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Top new products: February

Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 2004

Charles Heidsieck has released the fifth edition of its Blanc des Millénaires series with the launch of the 2004 vintage, marking the retirement of the 1995 after almost 10 years on the market.

The Blanc des Millénaires – a 100% Chardonnay – was launched in 1993 with the 1983 vintage, although the house’s first blanc de blancs was made from the 1949 vintage. Since then, just four Blanc des Millénaires editions have been released: 1985, 1990, 1995 and now the 2004. Produced only in exceptional years for Chardonnay, the 2004 release is made from grapes grown in four grands crus in the Cote des Blancs: Oger for its unctuousness and structure; Mesnil-sur-Ogir for balance; Avize for its minerality; Cramant for its complexity; and from one premier cru, Vertus, for its freshness and floral side – each contributing 20% to the blend. It carries a dosage of 9g/l and was laid down in 2005, spending 11 years on its lees before being disgorged in November 2016.

At a tasting of the new cuvée in London, Stephen Leroux, executive director of Charles Heidsieck, said the 2004 would likely remain on the market for around three years, compared with the 1995, which has been available for the past decade.

The 2004 Blanc des Millénaires will be on pour exclusively at The Ritz in February 2018.

RRP £175.

CONTACT: Liberty Wines, +44 (0)20 7720 5350

Krug Rosé 21ème Édition

Champagne house Krug has extended its Édition concept for its Grande Cuvée range to include rosé for the first time with the Krug Rosé ‘21ème Édition’.

Krug first added a rosé to its range in 1976, which was commercially released in 1983. This new release is based around the 2008 vintage but includes reserve wines from vintages dating back to 2000. Krug introduced the concept of numbered cuvées last year, starting with the 163rd Edition, marking the 163rd release of the multi-vintage expression since the foundation of Maison Krug in 1843.

Speaking of the 2008 vintage and the final wine, cellar master Eric Lebel said: “The year’s Chardonnay wines revealed an unusual suppleness and expression of fruit, while the Pinot Noirs were characterful and bold, with a lively finish.

“As feared, the hailstorm in Sainte-Gemme did indeed leave its mark on the Meuniers. Fortunately, Krug’s extensive library of reserve wines held a number of Meuniers from different years – a selection of which lent their vibrant notes of fruit and tension to the blend.”

The final blend for the rosé is 51% Pinot Noir, 41% Chardonnay and 8% Meunier.

RRP £230.

CONTACT: Moët Hennessy UK, +44 (0)20 7808 4400

Yore Sparkling Mead

Ahead of the summer, Lyme Bay Winery, on the coast of Dorset, has launched a sparkling mead, described as “refreshing, moreish and dry”, made among the rolling fields of Shute, Devon.

The naturally gluten-free honey-based tipple has been given a contemporary twist, breathing new life into a drink that has seen a huge rise in popularity in recent years. In the US, the number of mead makers has soared in the past decade.

A 2017 industry report compiled by the American Mead Makers Association found that the number of meaderies in the US had risen from just 30 in 2003 to 300 in early 2016. Made from a blend of fermented honey, water and Champagne yeast, Yore is a 4% ABV mead that boasts, “an alluring floral aroma followed by rich, dark and caramelised notes on the palate, all rounded off with a subtle barley note from the addition of English Wildflower Honey post fermentation”.

RRP £2.20 per 330ml.

CONTACT: Lyme Bay Winery,

Sassicaia 2015

The latest release from Super Tuscan Sassicaia has been announced, with the 2015 now available en primeur.

A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc, the 2015 vintage has been compared with 1985 in terms of its quality. Both this iconic vintage and 2015 shared similar climatic conditions – a mild winter that was followed by heavy rains in the spring, and a hot summer, with higher-than-average temperatures in June and July, resulting in a healthy vineyard and excellent ripening, according to UK importer Armit Wines, the producer’s exclusive importer.

“The 2015 vintage once again captures the essence of this truly unique terroir showcasing generous and refined black fruit aromas, perfectly balanced by beautiful freshness and elegance,” said Kirsten Kilby, managing director of Armit Wines.

RPP: £565 per case, to be shipped in the summer of 2018.

CONTACT: Armit Wines, +44 (0)20 7908 0655

Old Curiosity gin

Edinburgh-based distillery The Old Curiosity has released three new gins that draw inspiration from the apothecary, are free of chemicals and sugars, and change colour with the addition of tonic.
The Old Curiosity Distillery is the latest venture from Hamish Martin, a Scottish herbologist and owner of the Secret Herb Garden – a 7.5-acre plot nestled at the foot of the Pentland Hills on the outskirts of Edinburgh – from which Martin’s floral botanicals are hand-grown, picked, dried and infused. The range, which includes Apothecary Rose, Lavender & Echinacea, and Chamomile & Cornflower, boasts “colour-changing” properties when tonic is added, thanks to the natural ingredients used to make each gin.

Created from one of the oldest rose varieties in the world, Apothecary Rose has been used in herbal remedies and tinctures for over 5,000 years, and brings with it colour changing properties that see the liquid change from pale gold to vibrant pink. Echinacea, meanwhile, complements the restorative qualities of lavender, which, combined with its purported medicinal properties, results in a “soul-healing” gin that turns from purple to pink. Finally, the third gin is an infusion of pure blue cornflower pigments with the subtle notes of the chamomile flower that transform the liquid from blue to pale pink.

RRP: £42 per 50cl bottle at Harvey Nichols.

CONTACT: The Old Curiosity Distillery,

La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 890 Selección Especial

The 2005 vintage of La Rioja Alta’s Gran Reserva 890 ‘Selección Especial’ – considered the estate’s top wine – has been released in the UK.

With only three releases a decade on average, the 2005 vintage has been much anticipated. James Snoxell, head of buying at La Rioja Alta’s UK agent, Armit Wines, said: “As one of Spain’s
greatest and most age-worthy wines we are always excited to taste the new release of 890 from La Rioja Alta, and it is clear that the 2005 is set to be a vintage that goes down in history.

“Already expected to rival 1964, which is widely recognised as the best ever Rioja vintage, the winery waited 13 years for the wine to be ready to drink before unveiling this milestone release and we are proud to launch the already critically acclaimed 890 to our customers.”

A blend of 95% Tempranillo, 3% Graciano and 2% Mazuelo, the wine was matured for six years in barrel before being bottled in 2012, then aged in the estate’s cellars ever since. Winemaker Julio Sáenz added: “We are delighted with the 890 2005 and truly believe this to be one of the best wines that we have ever produced.”

RRP: £465 for a case of six in bond (limited offer). The wine will be shipped in spring this year.

CONTACT: Armit Wines, +44 (0)20 7908 0655

Nepenthe Altitude and Pinnacle ranges

Australian wine brand Nepenthe has launched a selection of wines from its Altitude and Pinnacle collections into the UK, shining a light on the cool climate Adelaide Hills region.

The two ranges include the Altitude Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Shiraz, as well as the Pinnacle Petraea Sauvignon Blanc and Pinnacle Gate Block Shiraz – all of which hail from Adelaide Hills.

“The Hills is an inspiring viticultural region – the diverse microclimates bring complexity to our wines and challenge me as a winemaker,” said James Evers, winemaker at Nepenthe. “At Nepenthe we take a minimal intervention view on winemaking but ensure there is a human touch at every step of the process, leaving nothing to chance in the quest for quality.”

Both ranges are available on Amazon, with the Altitude range having an RRP of £12.99 per bottle. Pinnacle’s RRP is £19.99 per bottle.

CONTACT: Australian Vintage. +44 (0)20 7924 8850

Bodega Garzón Balasto 2015

Bodega Garzón’s most recent release takes its name from the ballast soils in Uruguay on which its vineyards are planted.

Created by head winemaker Germán Bruzzone and consultant winemaker Alberto Antonini, Garzón Balasto 2015 is made up of 45% Tannat, 25% Cabernet Franc, 20% Petit Verdot and 10% Marselan and is fermented in concrete tanks, aged for 20 months in untoasted French oak barrels and bottled unfiltered.

“What is wonderful about the position of the vineyards is that our terroir really lends itself to creating elegant wines with bright fruit and longevity,” said Antonini, adding, “Balasto is about bringing to life the vision we first had when we started planting vines at Garzón in 2008. Balasto shows what our soils are capable of and we are delighted to bring it to the UK.”

Bodega Garzón’s Balasto 2015 was introduced to the UK at Bibendum’s Fine Wine Cellar Tasting last September, with just over 120 bottles being made available.

RRP: £75.

CONTACT: Bibendum, Lisa McBain,

Kalosa Spritz

New kid on the ready-to-drink cocktail block, Kalosa is aimed at the “modern drinker” looking for an all-natural alternative to sweet serves.

Available in two flavours, Elderflower & Gin, and Pink Grapefruit & Vodka, Kalosa Spritz is made by mixing premium pure-distilled spirits with natural ingredients and a splash of sparkling water.

The result is a 4% ABV lightly sparkling beverage with just 99 calories per 275ml bottle. Its makers recommend serving it over ice with a slice of lemon or pink grapefruit.

RRP: £3.


William Humbert Dos Maderas Selección

William Humbert has added a new rum to its portfolio in the form of Selección – an expression within its Dos Maderas range.

Selección is made from a combination of rums within the Dos Maderas family, which includes the Dos Maderas 5+3 double-aged rum, Dos Maderas 5+5 PX triple-aged rum, and its its top Luxus expression – which is aged for 10 years in the Caribbean, then for a further five years at Bodegas Williams & Humbert in ex-PX Don Guido Sherry casks.

Selección is a careful blend of Dos Maderas 5+5 PX and rums that are aged for 10 years in the Carribean that would otherwise be used to produce the basis of Luxus.

The result is a cask-strength 42% ABV rum described as having subtle, smooth and sweet notes originating from the old Pedro Ximénez casks it is aged in, which lengthen and lead to a semi-sweet finish.

RRP: £58.


Coravin Model Eleven

Coravin has unveiled a new electronic model that connects via bluetooth to an app.

Coravin Model Eleven, set for release in September, is fully automatic (previous models have a manual clamp) and pairs with the Coravin Moments app, offering information on a user’s wine and a photo-capture feature to record the experience. “We’re living in a time when people are prioritising unique, enriching experiences over material things,” said Coravin CEO Frédéric Levy.

“Wine, unlike any other beverage, sparks the senses and plays a pivotal role in creating memorable moments.”

Coravin products use a medical-grade needle to extract wine from a bottle, which is then topped up with argon gas to retain the quality of the wine remaining in the bottle.

RRP: £899.


Clunia Malbec 2015

The vision of Clunia’s winemaker Pablo Pavez, this 100%-Malbec is grown at one of the highest vineyards in Castilla y Léon in northern Spain.

The Finca Pedraza vineyard climbs to 1,000m above sea level and mimics the extreme climactic conditions of Mendoza, with cold winters, hot summers and a diurnal range of 20ºC.

Consequently, the grapes benefit from a slow ripening period. The result is a highly concentrated and intense 100% Malbec with “intense aromas of black and red fruits and subtle mineral notes of spices, with a hint of toast and toffee on the nose”. The wine is aged for 15 months in French oak barrels.

RRP: £24.99.



Borough Wines has launched an alcohol-free ‘gin’ that mimics the aromatic profile and complexity of the spirit, priced at £20 a bottle.

Called Labdanum, the zero-alcohol ‘spirit’ is made by Surendran & Bownes, and is designed to give “discerning drinkers a detox-friendly spirit alternative”.

The distiller has experience in the non-alcoholic spirits arena, having developed a 0%-ABV gin for the St James’s Hotel in London in 2015. Its makers claim the organic, vegan-friendly, alcohol-free ‘spirit’ is similar to the ‘London Dry’ gin style, but has “added complexity from the use of exotic aromatics more common in perfume making than gin production”.

Among the botanicals in the juniper-dominant blend are tonka bean for richness, wormwood to add a herbaceous edge, rose water, cranberry and orris root for fruity, floral notes, and coriander seed, cinnamon, cardamom and clove for spice. Its namesake botanical – labdanum – a rich brown resin from the rockrose shrub used since ancient times – imbues the ‘gin’ with a “deep, powerful, amber note”.

RRP: £20 for a 50cl bottle.

CONTACT: Borough Wines, +44 (0)20 8988 3157

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