Spier launches premium range, and two Masters of Wine students set up new agency supplying artisan wines.
Spier is releasing a range of premium wines to the UK after pulling out of supermarkets in favour of a push in the on-trade and independent merchants.
Wines being shipped over include the Creative Block wines, including Creative Block 2, 2009 Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon (rrp: £11.99), which has a very vegetal nose of green pepper and freshly mown lawn, with a weighty and well-balanced mouthfeel.
Creative Block 3, 2007 (rrp: £14.99), is a Shiraz/Mourvèdre/Viognier blend with a perfumed, violent and plums on the nose and zingy, juicy red fruits in the mouth and velvety texture.
The next price level is the Private Collection. The Private Collection Pinotage 2006 (rsp: £15.99) is pleasantly delicate and elegant for the variety, with a lovely nose of raspberries and redcurrants and almost like a Kiwi Pinot Noir in the mouth.
The 2004 Frans K Smit is a premium, Bordeaux-style blend with Cabernet, Shiraz, Merlot, Pinotage and Petit Verdot. It’s packed with blackcurrant, spice, cloves and vanillin but has a balanced structure with good depth, fresh berry fruit and fresh acidity. “My aim was to show what South Africa is capable of”, said Smit.
Another whisky brand with a catchy name, Smokey Joe Islay Malt, is being launched by the Leading Scotch Whisky Company.
It takes its name from the seaweed and peaty characteristics of Islay malts. Smokey Joe has been bottled at 46% abv and an rsp of £26.99 in the UK. www.angusdundee.co.uk
A new Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc made in association with Hatton Estate in Wairarapa is unashamedly “crowd-pleasing”.
Kiwi House Sauvignon Blanc 2008, is being launched at rsp £6.99 by Mature and Chilled Wine, a Leeds-based distributor which was involved in the development of the exclusive brand.
It has full-on tropical fruit, gooseberry and grassy aromas and is cleanly-made but one-dimensional and rather hollow. www.matureandchilledwine.co.uk
Cavit’s latest 2009 Novello, a fresh and fruity red made of Teroldego from the Trentino region, is hitting the market just one month after harvest.
The Cavit Novello Terrazze della Luna (rsp £5.40-£8) from Meridian Wines has a rather scarily jammy and fruity nose, packing a punch with in-yer-face plum, blueberries and cough syrup but falls a bit flat.
Buckingham Schenk is introducing three new Prosecco lines from Schenk Italia in time for Christmas.
The £9.99 trio, Rivani Prosecco Frizzante NV, Villa Chiara Prosecco Spumante Bianco NV and Villa Chiara Prosecco Spumante Rosato NV have been listed by Morrisons. www.buckingham-schenk.co.uk
A new specialist wine importer and wholesaler, set up by two Master of Wine students, is introducing its first wines to the UK.
Carte Blanche, created by winemaker Rupert Nicholson and Ben Llewelyn, a former director of Enotria, together with wine merchant David Thomas from Caviste, will import small-scale wines and also develop artisinal, commercially viable labels in partnership with producers.
Wines tasted by the Harpers team included Domus Blanc, a Vin de Pays from Côtes des Gascoigne (rsp: £8.95) a blend of Ugni Blanc and Colombard. Despite the unglamorous varieties it’s attractively floral, refreshing well-balanced with a leesy, savoury finish.
We really liked the Mus “T” 2007 red, Vin de Pays d’Orange (rsp £9.50), a friendly, gutsy wine of Cabernet and Grenache with a perfumed note of cloves, ginger, brambly fruit and earthy tannins with a bit of a kick on the finish.
The unfiltered Les Sens des Fruits 2007 (rsp: £10.95) from Bergerac had a rather closed nose to begin, but opened out to reveal a subtle, gentle and earthy wine. www.carteblanchewines.com