M&S boosts ‘lesser-known’ Californian and fine wines

Marks & Spencer has upped its range of Californian wines with wines from lesser-known region as well as boosting its “diverse” range of fine wines.

Marks and SpencerCalifornia has seen a renewed focus, particularly in the lesser-known regions in the south of the state, the retailer said, following forays into other regions across North America in recent years, including New York State, Niagara on the Lake, Okanagan Valley, Oregon and Washington.

“There is no question California remains the stalwart; from great everyday drinking wines produced in the centre of the state, to high flying Napa and Sonoma icon bottles with eye-watering price tags,” winemaker Belinda Kleinig pointed out. “An impressive 84% of North America’s wine production is within The Golden State, California.”

The new wines include parcels of old vine Zinfandel from Lodi’s Trinchero Family Estates (RRP: £10), which has been added to its seven-strong Craft 3 range of “everyday” wines, a light Syrah from Turn Key Wine Brands in Paso Robles AVA, (RRP: £10), and fresh, modern Chardonnay from the Scheid Family vineyards in Monterey, a Hames Creek Chardonnay (RRP: £12.50) as well as a more “burly” traditional chardonnay from the Russian River Valley, Pacific Heights Chardonnay 2015 (RRP: £16).

Fine Wine

Buyer Emma Dawson MW described the fine wines as “a fun and diverse mix”

As well as new vintages of its core fine wines, such as Meursault and Chambolle Musigny, the retailer has added parcels of less “safe” classic wines, including the most mature Bordeaux it has listed in several years, a Chateau Sansonnet St Emilion Grand Cru 1999 (RRP: £37), which buyer Emma Dawson said contrasted well with its 2014 fine wines. There are also more “eclectic” wines such as Donnafugata Cerasuolo (RRP: £23), a Nero d’Avola and Frappato blend from Vittoria, made by Antonio Rallo, alongside other Italian wines, Poggio San Polo Brunello 2012 (RRP: £42) by Riccardo Fratton and Castello di Bossi Berardo Chianti Classico 2013 (RRP: £38) and new world classics Isabel Estate Pinot Noir (RRP: £32) from Marlborough and a Grosset Springvale Clare Valley Riesling 2016 (RRP: £25).

It has also increased its range from South Africa, with the addition of South African wine from winemaker Rollo Gabb of Journey’s End winery that has slashed the calorie and alcohol contents by 30%. The new Sumika range (meaning ‘light’ in Japanese), which is make using spinning cone technology, comprises a Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz and Rosé (RRP: £7.50) and clocks in with an ABV of 8.5%.

Other South African additions include a modern Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc (RRP: £15) from the Steenberg Estate in Constantia, south of Cape Town, and a Shiraz from a collective of 25 private producers in the southern-most part of the country, Strandveld Vineyard, Strandveld Vineyards Elim Syrah 2015 (RRP: £17.00).

Finally, the retailer announced the addition of a new ‘top tier’ spirits range including an oak-aged gin that has been aged in six types of oak casks over five months (RRP: £40). It aims to be “the ultimate treat for the gin connoisseur who has tried everything”, the retailer said.

Earlier this year, the retailer introduced a new, annual en primeur offer in May, selling Bordeaux wines it had bought during previous campaigns as they become physical, with the offer spanning a range of clarets up to first growths. It also announced it has beefed up its fine wine segment with small parcels, including wines from New Zealand, Australia and Lioco Sonoma Chardonnay’s to represent the new wave wines from California, as well as adding new producers from Chile, Argentina and North East Spain.

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