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Lustau adds fresh angle to en rama trend

Bodegas Lustau has become the latest Sherry producer to launch an en rama style onto the export market.

Lustau’s three en rama expressions

The three-strong range, each limited in quantity to a single cask, is due to be bottled this Spring and is expected to reach the UK in early May.

Describing the move as “very much in line with the Lustau philosophy,” the company’s export director Ignacio López de Carrizosa explained: “We knew others had done this, but we wanted to be somehow different. We have achieved this by offering three different locations.”

Drawing on Lustau’s stockholdings in each of the three towns within DO Jerez, the producer’s en rama selection will feature a manzanilla from Sanlucar de Barrameda, a fino from El Puerto de Santa Maria and a second fino from Jerez.

Each will be packaged in 50cl bottles with a similar design to Lustau’s Almacenista range. López suggested that the Sherries would have a retail price of about £15, although he noted that it would be sold on “a very strict allocation system” and “predominantly orientated to the on-trade.”

The collection will be targeted primarily at the US, UK and Asian markets such as Japan, with further small quantities potentially being distributed in Germany and Belgium.

Anticipating a UK allocation of “not more than 20 cases of each wine” Damian Carrington, sales & marketing director for Lustau’s importer, Fields Morris & Verdin, commented: “We would like to target customers that can offer the three wines by the glass to allow consumers to compare and contrast the distinct styles of Jerez, Sanlucar and El Puerto.

Carrington welcomed recent examples of “first class” innovation by the Sherry industry, from González Byass’ own en rama and Las Palmas ranges to small scale bottlings from “a number of excellent sources,” all of which he praised as bringing “real interest again to the Sherry category.”

Last year saw Bodegas Hidalgo join the trend for releasing this unfiltered en rama Sherry expression with an initial production of 50 cases under its La Gitana brand.

Setting Lustau’s launch within this broader context, he remarked: “Overall it illustrates that the future of Jerez in general, and not just in this market, revolves around selling and producing smaller volumes of outstanding quality.”

As for the likelihood of a regular en rama release from Lustau, López remarked: “The idea at the moment is to do it once a year, but we don’t know yet if we’ll do another in Autumn this year or whether we’ll do two or three casks then. It depends how the market responds, but we’re very confident.”

For a more detailed look at the Sherry category’s performance and approach in international markets, look out for the March issue of the drinks business.

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