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News Briefs for May 21, 2018

May 21, 2018

•St. Helena, California-based Hall & Walt Wines is launching a new Zinfandel-focused brand, Baca Wines. Named for the Latin word for “berry,” Baca was created by Craig and Kathryn Hall’s daughter Jennifer Brown and winemaker Alison Frichtl Hollister. The Baca portfolio includes a Cat’s Cradle Zinfandel from the Rockpile AVA, Tug o’ War Zinfandel from the Maffei Vineyard in the Russian River Valley, I Spy Zinfandel from the Howell Mountain AVA, and Double Dutch Zinfandel from the Dusi Vineyard in Paso Robles.

•Mendoza, Argentina’s Ruca Malen winery has unveiled its new Terroir Series in the U.S. Selling upmarket from the core brand, Ruca Malen’s Terroir Series is making its debut with a Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, each priced at around $18-$20 a 750-ml. The Ruca Malen portfolio, owned by Argentine food and beverage giant Grupo Molinos Río de la Plata, also includes the Kinien, Ruca Malen Varietal Series, and Aimé brands. Ruca Malen is imported in the U.S. by Opici Wines.

•High-end Tequila Padre Azul has extended its U.S. footprint to 36 markets. After launching in Georgia and Florida last year, the brand has partnered with a variety of regional wholesalers and importers to grow its reach, including Horizon, CNS Imports, West Coast Wine & Spirits, and Park Street, among others. The Padre Azul lineup is produced in Jalisco and features Silver ($75), Reposado ($85), and Añejo ($99) expressions, with the latter two aged for at least eight months and 18 months, respectively.

•375 Park Avenue Spirits, a division of Sazerac, has been named the exclusive U.S. importer for Rogue Society Distilling Co.’s Scapegrace gin portfolio. Made on New Zealand’s South Island, the Scapegrace lineup includes Classic ($37 a 750-ml.) and Gold ($60) expressions. The 42.2%-abv Classic gin features 12 botanicals, including juniper berries, cardamom pods, and coriander seeds, among others, while the navy strength, 57%-abv Gold has an additional, thirteenth botanical: dried tangerine. The Scapegrace lineup will be available in the U.S. starting June 1.

•Citadelle gin is adding a new label to its lineup, Extremes No. 1 No Mistake Old Tom Gin. It’s made with a brown sugar similar to Demerara that’s first toasted and then aged for up to four months in spent spirit casks, then added to an aged dry Citadelle Reserve. Distilled at 46% abv and retailing at $55 a 750-ml., Extremes No. 1 is available in 14 states starting this month, including California, Washington, Illinois, Florida, New York, and Texas. It’s the creation of Alexandre Gabriel, master blender at French Cognac house Maison Ferrand, which owns Citadelle. Gabriel has also shaken up the blending recipe for Citadelle Gin Reserve (45.2% abv, $45 at retail) by resting his raw gin in five different types of wood barrels—acacia, mulberry, cherry, chestnut, and French oak—for five months, then finishing the liquid in an eight-foot tall egg-shaped oak barrel. The new Citadelle Gin Reserve is being offered in major markets nationwide.

•Koerner Rombauer spent 30 years as a military and commercial airline pilot, then found a second act in Napa Valley, establishing Rombauer Vineyards and helping create one of the world’s most popular Chardonnays. He died May 10 in Santa Rosa at age 83. Wine Spectator has more on Rombauer’s life and career.

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