Top 10 new products
Johnnie Walker Blue Label limited edition
Johnnie Walker has unveiled its annual Blue Label limited edition in time for the festive season. The 2015 edition focuses on showcasing Blue Label’s “rarity, depth and character”.
Presented in a “simple and elegant” gift pack, each bottle rests on a plinth and is encased by a mirror-finish, which, according to its makers, echoes the “deep, powerful, complex character of the rarest blend of whiskies.”
Johnnie Walker Blue Label demonstrates the art of blending. The whisky boasts six key flavours, including “rich fruit, chocolaty malt tones, woody notes, aromatic spices and smoky notes” that combine in “a long, lingering finish.”
Contact: Diageo +44(0)20 8978 6000
Pol Roger Vintage 2002 Collection
Keeping a keen eye on quality, Pol Roger only produces Champagne in standout vintages from top vineyard sites. The 2002 vintage is being celebrated in a gift box containing two bottles each of the Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs 2002, Brut Vintage 2002 and Brut Rosé 2002.
Housed in an oak case, only 100 of the gift boxes have been made, each containing a commemorative booklet with a Pol-Roger family tree signed by fifth generation family member Hubert de Billy.
The 2002 harvest started on 12 September and was characterised by remarkable levels of ripeness.
The 2002 blanc de blancs is made from Chardonnay from Oiry, Chouilly, Cramant, Avize and Oger, while the brut is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay from grand and premier cru sites in the Montagne de Reims and the Côte des Blancs. Hailing from the same sites, the rosé blends 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay.
Contact: Pol Roger UK +44 (0)1432 262 800
Yalumba The Tri-Centenary Grenache 2008
Just 3,600 bottles of the 2008 vintage of Yalumba The Tri-Centenary Grenache were made. The wine is made from Grenache grapes that were hand picked from 820 gnarly old bush vines planted in 1889 on two acres of sandy soil over yellowbrown clay in the heart of the Barossa Valley.
The tiny yields equal quality grapes, with winemaker Louisa Rose describing the 2008 vintage as boasting “expansive aromas of roses, Turkish delight, black cherry, earthiness and hints of mushroom”, meanwhile, the complex palate is “layered, vibrant, long, expressive and fresh”. While drinking well now, it will reward cellaring.
Yalumba recommends matching the wine with roasted pork belly with crunchy crackling and homemade fennel and caraway seed gravy.
Contact: Negociants UK +44(0)1582 797 510
Cognac Frapin 1988
Cognac Frapin has released a new single vintage expression onto the market. Showcasing the 1988 vintage, grapes for the blend were harvested from an area of the Frapin estate known as Chez Piet, characterised by its clay soils and chalky subsoil typical of the Grande Champagne terroir.
The Cognac was distilled and aged for a quarter of a century in oak barrels, then blended and bottled at the Frapin family estate, which has been cultivated by the family for eight centuries and spans 240 hectares of Grande Champagne vines.
“On the nose there is a nicely balanced bouquet of candied fruits and nuts, figs, dried apricots and prunes followed by the soft, woody aromas of rancio and cigar box,” says cellar master Patrice Piveteau. Only 1,000 individually numbered bottles were produced.
Contact: McKinley Vintners +44 (0)20 7928 7300
Santa Rita Secret Blend
Santa Rita Estates has added two blended styles to its range. The white expression of Secret Reserve is a Riesling-led blend that also features Viognier, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grown in the Casablanca Valley.
“We see a lot of potential for Riesling in Casablanca; it’s a bit warmer than Sauvignon Blanc needs,” says winemaker Carlos Gatica.
Turning to the red, a Cabernet Sauvignondominant blend including Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Carmenere from Maipo, Gatica aims to create a “fruity” style that incorporates plenty of acidity.
The name and label design was inspired by an antique glass at Santa Rita’s historic Casa Real property.
Contact: Berkmann Wine Cellars +44 (0)20 7609 4711
Thiénot Cuvée Garance 2007
Champagne house Thiénot has launched the 2007 vintage of its Cuvée Garance in the UK. The blanc de noirs was created by Thiénot’s founder, Alain Thiénot in honour of his daughter Garance.
Made from Pinot Noir grapes from Thiénot-owned vineyards in the Montagne de Reims, the 2007 vintage boasts aromas of “butter and stewed fruits with a spicy and citrusy palate.”
Garance describes the Champagne as “intense and complex” with great ageing potential. “Subtle, refined and complex, Cuvée Garance is representative of my vision for Champagne Thiénot: a blend of character and elegance,” she says.
Contact: Champagnes & Chateaux +44 (0)207326 9655
Drinks by the Dram 2014 Whisky Advent Calendar
Back by popular demand is the 2014 edition of Drinks by the Dram’s adult take on an advent calendar. Behind each door lies a 3cl sample of whisky, with drams selected from around the world.
Each tiny bottle is sealed in red wax and hand-labelled. This year’s calendar front features satirical artwork from Duncan Beedie. Spoiler alert: among the drams behind the doors are The Macallan Amber, Glenfiddich 18 Year Old, Glenfarclas 10 Year Old, The Lost Distilleries Blend, David Beckham’s Haig Club and Auchentoshan Three Wood.
The more expensive premium edition features the likes of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, and Glenfarclas 40 Year Old. RRP: £149.95.
Contact: Master of Malt +44 (0)1892 888 376
Grand Brûlot Cognac & Café Liqueur
Nearing the end of the night and desirous of a digestif but in need of a caffeine hit? Well now you can have both, as a new coffee-laced Cognac has hit our shelves. Grand Brûlot infuses “ultra-premium” Cognac with Arabica coffee essence.
The Cognac-coffee hybrid originated in 18th century France, when it was enjoyed by army officers, politicians and artists, and referred to as “the Brûlot”. Cellar master Christophe Tardy believes the drink blends the best of both worlds.
“The elegant and rounded taste of the Cognac elevates the rich notes of the roasted coffee beans leaving a smooth yet powerful taste,” he says.
The base Cognac is infused with the essence of 100% Arabica roasted coffee beans and the final blend is aged for a year in French oak offering notes of apricot, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, liquorice and honey. Serve neat or on the rocks with a twist of orange peel.
Contact: Amathus +44 (0)20 8951 9840
Royal Salute 21 Year Old
Scotch brand Royal Salute has unveiled a contemporary new look for its 21 Year Old expression in a bid to reinforce its position as a modern luxury product.
The redesign features a silver cap with a guilloché pattern, in a hat tip to the brand’s history dating back to 1953 when it was created as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.
Detail on the navy blue bottle includes the image of a lion’s head and billowing gun smoke as the whisky is named after the 21 gun salute.
Master distiller Colin Scott selects rare malt and grain whiskies laid down over 21 years ago for the final blend, which he describes as both subtle and strong, “like an iron fist in a velvet glove.”
The new packaging is available in three colours: sapphire, ruby and emerald, each coming with a matching velvet pouch. of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, and Glenfarclas 40 Year Old.
Contact: Chivas Brothers +44 (0)141 531 1801
Domaines Hine Bonneuil 2005
Thomas Hine & Co has added a new Cognac to its range, Domaines Hine Bonneuil, a single vineyard expression launching with its 2005 vintage.
Domaines HINE récolte 2005 sans refletEighteen casks produced 9,000 bottles of the Cognac, which was produced using grapes from Hine’s 70-hectare estate in the village of Bonneuil, overlooking the Colinaud valley in the region’s most prestigious, chalk-rich Grande Champagne area.
Reporting on the dry, sunny conditions in 2005, Hine drew a comparison with the 1953 growing season, which produced “one of the best vintages of the 20th century.”
The new expression is being offered on allocation to the UK, US, Russia, France and Taiwan. Depending on the quality of the growing season, Hine confirmed its aim to release further single vintage expressions under the Bonneuil label in future.
RRP: £80 per bottle through Berry Bros & Rudd, Master of Malt and The Whisky Exchange via distributor Pol Roger Portfolio. (UK)