Drew Barrymore adds a Pinot Noir Rosé; Christie’s Will Open New York Spirits Auction Season; Plus Other News & Notes

Things between Spain and France get ugly, Il Marroneto gets an exclusive new importer and the wine world loses two legends. This week in news from your world of wine.

Earlier this month, actress Drew Barrymore launched Barrymore Rosé at California’s Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Made from Pinot Noir, Barrymore describes the new wine as creamy with notes of peach, apricot and grapefruit, and “enough citrus to keep it crisp.” She recommends pairing it with sushi.

“I like easy-drinking wines,” she told Pop Sugar. “What I don’t like is when easy-drinking wines are written off as having lack of complexity.” Kris Kato of Carmel Road makes the wine, but Barrymore is hands-on partner in the process, overseeing every step from grape to bottle. She also makes a Monterey Pinot Noir called Drew’s Blend.

Rare Wines and Spirits Go Under the Hammer

On April 16, 2016, more than 300 lots of the rarest wines and spirits will go up for bid at Christie’s in New York. The auction starts with an exemplary collection of vintage Champagnes from Krug, Dom Pérignon and Salon Le Mesnil,  followed with an outstanding assortment of fine Burgundies, first growth Bordeaux and rarities from the Rhône.

In spirits, the sale includes The Glenlivet Winchester Collection 1964, a 50-year-aged single-malt of which there are only 100 bottles, with a suggested retail price of $25,000 that is sure to go for much higher. There will also be a selection of pre-Prohibition Overholt rye whisky distilled between 1908–1911. Finally, The Old Liquors American Presidents Collection includes Courvoisier 1884, Marnier-Lapostolle 1865, Otard Dupuy 1865, Bisquit Dubouché 1858, Pierre Chabanneau 1850, Meukow 1842, AE Dor 1840 and the most rare of all, a 1789 Grand Champagne Cognac.

France’s Winemakers Bring Down Their Own Hammer

Photo courtesy La Revue du vin de France
Photo courtesy La Revue du vin de France

The war over unregulated imports of cut-rate Spanish wines into southern France is intensifying. Early last week, about 150 French winegrowers stopped five large tanker trucks and dumped 70,000 liters of cheap Spanish wine onto the roadway. The Spanish Foreign Ministry was not amused. They’ve lodged a formal protest, and summoned the French ambassador to explain what happened, and justify no arrests having been made. Frederic Rouanet, president of the winemakers’ union of the French region of Aude, has insisted that the protests will continue.

In Friendlier News, Willamette Valley Inaugural Pinot Noir Auction Raises $476,000

On April 2, 2016, the Willamette Valley hosted the region’s first-ever trade auction at the Allison Inn and Spa. Willamette: The Pinot Noir Barrel Auction, drew more than 400 attendees and raised $476,000.  Sixty-six of the top Pinot Noir producers from the Willamette Valley showcased their one-of-a-kind lots of handcrafted wines for an elite, trade-only audience from around the country. All proceeds support the marketing and branding efforts of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association.

The Wine World lost two extraordinary men: Burgundy Legend Louis Latour passed away at age 83; Chicago Wine Writer William Rice died at 77 years old

Burgundy legend Louis Latour, who ran his family company, Maison Louis Latour, for 40 years from 1958–1998, died of heart failure April 5, 2016 at 83 years old.

“He had a good life. He was one of the grands Monsieurs of Burgundy,” said his son Louis-Fabrice, president of Maison Louis Latour. “He has done great things for Maison Latour. We are what we are today because of him.”

Born in 1932, Latour was the 10th generation of the family to run the company. Louis Latour wines are sold in 125 countries, with around 500,000 cases made each year.

William Rice was a food and wine journalist whose urbane writing for various publications combined expert knowledge with an unassuming approachability that appealed to both home cooks and the world’s top chefs. He died April 3, 2016, at 77 years of age.

“Bill was a consummate professional, an inquisitive and inventive reporter and writer who helped pioneer food and wine journalism at the Chicago Tribune,” said former Tribune Editor Gerould Kern. ”His work anticipated and helped accelerate the widespread interest in fine cuisine in Chicago. In many ways, he prepared the way.”

Meanwhile, In the Trade

Winebow’s Leonardo LoCascio Selections Appointed Exclusive U.S. Importer of Il Marroneto

Leonardo LoCascio, America’s leading importer of premium Italian wines, has announced that it is the exclusive U.S. importer of Il Marroneto, the highly acclaimed Brunello producer led by owner and winemaker Alessandro Mori.

“Il Marroneto is widely regarded as one of the most respected and sought-after properties in Montalcino,” notes Ian Downey, LoCascio Senior VP. “Alessandro’s attention to detail and hands-on approach to winemaking result in wines that are deeply personal, artisanal gems.”

Founded in 1974, Il Marroneto is one of the oldest estates in Montalcino. Only two wines are made: Brunello di Montalcino Il Marroneto and Brunello di Montalcino Selezione Madonna delle Grazie. The latter is the winery’s Grand Cru.

Constellation Buys Prisoner And Related Wine Brands For $285 Million

Constellation Brands has announced it’s plans to purchase The Prisoner Wine Company from Huneeus Vintners. The transaction, expected to close this month, is approximately $285 million. The portfolio includes five brands:  Blindfold a Chardonnay blend; Cuttings, a Cabernet blend; Saldo, a Zinfandel; Thorn, a Merlot blend; and The Prisoner, a $35 Zinfandel-based blend.

Launched by Orin Swift founder Dave Phinney in 1998 as a modern version of the California field blend, The Prisoner has won critical acclaim and strong retail sales. The move is the latest high-profile acquisition in a buying spree by Constellation. In November, the company purchased San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing for $1 billion, just three months after it bought Meiomi from Napa vintner Joe Wagner for $315 million.

As with the Meiomi purchase, the Prisoner Wine Company deal includes only a brand—no vineyards. These remarkable brand valuations suggest a significant departure from the long-held model that in which land, not label, carries the most value.

On The Scene

Here are some upcoming wine events that are likely to sell out in advance, so move fast!

The Santa Lucia Highlands’ Annual Gala Tasting is set for May 14, 2016, at Mer Soleil Winery. More than 40 wineries will attend, serving samples with gourmet bites from area restaurants. General Admission tickets are $95. Purchase online at www.santaluciahighlands.com.

Wine Industry Symposium Group’s 21st Annual Vineyard Economics Seminar

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 in Napa, the all-day event is entitled “Boom, Bust and In Between—Economic Opportunities and Challenges in the Vines”. Tickets are on sale now at www.WineSymposium.com.

Portland Beer Week June 9–19, features a fun mix of breweries, food vendors, music and schwag! Tickets at www.pdxbeerweek.com.

Published on April 11, 2016
Topics: Wine News, Wine News + Trends, Wine Trends
About the Author
Paul Gregutt
Contributing Editor

Reviews wines from Oregon and Canada.

Paul Gregutt is a Contributing Editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine, a founding member of the magazine’s Tasting Panel, and reviews the wines of Oregon and Canada. The author of the critically-acclaimed Washington Wines & Wineries—The Essential Guide, he consulted on the Pacific Northwest entries in current versions of The World Atlas of Wine and The Oxford Companion to Wine.

Email: paulgwine@me.com.



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