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Claire Hu's New Taste

Published:  04 November, 2009

Posh bag-in-box, dessert cider and a new Lanson vintage -  the latest product launches reviewed.

Posh bag-in-box, dessert cider and a new Lanson vintage -  the latest product launches reviewed.

Constellation is aiming to make bag-in-box wine go all posh with the launch of a pack it hopes young professionals would not be "embarrassed" to have on display in their  designer kitchens.

FreshCase, a concept the wine giant has taken 18 months to develop, contains three bottles of Hardys Nottage Hill (Chardonnay 2008 and Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz 2007, both rrp: £19.99) and is the first premium wine it is putting in a box.

Lanson Champagne is releasing the 1999 Gold Label vintage (rrp: £36.99) in November.

The vintage is a blend of 47% Chardonnay and 53% Pinot Noir from grand cru sites. The result is a delicate and balanced fizz, with ripe apricot, lemon sherbet and almond notes and refreshingly zingy acidity - partly a result of the house's decision to avoid malolactic fermentation. More please!

New to the UK from Foursquare Distillery in Barbados is a "serious" 12-year-old golden rum that hopes to compete with Old World spirits like cognac and whisky.

Sixty Six Family Reserve is produced by Richard Seale, one of the last independent family-owned distilleries in the Caribbean. It is distilled in small batches in both column and pot stills and matured in ex-Bourbon casks - the tropical climate means the ageing process is accelerated.

The rrp is £29.99, from Coe Vintners, Speciality Drinks and Rodney Densem Wines.

Pink, bubbly AND ethical - The Co-Operative has scored three ticks on the trade's current "to do" list by becoming the first British retailer to introduce a Fairtrade sparkling rosé.

Its Fairtrade Cape Sparkling Rosé is made by the Du Toitskloof wine co-operative in the Western Cape, South Africa. Made from 80% Shiraz and 20% Cinsault, the wine is a decent glugger, packed with strawberry and cream notes and a clean finish. It's on sale for £7.99.

Another Fairtrade first, Ehrmanns is importing the first vodka to the UK with the ethical mark. Fair vodka is made with quinoa and wheat grown by farmers in Bolivia, and distilled in   Cognac, France.

With an rrp of £30, the vodka is aimed at independent retailers and the on-trade.

Does Chile need more entry-level Chilean brands? Constellation certainly believe so with the launch of its Gran Tierra range aimed at the off-trade.

The company is investing £500,000 behind the Gran Tierra brand, which comprises three single varietal wines (5.99), two entry-level red and whites (£3.99) and two premium dual blends (£7.99).

A first for the UK is a "dessert" cider from Once Upon a Tree in Herefordshire.

The lusciously sweet Blenheim Orange 2008 cider (rrp: £15.95), made by freeze-thawing the apple juice to concentrate the flavours, is joined by a Champagne method sparkling perry, 2008 Robston Lawn Perry (rrp: £9.95).