New French non-alcoholic wine brand blossoms
Non-alcoholic sparkling wine brand French Bloom, co-founded by Constance Jablonski and Maggie Frerejean-Taittinger, has made its debut in the UK. Produced and bottled in the South West of France, the wine comes in two varieties - Le Blanc and Le Rosé. Le Blanc has a Chardonnay pear aroma with tropical notes and flavours of apple, spicy citrus fruits and white flowers while Le Rosé has a rose petals and cherry aroma followed by delicate notes of peach and wild berries. Both drinks are bottled in premium wine-like packaging and are priced at £29 per bottle.
Rathfinny's new 2018 vintage is a sparkler
East Sussex winery Rathfinny has released a third vintage of its ‘house-style’ Sussex sparkling wine. Rathfinny Classic Cuvée 2018 is made in the traditional method around pinot noir, with ripe fruits and a low dosage and is a 50% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier blend. The 12% abv wine has a nose of white plums and cinnamon with a palate of white apricot and crème pâtissière with hints of preserved Meyer lemon on the finish that is said to pair well with dishes such as linguini with clams and fennel; duck prosciutto; and ham hock terrine. Often referred to as the vintage of the decade, 2018 was one of the warmest summers on record with a mini-heatwave developing from April onwards promoting good fruit. The weather during harvest in October was also very favourable, according to Rathfinny.
Wemyss' Smoky shores
Scottish independent whisky bottler Wemyss Malts has launched a smoke-led limited-edition whisky blend. Called Smoky Shores, the non-age statement expression is described as being snuffed smoke, salted lemons and sweet cured bacon on the nose, followed by notes of wild oats, orange peel, and malted bread toasted over embers of heathery peat on the palate, with ‘an explosive mouthfeel’. Wemyss Malts’ core range also includes Speyside blend The Hive, Spice King, and Peat Chimney. The 46% abv whisky release is limited to just 5,526 bottles,
Climate positive gin takes root
Sustainable British spirits brand Sapling Spirits has launched what it says is a ‘climate positive’ British gin. Working with regenerative farming company Wildfarmed, Sapling gin is distilled with climate-positive grain made using farming methods that leave the land rich for future harvests. The 40% abv, juniper-led spirit is described as a classic twist on a London Dry gin with hints of rosemary for a clean herbaceous finish. It is available at £35 a bottle and the company plants a tree for every one sold.
Beavertown brew goes off with a pop
Beavertown Brewery is celebrating having seen out January with a hop-forward, bubblegum flavoured beer designed to bring some winter cheer to drinkers. Gummy is a tropical, fruity IPA with hints of bubblegum as well as flavours of pineapple, coconut, orange, banana and pear. The hazy, 6% abv beer has low bitterness and contains no fruit extract or pulp and is available to buy in cans as well as being on the taps of the brewery’s Tottenham pub Corner Pin.
Vermouth brand Cocchi has introduced a new addition to its range with the launch of Cocchi Vermouth di Torino Extra Dry. The Italian aperitivo maker says it is tapping into the growing appetite for the category driven by the current cocktail boom with its new expression that celebrates Piedmont, the birthplace of Italian vermouth. The new release is made from a Piedmontese recipe with all the main ingredients coming, or with strong links to the region. The base wine used is made of local Cortese grapes with the addition of botanicals such as wormwood, angelica, coriander, cardamom, lemon peel and Menta di Pancalieri, a Piedmontese mint. As well as for use in cocktails such as the Martini serving suggestions include long with elderflower tonic, with soda water or over ice. The 17% abv drink comes in a 50cl bottle with a price tag of £19.
In the black (cherry)
Cornwall-based gin distillery Tarquin’s has added a black cherry variety to its range of flavoured gins. Launched especially for St Valentine’s Day, the new gin is made in small batches in one of Tarquin’s flame-fired copper pot stills and has tasting notes of soft juniper, rich sweet cherry with a touch of vibrant orange zest and a hint of warm spice on the finish. The 38% abv gin is priced at £36 and is only available until April.
Mocktails get nitro charged
Ready-to-drink alcohol-free cocktail brand Mocktails has unveiled new nitro-charged slim cans. Described as a world first for the non-alcoholic category the cans are non-carbonated but contain a widget that Mocktails says adds a visual and aromatic experience that mimics the effect achieved after a cocktail shake. Four flavours are available - Mockarita, Mockapolitan, Mockscow Mule, and Sansgria - which are all booze-free takes on classic drinks and are all vegan, gluten free, and low in sugar and calories.
Explosive gin from BrewDog
BrewDog Distilling Co has released an explosive navy strength gin under its LoneWolf brand. Gunpowder Gin packs a punchy 57% abv and leads with Tuscan juniper and pink, black and Szechuan peppercorns as well as containing Paraguayan bitter oranges, Sicilian lemons, Mexican pink grapefruit and star anise. The new spirit is designed to be sipped slowly or to add extra power to already bold cocktails such as the Negroni and Martini. The gin comes in 50cl bottles and is available from BrewDog’s website at £25.
A non-alcoholic spirit that packs a punch
Born in Belgium in 2017, Gimber was founded by Dimitri Oosterlynck after he struggled to find a sophisticated and characterful replacement for alcohol. The adaptable drink is made with ginger, lemon and spices and is organic and unfiltered. Gimber can be used to make a simple non-alcoholic cocktail (by adding sparkling water), smoothies and in alcoholic cocktails. One of the key compounds found in ginger is gingerol, which not only activates spice receptors on the tongue but also has been found to have restorative properties. Some of the benefits that have been linked to gingerol include anti-inflammation, relieving muscle soreness, reducing stress, alleviating nausea and boosting the immune system.