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News Briefs for January 20, 2022

January 20, 2022

•Anthony Barton, the charismatic owner of second growth Château Léoville-Barton and third growth Château Langoa-Barton, has died.  He was 91. Barton moved to Bordeaux from Ireland in 1951 at age 21, as the heir to his uncle Ronald, who had inherited 40-acre Langoa-Barton and 124-acre Léoville-Barton in St.-Julien and managed the négociant firm Barton & Guestier. In 1983, Anthony inherited Châteaus Léoville-Barton and Langoa-Barton from his uncle, and he lived at the château from 1986 with his wife, Eva. He soon propelled Léoville-Barton to “super second” status, winning consistently high praise for his wines. Wine Spectator has more on Barton’s life and career.

•Wilson Daniels is adding Sicily’s Benanti to its Italian import portfolio. The Benanti family produces wines using only native Etna grapes—Carricante, Nerello Mascalese, and Nerello Cappuccio—and indigenous yeasts and has vineyards positioned on four different slopes of the Etna volcano. Starting this month, Wilson Daniels will assume national representation of the full range from Benanti, which includes seven reds, four whites, one rosé, and two traditional method sparkling wines. Retail pricing ranges from $30-$130 a bottle.

•Patrón Tequila has partnered with BlockBar to launch its first foray into NFTs. Launched last year, BlockBar is a marketplace that offers rare and luxury spirits paired with non-fungible internet tokens that authenticate ownership, along with storage for minimal disturbance if an asset is resold. Patrón will release 150 bottles of its Patrón Chairman’s Reserve, an Extra Añejo Tequila, exclusively on BlockBar. The liquid was aged in a combination of Sauternes barrels and barrels made from French limousin and new American oak in the barrel room at Hacienda Patrón and bottled in a handmade crystal decanter inside a domed box featuring laser-cut panels in its doors. Patrón Chairman’s Reserve will be available for purchase beginning January 25 for 1.5 Ethereum (approximately $4,500) a 750-ml.

•The GlenDronach has released a 50-year-old single malt, the oldest whisky ever released from the Highlands distillery, which is part of the Brown-Forman portfolio. The GlenDronach 50-year-old first matured in Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso casks before blending and finishing in a single Pedro Ximénez cask. The whiskies were chosen by master blender Rachel Barrie and only 198 bottles will be available at 43.8% abv. The whisky, priced at $25,000 a bottle, comes packaged in a leather case with an embossed booklet providing the history of the distillery as well as tasting notes. The GlenDronach 50-year-old is now available from select specialty retailers worldwide.

•CoCo Vodka has partnered with RNDC. The relationship will allow CoCo Vodka to expand from its existing 30-state footprint into a total of 45 markets over the next six months to include California, Arizona, Georgia, and New York, among others. Founded in 2018, the brand produces a range of sparkling vodka and rum-based RTDs made with coconut water, all at 5% abv.

•California’s JaM Cellars is extending its Butter brand with two new offerings, Butter Cab and Butter Bubbles. The California-sourced newcomers will debut this spring across retailers including Safeway, Albertsons, Target, Harris Teeter, Ralphs, and Total Wine. They join the flagship Butter Chardonnay, which earned Impact “Blue Chip” honors recently after averaging 69% annual volume growth from 2010-2020 to reach 925,000 cases.

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