News Briefs for July 5, 2018July 5, 2018
•French investigators specializing in major financial crimes have seized 10 Bordeaux châteaus owned by the Chinese conglomerate Haichang Group on suspicions of money laundering and tax fraud. Haichang is controlled by its founder Qu Naijie. The case is now in the hands of the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) in Paris. Maxime Delhomme, Haichang’s lawyer in Paris, told Wine Spectator that they will appeal the decision to freeze the assets. He blames the investigation on the French being rattled by Qu’s buying spree, having acquired 27 châteaus worth approximately $64 million in just four years. Wine Spectator has the full story.
•Laird’s Bottled in Bond Straight Apple Brandy is returning to the U.S. market this summer after a four-year absence. The 100-proof bottling retails at $32 a 750-ml., and meets federal bottled-in-bond requirements by being aged for at least four years and distilled in one American distillery in the same season. New Jersey-based Laird & Co.’s portfolio also includes Laird’s Blended Applejack, Laird’s Apple Brandies, and Laird’s Jersey Lightning. The company is led by the eighth- and ninth-generation father-daughter team of Larrie Laird and Lisa Laird Dunn.
•375 Park Avenue Spirits has been named exclusive U.S. importer for the Castarède Armagnac house. Founded in 1832, the Castarède estate is in Bas-Armagnac and is led by sixth-generation owner Florence Castarède. 375 Park Avenue will nationally market the full Castarède portfolio, which includes a Blanche (an unaged, clear Armagnac primarily for cocktails), as well as VS 3-Year-Old, VSOP 8-Year-Old, XO 10-Year-Old, and a Réserve de la Famille ranging from 20-30 years old, in addition to the estate’s single vintage selections. Retail pricing across the portfolio ranges from $39-$4,500. Castarède offers one of Armagnac’s largest and oldest vintage selections—including an 1893 vintage that’s currently available in a Sazerac cocktail at New Orleans cocktail bar The Revolution.Subscribe to Shanken News Daily’s Email Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each morning.