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New Taste

Published:  28 May, 2009

A new Chilean on the block, Champagne goes dry and Southern Comfort in a can - Claire Hu reviews the hottest new releases.

Chilean focus for Echo Falls

Constellation Europe is moving into the Chilean category with the launch of two
new wines under its Echo Falls brand.

The company, which has no mainstream Chilean brand, is releasing Echo Falls Sauvignon Blanc and a Shiraz version.

The company said the Chilean category was currently underperforming in the UK, and its consumer base was older with a distinctive male bias.

The new blends are aimed specifically at newer wine consumers.

The basics: £5.49, Constellation

Philipponnat goes dry

Champagne Philipponnat is the latest fizz producer to go ultradry with the release of a nondosage cuvée.

The Champagne, which is not topped up with the traditional sugar dosage before bottling, shows "the best expression of original fruit and natural minerality", according to Philipponnat.

The producer has been lowering its dosage across its portfolio, in line with the general market trend. Its core Brut NV is down to 8g/l - 40% lower than the average.

Producers including Domaine Chandon in Yarra Valley, Australia, has come out with Green Point ZD (zero dosage) and Louis Roederer has been working on a non-dosage cuvée which it hopes to release next year.

The basics: £28.50, Les Caves de Pyrene.

La Motte goes premium

South African brand La Motte is releasing a premium level Shiraz/Grenache . At 13.5% abv, the wine marks a departure from typically 15% boozy South African wines.

It is a blend of 53% Shiraz, mainly from Walker Bay, 30% Grenache and 17% Mourvedre and underwent malolactic fermentation and ageing in French Oak.

The basics: £19.99, stockists tbc

Southern Comfort RTD hits market

Bacardi Brown-Forman has a new RTD in the can. Southern Comfort Lemonade & Lime will hit the off-trade market on June 1 in single and four-packs of 25 cl cans.

It will be accompanied by promotional activity in the major multiples, aimed at presenting the premixed drink as an easy option for the summer months.

The basics: £1.59 single, £5.99 pack, BBF

Rare malts are coming soon

With rare single malts the flavour of the year, Ian Macleod Distillers has decided the time is ripe to bottle two 40-year-olds.

Springbank 40 Year Old (54% abv) was distilled in 1968 at the Campbeltown plant, and only 398 bottles will be sold in bling packag ing, with "11-times laquered wood" .

At the same time, Glengoyne 40 Year Old (45.9% abv) is seeing the light of day.

The distillery is touting it as one of the best whiskies it has ever produced. Both malts will be released in July.

The basics: Glengoyne £3,750, Springbank £1,000, whisky specialists

Piccini rolls out riserva wines

Piccini is the first company to market an Italian wine in the UK with the new riserva classification of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo.

The 2006 vintage, which meets riserva regulations of ageing of at least two years
in oak, is also the first non-Tuscan addition to its portfolio.

The basics: £6.99, PLB