The World’s Most Expensive Cognacs

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1. Hennessy Beauté du Siécle Grand Champagne Cognac If you thought Hennessy’s Richard Hennessy was pushing the boat out at an average of $3543, then wait till you find the Beauty of the Century on a wine list – its average retail price is $111,046. It does come in a melted-aluminum chest, though, and the bottle is Baccarat crystal. The spirit is pretty rare too, with the youngest component being 47 years old.

2. Louis XIII de Rémy Martin Rare Cask Grande Champagne Cognac

3. Louis XIII de Rémy Martin Black Pearl Grande Champagne Cognac The Louis XIII range is expensive even at the entry level ($2840 average price), but with up to 1200 eaux-de-vie from Grande Champagne going into it, that’s to be expected. Add on Baccarat bottles and you start really pushing the boat out. The Rare Cask bottling was put together by previous cellarmaster Pierre Trichet and has an average price of $27,404, while the Black Pearl (again in a Baccarat decanter) will set you back $23,644 on average.

4. Hine 250th Anniversary Cognac With a history stretching back to 1763, it’s unsurprising that Hine has plenty of old stocks of Cognac in its vaults. This was released to mark the company’s 250th anniversary (obviously) and is a vintage 1953 Cognac and it’s in a specially designed decanter. All of which goes some way towards justifying the $15,994 average price tag.

5. A. Hardy Le Printemps Cognac

6. A. Hardy l’Ete Cognac

7. A. Hardy Privilege Caryota Cognac The Hardy name has been part of the Cognac tapestry since 1863, when an Englishman of that name relocated to the Charente. The first two of these Cognacs are part of a four seasons series, with the Printemps (Spring) bottling – in a Lalique decanter, naturally – hitting an average price of $15,830. The other bottling (Summer) is also clad in Lalique and costs $15,024. The Privilege bottling (also in Lalique) is made from pre-1014 eaux-de-vie and carries an average price of $13,327.

8. Pierre Chabanneau Fine Champagne Cognac Originally an independent producer and shipper of vintage Cognacs, Chabanneau later became part of the Camus Cognac house. These vintage bottlings date back to the 19th Century, explaining the $13,326 average price tag. At least they don’t come dressed up in a fancy bottle, though.

9. Martell Premier Voyage Cognac Released for the company’s 300th anniversary in 2015, the older eaux-de-vie in this bottling are from 1868, so it’s certainly got rarity value. It also has a swish decanter and a wooden stand. Only 300 were released, so that extra rarity boosts the price to $12,021.

10. Hennessy Timeless Cognac This one ticks all the boxes, really. It’s from a run of 2000 bottles and it’s a blend of the 11 best vintages of the 20th Century. Released in time for the Millennium frenzy, it – almost inevitably – arrives in a Baccarat crystal decanter.

An article from Wine Searcher
https://www.wine-searcher.com/m/2017/08/the-worlds-most-expensive-cognacs

Jim Beam releases vanilla-flavoured Bourbon

Beam Suntory has expanded its Jim Beam Bourbon range with the launch of a vanilla-flavoured expression in the US.
Jim Beam Vanilla blends Madagascar vanilla bean liqueur with Kentucky straight Bourbon whiskey.
Bottled at 70 proof, the new expression has hints of “oak and caramel” Bourbon notes, and a “sweet vanilla” aroma.
Bartenders who received early samples of the product have suggested mixing Jim Beam Vanilla with cola and a cherry garnish.
Jim Beam’s global brand partner actress Mila Kunis will be featured in social and digital content around the official campaign launch this autumn.
“I’m thrilled to collaborate with my friends in Kentucky to debut Jim Beam Vanilla,” said Kunis. “If you’re like me, you love the taste of Bourbon but are sometimes looking for something a little different. Jim Beam Vanilla is perfect when I want a touch of flavour.”
Jim Beam’s seventh generation master distiller Fred Noe, added: “Jim Beam pioneered flavours in the Bourbon category several years ago and the trend has continued to grow. We are always innovating, and are proud to offer a variety of flavours in our portfolio.”
The new expression joins the brand’s flavoured portfolio including Apple, Kentucky Fire, Honey and Red Stag by Jim Beam Black Cherry.

An article from The Spirits Business by Nicola Carruthers
https://www.thespiritsbusiness.com/2017/08/jim-beam-releases-vanilla-flavoured-bourbon/

Key figures for the Bourgogne winegrowing region

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An article from Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB)
http://www.bourgogne-wines.com/news/latest-news/key-figures-for-the-bourgogne-winegrowing-region,2536,10366.html?&args=Y29tcF9pZD0xODY3JmFjdGlvbj12aWV3RGV0YWlsJmlkPTg4Jnw%3D

Burgundy 2017 : an early vintage ?

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No two years are the same in the Bourgogne winegrowing region. After fast flowering, which was over by mid-June, even in those areas that tend to tardiness, any fears about springtime frosts were soon a distant memory. Now hopes are high for a fabulous harvest.
Even the Chablis region, which suffered the effects of frost at the end of April, is in a much better place than it was at this time in 2016.
Flowering is finished across the Bourgogne region, with only a few days required for the vines to move from first flowers to producing fruit.
With favorable weather conditions, sunshine and heat alternating with short spring showers, the vines were left to follow their growth cycle at a good pace, without hindrance.
On average, flowering reached mid-point by the first week in June. On the Côte de Beaune, flowering started on 31 May for the Chardonnay and 1 June for the Pinot Noir, soon followed by all other regions. The further north the vines, the earlier they flowered, compared to the average for the period 1994-2016.
In the Mâconnais, flowering mid-point was reached between 3-5 days earlier, while in the
Grand Auxerrois and Chablis, it was eight days.
The 2017 vintage is therefore gradually emerging as an early one. It is ranked among the top three earliest years on the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits, similar to the 2009 vintage. The nascent grapes are already between 3-5mm across and the bunches should be closed by early July if the weather continues to be fine.
With optimum weather conditions keeping the grapes healthy, the Bourgogne winegrowing region is thus heading for a lovely harvest. In Chablis, things are more mixed. Although globally, things are looking promising, there are a few areas where the grapes are lacking, mainly in the Petit Chablis appellation, and on a few plots of Chablis.
But despite the reigning optimism, it is preferable to be prudent until harvesting is complete, with picking predicted to start in early September.

An article from Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB)
http://www.bourgogne-wines.com/news/latest-news/2017-an-early-vintage,2536,10366.html?&args=Y29tcF9pZD0xODY3JmFjdGlvbj12aWV3RGV0YWlsJmlkPTE1OCZ8

HomeWine News ‘Lucifer heatwave’ kick-starts early Franciacorta harvest

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Hot weather and drought mean that some sparkling wine producers in northern Italy have started harvesting grapes 12 days earlier than normal.
Producers of Italian sparkling wine Franciacorta, in Lombardy, east of Milan, officially began their 2017 wine harvest on 3 August.
Picking began as the so-called ‘Lucifer heatwave’ became the latest spate of hot weather to arrive in parts of Europe this summer; leading to health warnings for citizens and problems for public services in several countries.
In the vineyards, many areas have reported that vines are ahead of schedule in 2017.
Franciacorta producers do not normally start harvest until after ‘Ferragosto’, a national bank holiday, which falls on 15 August.
‘The extremely high temperatures we’ve been having lately made us start the harvest,’ Mauro Piliu, export director of Castello di Gussago, told Decanter.com.
The estate was harvesting Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The official regulations of the region dictate that the grape harvest must not begin before 1 August. ‘It seems that recently we’ve been getting closer and closer to that date,’ said Piliu.
It’s been a year of extremes in many of Europe’s vineyards.
Earlier in the year, some areas of Italy, Spain and France experienced early blossom followed by devastating frosts, while others were affected by hailstorms.
Franciacorta is expected to see overall yields down by 30% due to earlier frosts, according to the region’s wine council.
Piliu estimated that, due to the weather conditions, the 2017 production of Castello di Gussago will be 10 percent lower than last year.
Italy’s Coldiretti agricultural lobby said it expected wine production across the country to be 10 percent to 15 percent lower than in 2016.

An article from Decanter by Andrzej Binkiewicz
http://www.decanter.com/wine-news/lucifer-heatwave-franciacorta-harvest-374030-374030/

The billionaire André Hoffmann buys Jayer-Gilles estate in Burgundy (in French)

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Encore un nom de la Bourgogne viticole racheté par un étranger. Héritier du laboratoire pharmaceutique suisse Hoffmann-La-Roche, André Hoffmann a acquis ce mois d’août la majorité du domaine bourguignon Jayer-Gilles.
André Hoffmann se présente comme un amoureux de la Bourgogne et de ses vins. Familier du sud de la France, le Suisse, vice-président du groupe pharmaceutique familial Hoffmann-La-Roche, a réalisé son rêve de gosse en acquérant un domaine viticole bourguignon.
Son béguin s’est porté sur le domaine Jayer-Gilles, une maison “synonyme d’une vinification rigoureuse, de vins de grande tenue”, juge-t-il au lendemain de la vente.
La communauté des amateurs et les lecteurs de La RVF se souviennent que ce domaine d’une dizaine d’hectares situé à Magny-lès-Villers, à un kilomètre au nord de Ladoix-Serrigny et d’Aloxe-Corton, a connu une certaine notoriété dans les années 1990 en signant des vins en rupture avec la tradition bourguignonne de l’époque.

HOFFMANN, LA 15ÈME FORTUNE D’EUROPE
Le vigneron Gilles Jayer-Gilles, aux commandes du domaine depuis 1982, restera quelques temps encore le chef d’orchestre, avant de céder la place à deux jeunes vignerons, Julien Gros (domaine Christian Gros), qui a œuvré aux châteaux de Beaucastel (Rhône) et Miraval (Provence), et Alexandre Vernet (domaines Gilbert, Philippe Germain et Manuel Olive).
D’après la dernière liste des plus riches familles d’Europe publiée par l’excellent magazine suisse Bilan, la fortune professionnelle de la famille Hoffmann s’élèverait à près de 26 milliards de francs suisses, soit 23 milliards d’euros, ce qui la place au quinzième rang en Europe.
Désormais à la tête des crus Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Hauts Poirêts, Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru les Damodes et du grand cru Echezeaux du Dessus, André Hoffmann, entend poursuivre en Bourgogne ses efforts de conservation de la nature. Passionné par l’écologie et spécialiste des oiseaux sauvages de Camargue, M. Hoffmann est en effet vice-président du World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF International).

An article from La Revue du Vin de France by Geoffrey Avé
http://www.larvf.com/vin-domaine-jayer-gilles-andre-hoffmann-la-roche-suisse-bourgogne-rachat-transaction,4556402.asp

Puni whisky makes UK debut

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Puni, Italy’s first and only malt whisky distillery, will make its UK debut this month thanks to a sales and marketing agreement with distributor Magnetic Brands.
The Italian distillers will introduce its ‘Nova’ and ‘Alba’ three-year-old whiskies to the UK which have been distilled with imported Scottish pot stills at its modern facility in Glurns in the Vinschgau valley, Italy.
“Puni’s a fantastic ‘best-kept secret’ in the whisky world,” said Dave Steward of Magnetic. “Few have heard about the area, let alone the whisky – but both are a delight.
“The family’s been determined to get everything just right – as shown by importing genuine Scottish stills and bringing over whisky experts to install them. This attention to detail, the area’s climate and unique ingredients mean these are truly special whiskies.”
Puni’s first whisky was released in 2015 using local rye and its stock is barrel-aged directly beneath the distillery in a converted WWII military bunker.

An article from Drinks International by Shay Waterworth
http://drinksint.com/news/fullstory.php/aid/7281/Puni_whisky_makes_UK_debut.html