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Top new products: February

Champagne Drappier Clarevallis

Champagne Drappier has launched an organic-certified Champagne called Clarevallis. It is a blend of 75% Pinot Noir, 10% Meunier, 10% Chardonnay and 5% Pinot Blanc. Clarevallis was the name given by Saint Bernard to the abbey that he founded in 1115. The Champagne is vinified and stored in cellars built by monks in 1152. The wine is unfiltered and the dosage – 4g/l – is made with organic cane sugar. The labels have been designed by eighth generation family member, Charline Drappier, and are inspired by the Clairvaux bible, written in the 12th century.

RRP: £39.

Contact: Berkmann Wine Cellars,

Spier Seaward Chenin Blanc

South African producer Spier has released a Chenin Blanc, one of four wines it has launched in the UK on-trade under the Seaward label. With grapes sourced from around the Tygerberg mountain, skin contact is limited to four hours, after which the free-run juice is drained off. The wine is then barrel fermented in 300 and 400-litre barrels before being matured for 10 months in French oak (10% new, 90% used). According to the producer, the Chenin Blanc has aromas of “citrus, lime and peach, with ripe fruit and fresh lime on the finish”.

Trade price: £9.50.

Contact: Bibendum,

Thatchers Cider Zero

Thatchers Cider has launched its first alcohol-free cider, called Thatchers Zero. Made using bittersweet apples, Thatchers cidermakers have developed their own “unique process” to create the alcohol-free drink. Suitable for both vegetarians and vegans, according to packaging guidelines, the cider contains no more than 0.05% ABV. Thatchers said that it is hoping to capitalise on opportunities for alcohol-free products in the category, after the roaring success of the low and no-alcohol movement in the beer industry.

RRP: £1.80 per bottle.

Contact: Thatchers,

Mirabeau Gin

Provence wine producer Mirabeau, founded by British couple Stephen and Jeany Cronk, has ventured into spirits with the launch of a pink gin. The grape-based spirit is made using alcohol extracted during the dealcoholisation process used to make Mirabeau’s new lower-alcohol rosé, Forever Summer. The gin is flavoured with botanicals inspired by the plants growing at the wine estate near Saint Tropez in the South of France. These include juniper, citrus, orris root, angelica root, coriander seed, rose petals, lavender, jasmine, bay, thyme and rosemary. The gin will be launching exclusively in Waitrose & Partners.

RRP: £35.

Contact: Waitrose,

Drynks Unlimited Lager

Manchester-based Drynks Unlimited has launched a 0% ABV lager in bottles and cans. The beer will join two other alcohol-free products in Drynks Unlimited’s Smashed range, including a cider and another beer. This year the company is set to launch two further alcohol-free expressions – Smashed Hops and Smashed Berry cider. To make its products, the company uses its custom cool-vacuum distillation process, and operates out of the family-run Robinsons Brewery in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

RRP: £1.99 per can and per bottle.

Contact: Booths, 0800 221 8086

Zolo Cabernet Franc Reserve

Argentina’s Zolo has launched its Cabernet Franc Reserve in the US, made by winemakers Jean Claude Berrouet (formerly of Petrus in Pomerol) and Fabian Valenzuela. Luján de Cuyo-based Zolo is owned by vintner and former medical doctor Patricia Ortiz, who also runs Tapiz in Argentina’s Uco Valley, and Wapisa, a winery based in coastal Patagonia. Sourced from Zolo’s Alto Agrelo and Agrelo vineyards, the wine is made from vines that are between 14 and 19 years old.

RRP: US$19.

Contact: Zolo,

The Glendronach Peated

Highland whisky distillery The Glendronach has launched a new single malt called Traditionally Peated. The distiller, which is usually known for its unpeated, Sherry cask-matured style, has produced the spirit in line with historic traditions. When the distillery was founded in 1826, it was common practice to burn peat in the kiln towards the end of the malting process. Created by master blender Dr Rachel Barrie, the whisky has been matured in Pedro Ximénez, oloroso Sherry and Port casks. It is bottled at 48% ABV and is non-chill filtered.

RRP: £51.

Contact: Master of Malt,

Eden Nill

Guardbridge-based distiller Eden Mill has launched an alcohol-free range of RTD drinks, aptly named Eden Nill. Working with the Secret Herb Garden in Edinburgh and expert botanists, the distillery has created a non-alcoholic distillate from water, juniper, coriander, lemon balm and cardamom. The Eden Nill range consists of two expressions, Original Gin & Tonic and the Love Gin & Rose Lemonade. The distiller reported that 75% of people who tried the Eden Nil range alongside its 5% ABV range couldn’t tell the difference between the two.

RRP: £1.50 per can.

Contact: Eden Mill,

Thompson’s Baijiu

Thompson’s baijiu has launched what it claims is the first baijiu made in the UK using 100% British-grown sorghum grains. Sorghum is an ancient grain, originally domesticated in Ethiopia and now grown across Africa and Asia. Pete Thompson, the founder of the project, now grows the grain on his farm in Essex. Three generations of the Thompson family have grown vegetables for the UK Chinese community, so making baijiu production was a natural progression. The spirit was made in partnership with the English Spirit Distillery, which mimicked the traditional fermentation process in laboratory conditions using enzymes.

RRP: £45.

Contact: Thompson’s Baijiu, 01255 880 128.

Brick Brewery Berry Sour

To celebrate its sixth anniversary, Brick Brewery in southeast London, has released a pair of barrel-aged winter berry sours. Brewed in December 2018, the beers were then aged in Moscatel and Pinot Noir barrels for 12 months. The brews are both based on a Flanders-style red ale, with additions of sour cherries, elderberries, blackcurrants and blackberries, as well as oak and cherry wood post-fermentation. The Pinot Noir barrel gives the beer “rich berry” flavours, while the sweet Moscatel barrel imparts light floral aromas with a subtle honey and raisin flavour.

RRP: £18.75 (two-pack).

Contact: Caps and Taps,

Leeuwin Estate Art Series

Margaret River-based Leeuwin Estate launched three Art Series vintages with Domaine Direct in the UK in January. These include the Art Series Chardonnay 2016, Art Series Shiraz 2016 and Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2015. The Art Series is meant to represent the wine estate’s most premium and ageworthy wines from each vintage. They are identified with paintings commissioned from leading contemporary Australian artists. The Cabernet Sauvignon pictured has a label designed by Helen Eager. The wine has flavours of “blackcurrants, cherries, dried cranberries and satsuma plums, bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom and clove”.

RRP: £42.

Contact: Domaine Direct

Manchester Gin Blackberry

Manchester Gin has launched its sixth flavour variant, a spirit infused with blackberries. Created in the brand’s city centre distillery, the gin has been made using fresh blackberry juice, as well as its signature botanicals, dandelion and burdock. The spirit, which is deep red in colour, is said to be best paired with Fever-Tree elderflower tonic. Bottled at 40% ABV, it can also be enjoyed as part of a classic Bramble cocktail. It joins other gins in the range, which include Manchester Signature gin, Raspberry Infused, Wild Spirit (infused with herbs), Overboard (navy strength), and Haçienda (a collaboration with Joy Division and New Order’s Peter Hook).

RRP: £35.

Contact: Manchester Gin,

Alain Milliat Juices

French brand Alain Milliat is to release a portfolio of 38 fruit juices and ‘nectars’ into the UK market. Within this portfolio is a range of wine grape juices produced from grapes including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay and Merlot. Juices in the single variety grape juice range are said to offer sommeliers the opportunity to provide a similar experience to wine pairing, but with alcohol-free alternatives. The juices are available in one-litre and 33cl bottles.

RRP: £32.88 per 12-bottle case.

Contact: Bennett Opie Ltd,

Tomatin Decades II

Highland distillery Tomatin has released a new single malt, a blend of 21 casks, selected from key years over the past five decades. The whisky is bottled at 46% ABV and produced in a limited edition run of just 3,600 bottles. The casks are a mix of ex-Scotch whisky, Bourbon, Sherry and re-charred French oak casks. According to the producer, the spirit is “rich and complex”, with aromas of “sweet pastry, wood shavings, cooked fruits and floral coconut tones”. On the palate it has notes of “Christmas cake, maple syrup, and fresh red berries, with a long waxy finish”.

RRP: £175.

Contact: The Whisky Exchange, 020 8838 9388

Cardrona Rose Rabbit Liqueur

New Zealand’s Cardrona Distillery has launched a range of three liqueurs in the UK market. The orange, elderflower and butterscotch flavoured liqueurs all have the distillery’s grain-to-glass single malt spirit as their base. The “decadently sweet” butterscotch liqueur has an ABV of 40.5%, while the orange liqueur, made with New Zealand orange peel macerated in rich Cardrona unaged single malt spirit, has a strength of 47.1% ABV. The elderflower liqueur (49.6% ABV), is made with Central Otago elderflower, rich single malt spirit and lemon.

RRP: £57 a bottle.

Contact: Waitrose & Partners, 0800 188 884

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