Exclusive news and research on the wine, spirits and beer business

News Briefs for May 21, 2019

May 21, 2019

•Palm Bay International has introduced Mon Frère Winery, a new California-based project. Led by winemaker Tom Hinde, who also heads up Palm Bay’s Au Contraire brand, Mon Frère includes three wines—Chardonnay ($16 a 750-ml.), Pinot Noir ($17), and Cabernet Sauvignon ($17)—all of which are rolling out nationwide. Taub Family Cos., Palm Bay’s parent company, also counts Heritance, The Angry Bunch, and Ay Carumba sangria among its California brands. Last fall, Taub Family also acquired the Saracina ranch in Mendocino, which it will use as a base of expansion for its California operations.

•Champagne Laurent-Perrier is set to launch a new cuvée this fall, Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature NV. Composed of 100% Chardonnay, the new bottling has zero dosage and six years of cellar aging. It will roll out in limited quantities in the U.S. in September, retailing at $90 a 750-ml. Laurent Perrier will also introduce two new iterations of its prestige cuvée Grand Siècle, which is always 55% Chardonnay and 45% Pinot Noir, with grapes sourced from grand crus. For the first time, the house will identify the vintages used in the blend with the iteration number on the neck of the bottle. In September, Grand Siècle No. 24 will launch in 750-ml. at $150, composed of the 2007, 2006, and 2004 vintages. It will be joined by Grand Siècle No. 22, which is bottled in magnum, retails at $400, and is a blend of the 2004, 2002, and 1999 vintages. Laurent-Perrier posted strong U.S. growth last year, rising, 12.7% to 34,000 cases, according to Impact Databank.

•Opici Wines has extended its Market Street Spirits portfolio with the addition of Highland Queen blended Scotch whiskies. Market Street will import the brand’s Highland Queen ($17 a 750-ml.), Sherry Cask Finish ($19), Highland Queen 1561 ($30), and 1561 30-year-old ($200) whiskies. Opici says the blended brand will complement the Tullibardine single malt Scotch label in its spirits portfolio. Both Highland Queen and Tullibardine are part of Terroirs Distillers. Opici’s Market Street Spirits range also includes Temple Bar Irish Whiskies, Rebellion Bourbon and rye, Brinley Shipwreck rums, Distillerie Franciacorta grappas, ready-to-enjoy Negroni Cocktail, and Meletti liqueurs.

•Diageo has unveiled a new super-premium gin label, Villa Ascenti. Made at the new Distilleria Santa Vittoria in Italy, Villa Ascenti is made from Moscato grapes infused with Tuscan juniper berries and also includes herbs like mint and thyme. Villa Ascenti is initially launching in Europe, where the super- and ultra-premium gin markets have been growing rapidly in recent years. The new brand joins Gordon’s, Tanqueray, Tanqueray No. Ten, and Jinzu in Diageo’s gin portfolio. Pernod Ricard also recently expanded in upscale gin, agreeing to acquire the Malfy brand from Biggar & Leith for an undisclosed sum.

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