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Paul Henry backs new Thousand Candles Australian wine brand

Published:  31 July, 2013

Former UK Wine Australia chief, Paul Henry, and Pinot Noir specialist, William Downie have teamed up to produce new Australian wine brand, Thousand Candles, which is to be distributed in the UK by Alliance Wine.

The wine, which comes from a 450ha vineyard in the Southern Yarra Valley, previously known as Killara Park estate, is being made by Downie with Henry in charge of sales and marketing. Henry said the name for the wine comes from an Aboriginal ceremony that ends with lighting of firesticks, hence the thousand candles.

The first release is a 2011 vintage which is a blend of Syrah, Pinot Noir and a Sauvignon Blanc. "For all it's haunting, subtly nuanced style, this is a bold wine," said Giles Cooke MW, wine development director for Alliance. "It is bold not for fulfilling the hackneyed Australian stereotype of strident fruit, deep flavour and 'over-delivery' but bold for its unique blend and for challenging perceptions of vintage and varietal appropriateness. It also happens to taste wonderful," he added.

Henry said: "We thought long and hard about export, and about the UK in particular, recognising it as a real challenge for our project - not just because of price point, but because we were asking people to look at Australia in a different light. In the end, we wanted to work with people who recognised that the project was as much about our customers - and their perspectives - as it was about our wine. As with all of our markets, we are looking for a connection, not just a listing."

Only limited amounts will be available in the UK and stock is expected to arrive in October and will be available to selected on-trade and premium specialist retailers. It will have a suggested retail price of £65 per bottle. Henry will visit the UK in the autumn to help promote the 2011 and 2012 vintages with Alliance.