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Gastronomy and Wine Portal

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.

Beer

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.

LATEST TRENDS IN AMERICAN CRAFT BEER

Lotte Peplow, the Brewers Association’s American Craft Beer Ambassador for Europe, takes a deep dive into latest trends in American craft beer.


American craft brewers are renowned the world over for developing creative, exciting new beer styles and many are now available in Ukraine. Here’s a look at today’s most popular beer styles and current trends in the American craft brewing world:

  1. India Pale Ale (IPA) – the most popular beer style in the States with over one third of all sales and the biggest driver of craft beer volume. IPAs are synonymous with American craft brewing and offer hoppy innovation of their own with a variety of iterations from sour, fruited or milkshake to barrel-aged, Brett or Brut IPA.

Forty years ago, American craft brewing innovation kick-started the craft beer revolution that we now see emulated all over the world and the IPA style was, and still is, at the forefront of that movement. One of the key reasons for the success of American craft beer is the proximity to highly sought-after hop varieties which allows brewers to constantly evaluate and select the hops they need.

Beer lovers know that fresh and well taken care of raw materials make for better beer and by selecting hops varieties themselves brewers can develop flavour profiles in beer that may be difficult to match elsewhere.

This fact is borne out by the number of medals and top honours that American craft beer wins at prestigious international beer competitions. The use of high-quality raw materials, relentless innovation, technical brewing expertise and an unswerving commitment to quality ensures American craft beer reaches the beer lover exactly as the brewer intended.

  1. Light beer/Lagers – we’re seeing the emergence of not just craft lager but lighter more sessionable styles such as blonde ale, Kölsch, cream ale and they are starting to drive volume for many small and independent American craft breweries. They appeal to the craft beer drinker who may be aging, having been in the category since its inception, and is now looking for styles with a lower ABV that are light, crisp and easy drinking.

American craft beer

  1. Sour or Flavoured beers – a diverse range of beers that comprise a wide variety of different flavours but are not hoppy or bitter and not IPAs. They include beers that are fruity, spicy, tart, made with adjuncts such as coconut or cardamom, or brewed with Brettanomyces (a form of wild yeast). These styles appeal to younger consumers, aged 21-34 who are starting their craft beer journey and more interested in bold flavours and variety than hops and bitterness.

Whether these younger beer drinkers move into the light beer/lager category or jump directly to IPAs will be watched with interest.

In terms of packaging, cans remain a popular packaging format accounting for 54% of all craft beer packed sales, a figure that has more than tripled since 2016.

Despite the pandemic, 2020 alcohol beverage trends in America were not that different to other years, but how did the beer market hold up? American craft brewers collectively produced 23.1 million barrels of beer decreasing craft’s overall beer market share by volume to 12.3%, down from 13.6% the previous year.   A principal reason for this decline was the shift in how consumers purchased their beer. As pandemic regulations went into effect in March 2020, beer drinkers were unable to visit pubs and bars at the same frequency and looked to off-premises suppliers such as liquor stores and grocery to fulfil their beer needs. This purchasing pattern hit craft beer hardest because the segment has historically been more reliant on the on-premise than the overall beer market. Retail dollar value was estimated at $22.2 billion, representing 23.6% market share and a 22% decline over 2019. Craft brewers provided more than 138,000 direct jobs, a 14% decrease from 2019.

American craft beer

Despite the ravages of Covid-19 on the American craft beer industry, the number of breweries operating remains at an all-time high of 8,794. It’s been a challenging year, but American craft brewers are ever resourceful and have found new ways to connect with their customer base and keep their businesses open, such as enhanced sanitation measures, new technology to limit personal interaction, maintaining social distancing and new routes to market

In 2020 we continued to see the beer market move upmarket, otherwise known as premiumisation.  The craft sector has been a beneficiary of premiumisation in recent years – people may be drinking less but they tend to buy higher priced products. Premium priced beers (including craft, imports, super premium and flavoured malt beverages) are now approaching a majority in terms of total volume and in dollar sales are much higher.

Looking at last year, the steady shift towards premiumisation continued, somewhat surprisingly given the economic destruction wrought by the pandemic, but it looks to be continuing unabated and is likely to continue for another 5-10 years after which it is harder to predict.

Looking ahead, the Craft Brewers Conference, the number one environment in North America for concentrated, affordable brewing education and idea sharing, takes place in Denver, Colorado September 9-12, 2021. Registration opens on May 4, 2021.

In 2022, the Great American Beer Festival, North America’s largest ticketed beer festival, will return in person to celebrate its 40th Anniversary in Denver, Colorado, October 6-8, 2022.

Many American craft beers such as Firestone Walker Brewing Co, Lakefront Brewery Inc, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Rogue Ales, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, Stone Brewing Co. and The Bruery are available in Silpo or Good Wine stores throughout Ukraine, plus selected on trade venues.

www.brewersassociation.org

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. The BA organizes events including the World Beer Cup®Great American Beer Festival®Craft Brewers Conference® & BrewExpo America®SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food ExperienceHomebrew ConTMNational Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week®. The BA publishes The New Brewer® magazine, and Brewers Publications® is the leading publisher of brewing literature in the U.S. Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com® and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association® and the free Brew Guru® mobile app. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Lotte Peplow, the Brewers Association’s American Craft Beer Ambassador for Europe, takes a deep dive into latest trends in American craft beer.

Wine: Yes We Wine gives value to tasting data

Through its mobile application, Yes We Wine allows wine professionals to compile all of their tasting data so that they can then be compared with other vintages or with notes recorded by other tasters. The startup, which claims 3,000 users worldwide, is simultaneously launching a platform dedicated to data analysis and event facilitation.


“It’s hard to do a tasting with a glass, a sheet of paper, and a pencil when you only have two hands,” – jokes Vincent Pichot, co-founder of Yes We Wine. Behind this very simple idea of replacing the good old handwritten board with a digital notebook, this young Bordeaux company, founded in 2019, under takes to highlight the data accumulated over the various tastings that punctuate the life of wine professionals, whether they are buyers, wine merchants, owners, or enlightened amateurs.

Available on iOS and Android, the Yes We Wine application lists hundreds of thousands of wines. During a tasting, a starting point is to enter the domain and the vintage concerned to launch the eight-step tool through which the taster will synthesize their assessments. For each wine tested, the application generates a summary sheet kept in memory of the user’s profile who thus has a library of their past experiences.

The eight-step tool provides a taster with the following evaluation criteria, such as acolour, nose flavours, and intensity, palate flavours, concentration, and length, balance of acidity, tannin, and alcohol. In the end, there is a possibility to leave your comment and five-star score.

These data are available for a comparison with those of other tasters either publicly or through private groups organized, for example, in the context of specialized events. “When I taste wine, I need to be able to compare myself whether with another vintage or with the opinions of other tasters,” summarizes the entrepreneur.

A B2B / B2B2C model

Free for the end user, the Yes We Wine application adopts a resolutely B2B positioning. “We are not intended to sell wine, that is why we do not offer to scan the labels”, – specifies Vincent Pichot referencing to the Danish-American juggernaut Vivino which recently carried out a monumental fundraising campaign of nearly 130 million euros.

The Bordeaux startup has chosen to base its economic model on the added value of its tasting data.Since the beginning of the year, it has been offering professionals in the sector to use its platform to organize their tastings, with the possibility of accessing statistical dashboards that will summarize and compile the scores of the various testers, whether they arephysically gathered in the same place or distributed to the different parts of the world.The platform also has a module dedicated to facilitation conducive to the organization of masterclasses or shared sessions.

Passed by Bordeaux Technowest, Yes We Wine joined le Village by CA at the beginning of the year. It also entered the Microsoft for Startups program. Funded mainly on own funds, with the help of regional grants, it claims 3,000 users in 70 countries for its application available in four languages (French, English, Chinese and Russian). At the end of March, Yes We Wine launched a modest crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, aimed at accelerating the development of future features. For example, it plans to add a “My coach” button to its mobile application which will offer a centralized view of the different tastings performed by the user.

For the materials of placeco.fr

Through its mobile application, Yes We Wine allows wine professionals to compile all of their tasting data.

The Azorean Volcanic wines

Olga Verchenko is a wine professional living in Barcelona and working in wine business since 2012, when she graduated from the Msc Wine Programme at Burgundy School of Business. Today she is a founder of ViniComm wine project: having a wine job title, she also shares her wine passion and knowledge on the blog @vinicomm and conducts wine tastings in Catalonia.


This summer I had an enormous pleasure to visit a true Atlantic gem the Azores – an archipelago composed of 9 islands that used to be ancient volcanos. It is small wonder that a myriad of local wines was tasted, still exotic and rare for many wine fans. Here are the most fascinating stories you should know.

azores islands

Indigenous varieties

The local volcano terroir is without a doubt the Land of white wines with the 3 main traditional varieties:

  1. Verdelho(not to be confused with Spanish Verdejo) is responsible for a crunchy acidity and contributes to ageing potential of the blend.
  2. Arinto dos Açores is the most widespread on 4 islands where viticulture is practiced (São Miguel, Pico, Graciosa, Terceira) and is used for both light fresh and aged on the lees full-bodied wines.
  3. Terrantez do Pico is the hardest to grow grape variety planted only in Pico island since the 15th century. Its origin and parents are still not clear. There are only 89 strains of Terrantez on the island and this unique breed is in danger of extinction. This is the corpulent body of the local wines.

red wine Isabella

Red wine apologists will not be disappointed either: 15 red varieties are officially permitted, however one of the most unusual ones is the experimental Isabella a Proibida by Antonio Maçanita – the succulent red made of the American hybrid forbidden in the rest of the European Union.red wine with a view

UNESCO heritage made of magma 

As if the islands landscape was not diverse enough, the vine growers once had created the UNESCO Heritage “curraletas” – the black dry-stone walls that protect the vines from the ocean wind and sea salt capable of burning the vine leaves on the sun. Interesting fact, after the eruption the black magma rocks had to be removed from the soil and transported somewhere anyways, so the locals killed two birds with one stone forming black basalt plots that later became vineyards.

almost ripe arinto dos acores

What Atlantic volcano tastes like

We all heard that volcano wines have special and recognizable notes. In Azorean wines, however, not just volcano terroir, but the Atlantic influence makes the difference.

terrantez do pico

The local Terrantez is the saltiest and the most resin expression of the terroir. Add some tropical flowers, hazelnuts, marzipan plus amazing crispness you will have the idea.

Volcanic verdelho

In Verdelho, the mineral notes remind basalt stone and iodine ocean breeze smell coming right from the glass. The palate varies depending on the style: fresher samples amaze with vibrant acidity, salty almond and pear, while aged in bottle wine develops notes of ripe stone fruits and biscuit.

verdelho biscoitos

Arinto dos Açores is a very versatile in styles and can surprise you with orange confiture, baked apples, lemon blossom and honey in combination with aromas of the wet stone, sometimes reminding a high-level Riesling, yet with a salty touch.

aged verdelho with view

The unique nectar of Pico island

Island Pico is a home not only to the highest Portuguese peak, but also to the unique wine “Czar” that broke the world record in 2017 with the highest degree of alcohol (20.1%) ever obtained naturally in wine without fortifying it.

Pico island vineyards

We interviewed the winemaker Fortunato Garcia who passionately shared the “Czar” story. In the 17th century, 200 years after the vines had been brought to the islands, the Azores thrived thanks to an enormous amount of wine export, including to the Czar courts. The high-ranking elite of that time fell in love with the intense white wine called “passato” which was also the most expensive and prestigious one.

picowines

Since then, it has been produced exclusively on Pico island in limited quantities. Fortunato emphasises that is not a sweet wine as we used to know it, neither a conventional fortified wine. In average, it reaches 18% of alcohol naturally thanks to the high sugar concentration in late harvested traditional white varieties (Verdelho, Terrantez do Pico and Arinto dos Açores). On the other hand, the inherent high acidity of 3 varieties helps to create an amazing balance of sweetness and acidity (The residual sugars vary between 24 to 30 g/l only). A minimum 6-years ageing in French used oak adds to the complexity likewise.

vines Pico islands volcano view

With this being said, do not miss the opportunity to get a bottle of “Czar” when travelling to the islands, as only around 2000 bottles are produced per harvest, while the ageing potential is a lifetime!

All photos are provided by author and are subject to copyright

Olga Verchenko told about traveling to a true Atlantic gem the Azores – an archipelago composed of 9 islands that used to be ancient volcanos. It is small wonder that a myriad of local wines was tasted, still exotic and rare for many wine fans.

How to choose a beer (and not be disappointed!)

In her article for Drinks+, Lotte Peplow shared information about which criteria should be considered first when choosing a beer.


With hundreds of different beer styles and literally thousands of different beers now available making a choice can be overwhelming.

drinking beer

One tried and true approach is to seek out beers that win top honours at notable international beer competitions like the World Beer Cup, European  Beer Star  and Brussels Beer Challenge.

Judging beer is a serious business that takes years of practice and refinement of skill.  Imagine being the referee for the football World Cup – it’s a bit like that!  From the appearance of a beer in the glass, to the enticing aroma on the nose and flavour on the palate, beer judging is the pinnacle of a beer lover’s sensory acumen and a true test of knowledge and skill in which all the senses are deployed.

woman with beer

Beers submitted to international beer competitions are judged blindly against other entries based on their ability to meet criteria outlined in style guidelines like those produced by the Brewers Association or those they define themselves. Based on historical significance, authenticity, and profile in the current commercial beer market, each style guideline will dictate the appropriate aroma, appearance, taste, and mouthfeel of a beer style. Judges will often also include an element of their overall impression and enjoyment of the beer. In larger competitions, like the World Beer Cup, beers will be judged against potentially hundreds of other entries in a category. Those making it to the final rounds and ultimately selected for a medal have been deemed the most exemplary and outstanding in their class.

glasse of beer

As someone associated with American craft beer it’s great to see the number of American craft beer entrants winning top honours at beer competitions around the world.  The World Beer Cup® in America, International Beer Cup in Japan, European Beer Star in Germany, Brussels Beer Challenge in Belgium, Australian International Beer Awards in Australia, and many more have all seen American craft beer winning medals and gaining accolades from the best judging palates in the business.

Glass of beer

American craft beer is able to deliver unparalleled flavour due to a number of reasons –  the use of high quality raw materials, technical brewing expertise and an unswerving commitment to quality from production to throughout the supply chain to ensure it reaches the beer drinker  exactly as the brewer intended.

In America itself, the most recent World Beer Cup®, a biannual competition presented by the Brewers Association in conjunction with the Craft Brewers Conference®, attracted more than 8,000 beers from more than 2,500 breweries representing 66 different countries.  This September the Great American Beer Festival® (GABF) competition  will attract more than 9,000 American craft beer entries to be assessed by more than 100 professional judges.  The GABF gold, silver and bronze medals are recognised around the world as symbols of brewing excellence.

beer on the table

Award-winning American craft beer can be found throughout Ukraine and is renowned for its full-flavour, use of top quality ingredients and world-class taste.  Look out for beers from   Firestone Walker Brewing Co, Lakefront Brewery Inc, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Rogue Ales, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, Spencer Brewery and Stone Brewing Co in Silpo or Good Wine stores.


Lotte Peplow is the American Craft Beer Ambassador in Europe for the Brewers Association and is based in the UK.  She is a Certified Cicerone®, BDI accredited Beer Sommelier and experienced beer judge who enjoys nothing more than sampling beer and pairing it with food. In addition, Lotte conducts meetings and beer tastings, organizes large-scale beer events and is an active supporter of beer food pairing.

In her article for Drinks+, Lotte Peplow shared information about which criteria should be considered first when choosing a beer.

HOPS ACROSS THE POND!

Lotte Peplow, the Brewers Association’s American Craft Beer Ambassador for Europe, takes a deep dive into hop usage in American craft beer.


The annual hop harvest in the USA is an exciting time.​It’s not only brewers who are excited, beer lovers around the world wait in heady expectation for yet more innovative, incredible tasting American craft beers packed full of the highest quality raw materials, to be launched.

In the 1980s American craft beer innovation and creativity kickstarted the craft beer revolution that we now see emulated all over the world. Bold, full-flavoured, hop forward beers ‘wowed’ the beer drinking public and today ground-breaking, style-diverse, high quality American craft beers can be found throughout Ukraine.  Examples are worth seeking out because American craft beer regularly wins top honours at high profile beer competitions around the world that are judged by international panels of experts.

The proximity of many American craft brewers to hop fields allows them to spend time with the hop growers and in the hop yards before, during and after harvest to constantly evaluate hops and select what they need.  Tim Matthews, VP of Global Brewing for the CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective whose brand portfolio includes Oskar Blues from Longmont, Colorado and Cigar City Brewing from Tampa, Florida, explains: “Interaction with growers is a huge focus  and all brewers should have constant communications with their suppliers. We spend a lot of man hours getting all over the place and having face to face time with our suppliers so they understand what we’re asking for and what is the most economically sustainable strategy to achieve a product we want and that works for everyone.

“You’ve got to understand what makes a hop tick,” he says.  “Traceability is key. All hops have a QR code giving age, the Hop Storage Index and how it has experienced processing.  We smell them, touch them, break them up – we don’t just want essential oils, terpenes, and alpha components, nowadays we want glycosides and especially polyphenols (molecules most often involved in haze formation).”

American craft brewers’ proximity to desirable hops in the United States means that only 13% of hops used in the U.S. are purchased from abroad.  What’s more, the amount of hops being used by American craft brewers is increasing – during the last 10 years the average amount of hops used by craft breweries has increased 87% to 1.72 pounds per barrel.  Last year (2019) 163 hop varieties were used by American craft brewers, nearly double the quantity of 2009*.  The combination of increased hop usage and a wider hop variety allows brewers to craft ground-breaking new beers that push the boundaries of taste and flavour.  American craft brewers have also developed packaging expertise to minimize oxygen in beer and preserve flavour for longer.  This is essential when beer is exported overseas.

Hops are an agricultural product and a single hop varietal varies widely from year to year, farm to farm depending on terroir, weather and conditions.  Even at the highest ‘quality’ the hop profile will change hence why brewers visit the hop farms regularly to maintain grower relationships, select hops and adjust recipes.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, from Chico, California is one of the pioneers of the American craft brewing revolution and was instrumental in changing the beer drinkers’ perception of American craft beer from the 1980s onwards.  Their flagship beer, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale using the cascade hop, was one of the first examples of American craft beer to be exported overseas.

Scott Jennings, Innovation Brewmaster for Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, adds: “It’s very important to build close relationships with our hop farmers and we track variations in the hop character along with them.    We visit several times a year – just before the harvest to get a sense of the quality availability, then again at harvest time where we can make selections of the varieties that harvest early and one again after the harvest so we can select the late harvested varieties.”

But what happens when it comes to crafting a new beer? Does the recipe come first or the hop selection?  Scott Jennings explains: “It goes both ways depending on the source of the inspiration!  Sometimes a clear mental flavour profile is the way forward other times there is a beautiful new hop that needs a beer to go in so we build it that way.”

American craft brewers are renowned the world over for their innovative use of raw materials and brewing techniques.  Stone Brewing Co from Escondido, California has a two-pronged approach to hop selection – ‘core beers’ and ‘hop innovation.’ Joel Grosser VP Brewing Operations and Brewmaster at Stone explains: “Core beers hop selection is focused on consistency.  We select lots that deliver the exact same flavour profile year over year and want every Stone IPA to be the same amazing experience no matter where you have it.  We accomplish this through our relationship with the growers and suppliers.

For ‘hop innovation’ we’re looking for something new and exciting.   Innovation is part of the Stone DNA and staying at the forefront of hop varieties and flavour is critical to our success.”

By way of an example, Jeremy Moynier, Senior Manager Innovation and Supply Chain for Stone, adds: “We had an interesting discussion about a particular newer hop that has gained a lot of attention recently and is still expanding to meet demand. We are split on this hop but what intrigues me is that it’s different.  More strawberry and herbal notes than the tropical and citrus forward hops that have gained acclaim in the last few years. We look at what you can blend it with – other hops, yeast, other ingredients to make a really special beer. This is part of Hop Innovation.”

American craft beer is now available in dozens of countries internationally and in 2019 exports were valued at $69 million. Canada is the largest global export market for American craft beer accounting for 25.8% of all exports, followed by the UK with 11.9%, Sweden with 6% and the rest of Europe with 11%.

Top Ten U.S. Hop Varieties 2018*

  1. Centennial
  2. Cascade
  3. Citra
  4. Mosaic
  5. Simcoe
  6. Chinook
  7. Amarillo
  8. El Dorado
  9. CTZ
  10. Azacca

So next time you pick up a can of,  Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing containing six hop varieties or Stone IPA hops with eight hops appreciate the time, care and attention that goes into sourcing the highest quality raw ingredients to produce the finest quality American craft beer worthy of export all around the world.

Award-winning American craft beer can be found throughout Ukraine and is renowned for its full-flavour, use of top quality ingredients and world-class taste.  Look out for beers from   Firestone Walker Brewing Co, Lakefront Brewery Inc, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Rogue Ales, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, Spencer Brewery and Stone Brewing Co in Silpo or Good Wine stores.

*Brewers Association Hop Usage Survey 2019. The Brewers Association undertakes an annual hope usage survey to help hop growers to make important planting decisions. Members providing input since 2007 have shown the market completely shift from 20% to 80% aroma acres.

Lotte Peplow is the American Craft Beer Ambassador in Europe for the Brewers Association and is based in the UK.  She is a Certified Cicerone®, BDI accredited Beer Sommelier, beer writer, international beer judge, beer communicator and beer lover who enjoys nothing more than sampling beer and pairing it with food.

Lotte Peplow, the Brewers Association’s American Craft Beer Ambassador for Europe, takes a deep dive into hop usage in American craft beer.

New Wave Spanish Wines

If when thinking about Spanish wines Rioja, Albariño, Cava or La Mancha is all that comes to your mind, it is time to broaden your wine horizons. Here are four starting points to commence your journey exploring wines of talented Spanish winemakers.


Undiscovered Catalonia

For many wine consumers, Penedès region is under-radar when talking about premium range wines. However, there are at least two autochthonous varieties (white Xarello and red Sumoll) capable of making excellent wines when treated well in the vineyard.

Besides, more and more prominent wineries experiment with winemaking techniques creating unique and award-winning wines. To name a few: using selected harvest from old vines, extended lees contact, fermentation in barrels; ageing in new French oak, cement eggs, amphorae, or a combination of the three. The results are impressive for a growing number of wineries.

CELLER LA VINYETA

CELLER LA VINYETA – VINYES VELLES

For a superb Xarello with ageing potential check: Can Bas Domini Vinícola, Can Ràfols dels Caus, Celler Credo, Enric Soler, Venus La Universal. And for Sumoll: Heretat Mont Rubí, Sicus, Partida Creus, Puiggròs.

As opposed to mono-varietal wines, Empordà and Costers del Segre winemakers go for using international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah to create elegant blends with old vines Carignan and Grenache aged in French oak. The best examples are capable of competing with their high-profile counterparties from other wine regions. Look out for La Vinyeta, Tomás Cusiné.

High altitude Grenache

Disposing only of 6% of total Spanish vineyards, Grenache yet has enormous potential in higher altitudes of several mountain ranges. Well-known examples include Priorat and Montsant located in Serra de Montsant. And other than that, have you heard of Sierra de Gredos located near Madrid, becoming home to one of the best Grenaches in Spain?

Daniel Landi and Fernando Garcia, the two friends and winemakers, were among pioneers who believed in the success of Grenache in this zone. In 2008, they started a project Comando G, purchasing small plots of 50-80 years old vines.

Today, they take care of 3 hectares, located on the altitudes 800 to 1200 meters, where vines are thriving on well-drained granitic soils. In combination with mild temperature, this provides slow ripening and moderate alcohol levels. All plants are treated biodynamically and produce few, yet concentrated grape clusters.

Xarello

The resulting wines with limited production is an essence of fresh fruit, and to preserve it, the usage of oak is moderate: ageing takes place maximum 12 months in big barrels and “foudres”.

Winemakers and wine critics tend to agree: Gredos wine region represents one of the finest Grenache expressions in Spain, comparable with elegant cold climate Pinot Noirs. So, this is something not to be missed when coming to Spain, as internationally this zone is represented in a limited way.

Comando G

Sherry as never before

What is now known as a successful commercial project Equipo Navazos started as a hobby in 2005. Two friends, a professor of criminal law and Sherry lover Jesús Barquín and the technical director of Grupo Estévez Eduardo Ojeda equipped with talent, passion and access to the hidden Sherry gems discovered and shared a unique wine from Andalusia.

The classic sherries are produced in a solera system where barrels are placed in several layers (soleras), and wine is circulating from the top layer (youngest vintage) to the bottom one. However, a couple of friends would source for a single Jerez cask with particular characteristics and potential (“Bota”) to bottle this 500l straight to one limited batch.

The Bota #1 was Amontillado, bottled privately and designated for the sole enjoyment of friends around the world. Today, their Bota #86 of Palo Cortado or #83 of Manzanilla Pasada are quick to sell in selected wine boutiques at a considerable price level.

…and another Southern treasure

In the land of fortified and sweet wines, it can be challenging for a dry red wine to stand out. It has only been a few years since young and ambitious winemakers have waged on the native Cádiz variety Tintilla de Rota for distinctive red wines crafting.

Tintilla (genetically identical to Graciano) is a late-ripening and low-yield grape with high sugar concentration.  Performing well in regional fortified wines production, it requires remarkable effort to make 100% Tintilla dry wines in Cádiz. Harvesting usually takes place at night to avoid the berries heating in the day. The best selection is from chalky-soil vineyards benefiting from Levante and Atlantic winds. Winemaking techniques follow the principles of minimum intervention, using entire-clusters fermentation, natural yeasts and going as far as bottling unfiltered wines. No sulphites added, of course.

Majority of the wines are coming out as micro-wines of IGT Cádiz /Tierra de Cádiz, perfumed on the nose and intense the palate (blackberry, mulberry, chocolate). To extend your wine repertoire, taste: Mahara by brothers Gómez Lucas, Nude by Barbadillo (unfiltered) mono-varietal wine from Bodegas de Forlong, Atlántida from Vinos de Atlantico.


About the author

Olga Verchenko is a wine professional living in Barcelona and working in wine business since 2012 when she graduated from the MSc Wine Programme at Burgundy School of Business. She also shares her wine passion and knowledge on the Instagram-blog @vinicomm and conducts wine tastings in Catalonia.

Here are four starting points to commence your journey exploring wines of talented Spanish winemakers.

Honey Badger: Own marks upon a map!

Founded in 2015, the family enterprise Honey Badger is the latest discovery and passion for D+, and we are ready to share the information.


The owners of the Honey Badger brand, Yulia Kalenskaya and Artem Skubenko, are the representatives of the millennials generation, who, as we know, thus choosing the best. So, when a couple of young Ukrainians founded their own enterprise for the production of the traditional drinks according to the revived recipes, it is reasonable that the credo of their company was: «To collect and preserve the best from the heritage of Ukrainian cities and villages». A simple idea turned out to be a brilliant one. The best local ingredients multiplied with the best local recipes.

map

The nastoyankas and nalyvkas of Honey Badger have already been appreciated by the professionals. Today, restaurateurs are paying specific attention to Honey Badger drinks, including due to their universal gastronomy. The nastoyankas are especially attractive for the bartenders who are interested in making trendy cocktails based on old drinks created from local ingredients. The story of the young brand is only being written. The founders have big and ambitious plans: to expand the collection of recipes by filling out their own map of Ukraine by Honey Badger, as well as to enter the export markets. And the brand has enough trump cards for this!

иуу

BEE INFUSED NASTOYANKA

This is a special drink for a family company. The recipe that comes from the village of Kalens’ke in the Zhytomyr region has been passed from generation to generation for centuries and has been finally passed from the father to children. The family owns not only the recipe but also the apiary. The nastoyanka of the «pidmore» is healing, tasty, soft, aromatic, with a honey-floral aftertaste. Alc.: 37%. Paring: meat dishes, game.

current

BLACK CURRANT INFUSED NALYVKA

Blackcurrant nalyvka was created according to a recipe recorded by the old residents of the Carpathians. The drink is full-bodied, moderately dry, has a magical aroma. It possesses a good balance of acidity. Alc.: 17%. Paring: dishes of the Carpathian cuisine – banosh, potato pancakes, mushroom broth.

cherry

CHERRY INFUSED NALYVKA

The relatives from Torkanivka village, the Vinnytsia region, shared the secret of producing the nalyvka. The nalyvka has a signature cherry flavour with a spicy touch of a kernel. It has an elegant purple colour. Alc.: 17%. Paring: dishes of modern Ukrainian cuisine, cheese and desserts.

kossak

COSSAK`S OAK NASTOYANKA

This is an old recipe retold by the acquaintances from the Cherkasy region, where a famous thousandyear-old oak grows in the Kholodnyi Yar. It is a symbol of longevity. Alc.: 37%. Paring: depending on the sauces, it can be combined with both fish and meat dishes, perfect for game.

raspberry

RASPBERRY INFUSED NALYVKA

The recipe for the drink was received by the father of the founders of the company from his friends who live in the Kharkiv region. The nalyvka is vivid, with an ideal balance of colour, taste, and aroma. Alc.: 17%. Paring: pies, halushky, pancakes, sweet dumplings.

honey

HONEYCOMB INFUSED NASTOYANKA

This is an old, but a modified recipe for a strong honey drink from the homeland of Cossacks – from Zaporizhzhia – created on the basis of a unique bee product. Beeswax contains over 300 nutrients. Alc.: 37%. Paring: grilled meat dishes, smoked meat, kulish.

cornelian

CORNELIAN CHERRY INFUSED NALYVKA

A drink was created according to a recipe that was passed from the relatives from the Crimea. This nalyvka has a light coral colour and is characterized by a perfect balance of taste, pleasant aroma and excellent gastronomy. Alc.: 17%. Paring is very broad – from meat dishes to the refined desserts.

gin

U.Gin (Ukrainian Gin)

This is a drink from a new line, from a collection of recipes called ‘‘Modern Ukraine’’. With exceptionally natural juniper berries and spices, they managed to create a product that 100% meets the philosophy of ‘‘Honey Badger’’ – uncompromising quality. Alc.: 37%. Paring: aged cheese or mouldy cheese. It is perfect for cocktails.

 

The family enterprise Honey Badger is the latest discovery and passion for D+, and we are ready to share the information.

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