Schieffelin & Somerset is introducing Ciroc, a new French vodka made from grapes grown in the southwestern French region of Gaillac. The grapes (which include sauvignon blanc, mauzac blanc and loin de l’oeil) are left on the vine until after a frost. They are then cold fermented, pot distilled five times, and yield a vodka with a crisp, citrusy and lightly sweet flavor with a suggested retail of $29.99. S&S is also offering limited supplies of three single malt Scotches: Talisker 25 Year Old, Talisker 20 Year Old and Oban 32 Year Old, all bottled at cask strength. Just over 6,500 bottles will be offered of the two Isle of Skye single malts and one western highlands single malt.

Classic 12 Year By Canadian Club, a relaunch of Canadian Club Classic, is now available, joining the Canadian Club 6 Year and Canadian Club Reserve. The 80 proof Classic 12 Year by Canadian Club is made from aged stock of selected barrel blended whiskies, creating a blend with hints of vanilla and spice. It is available in 1.75 liter, 1 liter, 750 ml, 375 ml and 50 ml packages and retails for about $2 to $4 above Canadian Club Reserve, depending on the market.

Carmel offers two new single vineyard Israeli wines: Carmel Merlot Ramat Arad #1 2000 (suggested retail $25) and Carmel Cabernet Sauvignon Ramat Arad #1 1999 ($25). The wines join other Carmel wines in the U.S., such as Private Collection Cabernet Sauvignon, Galil 2000 ($20), Private Collection Merlot, Judean Hills 2000 ($20), Vineyards Selected Sauvignon Blanc, Dan 2002 ($10), Vineyards Selected Emerald Riesling 2002, Shomron ($10), Valley Petite Sirah, Shomron 2000 ($9) and Muscato di Carmel 2002 ($8). These kosher wines are imported by Royal Wine Corp.

From Hood River Distilleries comes Spudka, a new premium vodka made exclusively from Northwest potatoes. Triple-distilled and twice-filtered, Spudka offers a fresh taste and smooth texture, the company said. Premium potato vodka costs up to five to six times more to produce than vodka made from corn and other cereal grains, the company noted. The new brand is 82 proof and is currently available in Oregon. Hood River plans to roll out the brand in the rest of the Northwest and nationally throughout the rest of 2003. It is available in 750 ml bottles and retails for about $16 to $18.

Pernod Ricard USA is debuting Bushmills 21-Year-Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey – Madeira Finish. The 21-Year-Old joins the line of other Bushmills Single Malts, the 10-Year-Old and the 16-Year-Old with a port finish. The new addition is aged for most of the time in Bourbon and Sherry casks, and then finished in Madeira drums. Only a limited number of bottles will be available each year. Pernod Ricard USA is also launching Jacob’s Creek Reserve Riesling 2002 ($14 suggested retail), the latest addition to its line of Jacob’s Creek Reserve Australian wines.

The Canandaigua Wine Company has added new flavors and a new package design to its line of Almaden Box Wines. The flavor additions include Red Sangria, which the company says is a lighter version of classic sangria, livened with citrus and berry flavors; and White Sangria, which blends white wine with tropical fruit flavors. The new design, intended to reach our to new consumers, features vibrant colors and a festive theme. The Red and White Sangrias are both have a suggested retail price of $12.99 for a 5 liter box.

White Rock Distilling is introducing three new flavors to its Three Olives Vodka line: Three Olives Raspberry, Three Olives Cherry and Three Olives Vanilla. All are quadruple-distilled and quadruple-charcoal-filtered, and are 35% ABV. They are available in 750 ml, 1.75 liter and 50 ml packages (available in 12-packs). Suggested retail for a 750 ml is $24.99. White Rock is also offering a new line of fruit-flavored schnapps targeted at male consumers. The schnapps are Viper (sour apple-flavored), Poison (wild berry-flavored) and Sting (sour raspberry-flavored), and are 40% ABV. They are available in 750 ml bottles for a suggested retail of $19.99


Frederick Wildman has announced a new ultra-premium French vodka called Vertical. Distilled by Monks of the Carthusian Order (the same fellows who make Chartreuse liqueur) in the French Alps, Vertical is grain-based, distilled twice in stainless stills and twice in tinned copper pot stills.

New Wine Releases

Curtis Winery debuted a Vineyard Series Syrah program with the release of its 2000 Syrah Crossroads Vineyard (suggested retail $32), 2000 Syrah Ambassador’s Vineyard ($22) and 2000 Syrah Vogelzang Vineyard ($18); William Hill Winery has released its 2001 Napa Valley Chardonnay, featuring a creamy, bright fruit-forward style ($15), and its 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon, said to said to be a rich, full-bodied wine with soft tannins ($22); Rodney Strong Vineyards has released several wines: its 1998 Alexander Valley Estate Merlot ($26), with a 22% blend of cabernet sauvignon to provide structure to the wine, and its Sonoma County Series that includes a 2001 Sonoma County Chardonnay ($14), a Cabernet ($18) and a Merlot ($18); Charles Creek Vineyards has released its 2001Vista del Halcon, 2001 Hawk Hill Chardonnay ($22), with grapes from the Russian River Valley; Lake Sonoma Winery has released its 1999 Alexander Valley Cabsernet Sauvignon ($22), highlighted by cherry and raspberry and a lingering finish; Brancott Vineyards announced its latest New Zealand wines: 1999 Marlborough Reserve Merlot, Marlborough Reserve Pinot Noir 2000, Marlborough Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2002, and Gisborne Reserve Chardonnay 1999. All are imported by Allied Domecq Wines USA; Kenwood Vineyards has released its 2000 Sonoma County Zinfandel ($16), 2000 Jack London Zinfandel ($20) and 2000 Reserve mazzoni Zinfandel ($20); Schieffelin & Somerset has released new vintages from Terrazas de Los Andes, including single vineyard bottlings. Available are Gran Malbec Las Compuertas Vineyard 1999 and Gran Cabernet Sauvignon Los Aromos Vineyard 1999, both oak aged for 18 months and bottle aged for a year. Terrazas also produces chardonnay, malbec and cabernet in reserva vintages from select vineyards, and from the Mendoza region; From Australia come new vintages from Jacob’s Creek, including Semillon Chardonnay 2002 ($8.49), Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 ($9.49) and Chardonnay 2002 ($8.49).


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