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News Briefs for May 9, 2018

May 9, 2018

•As the 2018 harvest winds down in Australia, vintners are reporting a mostly uneventful vintage. They say yields are slightly lower than last year’s, but they are pleased with the resulting wines. Still, with an entire continent’s worth of wine regions, the growing season brought varied results. Leading vintners gave Wine Spectator their local reports.

•The Winebow Group’s Leonardo LoCascio Selections has been named the exclusive U.S. importer for Codice Citra, based in Italy’s Abruzzo region. A collection of family-owned hillside vineyards in the province of Chieti, Codice Citra produces four ranges of wines from varietals including Montepulciano, Trebbiano, Pecorino, Passerina, and Cococciola, among others. The portfolio includes varietal range Citra; Ferzo, focused on indigenous grapes; Caroso, a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva; and Laus Vitae, a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo made from 40-year-old hand-harvested vines.

•Frederick Wildman & Sons has added Italy’s Cantine Bigi to its wine import portfolio. Owned by Gruppo Italiano Vini, the Cantine Bigi estate is based in Umbria and comprises more than 600 acres planted with white and red varietals like Trebbiano, Grechetto, and Drupeggio, among others. Frederick Wildman’s national distribution network will begin handling the Bigi portfolio—including the Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone, Orvieto Classico Amabile DOC, and Orvieto Classico Secco DOC labels (around $12 a 750-ml.)—this month. The Bigi range marks the 22nd brand in Frederick Wildman’s Italian wine stable.

•Washington state’s Charles Smith Wines, part of the Constellation portfolio, has released Band of Roses Rosé. Rolling out this month, Band of Roses is made with 100% Pinot Gris sourced from Washington and is retail priced at $13 a 750-ml. The 12.5%-abv expression joins Kung Fu Girl Riesling, The Velvet Devil Merlot, Boom Boom! Syrah, Eve Chardonnay, and Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon in the Charles Smith lineup. Constellation acquired Charles Smith Wines for $120 million in 2016.

•Pernod Ricard has launched a new Absolut Summer special edition. Reminiscent of an American flag, the new red, white, and blue bottle is available nationwide in 750-ml. ($20), 1-liter ($26), and 1.75-liter ($30) formats. Now through September 3, Absolut will donate $1 to Keep America Beautiful—which advocates for community beautification and improvement—for every photo shared online with the hashtags #AbsolutAmerica and #promotion. Absolut is the fifth-largest vodka brand in the U.S. at 3.8 million cases, down 3% last year, according to Impact Databank.

•Vermont’s WhistlePig Rye Whiskey has launched FarmStock Rye Crop No. 002, the company’s annual limited edition blend. This year’s iteration ups the amount of “Triple Terroir” whiskey—juice distilled from Vermont rye, proofed with estate well water, and aged in Vermont oak—to 32%, and balances the 2-year-old rye with 6-year-old MGP rye (45%), and 10-year-old rye from Alberta Distillers (23%). WhistlePig FarmStock Rye Crop No. 002 is available now in limited quantities across the U.S. at a suggested price of $73.

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