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News Briefs for October 23, 2012

October 23, 2012

Wine Spectator reports that French wine tycoon Bernard Magrez has acquired Sauternes first-growth Clos Haut-Peyraguey for an undisclosed sum, in response, he says, to demand from wine lovers in Asia. “We were already the owners of a château in Sauternes, but our high-end Asian clients wanted a Sauternes grand cru classé or a premier grand cru classé,” the 76-year-old entrepreneur told Wine Spectator. Clos Haut-Peyraguey consistently earns outstanding scores on Wine Spectator’s 100-point scale, with the 2011 barrel sample receiving 93 to 96 points from senior editor and Bordeaux taster James Molesworth. The estate has been in the Pauly family since 1914. The current owner-manager, Martine Langlais-Pauly, said that the sale was not yet official, but expected it to finalize by the end of the year.

•Acker Merrall & Condit has reported strong results from its latest New York City-based auction, held on October 20. The sale, which was 96% sold, brought in a total of $2.5 million, driven by renewed demand for high-end Bordeaux and Burgundy wines. Top lots included a 6-bottle case of 2008 Petrus (sold for $17,720), a 12-bottle case of La Mission Haut Brion (also $17,720) and a 6-bottle case of 2009 La Romanée from Comte Liger-Belair ($15,990), among others. Following this auction, Acker Merrall finishes up the year with two two-day Hong Kong sales and a pair of New York City sales. The four events are predicted to represent close to $20 million in sales, according to Acker Merrall.

•Brown-Forman is launching an ultra-premium Frank Sinatra-inspired extension to Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey. The Associated Press reports that Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select will launch first in Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport in December, followed by a rollout to global airports as well as high-end retail stores in the U.S. and the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee in 2013. It will be priced at $150 a 1-liter bottle. The 90-proof whiskey is made from specially designed “Sinatra barrels” hand-selected by master distiller Jeff Arnett that feature grooves to allow more contact between the liquid and the barrel, creating a whiskey darker in color than the classic Jack Daniel’s with oak and spice notes and a vanilla finish. It’s packaged in a gift box that also features a book detailing the relationship between Sinatra and Jack Daniel’s.

•Tuaca liqueur has launched its first ever line extension, Tuaca Cinnaster. The new liqueur features the brand’s signature blend of brandies, vanilla and citrus with a new cinnamon flavor. The 70-proof flavored variant is set to hit stores this month, initially launching in Colorado, Kansas, Maryland and Texas, with plans to expand to additional markets in early 2013. Cinnaster will be priced at $23.99 for a 750-ml. bottle. Brown-Forman’s Tuaca saw U.S. volume decline 7% last year to 118,000 nine-liter cases, according to Impact Databank.

•The Range Steakhouse at Harrah’s Las Vegas will be closing on November 11 to make way for Ruth’s Chris Steak House, which is slated to open in the first quarter of 2013. The 400-seat Ruth’s Chris will have two private, glass-encased dining rooms and floor-to-ceiling windows and will tout a menu focused on USDA Prime steaks, wine and specialty cocktails. This will mark Ruth’s Chris Steak House’s third unit in a Harrah’s resort, joining one at Harrah’s New Orleans and another at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel in Cherokee, North Carolina.

•BL Operations-owned restaurant and bar chain Bar Louie has opened its first Arizona unit in Tempe. The new 6,031-square-foot, 235-seat Bar Louie boasts a menu of modern American cuisine, imported and craft beers, more than 20 wines by the glass, and signature Martinis, Mojitos and Margaritas. To celebrate Bar Louie’s entry into Arizona, the new location is offering their signature Martinis for $1 along with a complimentary small plate dish from now until October 28, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.


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