins, long aftertaste.

Vigna del Soulo is a unique vineyard located at 320 meters above sea level. The clay soils, rich in fossils, were once the seabed and today are the ideal environment for cultivating the ancient Sangiovese Grosso variety, which gives the wines a spicy acid profile. And the vintage of 2016 is just top class!

Argiano Brunello di Montalcino Vigna del Soulo 2016 – first-class acidity and structure, delicate velvety tannins, ripe cherries in the aroma, rosehip flowers, zest, which gradually turn into tertiary aromas of tobacco, spices.

White Wine of the Year 2022. Rosazzo Terre Alte 2018 from Livio Felluga winery – the best white wine of 2022 and a tasting of one of the most famous, respected and consistently worthy white wines of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Friulano, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Bianco, which compose Rosazzo Terre Alte, are intertwined, embodying the philosophy of Italian white wines – lightness, drinkability, elegance. It should be noted that the Livio Felluga winery began a qualitative stylistic change of white wines in the mid-70’s, thus convincing the world of wine pros that Italy produces not only strong red but also elegant white wines that have the potential for aging.

Tre Bicchieri Week

A little history. The founder of the winery Livio Felluga came to this region from Istria in the 30s of last century. In the mid-1950s in Brazzano di Cormons, near the Abbey of Rosazzo, he founded the company Livio Felluga. Shortly before his death in 2016, Livio bequeathed to his four children Maurizio, Elda, Andrea and Filippo 180 hectares of vineyards on the outskirts of Rosazzo, as well as the famous wine label. Its story is told in the family: once when he went to an antique shop owned by a friend, Livio Felluga saw an antique map of Friuli. It charmed him, and he bought it, not knowing at the time what to do with it. And only later did he come up with the idea to put the map on wine labels so that buyers could see the area of ​​origin of the grapes.

Tre Bicchieri Week

The connection between the winery and the area is established by the owners in philosophy. In 2008, they signed a contract with the abbey, according to which the family undertook to take care of the building and the surrounding area. By the way, the origin of the building is still shrouded in mystery for centuries, it is known only that the construction was conducted in around 1000 in the Romanesque style and dedicated to St. Peter the Apostle.

Tre Bicchieri Week

Vertical tasting of Livio Felluga Terre Alte wines consisted of 1996, 1998, 2001, 2006, 2011, 2014 vintages, as well as the winning wine Livio Felluga Rosazzo Terre Alte 2018. My impressions are at heart and in the tasting notes.

Tasting notes

Terre Alte 2018 – wine rich in aromas of wildflowers, herbs, green apples, sage, a slight hint of cinnamon. A wonderful combination of minerality and freshness. Saturated wine, oily. The aftertaste is light, with special stability.

Terre Alte 2014 – in the aroma, notes of fresh peach, apricot, enveloping, stable taste. The wine is elegant, strong, complex. One of the best vintages in Friuli.

Terre Alte 1998 – a wonderful structure of wine, aromas of yellow dried fruits, long enveloping aftertaste, bright honey notes.

Terre Alte 1996 is a very rare sample that is practically not offered for tasting even at the winery. The first nose – slightly benzene tones, the taste of smoky notes and coffee. Great structure, despite the age.

Winery of the Year 2022. Guido Berlucchi is the story of the classic Italian sparkling wine Franciacorta. The first 3,000 bottles, made in 1961, made the Franciacorta region the cradle of Italian classic sparkling wine. Today, Guido Berlucchi produces 4 million bottles of Franciacorta a year from its 120-hectare vineyards and buys grapes from partners. According to Paolo Ziliani, who runs the company with his brother Arturo (oenologist and managing director) and sister Cristina: “Every seven seconds a bottle of Berlucchi Franciacorta gets uncorked around the world.”

Tre Bicchieri Week в Риме

We also discovered a wonderful tasting set Franciacorta Riserva Palazzo Lana Extreme 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 vintages, and another special exhibit – Riserva di Famiglia Magnum.

Tre Bicchieri Week

Tasting notes

Franciacorta Riserva Palazzo Lana Extreme 2009 – intense, rich and complex aroma, produced only from Pinot Noir grapes, aged for at least 7 years. The aroma of spices, fruit syrup, notes of toast, citrus jam, mild, spicy, mineral taste.

Franciacorta Riserva Palazzo Lana Extreme 2007 – very elegant, restrained, fragrant notes of ripe yellow fruits, citrus, honey, pastries. The taste is wonderful, enveloping and refined, with fresh acidity, expressive minerality.

Franciacorta Riserva Palazzo Lana Extreme 2004 – despite its age, sparkling is in great shape. The first nose is a delicate aroma of spices, black currants, then the pulp of yellow fruit, a light note of vanilla. The taste is rich.

Dinner party

This eventful day, dedicated to the best of the best Italian wines of 2022, ended with a wonderful dinner in great company with the main characters of the year – 12 Special Awarded Wineries – award-winning producers, their fantastic wines, great stories and great Roman cuisine in a cozy atmosphere.

Tre Bicchieri Week

No wonder Gambero Rosso chose this location, which has become one of the historical brands of gastronomic Rome. The establishment began as an ancient bakery blessed by the Pope, and already four generations has run a restaurant with traditional Roman cuisine, a luxurious wine cellar and its own Wine Club.

Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri changes lives for the better! Results.

The team of 70 Gambero Rosso tasters heroically evaluated more than 47,000 wines, of which 476 wines were awarded the highest status of Tre Bicchieri, and 1982 wines reached the final and were included in the list of the best according to the 2022 Vini d’Italia guide. In addition, the list of debutants accounted for about 10% of the total number of wines tasted, and at a closed tasting of the best of the best, the main tasters of Gambero Rosso unanimously noted: “In this 35th edition of the Italian Wines Guide, we admired lesser-known regions that have the full right, after our assessment, to go international and present their wines to the world.”

Tre Bicchieri Week

Spicial Awarded Wineries

  • Sparkling of the Year – Cartizze Brut La Rivetta ‘20 Villa Sandi
  • Winery of the Year – Guido Berlucchi& Co
  • Solidarity Project Award – Paestum Fiano ‘20 San Salvatore
  • Red Wine of the Year – Brunello di Montalcino V. del Soulo ‘16 Argiano
  • Cooperative Winery of the Year – Primitivo di Manduria Sessantanni ‘18 – San Marzano Wines
  • Sustainable Viticulture Award – Amarone della Valpolicella CI ‘16 – Brigaldara Winery
  • White Wine of the Year – Rosazzo Terre Alte ‘18 Livio Felluga
  • Rose of the Year – Zero Gagliopo Rosato ‘20 Brigante
  • Best value for money – Brindisi Rosso Susumaniello Oltreme’ 19 Tenuta Rubino
  • Grower of the Year – Barbera d’Asti ‘20 – Gianni Doglia
  • Up-and-Coming Winery – Sobi ‘19 Bentu Luna
  • Sweet Wine of the Year – Zhabib Passito ‘20 Hibiscus

It should be noted that today the situation with the pandemic, as in all wine regions of the world, has made some adjustments to the activities of small wineries in Italy. During the discussion with GR representatives, it became clear that winemakers have now reconsidered their capabilities, as well as external communications policy, marketing budgets and positively started fighting for the Vini d’Italia 2022 awards with major producers, presenting their brilliant vintages. Judging by the results, Gambero tasters were happy to accept and evaluate newcomers. And indeed, they were appreciated. Of course, the large wine regions of Italy with a large number of producers hold the main pedestals of Vini d’Italia. However, as Marco Sabellico commented on this issue, the Gambero Rosso team is ready to taste wines from small regions, such as Molise or Valle d’Aosta, and award them more prizes.

Tre Bicchieri Week

Even more exciting experience were tastings of Italian indigenous grape varieties. Such as Susumaniello, Timorasso, Ciliegiolo. The official award ceremony and the announcement of 12 special awards were divided into several days. On the first day, Tre Bicchieri Vini d’Italia 2022 from Piedmont, Sicily, Alto Adige, Campania, Marche, Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, Calabria, Lazio, Liguria, Valle d’Aosta were announced. The second day was dedicated to the awarding of wines from Puglia, Tuscany, Friuli, Abruzzo, Molise, Sardinia, Veneto, Trentino, Umbria, the canton of Ticino.

The opportunity to taste all the awarded wines of the regions (some of them, probably only these days) due to the limited number was provided after the award ceremony. And this was probably the culmination of our visit to Rome: to try new wines from rare local varieties, to meet already known wines and personalities that Drinks+ magazine has written about many times and whose wineries our team visited, enjoying the beauty of ancient Italy, its wine with talented and hospitable winemakers – all these meetings evoked vivid emotions that, together with the image of the Eternal City, will remain with me forever…

Thank you to the team of Gambero Rosso and Gambero Rosso International for the opportunity to participate in such an event relevant to the wine world – Tre Bicchieri Week and the presentation of the wine guide Vini d’Italia 2022!

The editor-in-chief of Drinks+ visited the Vatican and was at the center of events organized by Gambero Rosso.

The Worldwide oeufs en meurette days in Burgundy

This weekend, the Château du Clos de Vougeot, the Mecca of French gastronomy, hosted the 3d edition of the Worldwide oeufs en meurette days. The amusing 2-day programme included Burgundy wine tastings, cooking lessons, the Worldwide oeufs en meurette Championship, round table, a gastronomic dinner, and many more.

One of the traditional Burgundy dishes are the oeufs en meurette – which are highly recommended to try if you are in the region! The dish is composed of poached eggs accompanied by a meurette sauce (la meurette – name from the old French “murette” – means sauce and “fry”, brine) or bourguignon sauce, for preparation of which Burgundy red wine, bacon, onions, and shallots browned in butter are needed. The oeufs en meurette is served with toasted garlic bread.


Well, could you imagine that around this very dish the 2-day event which attracts hundreds of participants every year could be created? This year, from October 9 to 10, the Château du Clos de Vougeot organized the third Worldwide oeufs en meurette Championship. Since 1953, this dish, one of the best symbols of Burgundian gastronomy, has been served with every meal for receptions and weddings organized at the château.

oeufs en meurette

On Saturday the 9th, the amateurs, lovers of the oeufs en meurette, competed to create their best version of the dish. One recipe but many interpretations and revisions of it! Besides, that day the public could attend the tasting session where the oeufs en meurette prepared by the chef of the Château du Clos de Vougeot and Burgundy wine were served.

meurette amateurs

On Sunday the 10th, the competition started to take shape as 13 top chefs was competing for the title of Worldwide oeufs en meurette Championship (ranging from Burgundy to Washington D.C., they are a testament to the growing international reputation of the competition):

  • Mathieu SCHERRER, chef at Le Murat, Paris.
  • Jerome JOUBERT, chef at La Rive Gauche, Joigny.
  • Mourad HADDOUCHE, chef at Loiseau des Vignes, Beaune.
  • Iza GUYOT, chef at Le Comptoir de Pagny, Pagny-le-Château.
  • Eric ZIEBOLD, chef at Kinship, Washington D.C.
  • Gregory CUILLERON, chef at Le Cinq Mains, Lyons.
  • Franco BOWANEE, chef at Le Louis XIII, Château de Vault de Lugny.
  • Christophe QUEANT, chef at Le Carmin, Beaune.
  • Olivier CHARDIGNY, chef at L’Ancienne Auberge, Vonnas.
  • Chem Hwei GAN, chef at Le Parapluie, Dijon.
  • Yves REBSAMEN, chef at Chez Guy, Gevrey-Chambertin.
  • Marcel RAVIN, chef at the Blue Bay Restaurant, Monaco.
  • Issihaka SYLLA, chef at Le P’tit Canon, Paris.

Eric Ziebold

Commenting on the event and his participation in the championship, Eric Ziebold told: “Once I had the oeufs en meurette when I was in Burgundy on vacation in 1998. So, when I got invited to participate, I thought it would be a great honour to come because this is a recipe that has a lot of tradition, history, and technique for the sauce and the cooking of the egg. So, I thought it would be fun to do my interpretation of the oeufs en meurette.”

Chem Hwei Gan

Chem Hwei Gan, talked about the competition with a great inspiration: “I wanted to make something different. The oeufs en meurette has its classical Burgundian recipe, but I wanted to show that the old-school recipe can be interpreted in a fresh manner with new ingredients, a different mood and always fine wine.

Meurette Jury

Chaired by Guillaume Gomez (Meilleur Ouvrier de France and the President’s personal spokesman for gastronomy, food and culinary arts), the jury with the task of evaluating the chefs’ recipes was made up of 11 reputable personalities in the enogastronomic industry:

  • Frederic VARDON, 2019 Oeuf en Meurette World Champion and chef at 39V, Paris.
  • Bruno BRANGEA, 2020 Oeuf en Meurette World Champion and chef at Champeaux les Halles, Paris.
  • Michel GROBON, formerly chef to President Ronald Regan.
  • Jean-Robert PITTE, geographer and food writer.
  • Emmanuelle JARY, food journalist.
  • Albert II, Prince of Monaco.
  • Louise PETITRENAUD, journalist.
  • Sebastien NEUSCH, co-founder of Poulehouse.
  • Bertrand de VILLAINE, wine-grower.
  • Bruno BLANCHO, chef for the SEB group.
  • Alexandra BOUVRET, resident chef at the Château du Clos de Vougeot.

Meurette Jury

The jury members evaluated the oeufs en meurette prepared by each chef individually based on the unified protocol and their expertise. Afterwards, the scores were summed up and the winners were defined.

Gregory Cuilleron

This year, the winner of the Worldwide oeufs en meurette Championship became Gregory Cuilleron (restaurant Le Cinq Mains, Lyons), the most persistent chef who participated all three times in the competition.

Jerome Joubert

Chef Jerome Joubert, restaurant La Rive Gauche, Joigny, won the prize of creativity 2021 for his interesting dish presentation.

oeufs en meurette

Co-organizer of the Worldwide oeufs en meurette Championship, Thibaud Monfourny, noted: “We are very proud that we have chefs coming from different parts of France and the world. After a year without the public because of the pandemic, we are happy to welcome visitors again and provide them with the opportunity to degustate the famous oeufs en meurette from the Château du Clos de Vougeot. We are grateful to our partners for cooperation, such as Poulehouse, which produces ethical eggs, SEB Groupe, which supplies and produces kitchen utensils, DS Store, a car manufacturer that sponsored the Prize of Creativity, and other local sponsors.”

oeufs en meurette

The organizers of the Worldwide oeufs en meurette Championship warmly invite chefs from different countries, including Ukraine, to participate in the competition next year. All the details and updates in this respect can be found on the official website.

Photo: Bénédicte Maniere

This weekend, the Château du Clos de Vougeot, the Mecca of French gastronomy, hosted the 3d edition of the Worldwide œufs en meurette days. The amusing 2-day programme included Burgundy wine tastings, cooking lessons, the Worldwide œufs en meurette Championship, round table, a gastronomic dinner, and many more.

“The Best Sommelier of Ukraine 2020”: an action-packed finale

The events of this year have surprised many. One of extraordinary events is the finale of the contest “The Best Sommelier of Ukraine 2020” traditionally held by the Association sommelier of Ukraine. Drinks+ Media Group was the general information partner of the competition, what allows us to talk about all the features of this event in detail.

Let’s start from the spot. Perhaps, it doesn’t make certain men, but you must agree that the Kyiv Congress and Exhibition center “Parkovy”, where a sommelier competition was held as part of the BE WINE International Show, can become very spectacular decorations for any show. And moreover – to such an exciting one which turned out to be this year’s competition of the pros.

Association sommelier of Ukraine

First and foremost, one might say, historical event for us has happened during the competition. Communication Media Group Drinks+ officially became an associative member of the Association sommelier of Ukraine. The official announcement regarding the Drinks+ entry took place before the final of the competition. The badge – a sign of associative membership – was presented by the President of the Association, Ivan Bachurin. We think this union will benefit the entire Ukrainian wine market. At least, together we have taken a step towards consolidation which is on the agenda in Ukraine today. And here are the first steps.

Association sommelier of Ukraine

And the finale! We would like to recall that according to the rules of the International Sommelier Association (ASI), the selection of future finalists takes place behind closed doors, their candidacies are not announced until the very final. This time, the judges debated until late at night. As a result, they determined 4 finalists instead of the traditional three and, as Ivan Bachurin explained, the difference after the announcement of the result of the semi-final ranged from 0.5 to 0.75 points. In short, the battle was a quarter point.

jury of the best sommelier

The best sommeliers of Ukraine from previous years were invited to evaluate the championship and choose the winner. As Ivan Bachurin rightly noted, “only the best sommeliers have the right to choose the next best one!” The panel of judges included: Yurii Hlushko – “The Best sommelier 2007”, Ivan Bachurin – “The Best sommelier 2009”, Oleksandr Patsera – “The Best sommelier 2010”, Oleh Kravchenko – “The Best sommelier 2011”, Oleksii Hyzhko – “The Best Sommelier of 2014”, Vyacheslav Nazarchuk – “The Best Sommelier of 2016”, Ivan Percheklyi – “The Best Sommelier of 2017”, Oleksandr Meier – “The Best Sommelier of 2018”. And the best chose the best. More precisely: Maryna Revkova, a sommelier of the Vino e Cucina restaurant, became the champion of “The Best Sommelier of Ukraine 2020” competition from the Association sommelier of Ukraine.

Maryna Revkova

The Drinks+ team congratulates Maryna and is very proud of her victory! And, of course, we look forward to the next victories: Maryna will represent Ukraine at the Best Sommelier in Europe and Africa competition, which will take place on November 15-19 in Cyprus. Bohdan Pavlyukh, the founder of the Wine is Easy School, became the vice-champion. Yan Bezruchko, a sommelier (Belarus), won 3rd place. The 4th place was won in a real battle by Pavel Mnukhin, the brand ambassador of the Wine Bureau (here we will add – our author, for whom we sincerely root. Well, now we are happy for him :). The sponsors of the competition were: SHABO, Marussia Beverages Ukraine, Tavria House of Vintage Cognacs, Chef & Sommelier, Wine Guide of Ukraine.

Ivan Bachurin

The Drinks+ columnist took a blitz interview with Ivan Bachurin, President of the Association sommelier of Ukraine.

A few words about the composition of the finalists, their qualifications. What was the intrigue of the competition announced by the organizers?

The final was an action-packed, all four finalists went shoulder to shoulder, as they say, and literally at the very last moment it was decided that not three, but four semi-finalists would compete. The intrigue of the competition began to cultivate in the semi-finales, because out of 12 semi-finalists, objectively at least four more could qualify for the finale and victory. When the finale became clear, it turned out to be incredibly difficult to say who would win. The guys are objectively all very strong, certified, and passed the most difficult ASI exam. And they all took part in the qualifying round for international championships, in particular, in Poland, which took place recently. In a word, this year the final brought together people who at the moment in the Association sommelier of Ukraine, and in general in Ukraine, are the strongest in our profession.

Finalists of the Best Sommelier

What is the peculiarity and the difference between the tasks of the competition this time in comparison with the previous years?

The Competition Projects fully met the requirements of the International Sommelier Association (ASI) both in the qualifying round and in the semi-finales and in the finale. These are classic tasks: serving sparkling wine, serving still wine, full description in English, as the winner must participate in an international competition. By and large, all participants are English-speaking, but if someone did not speak English, then, according to the jury’s decision, the English-speaking tour would not have been exhibited, because all competitors should be on equal terms. Another task was different – working with a wine list: the process of identifying errors not only gave a chance to earn points but was also fraught with fines. In addition, we have developed two surprise missions. The first was about the culture of cocktails and beer, the second was about the unmistakable pouring of Magnum Schlumberger on stage.

What are your general personal impressions of the current competition?

As the President of the Association sommelier of Ukraine and the holder of the status of “The Best Sommelier of Ukraine”, I can say that over the past ten years of observation (of which I have been judging contests for seven years and I have been creating them for another three years), it was the strongest finale of the decade among all competitions held in Ukraine.

The events of this year have surprised many. One of extraordinary events is the finale of the contest “The Best Sommelier of Ukraine 2020” traditionally held by the Association sommelier of Ukraine. Drinks+ Media Group was the general information partner of the competition.

The 2021 harvest: fruity, harmonious wines of Austria

Average wine volume of 2.4 million hectolitres is expected in Austria this year. Harvesting will begin in the area around Lake Neusiedl in the first half of September and in many other areas around mid-September.

“After the economically turbulent years of the COVID-19 pandemic, Austria’s winemakers are looking forward to this year’s vintage. In terms of volume, an average harvest of around 2.4 million hectolitres is expected, similar to last year. Because of weather conditions, the harvest will take place slightly later than in recent years,” explained Johannes Schmuckenschlager, President of Austria’s Winegrowers Association.

He added: “The rather cool weather in the first half of the year also came with some advantages. The grapevines were late developing, which significantly reduced the risk of damage as a result of late frosts. Other European winegrowing regions weren’t as lucky. Large parts of France and Italy, and some areas of Germany, suffered considerable damage because of late frosts, which, all in all, will have an impact on the European wine market this year.”

Austrian vine

The weather in 2021

With moderate winter moisture, this year’s growing season began on a very changeable note. March and April saw cool periods alternating with very warm spells, and it was too dry overall. In many cases, the vines did not bud until relatively late, towards the end of April. The cool weather in May delayed the development of the vines slightly, which was viewed as beneficial in terms of the risk of late frost. As a result of the cool May weather, flowering didn’t occur until mid-June, but proceeded very quickly because of the heat that set in at the beginning of that month.

Hail and heavy rain

From June onwards, there were numerous days when temperatures exceeded 30 °C, and the hot, moisture-saturated air came accompanied by heavy downpours of rain and hail. Around 1,000 hectares of vineyards in the Weinviertel were severely damaged by hailstorms on 24 June.

July saw lots of heat and rain, and there were further significant hailstorms in many winegrowing regions, such as the Wachau, Wien, Mittelburgenland, Südsteiermark and Vulkanland. Heavy rain in the Kremstal and Traisental regions led to considerable run-off. The catastrophic flood damage in the German winegrowing region of the Ahr, which occurred at the same time, is also notable in this context. The rainfall and high temperatures led to serious fungal attacks in the vineyards, requiring particular attention and care of the vines.

wine of Austria

Ripening of the grapes, expectation of the wine

Despite relatively late budding and later flowering, the growth-promoting weather characterised by heat and moisture led to accelerated ripening, which is why the grapes are at the same stage of ripeness as in the previous year. With ripening delayed until a normal, slightly cooler period with somewhat colder nights, corresponding sugar concentrations and an adequate degree of acidity are expected, which is why we can look forward to very fruity and harmonious wines again this year.

Average harvest volume

In terms of volume, an average harvest volume can be expected. The fruit set was good throughout, although some coulure resulted from the heat during the flowering period in isolated cases. Because of the rainfall, vines need to be tended to ensure a loose canopy of foliage for good aeration around the grapes. This made it possible to guarantee healthy grapes almost everywhere.

Picking to begin in September

“Winegrowers are now hoping for a warm, dry autumn so that they can harvest fully ripe, harmonious wines. Based on estimates from the winegrowing regions, a wine harvest of 2.4 million hectolitres, which is around the annual average, is expected this year. Aside from early picking for grape juice and Sturm (partially fermented grape must) production, harvesting will begin in the area around Lake Neusiedl in the first half of September and in many other areas around mid-September. In most regions, the main harvest will take place in late September, early October,” says Schmuckenschlager.

Photod: Carletto, Blickwerk

Average wine volume of 2.4 million hectolitres is expected in Austria this year. Harvesting will begin in the area around Lake Neusiedl in the first half of September and in many other areas around mid-September.

Oranta – borshch and varenyky near the Louvre

The first restaurant of Ukrainian cuisine in Paris near the Louvre was opened by Alina Wolf.

Without a traditional ribbon cutting in front of the entrance door which signifies the opening of a new business, Alina Wolf simply started welcoming wandering visitors in her restaurant Oranta. This is an opportunity to try traditional Ukrainian borshch, varenyky and potato pancakes in the heart of the city.

Ms. Wolf, the owner of the restaurant, was born in Ivano-Frankivsk but moved with her family to Paris when she was 10. She said she never lost her connection to the Ukrainian community and culture.

Alina Wolf

Alina Wolf in her restaurant Oranta in Paris.

“When I moved to France, and I said at school that I was from Ukraine, I was asked where it was. I had to explain that it is between Russia and Poland,Ms. Wolf said, adding that similar experiences pushed her to promote Ukrainian culture in any way she could.

The idea to open Oranta came to Ms. Wolf when she realized there were no locations where Parisians could find the traditional Ukrainian dishes.

Nearly a month after the restaurant’s soft opening, Ms. Wolf said she plans to adapt the menu to each season. As the restaurant buys all of its products from local farmers, it will change the menu based on the seasonal availability of different vegetables and fruits. Ms. Wolf said she is working to soon include on the Oranta menu Hutsul banosh, a colorful dish made with grits and sour cream and served with cracklings, fried mushrooms and onions.


Borys Gudziak, metropolitan-archbishop of the Philadelphia Archeparchy of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, was one of the first the restaurant’s guests. Recommending visiting Oranta, he shared his impression on his Facebook page:

“Smiles, empty plates and full hearts – the fruit of the first visit to the new Ukrainian restaurant Oranta. Uniquely light potato pancakes – quickly baked, juicy inside, melting in your mouth; varenyky with potatoes, cheese and meat; lordly ribs (come and see what I mean). Belgian and German beers, fine French wine and Ukrainian compote are offered. And, finally, dessert varenyky with cherries and blueberries!”

To make her place unique, Ms. Wolf came up with her restaurant concept due to learning about Ukrainian restaurants all over the world. She says she was inspired by examples in Belgium and East Asia, and especially Veselka in New York. But she strives to live up to the standard set by the top Parisian restaurants, and she aspires to see a time when there will be long queues to get into Oranta.

Oranta is located at 1 rue de Marivaux, 75002 Paris, France; the nearest metro station is Richelieu-Drouot (lines 8 and 9). The restaurant is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

* Oranta (from the Latin Orans – “pray”), one of the main types of images of the Mother of Jesus, which represents her with her arms raised and outstretched.

The icon of Our Lady of Oranta in the apse of Kyiv’s Saint Sophia Cathedral is one of the most significant and sacred masterpieces of Ukrainian culture. The mosaic is more than 1,000 years old.

Based on the material of ukrweekly.com

Photos: Roman Tymotsko, facebook.com/Oranta.Paris


The first restaurant of Ukrainian cuisine in Paris near the Louvre was opened by Alina Wolf.

Wine of 46 Parallel: let’s celebrate together!

For the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence 46 Parallel presents a new wine “Proudly Ukrainian”.

“Proudly Ukrainian” is the name of a limited release of author’s premium wines from the Grand Admiral collection, created by winemakers of 46 Parallel Wine Group for the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence.

Grand Admiral Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon Proudly Ukrainian is a unique blend created from the best Ukrainian grapes of the 2018 harvest. Premium author’s vintage wine is presented in a limited edition – only 530 bottles. The wine is characterized by unsurpassed aroma and luxury of taste, and has a rich hue typical of a classic Bordeaux blend. The wine is aged for 24 months in French barrels of Seguin Moreau of roasting level “medium” and “medium +” and marked by further aging in the bottle. Exquisite full-bodied wine with soft tannins, complex structure with shades of cherry, plum, black berries, chocolate and saffian will definitely not leave indifferent the most demanding wine gourmets.

46 Parallel wine

Anna Horkun, CEO and owner of 46 Parallel Wine Group:

“We create our wines with pride for Ukraine. We are sincerely proud that our company has been developing on independent Ukrainian soil. We celebrate 30 years of Independence with a limited collection of Proudly Ukrainian wines, with which we express our sincere gratitude to all those who are building a strong, free, successful Ukraine.”

Unique in terms of brand aesthetics is the design of a new release – a circular label emphasizes the solemnity of the event to which it is dedicated.

Artem Husev, Associate Creative Director Tabasco:

“With the white color of the label, we wanted to emphasize the uniqueness of the wine and the importance of the event itself – the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence. One of the tasks was to highlight it in the lineup while maintaining the recognizability of the style of the 46 Parallel brand. The routes of travelers and researchers, which are the basis of the design, were easily laid out on the map of Ukraine. And the new name speaks loudly about the brand’s philosophy and its Ukrainian roots.”

46 Parallel Wine Group has been working with the Tabasco team since its inception. Non-standard ideas and design solutions allowed the company to successfully implement a project to bring its brands to the Ukrainian market. The new blend has already been highly praised by experts – the wine won a gold medal at the Odessa Wine & Spirits Awards.

For the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence 46 Parallel presents a new wine “Proudly Ukrainian”.

Bocuse d`Or Ukraine has started in Ukraine

The qualifying round of the Bocuse d’Or Ukraine gastronomic competition took place on June 22-23 at the MHP Culinary Center.

Bocuse d’Or is a legendary international professional competition founded in 1987 by Paul Bocuse, a prominent restaurateur and chef, the father of French gastronomy. Chefs from more than 70 countries compete in this most prestigious gastro event.

Bocuse d’Or Ukraine teams

Ukraine is participating in this international event for the first time. It all started on the initiative of Yevhenii Korolyov who became the founder and President of Bocuse d’Or Ukraine. To join the Bocuse d’Or family, it was necessary to present the project with an analysis of the gastronomy market in the country, the best restaurants and chefs, prospects, potential and vector of development of Ukrainian gastronomy in the world, and then defend the project in front of the Bocuse d’Or committee in Lyon. And Yevhen did it perfectly!

Bocuse d’Or dish

From the beginning of 2021, the variety of applications from chefs to participate in the competition was received. The qualifying round determined the best of them to participate in the National selection.

Bocuse d’Or participants

Bocuse d’Or Ukraine is a large-scale professional event in the field of HoReCa in Ukraine. In 2021, Ukraine will host the National Selection for the first time, and the chef who wins it will represent Ukraine at the Bocuse d’Or Europe Final 2022 international gastro arena.

Bocuse d’Or jury

During two intensive days, 36 teams from all over Ukraine prepared 72 meat and fish dishes which were evaluated by Ukrainian and foreign members of the jury.

The jury consisted of all members of the National Organizing Committee: Yevhenii Korolyov, Ihor Kramarenko, Viktor Tymchyshyn, Ike Weishtort, Ihor Lavreshyn, Maryna Kerbytska, Oleksiy Miller, Yuriy Kovryzhenko.

Bocuse d’Or jury

The organizers of the project also invited foreign representatives of the gastronomic world: Pavlo Guryanov – winner of international competitions, including Bocuse d’Or Estonia, and Mikheil Avsadzhanishvili – President of Bocuse d’Or Georgia.

Bocuse d’Or dish

The site bocusedor.com.ua published a list of 8 winning teams that advance to the next round – the National Selection. The winning teams are headed by chefs:

  • Maksym Prykhidko
  • Oleksandr Lypko
  • Vadym Zakharov
  • Vladyslav Lionov
  • Vitalii Nuzhnyi
  • Andrii Pryvarnykov
  • Eleonora Barabanova
  • Oleksandr Petrenko

Congratulations to the winners! On October 11, at the National Selection, they will compete for the right to represent Ukraine in the European Final in 2022.

Bocuse d’Or meat dish

Ukrainian and world brands became the partners of the competition:

  • METRO Cash & Carry Ukraine
  • Kurator
  • USMEF (U.S. Meat Export Federation)
  • EFFO: professional cooking oil
  • Alaska Seafood
  • Kontakt
  • Convotherm
  • Tehma
  • Tork
  • Ferret.Group
  • Fairmont Grand Hotel Kyiv
  • KAMA Restaurant
  • Abrikos
  • Forward
  • Thermomix Ukraine
  • Kotányi

Bocuse d’Or cooking

“Everything took place at a high international level – that is the feedback we received from the candidates, their assistants and members of the jury. All over the world, the Qualifying Round is on a smaller scale, but our goal was to draw industry attention to this event at this stage – and we have achieved this. We set a very high bar for ourselves and thanks to the strong support of our partners at the National Selection on October 11, which will gather more than 3,000 guests, we will once again show and consolidate the international level of this event not only with a high level of organization but also with professionalism”, – said Dina Kurachenko, Marketing Director of Bocuse d’Or Ukraine.

We are creating the history of Ukrainian gastronomy together!

The qualifying round of the Bocuse d’Or Ukraine gastronomic competition took place on June 22-23 at the MHP Culinary Center.

New system for sparkling wine preservation from Coravin

Technology company Coravin did not stop there and has presented a new product for the sparkling wine category.

The tools for preserving and serving still wine in any amount with the Coravin Models Three, Five, and Six were unveiled early last year. And there was a room for further development. The wine technology business has been concentrated its efforts on launching a system for fizz.

The challenging part of the system is its ability to keep the oxygen out of wine, and the sparkle in it. However, the success was obvious, with Lambrecht introducing virtually The Coravin Sparkling™ preservation system on Wednesday this week – a device, which the inventor claims, is the only universal solution to preserve sparkling wines for two weeks.

Initially the product was released for the US market considering the needs of both the local partners and consumers. The portable system combines a universal-fit stopper with a hand-held charger to maintain sparkling wine carbonation levels between pours, providing two weeks storage.

“When we first introduced the original Coravin system, we always knew that someday we would bring the same power and freedom to the sparkling wine category,” indicated Lambrecht.

Continuing, he said, “After spending years in development, we’re thrilled to introduce Coravin Sparkling and deliver on our continued vision to allow anyone to pour any wine, still or sparkling, in any amount, without the pressure to quickly finish the bottle or the fear of wasting it.”

Committing a joint effort together with industry experts from all over the world, the Coravin team tested early prototypes and validate the technology during the product development stage.

“After testing the Coravin sparkling system, we consider it an amazing addition to our wine tools,” said Yohann Jousselin, Master Sommelier, assistant vice president for food and wine at Shangri-La International Hotel Management.

He added, “We are finally able to expand our sparkling wines by-the-glass program without the risk of wastage.”

Meanwhile, Daniel Johnnes, founder of La Paulée and corporate wine director for Daniel Boulud, said, “I could not be more thrilled about the timing of the new Coravin sparkling system. I will now be able to sample Champagne or any sparkling wine with the same excitement as still wines.”

Following that, he noted, “This is the hottest category of wines and people have finally discovered that sparkling wine, especially Champagne, is not just a wine for celebrations. They are wines for pairing with your meal. I can now have a glass of Blanc de Blancs with my appetizer and move on to fuller bodied styles with the main course. And most importantly, I can do that and know the sparkling wine will still be fresh for another day.”

coravin sparkling

The instruction for use is simple: after pouring the desired amount of a sparkling drink, place the Sparkling Stopper on the bottle and secure it with the locking handle. You can pour another glass by gently removing the stopper. The last step is to re-attach the Sparkling Stopper and re-charge the bottle with the Sparkling Charger.

One Sparkling Charger Device, two Sparkling Stoppers, four Coravin Pure™ Sparkling CO2 Capsules and two protective bottle sleeves are included in the Coravin Sparkling™ System package.

The patent-pending universal sparkling wine stopper has an internal retaining clip design that self-adjusts to fit securely on all standard 750ml and magnum 1.5L bottles, even original bottles from renowned luxury Champagne producers, making it really versatile.

The approximate price for the Coravin Sparkling™ Wine Preservation System MSRP will be 465,53 EUR. Coravin Pure™ Sparkling CO2 replenishment capsules will be available in 6- and 12-packs with an MSRP of about 52,36 EUR and 93 EUR, respectively.

Additional Sparkling Stoppers will be available in 2-packs with an MSRP of around 93 EUR.

All items can be expected to appear on the US market from late summer through Coravin.com, leading retailers and select distributors.

Europe may get the System available in September.

Technology company Coravin did not stop there and has presented a new product for the sparkling wine category. The tools for preserving and serving still wine in any amount with the Coravin Models Three, Five, and Six were unveiled early last year. And there was a room for further development. The wine technology business has […]

The subtle alchemy of barrel-aging

Lotte Peplow, the Brewers Association’s American Craft Beer Ambassador for Europe, takes a deep dive into barrel-aging in the American craft brewing world.

The practice of fermenting beer in wooden vessels has been around for hundreds of years but it wasn’t until the 1990s that American craft brewers started experimenting with aging beer in used spirits barrels.  Today, barrel-aged beer styles produced by American craft brewers regularly win top honours at prestigious international beer competitions and is yet another example of American craft brewing’s relentless innovation. Worth seeking out for their incredible complexity, depth of flavour and subtle nuances of character, barrel-aged beers lend themselves perfectly to the cold winter months.

Barrel Aging Life-

A variety of beer styles are suitable for barrel aging in wood but sour beers and beers with high alcoholic strength are the most common. Barrels for sour or ‘wild’ beer may be used several times over while barrels that formerly held spirits such as bourbon, tequila or gin are rarely used beyond their first or second fill.

Many American craft brewers consider barrels to be the fifth ingredient of beer and not simply a storage vessel.   They source barrels with as much care and attention as selecting their annual hop varieties. Each barrel is unique which means experimentation and flexibility is an essential part of the barrel-aging process.


Most distilleries or vintners will sell used barrels but brewers will go to great lengths to secure the barrels they have in mind for a particular project. The Bruery, a craft brewery in Orange County, California, buys barrels by the truckload and selects the exact barrels for each project depending on the sensory analysis of the barrel.  Brewers from Great Divide Brewing Co in Denver, Colorado have been known to travel overseas (to Ireland) to hand-pick barrels for their partner programme with Jameson whisky while Eric Ponce, Barrel Program Manager at Firestone Walker Brewing Co in Paso Robles, California has been sourcing different types of spirit barrel from around the world for many years. “Every barrel needs to meet our requirements as in – the distillery we chose, how long the spirit was matured in barrel, barrels should not be rinsed after emptying etc,” he says.

Oak is full of flavoursome, aromatic compounds that can add another level of depth and complexity to a beer, making it the preferred wood for barrel-aging for many brewers. Jeremy Grinkey, Director of Production, at The Bruery explains: “Oak is easy to work with compared to palm and other woods.  It’s fairly common across Europe and has very tight grains lending to its liquid holding properties. Having said that, we’ve used Cherry and Acacia barrels too for fun.”

beer barrel

Equally important to the flavour of the barrel is the art of blending different beer together to create the desired result. A number of base beers may be aging in different barrels, some of which may be fresh barrels to give a high intensity of oak/spirit flavour and others may have been used before to give a lower intensity of flavour and it is the skilful blending of these beers by the brewer that creates the alchemy. Other flavours may be added along the way such as cocoa, coconut or coffee beans to add further levels of complexity. Ponce at Firestone Walker explains: “Blending starts with the flavour of the barrel. If the barrel is not quality and does not impart the flavours and aromas we are expecting that particular barrel will be discarded, but that predicament doesn’t happen often.”

So how much time should a beer spend aging in a barrel?  There is no definitive answer and it depends on when the beer is ready. “It’s all about taste,” says Ponce. “We have a concept of how long depending on the base beer and type of spirit barrel, plus we measure liquid from each barrel to get analytical and micro specs but overall it’s about taste,” he adds. At the Bruery, sours age anywhere from six months to four years and stouts, barley wine etc will age between 1-3 years. Some beers are ‘double barrel-aged’ which means the beer has been moved into a fresh Bourbon barrel after about a year for extra extraction.

Simply leaving a beer in a barrel and hoping for the best is not going to cut it.   Barrel-aging presents a number of challenges as Bryan Slekes, Senior Director of Finance at Great Divide acknowledges: “Time, consistency and efficiency are the key challenges in barrel-aging.  Beer often takes a year in the barrel before we get what we want out of it, every barrel is different and sometimes individual barrels don’t work out.” Grinkey at The Bruery adds: “Planning and understanding the risk factor is huge. It’s hard to know what something will taste like in two years time, just because beer is put in a barrel doesn’t always make it better.”

Barrel-aged American craft beers are available from select retailers throughout Ukraine.

Lotte Peplow

About the author: Lotte Peplow is the American Craft Beer Ambassador for Europe for the Brewers Association and is based in London, UK.  She is a Certified Cicerone®, BDI accredited Beer Sommelier, beer writer, beer communicator, international beer judge, homebrewer and beer lover.

About the Brewers Association

The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The BA represents 5,500-plus U.S. breweries. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers.

Lotte Peplow, the Brewers Association’s American Craft Beer Ambassador for Europe, takes a deep dive into barrel-aging in the American craft brewing world.