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New Piat d'Or blends get an airing

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Christian Davis

The new, reblended Piat d'Or was presented to the trade last week, at the New World Wine Shippers tasting in London. NWWS, which was created by former Decanter editor David Rowe and Australian winemaker David Kingsbury, was brought in by Percy Fox, part of Guinness UDV UK, to advise on new blends for the brand, which is due to be relaunched in the summer. Rowe told Harpers: "The UK market is more discriminating at all levels, on- and off-trade. Consumers are looking for quality and value for money. Increasingly, there is no place for bad wine." On Piat, he said the first thing they did was switch it from an agglomerated to a twin-disc cork. The dry and medium-dry blends come from wines from the Gers district of south-west France, best known for Armagnac. The dry version has changed from Colombard and Ugni Blanc to Colombard and Chardonnay, with no residual sugar. Medium-dry Piat was 100% Ugni Blanc, with grape juice added and was only 9.5% ABV. NWWS switched it to a Colombard/ Ugni Blanc blend (90/10), with concentrated grape must from the region, and increased the volume to 11% to counter some of the lost sweetness. The red version was made from a variety of grapes including Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Merlot from the Gard region. Rowe said that the new blend is "more or less a Syrah/ Grenache blend". Terry Evans, Percy Fox's wine development manager, who oversaw the new blends, told Harpers: "We have done a lot of research, and consumers quite like it. We do not want to alienate them by doing anything drastic. We are bringing Piat d'Or up to date and modernising it."