As far as I’m concerned, wine merchants do play an important role in advancing the level of wine appreciation among wine consumers in British Columbia. If profit is the sole objective of wine merchants, then consumers in B.C. would not have had the chance to experience fine wines from different parts of the world due to existing hurdles in bringing these wines into the Province, thanks to wine merchants, they’re doing all the works for us! Wine merchants also play an indirect role in educating the public about wines by hosting various portfolio tasting events cater to trade personnel. By allowing restaurateurs, sommeliers and other folks in the industry to taste their wines, the wine merchants are in fact indirectly dictating what kind of wines are available for the consumers to be had, it is naturally their job to introduce and educate the business partners who promote and sell their wines to the public.
Do merchants/ importers take the easy route to source wines from common sources or do they go the extra mile to import wines from around the world that are good and reasonably priced? From my observations and discussions with the merchants, importers, distributors, even sommeliers, I can guarantee you lots of expertise, time and effort, travelling and research are induced, before the bottle of wine you end up picking shows up on the shelves of the wine store.
A recent Mark Anthony Brands portfolio tasting confirmed the effort and commitment of this wine distributor to introduce quality wines to the market. With more than 35 years of experience in the industry, they understand the trends and market preferences. Even though most consumers do not refer to the wine merchant when they buy and sip good wines, the wine merchant’s efforts and contributions have already been capitalized.
It’s difficult to list all the wines in Mark Anthony’s portfolio; I have selected the followings that are definitely worth mentioning, based on price, quality and my personal preferences:
1/ For below $20.00, Mission Hill Five Vineyards Cabernet Merlot 2009 is a quality wine. A nice balance between local Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes, full dark berries and jam flavours with a tease of cocoa and oak on the finish.
2/ Rodney Strong Alexander Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 from Sonoma County is well crafted. Lightly oaked and loads of berries with a hint of chocolate, it is also flirtingly minty on the palate.
3/ Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico DOCG 2008 is consistently good year after year. With 90% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot and Syrah, this is a well-balanced classic Chianti with very satisfying aroma and flavour. Enjoy young with or without food, this is one lovely wine that will not disappoint.
4/ Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery Haynes Barn Merlot Cabernet 2008 is another local product that exhibits a good nose of cocoa and mint. There is a bit of wild berry sweetness on the entry, perfectly balanced with enough intensity and a lengthy finish. Well done for the price.
Ergo, next time when we encounter a good bottle of wine, besides giving kudos to the winemaker, small token of appreciation should also be given to the wine merchant for his/her behind the scene good work in making this happen.