Uncorkings: Château Coutet Slated to Release a Dry White Wine

Plus more news and notes from the world of wine.

Barbaresco winemaker Angelo Rocca, and his companion, Carmen Mazza, died on Monday, October 8, in a plane crash. Rocca was piloting his own small plane when it crashed into a field outside of Alessandria in Piedmont. According to reports, dense fog made for less-than-ideal flying conditions, but the exact reason for the accident is still being investigated. Rocca was 64 years old and is survived by his three daughters, Daniela, Monica and Paola.

According to the American Beverage Licensees’s recently released report, 2012 Economic Impact Study of America’s Beer Wine and Spirits Retailers, the beverage retail industry in the United States generates approximately $184 billion and provides almost 1.45 million jobs.

Known for its production of sweet wines, Château Coutet, a first growth in Barsac on Bordeaux’s Left Bank, is slated to release a dry white wine, 2010 Opalie de Château Coutet. Currently on presale for $42/750 ml at The Wine House in San Francisco, Opalie is a blend of 50% Sauvignon Blanc and 50% Sémillon, which was fermented in French oak barrels and matured in a mix of new and used French oak barrels.

ASC Fine Wines has announced that starting October 15, John D. Watkins will take over Don St. Pierre Jr.’s position as CEO, while St. Pierre Jr. will serve as executive chairman of the board. Prior to being appointed CEO, Watkins served as president and CEO of GE-AVIC Civil Avionics Company. St. Pierre Jr. co-founded ASC with his father in the 1990s; since 2009, the company has been 70% owned by wine-and-spirits giant Suntory.

The Guinness World Record for the longest relay wine toast was set in the Napa Valley on Sunday, October 7. A total of 487 people participated in the toast, which was held at Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena, CA, defeating the previous record of 321 set in Guangzhou, China, in November 2011.

The Napa, California-based wine-importing, marketing and sales company, Quintessential, plans to import the wines of Kay Brothers Vineyards and Winery, a South Australian producer whose wine-making history spans 121 years. Kay Brothers is the oldest winery in McLaren Vale that’s still owned by the founding family. Other Australian producers currently in Quintessential’s portfolio include Shirvington, Henry’s Drive and Paringa.

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