Benchmark Wines has very recently come on board with AAS as an Eagle Partner. We catch up with company Partner, Michael Hadley, about why we make a great partnership, what makes him tick and what’s hot in the world of wine.

Why partner with AAS?

The biggest reason is the long-term relationship I’ve had with the Association and members are very much part of my target market. It’s a very enjoyable organization to work with, as well.

What first attracted you to the wine industry?

I moved to London in my late 20s, which is when I fell in love with wine. At that time London had a very vibrant wine bar and wine scene, so it was a great chance to develop my existing knowledge on other grapes and wine regions around the world that I’ve come to enjoy as much as American wines.

What does a day at Benchmark Wines look like?

Hopefully there are lots of orders and new clients to engage with and welcome personally. Then we’ll be picking and packing orders and getting them delivered. Two or three nights a week, we’ll taste samples I’ve been sent for consideration for our stock. In sourcing our wines, we both go to the vineyards directly or they come to us.

If you didn’t work in wine, what would you be doing?

I’m also an executive coach and I love that as much as I love wine. I guess I’d be a food and wine critic – food and wine always brings people together, there’s always great conversation and not just about the food and drink.

What’s popular in the world of wine at the moment?

Rosés are doing well right now. The most popular ones come from Southern Rhone, France, and many winemakers in the world are trying hard to make a lighter style rosé that would be similar to this. They’re very enjoyable in warmer climates as they’re refreshing, they have good acidity and fruit that would be good for barbeques or hearty salads, but also as an aperitif before a meal.

What pairing would you recommend for Asian food?

I would find something where the acidity is pronounced, so something like a dry Reisling. A lot of local cuisine here is oily or heavy. Having something that is more acidic will cut through the grease. For spicier food, such as Thai food, go for an ‘off-dry’ wine, or a wine from Alsace or southern Germany, such as a Pinot Gris, a Reisling or a Gewurztraminer.