Cult Insider


Cult Insider celebrates its first anniversary

Written by - Cult Wines Team

It's a momentous occasion as the Cult Insider marks its first anniversary! A year has flown by since we unveiled our inaugural edition in November 2022. Now, 12 editions, 36 industry news updates, and 48 articles later, we're delighted to have cultivated quite the following.

Our team passionately shares insights on wine-related topics that resonate deeply with us, drawing on our expertise or the latest industry buzz. We're thrilled to bring the Cult Wines community along on our journey, sharing our experiences with the wines we've savoured, the places we've visited, and the emerging trends to watch out for. Our content encapsulates key updates on fine wine, esteemed producers, major events, and significant releases.

For our landmark 13th edition, we're turning to you, our valued readers, for input. Your feedback is vital in shaping the future of The Cult Insider. We're eager to hear what has captivated you, what you'd like to see more of, and the topics you wish us to explore further.

We hope you enjoy our anniversary edition. Please take a few moments to fill out the brief survey below, your insights would be greatly appreciated and instrumental in guiding our direction for the coming year.

Warm Regards,
Cult Wines Team


News in brief

News 1


Wineries embrace LEED for eco-friendly impact

Wineries are increasingly adopting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards to reduce their carbon footprint. The wine industry, often criticised for greenwashing, is now focusing on constructing its facilities as a critical area for sustainability. Buildings account for about 42% of global carbon emissions. LEED-certified wineries in the U.S., like Sokol Blosser and CADE, are leading the change by using sustainable materials, recycling construction waste, and implementing energy-efficient practices. These efforts represent a significant shift towards eco-friendly practices in the wine industry, aligning with broader environmental and community values.

News 1


French winemakers rally against minimum alcohol pricing

In response to a French government proposal for minimum alcohol pricing, thousands of winemakers protested in Narbonne, expressing fears of further income loss. The proposal, aimed at reducing alcohol-related deaths, suggests a legal minimum price of about 50 cents per unit of pure alcohol. Winemakers argue this would drastically reduce sales, exacerbating financial strains heightened by post-Covid demand drops and rising costs due to the Ukraine conflict. Acknowledging the industry's challenges, the government has announced a €20m emergency fund and a €200m initiative to manage surplus wine.

News 1


Meghan Markle's preferred wine: Tignanello

Meghan Markle's favourite wine, Tignanello, an Italian Super Tuscan, costs about £158 per bottle. This choice inspired her blog's name, 'The Tig.' Tignanello, a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, pioneered by Marchese Piero Antinori in the 1970s, is widely available globally. For a more budget-friendly option, sommelier Mark Sayre suggests Ornellaia's Le Volte dell'Ornellaia, priced under £23.


Nicky Heath, Global Head of Human Resources - Cult Wines - 2019 Sylvain Bzikot Puligny-Montrachet

What we’re drinking

2019 Sylvain Bzikot Puligny-Montrachet

Nicky Heath, Global Head of Human Resources - Cult Wines

  • • Sylvain Bzikot’s grandfather was a Polish emigrant who arrived in Burgundy around 1940. He built up the estate post-war and started winemaking in the 1950s. Sylvain became involved in the 1990s, and he and Béatrice Bzikot now own hectares of old vines in Puligny-Montrachet and Puligny 1er Cru appellations, as well as some other local appellations.

  • • This was a classic White Burgundy from a good vintage – dry, easy-drinking, apple and lemon zest with a buttery, creamy softness to balance the medium acidity. On the palate, a beautiful ‘lemon posset’, accompanied by ripe pear.

  • • In this wine, you have the highlights of a Bourgogne Chardonnay, perfect to share on a sunny autumnal day as I did. I have since gifted this wine to two Polish friends, who delighted in both the history and sampling the wine. I tend to favour red as winter draws in, so I am eager to try the Pinot Noir of Domaine Bzikot Père and Fils.


Our fine wine feature

How glassware can transform your wine experience

Written by - Cult Wines Team

Imagine the scene: an exquisite Bordeaux is poured into two different glasses. You taste from each and discover they offer surprisingly different experiences. This isn't an illusion; it's a testament to the often-underappreciated art of wine glass design. The right glass can elevate your wine's aroma, flavour, and overall enjoyment, transforming a simple drink into an extraordinary experience.

The evolution of wine glass design mirrors the history of wine itself. From the robust goblets of medieval times, suited more for quantity than quality, to today's refined crystal, each era's glassware reflects its contemporary wine culture and appreciation. As viticulture has evolved, so too has the sophistication of the vessel.

The science behind this evolution is fascinating. The shape of a glass directly impacts how a wine's aroma and taste are perceived. A wider bowl, for instance, increases the wine's surface area, intensifying its aromatics.

In contrast, taller glasses are ideal for sparkling wines, preserving the effervescence and directing the wine to the tip of the tongue. The thickness and clarity of the glass also play a crucial role, with thinner and clearer glasses often enhancing the sensory experience.

How glassware can transform your wine experience

This concept extends to matching specific glass types with different wine varieties. With their complex aromas, Burgundy wines flourish in a broad bowl, allowing their delicate notes to blossom. The taller and less broad Bordeaux glasses are better suited for robust red wines. White wine glasses are usually smaller, helping maintain cooler temperatures for a crisper taste. Choosing the right glass is as crucial as selecting the right wine.

But it's not just about the physicality of taste; it's also about perception. The design of a wine glass influences the psychological aspect of wine tasting. The quality and style of the glass can elevate the perceived value and quality of the wine, blending physical taste with psychological expectation.

Contemporary glass designers are pushing the boundaries, merging functionality with aesthetic appeal. Brands like Riedel and Zalto are at the forefront of this innovation, crafting glasses that cater to specific grape varieties and enhance the wine's unique characteristics.

When selecting wine glasses for personal use, consider the types of wine you most enjoy. While a complete set of varietal-specific glasses is ideal, a few well-chosen shapes can effectively serve a wide range of wines. Balance budget, aesthetics, and practicality, but remember, the ultimate goal is to enhance your enjoyment of the wine.

In conclusion, the right wine glass can transform your drinking experience, unlocking nuances in your favourite wines you might never have noticed before. The next time you pour a glass, think not just about the wine but also about the glassware you use. The difference could be as profound as the wine itself.


Explore & travel

Visiting Alba during white truffle season

Written by - Olivia Bodle, Global Head of Events - Cult Wines

If you are looking for a pre-Christmas getaway, I cannot think of a more indulgent mini-break than a trip to Alba to enjoy the white truffle season. The white truffle is the golden snitch of the fine dining world, made more precious by the short season; the peak is in November and December. Growing wild in the forests around Alba, a small town in Piedmont, this is the spiritual home of the white truffle. The annual 'Alba White Truffle World Market' runs every weekend from October to December and is an ideal place to purchase truffles directly from the truffle hunters and attend truffle-based activities like cooking classes, dinners and sensory workshops.

White truffles quickly lose their flavour, which is why they are best eaten as soon as possible after being dug up from the ground and often flamboyantly shaved over your plate directly in front of you at the table.

The best dishes to enjoy truffle with let the truffle speak for itself. I am not a fan of truffles offered as a supplement to every dish on the menu; they need to be the shining star of the plate rather than an afterthought or garnish. The most typical dish, 'Tajarin', is an egg-yolk-rich pasta from Piedmont, tossed in butter and served with finely sliced truffles.

Visiting Alba during white truffle season

The three-Michelin-starred Piazza Duomo is the best local restaurant to visit in Alba to enjoy truffle masterpieces. The restaurant fuses land, food, wine and art on an exceptional menu in a unique dining space. Chef Enrico Crippa dedicates the utmost attention to celebrating truffles "through unique recipes that shake the senses towards unexpected paths of taste."

The saying "what grows together, goes together" is very appropriate in Alba, and the wines of Barolo and Barbaresco match perfectly with white truffles. Some of my personal favourites are Bruno Giacosa's wines, whose elegant range of Barolo and Barbaresco are unique and precious.

If a trip to Alba isn't on the cards, some options closer to home include:

London:Bocca di Lupo in Soho offers guests to BYOT – bring your own truffle – to shave over their choice of dish. Truffles can be purchased from their shop across the road, Gelupo, for a fraction of the restaurant price. Dishes most suited to the addition are marked with a 'T' on the menu as a helpful steer.

Singapore: Altro Zafferano – You can order an off-menu Tagliolini, made with 32 egg yolks per kilogram of flour and decadently tossed in butter infused with alpine herbs, towered high with fresh white truffles shaved in front of you.

Hong Kong: The Dining Room at The Rosewood – You can have a five-course tasting menu to showcase the magnificent truffle.

New York: Babbo – you can go to their Annual White Truffle Dinner on December 14th.


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