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News Briefs for February 10, 2012

February 10, 2012

•Royal Wine Corp. has rolled out a new extension to its Bartenura wine brand. Bartenura Sparkling Moscato—a “dolce spumante” wine sourced from Italy’s Piemonte region—is available now in the New York and New Jersey markets. Packaged in a signature blue bottle and priced at $17.99 per 750-ml., the new offering will launch nationwide within the next two months. Bartenura, an Impact “Hot Prospect,” rose 38% to 247,000 cases in the U.S. last year according to Impact Databank. The brand has nearly doubled in size since 2008.

•Austin, Texas-based craft distiller Wahaka Mezcal has launched its range of organic mezcals in select U.S. markets. Produced in Oaxaca, Mexico, the lineup includes Wahaka Espadin Joven ($29.99 a bottle) and Wahaka Reposado con Gusano ($34.99)—which are made with 100% Espadín agave—as well as Wahaka Madre Cuishe ($79.99) and Wahaka Mezcal Tobalá ($79.99), both featuring wild agave varieties. The brand’s Wahaka Ensemble ($79.99), meanwhile, is made with a blend of Espadín, Tobalá and Cuishe agaves. Currently focused on bars, restaurants and retailers in Austin, Texas and Southern California, Wahaka is planning to extend distribution to several additional markets throughout the year, including Northern California, New York, Seattle, Chicago and Washington D.C.

•Hialeah, Florida-based Premium Blend, Inc. has introduced a new extension to its Noir chocolate wine line, V’Nilla Noir. V’Nilla Noir uses the same recipe as Premium Blend’s Choco Noir variant but substitutes French vanilla cream for chocolate. The Noir line, which is 14%-abv and sells for around $10-$11 a bottle, already includes Choco Noir Chocolate, Raspberry and Espresso flavors. Shanken News Daily reported earlier this week that competitor Clever Imports, marketers of top-selling chocolate wine brand ChocoVine, is also expanding its line. Clever’s VineSmoothie brand, a French Chardonnay-based fruit-cream wine, will roll out in April.

•BL Restaurant Operations’ Bar Louie restaurant and bar chain is opening its second Kansas City outpost this month. Located in the city’s Zona Rosa lifestyle center, the 9,262-square-foot Bar Louie includes a 3,600-square-foot rooftop patio space and seats 340 customers in total. In addition to small plates, sandwiches and burgers, the new location will offer specialty cocktails, a variety of beers and microbrews and over 20 wines by the glass. Headquartered in Addison, Texas, BL Restaurant Operations operates more than 50 Bar Louie locations in 17 states and Washington D.C.

•Whisky Advocate has named Aberfeldy 14 year old Single Cask (58.1%-abv, £115/$181) as its Highland Single Malt Whisky of the Year. Individual winners from the 18th annual installment of the Whisky Advocate Awards are being unveiled one day at a time through February 13 at WhiskyAdvocateBlog.com, and will also be featured in the magazine’s upcoming Spring edition, due out March 1.


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