Top new products: November
Penfolds has unveiled its latest creation, a multi-vintage blend of three vintages of its top label, Grange – the 2008, 2012 and the yet-to-be-released 2014 – that costs A$3,000 (£1,755) a bottle. Called ‘g3’, head winemaker Peter Gago said he expects it to attract controversy.
Famously known around the world for its Grange, a multi-vineyard and cross-region blend, the ‘g3’ is almost triple the price of a bottle of ‘ordinary’ Grange. Broadly, Grange 2008 is a “big bold wine”, Grange 2012 is about “elegance and sophistication”, while 2014 is a “young wine that serves to freshen up the blend”, while the 2014 vintage is yet to be released. The three vintages are then blended and aged for one year in barrel, then in bottle.
Gago said: “Put simply, it’s Penfolds’ house style distilled. Penfolds g3 is a natural end result of the venerated art of blending. It is a blend where each individual vintage selected delivers a depth of character and flavour honouring our flagship Grange”.
Just 1,200 bottles of g3 have been produced, and it is not a wine that is going to be released every year, Gago noted, but hinted that for its next release, Penfolds could go back 15 years into its reserves.
CONTACT Treasury Wine Estates, +44 (0)20 8843 8400
Italian drinks group Bottega, known for its Prosecco, has moved into the vermouth category with the launch of a Bianco and Rosso expression.
According to the producer, its new vermouths stand out for their use of regional grape varieties, since most vermouths use neutral grape spirit. Vermouth Bianco Bottega uses Pinot Grigio, while Vermouth Rosso Bottega is made with Merlot. Both products contain more than 30 herbs, flowers and spices.
Vermouth Bianco Bottega’s botanical list includes: elderflower, Roman absinthe, cinnamon, nutmeg, greater galangal and bitter orange zest. Vermouth Rosso Bottega contains ingredients such as angelica, bitter and sweet orange zest, absinthe, basil leaves, coriander seeds, marjoram, oregano, clary and radicchio. The vermouths were unveiled at the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes last month, and will be available in Bottega’s global markets.
RRP: to be confirmed.
CONTACT Catalyst PLB, +44 (0)844 822 3908
Gallo Family Vineyards
Gallo Family Vineyards has revealed a modern makeover for its range, with new contemporary labels intended to communicate the quality of its wines.
The new label design, which will be rolled out across the entire wine portfolio by the end of the year, features a new shape, with modern fonts and embossing, while the founders’ signatures and strapline have also been reintroduced to highlight the winemaking heritage of the Gallo Family Vineyards brand.
In addition to the new labels, Gallo Family Vineyards will also introduce a bold new design, which aims to increase standout, leverage the new label cues and highlight varietal differentiation in the grocery displays and cash and carry channel.
“The new label is a progressive step forward for the brand, and we are delighted to be launching it over the coming months,” said David Mallory, impulse-channel director at E&J Gallo. “We believe that this stylish, clean and modern new look will really stand out on shelves and communicates Gallo Family Vineyards’ winemaking heritage to consumers.”
CONTACT E&J Gallo, +1 800 750 8898
Moët Grand Vintage 2009
Moët & Chandon has launched its Grand Vintage Blanc and Rosé from the 2009 harvest, which chef de cave Benoît Gouez describes as “an exceptional year” in Champagne.
Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2009 is a blend of 50% Pinot Noir, 36% Chardonnay and 14% Meunier.
Commenting on the excellence of the harvest, Gouez said that the real surprise was the quality of the Pinot Noir, and, as a result, as much as 50% of the blend is made with this single red grape, the highest proportion since Moët’s 1996 vintage release.
The 2009 vintage began with one of the coldest winters in 15 years. Although there was no frost in spring, it was a particularly rainy season, with several severe storms.
However, by mid-July, consistently hot, dry and sunny weather arrived, allowing the sugars and aromas to develop in the fruit.
Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2009 is a blend of 50% Pinot Noir, 36% Chardonnay and 14% Meunier. The Grand Vintage Rosé 2009 is a blend of 59% Pinot Noir (of which 19% is red wine), 30% Chardonnay and 11% Meunier. As has been the case since 2002, the dosage for both is just 5g/l, and the wine has spent seven years in the house’s cellars, and a minimum of six months after disgorgement, before release.
RRP: Blanc £47, Rosé £60.
CONTACT Moët Hennessy UK, +44 (0)20 7808 4400
Renegade London Blanc de Noirs
Urban winery Renegade London has begun the pre-sale for its new English sparkling wine – a blanc de noirs costing £100 a bottle. Made from Pinot Noir and Meunier grown in Suffolk from the 2016 vintage, just 800 bottles have been produced. At £100, it is a competitor for the most expensive wine made in England, rivalling Chapel Down’s single-vineyard label Kit’s Coty, and more expensive than Nyetimber’s single-vineyard Tillington.
The wine has been whole-bunch pressed and the juice fermented in ex-Burgundy barrels. It is currently undergoing secondary fermentation and will remain on its lees until August 2018, “in the crypt of a well-known London church,” says Smith.
Glass-closures specialist Vinolok has launched a premium range of stoppers, Vinolok Premium, allowing for greater customisation and melding of materials.
The new closure allows producers to combine the Vinolok closure with various materials to create a more premium, bespoke stopper top. The Vinolok Premium stopper created for Conqueror Cognac, for example, features a large glass octagon funnel on top of the glass closure. The shape and the colour of the Vinolok Conqueror closure is customisable to fit the bottle shape and packaging design.
“Vinolok Premium can be moulded into virtually any shape for a unique profile, to reinforce a brand image or build shelf distinction,” says Vinolok. “This closure allows various materials to be combined with the singular properties of the glass closure.”
CONTACT Vinolok, +420 488 111 756
Midleton Very Rare Cask 2017 and Cask Circle
Irish Distillers has released the 2017 vintage of its Midleton Very Rare Cask, alongside the launch of its Midleton Very Rare Cask Circle, a private members club offering individuals the opportunity to obtain a cask of its Irish whiskey.
First unveiled in 1984, Midleton Very Rare 2017 has been specially blended from a batch of ex-Bourbon barrels ranging in age from 12 years to 32 years, including some 32-year-old Midleton grain whiskey, which contributes ”lighter floral perfume notes along with some citrus fruit,” says master distiller Brian Nation, and 26-year-old single pot still whiskey, which adds a “wide spectrum of spice, such as sweet cinnamon and clove”.
The Midleton Very Rare Cask Circle Club meanwhile invites enthusiasts to obtain their own cask of Midleton Very Rare Irish whiskey from 30 casks selected by Nation for their quality and rarity, including 12 to 30-year-old whiskies that have been matured in a range of barrels including Bourbon, Sherry, Malaga, Port, Irish Oak and Rum.
RRP: Midleton Very Rare Cask 2017, €180; Midleton Very Rare Cask Circle, on request.
CONTACT Pernod Ricard, +44 (0)20 8538 4484
Portobello Pechuga Gin
London’s Portobello Road Gin has launched what it claims is the world’s first ‘pechuga’ gin, an expression distilled with an organic turkey breast.
The limited-edition Pechuga Gin, created by master distiller and director Jake F Burger, is part of the brand’s Director’s Cut range – a project launched every year to mark the brand’s birthday and that of its founder, Ged Feltham. Previous releases have included asparagus gin and ‘smoky’ gin.
The pechuga expression is named after the distillation process employed by mezcal producers, whereby a chicken or turkey breast (pechuga in Spanish) is suspended over the still. It cooks in the hot vapours, flavouring the spirit at the same time. Portobello’s Pechuga Gin is made by redistilling its signature 171 blend in a copper alembic still with an organic turkey breast and 13 botanicals. These botanicals include: apples, pears, plums, currants, raisins, sultanas, apricots, brown rice, passion fruit, cinnamon, cassia bark, as well as nutmeg and mace.
The pechuga expression is available on the brand’s website, as well as The Distillery’s Bottle Shop.
Ballantine’s Single Malt Series
Scotch whisky maker Ballantine’s has launched three 15-year-old single malts, marking its first foray into the single malt category.
Described as “the stand-out performer” of the Scotch category by the Scotch Whisky Association this year, more than 113 million bottles of single malt whisky were exported in 2016, with volumes increasing by 10% and the value of these shipments rising by 11.8% to reach a new record of £1.02bn. Although single malt represents just 9.3% of all Scotch whisky exports, the category accounts for 26% of the total by value.
Latching onto this trend, Ballantine’s debut Single Malt Series comprises The Glenburgie, Miltonduff and Glentauchers, which together are used to create the Ballantine’s blend. The Ballantine’s Single Malts Series, bottled at 40% abv, will first be launched in Taiwan and will be available to purchase in domestic markets at an RRP of US$56. A 70cl bottle will be available in Travel Retail Asia for the equivalent of US$80.
CONTACT Pernod Ricard UK, +44 (0)20 8538 4484
Gosset ‘Antique range’ gift box
Champagne house Gosset has released a new three-bottle gift box for its Antique range, which includes its Grande Réserve, Grand Blanc de Blancs and Grand Rosé expressions.
While intended principally to house its trio of Antique range wines, the box can also hold a combination of bottles, Champagne glasses and stoppers, customisable to a buyer’s preference. The black and red box echoes the colour scheme of the brand, and includes the word ‘Gosset’ in silver print down the side. The ribbon handle allows the box to be transported without the need for an additional bag. The adjustable box is sealed with a magnet.
In addition, the gift box has been fitted with a special protective cover to protect the Grand Blanc de Blancs cuvée, which is now sold in a transparent glass bottle, from UV damage. The blanc de blancs was relaunched earlier this year in a clear glass bottle in homage to Suzanne Gosset (1885-1970) who “pioneered” the use of such bottles in the Champagne region. The clear glass is intended to not only “underline the purity and brilliance” of the wine’s colour, but also to “evoke the mineral quality found on the palate and the wine’s origins in the region’s chalk soil”.
The house has also introduced a new 100% Pinot Noir blanc de noirs cuvée, sourcing the grapes from grand and premier cru vineyards. The new cuvée, which is aged for nine years on its lees and is prevented from undergoing malolactic fermentation, carries a dosage of 5g/l.
Gosset cellarmaster Odilon de Varine said: “I am proud of this limited-edition cuvée, which expresses the finesse and elegance of Pinot Noir used in our other Gosset wines. We are delighted to share this unique wine with all our fellow Champagne connoisseurs, followers and friends.”
CONTACT Louis Latour Agencies, louislatour.co.uk
Patrón Silver Tequilla one-litre gift pack
Ahead of the festive season, Patrón Tequila has released a one-litre gift box of its Patrón Silver Tequila, with its packaging inspired by Mexican Folk Art.
The brightly coloured pewter label on this year’s special-edition release features Patrón’s iconic bee design, renderings of the native Weber Blue Agave, from which Patrón Silver is created, the razor-sharp axe used to chop the harvested agave, and the traditional “tahona” stone that crushes the cooked agave before fermentation and distillation. The bottle is topped with a metallic stopper and packaged in a green gift bag.
“The distinctive label design of this year’s bottle – influenced by our rich Mexican tradition of crafting artisanal Tequila – offers a truly unique gifting option for those who enjoy and appreciate high-quality, luxury spirits,” said Lee Applbaum, global chief marketing officer at Patrón Spirits.
Bordeaux-born winemaker François Lurton has launched a gin for wine lovers with a Sauvignon Blanc base.
Lurton gets his Sauvignon grapes from Gascony, in southwest France, which he distills into a fresh and aromatic base distillate for Sorgin. Describing the spirit as “a winemaker’s gin”, among the botanicals Lurton adds to the distillate are grapefruit zest, lemon, violets, gorse, lime zest and redcurrant buds. Juniper is not added in its pure form, but as a distillate, to avoid its dominant aromatics masking the delicate notes of the Sauvignon Blanc.
Lurton describes the gin as “complex, with fruity notes, vegetal aromas, a pronounced mouthfeel and great aromatic intensity”. He also believes it has “great length” and that the notes of violet and juniper are “perfectly balanced”. The gin, made in collaboration with Lurton’s partner, Sabine Jaren, is named after the Basque word for ‘sorceress’.
RRP: €36 (£32).
Champagne Lanson’s 2017 festive range
Champagne Lanson has unveiled its festive range, which includes its ‘Santa’ brut miniature Champagne bottles and a trio of “innovative” musical gift boxes.
Champagne Lanson’s Black and Rosé labels will be available in new musical gift boxes, joining the company’s White Label, which was released earlier this year. The metal boxes contain a slot for a smartphone on the lid, allowing recipients to use them as a speaker. The dual-purpose cases have recently won the 2017 Formes de Luxe Award in the metal category. The Black and Rosé musical gift boxes will be available at Selfridges, while the White label is now also being sold exclusively at Sainsbury’s.
In addition, the Champagne house is selling its Christmas ‘Santa’ Brut miniatures exclusively through Sainsbury’s in the UK.
“Lanson has been making its award-winning Champagnes in the traditional way for 257 years, so our customers know that their quality purchase will be welcomed in every household at a price point that will make their gift a truly affordable luxury,” said Paul Beavis, managing director of Champagne Lanson UK & International. “We know from our research that almost 40% of all Champagnes are sold in the last eight weeks of the year, and, of this figure, roughly 25% of these sales happen in the last four weeks of the year. What’s more, just under 50% of Champagne purchases are to give to someone as a gift. We hope that our fantastic range and new musical gift boxes will exceed expectations.”
The rest of the Lanson range, including its newest prestige releases – Noble Cuvée Brut 2002 and Noble Cuvée Blanc de Blancs 2002 – will also be available. “The House of Lanson is unsurpassed when it comes to its vast range of quality Champagnes,” said Beavis. “There really is something for everyone. From vintages, to personal favourites, to innovative gift solutions, we hope this festive season will be our strongest one yet.”
CONTACT Lanson International UK, +44 (0)20 7499 0070
Green Spot Chateau Montelena Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey
Irish Distillers has released Green Spot Chateau Montelena, the first single pot still Irish whiskey to be finished in French oak barrels that once housed Zinfandel from famed Napa Valley wine estate Chateau Montelena. Matured until the combination of wine, whiskey and oak has reached “the perfect balance”, this is the second in the Wine Geese series following the launch of Green Spot Château Léoville Barton in 2015.
The Montelena whiskey was initially matured in American Bourbon and Sherry casks and then finished for a year in French oak Zinfandel barrels. According to its makers, this rare cask finish leads to “pomegranate, cranberry and maraschino cherry on the nose, a dry note to the silky mouthfeel” and a finish that combines “classic long pot still spice flavours with a delicate wine influence”.
The expression represents the coming together of two stories of Irish endeavour and enterprise. The Mitchells, who bottled and sold the original Green Spot under bond until 1968, and Jim Barrett, who restored the California-based Chateau Montelena to its former glory in 1972. Son of John Barrett, a Waterford man who emigrated to the USA after World War I, Jim Barrett followed in a long list of ‘wine geese’ – Irish migrants that established leading wineries around the world.
Today the traditions of Chateau Montelena are upheld by Jim’s son, Bo Barrett. The whiskey was made at the Midleton Distillery by Kevin O’Gorman, head of maturation, and long-serving head blender, Billy Leighton. Bottled at 46% ABV, Green Spot Chateau Montelena will be available in limited quantities in the USA, Canada and Ireland.
CONTACT Irish Distillers, irishdistillers.ie