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Archive for April 10, 2013

Innis & Gunn Lager

By | 10 April 2013

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Innis & Gunn Lager  Category – Beer, lager, draught, 4.6% abv

Available – From today (10 April)

Location – On-trade on draught only in the UK until September/October, then bottles to be released into off-trade.

Price – Not available

Distribution – Innis & Gunn

Scottish brewer Innis & Gunn is moving away from its core range of oak-aged beers, with the launch of an unoaked Helles-style lager to celebrate the company’s 10th anniversary.

The 4.6% beer, being launched in the UK on-trade today (10 April), will be the first release in a series of unoaked craft products, the brewer said. It is described as a “well-balanced lager with a clean, crisp finish”, using Super Styrian and Styrian Goldings hops.

Dougal Sharp, founder and master brewer at Innis & Gunn said: “I wanted to give our consumers a refreshing but flavourful lager that would deliver a really rewarding taste experience in the same way they’ve grown to expect through our oak-aged beers.”

Top 10 low-calorie wine brands

10th April, 2013 by Patrick Schmitt

With around 20% of Americans on a diet, low-calorie wine brands are booming in the US, and particularly where celebrities are involved.

Christine Avanti

The Skinny Vine is endorsed by Christine Avanti, a celebrity nutritionist and author of Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food

Kick-starting the trend was Skinnygirl, which, as previously reported by db, was a label created in 2009 initially for ready-made cocktails by chef, author and TV star Bethenny Frankel.

The brand now also includes a range of three wines, which were added to the line-up in March 2012 (following the sale of the label to Fortune Brands/Beam for US$8.1 million in March 2011).

More recently, in January this year, former Foster’s wine division Treasury Wine Estates launched The Skinny Vine in the US, backed up by Christine Avanti, a celebrity nutritionist and author of Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food (pictured, left). (more…)

Vineyards in China? Climate change morphs the wine industry

By Shoshana Davis /CBS News/ April 9, 2013, 2:02 PM

Who doesn’t love a good pairing of a dry white wine from Napa or a glass of Bordeaux, actually from Bordeaux, France? Unfortunately, those indulgences might become a thing of the past.

According to new research published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 25 to 73 percent of land that could be used for vineyards will be no longer be available by 2050. (more…)

Italian producers look to international growth to escape domestic economy

Written by Erin Smith
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 08:28
Italian wine producers are increasingly looking to international markets to escape their own crippled domestic economy.Producer after producer at this week’s ViniItaly wine fair in Verona confirmed their commitment to develop or reinforce existing relationships in the international market due to a sluggish domestic market where wine consumption has fallen to its lowest level since the 19th century.

There were calls at the show from senior Italian business leaders, like Gennaro Sangiuliano, deputy director of media group and broadcaster, TG1 Rai, for more to be done by the Italian government to streamline suffocating bureaucracy which is holding back business. It was estimated, for example, that corporate bureaucracy has an “equivalent weight” of adding 100 working days, 6 cents a bottle and two kilos of paper for every litre of wine produced. All of which has to be passed along the wine supply chain. (more…)

Belvedere Vodka adds light-up bottle to range

Written by Elinor Zuke
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 14:22
LVMH-owned Belvedere Vodka has added a light to the bottom of its 1.75 litre bottles to make the drink stand out in nightclubs. 

The single use LED, encased in waterproof plastic, fully lights up the bottle when switched on and is designed to offer an incentive for consumers to trade up to the larger format. The illuminated design was previously only available on three litre bottles. In the off-trade the 1.75 litre bottle has an rsp of £84.99.


“Belvedere Vodka, the world’s first super premium vodka, is continuing to showcase its ability to inject excitement and edge into the night with the new illuminated 175cl bottle and offer on-trade customers another way to help stimulate sales. The bottle not only looks great in the bottle parade but also in the ice buckets and we think this is going to be a must have item on the nightclub scene,” said senior brand manager Nick Ambridge.

Bordeaux 2012: Dry whites to offer Sauternes producers cash flow

Wednesday 10 April 2013 by Jane Anson

 In a year where even the successful Sauternes and Barsac producers made incredibly low yields (the average in Sauternes was just 2.5hl/h), the trend for dry white wines from the region is proving an important source of cash flow.
Bordeaux 2012 Sauternes Clos des lunes

Olivier Bernard’s Clos des Lunes 2012 dry white wine range

Increasing numbers of Sauternes producers have said they are making no 2012 wine at all – Yquem, Suduiraut, Rieussec and Raymond Lafon have all said they did not produce enough quality grapes to justify making a wine under their first label. Raymond Lafon, Rieussec and Suduiraut are still to make a second wine.

Even those who have produced are reporting tiny quantities in the search for good quality grapes, with Chateau Guiraud’s yields 90% down on 2011, and many others reporting similarly drastic reductions. (more…)

Haut-Brion celebrates 350th anniversary of Samuel Pepys connection in Cambridge

Wednesday 10 April 2013 by John Abbott

Samuel Pepys’ diary was the star attraction as the 350th anniversary of the mention of Chateau Haut-Brion was celebrated in Cambridge yesterday.

samuel pepys haut brion

Off to the Exchange with Sir J Cutler and Mr Grant to the Royal Oak Tavern in Lumbard Street,’ Pepys’ famous dairy entry reads, ‘…and there drank a sort of French wine called Ho Bryan, that hath a good and most particular taste that I never met with.’

The original diary entry, dated 10 April 1663, was on display to guests in the Pepys library at Magdalene College, Cambridge, alongside a copy of an earlier reference to ‘Hobrionno’ in the 1660 cellar book of King Charles II, which is currently held in the National Archives. (more…)

The Wine Enthusiast Guide to New Orleans

The Big Easy isn’t all beads and booze: the combo of food, wine and fun-loving folks ensure a good time. Here’s where to eat, drink and doze in NoLa.

Published on Apr 10, 2013 By Wine Enthusiast Editors

Spring marks the best time to travel to The Crescent City. It’s warm, yet summer’s sweltering heat has yet to arrive and the city as a whole has released its proverbial exhale after Mardi Gras. While best known for its pre-Lenten bacchanalia, The Big Easy isn’t all beads and booze. No, it’s mostly booze—and wine, and envelope-pushing food and a whole mess of charming, fun-loving folks who know how to appreciate the decadent bounties of life.

Wine & Dine (more…)

En Primeur, Day Two: The Magic of Merlot

Ratings and reviews of stellar wines from Saint-Émilion and Pomerol.

Published on Apr 9, 2013
By Roger Voss

Everyone is talking about the magic of Merlot at this year’s En Primeur—and based on today’s barrel tastings of the 2012 wines from the Pomerol subregion, they will indeed be buzzworthy bottlings.

For lovers of opulent, rich Merlot-based Bordeaux blends, this vintage will be one to savor. With 13.5 percent alcohol, and ripeness balanced by fresh acidity, these Pomerol-produced wines show impressive uniformity. Saint-Émilion, too, is not far behind in producing some stellar wines.

“We had great luck with the Merlot, and we decided it made the wine,” says Jean-Luc Thunevin, owner of Château Valandraud, newly promoted to a Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé B, of his 2012 vintage, which is 100 percent Merlot. He, like many producers, had problems with the Cabernet Franc—a star of the past two vintages—because it was picked after the Merlot and suffered from harvest-time rain.

While tasters laud the Merlots, they are worried about pricing—and for good reason. After over-the-top prices in 2009, 2010 and (unjustifiably) 2011, American wholesale buyers are looking for good wines at good prices to bring American palates back to Bordeaux.

Gregory Balogh, president and CEO of major import player Maisons Marques & Domaines, based in Oakland, calls the 2012 vintage Bordeaux’s opportunity to make a “market correction.” (more…)

En Primeur, Day One: The Surprise Vintage

A sneak peak at the striking reds, plus reviews of select Sauternes and Barsac.

Published on Apr 8, 2013
By Roger Voss

The 2012 Bordeaux red vintage surprised attendees of the annual barrel tasting event currently underway in Bordeaux for two reasons: One, the quality is strikingly good considering the difficult growing season, and two, tasters had no expectations since the Bordelais didn’t buzz about the vintage in advance.

So what are buyers and importers specially saying about the reds at this much-anticipated event—organized by Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux? For one, that the Merlot is quality.

“With the Merlots, we were able to take advantage of the warm summer,” says Thomas Duroux, director of Château Palmer in Margaux. Of his wine, which is half Merlot and half Cabernet, Duroux says, “The [Merlot] is from a hot, ripe vintage.” By contrast, because of rain at harvest, “the Cabernet is from a cool, Atlantic vintage.”

Another outstanding quality of this year’s barrel tastings is the fruit-forward character of the red wines. The black currant fruit and fresh acidity drive the flavor—these are characteristics that will lead to delicious wines that can be drunk young. That same fruitiness and freshness is also evident in the dry whites—arguably the best white vintage since the superb 2007.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the sweet wines of Sauternes. After several great vintages, this year proved unimpressive. In fact, three top chateaus—Château d’Yquem, Château Rieussec and Château Suduiraut—did not produce Sauternes this year. Only the cooler, lighter Barsacs upheld the sweet end of the Bordeaux spectrum.

Check out my top 10 Bordeaux 2012 Sauternes and Barsac barrel-tasting ratings and reviews.

Bordeaux wines tasted from barrel are awarded scores in three-point ranges. When the wines are bottled in two or three years, the wines are reassessed, and final ratings are given. (more…)

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