Cloudy Bay owner goes Off-Piste in France

04 April, 2014

Off-Piste Wines has teamed up with the man behind New Zeland’s iconic Cloudy Bay to launch a Bordeaux Sauvignon with a New World slant.

Australian-born David Hohnen poineered Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc in the 1980s when he founded the blockbuster brand, which was recently voted the eighth most admired wine brand in the world by OLN’s sister magazine, Drinks International.

He now plans to put Bordeaux Sauvignon on the map and approached Off-Piste to create À l’Envers, which means upside- down.

Launching next month priced £12, it is described as representing the “best of the New and Old Worlds” and is aimed at giving France a point of difference.

Clem Yates MW, Off-Piste’s sourcing and supply director, said: “Hohnen wanted to work with an agency focused on quality to create a new Sauvingon project because no one is doing Bordeaux Sauvignon particularly well in the off-trade.

“Although we could have gone to the Loire, we visited

Bordeaux and thought there was huge potential to work with the growers to produce a classic style Sauvignon that had distinctive character.

“We are not trying to copy New Zealand, but bringing together the best of both worlds.

“À l’Envers has the aromas you would expect from a New Zealand Sauvignon, tropical notes with grassy complexity, while combining the finesse you expect from this classic French region.

“It’s been an interesting project and process about finding different ways for wine.

“France is a big opportunity if you can do it well, and we think we can, so rather than just saying we have a Bordeaux white there’s a twist to it with Hohnen’s input.

“We realise we have to give retailers something different,” added Yates.

Off-Piste managing director Paul Letheren said the company was planning a range of other launches to exploit the “mainstream premium” market.

He said: “We are basing our growth on this area, which is priced between £6 and £9. We do very little at the entry level and have the expertise to work with retailers on interesting new wines.

“Lots of our competitors aspire to this area of the market but we are only seven years old as a company so don’t have any baggage. Plus we are small so can keep our overheads low and respond to the marketplace quickly.”

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