In Brief

Reds from Languedoc

Languedoc estate Mas Belles Eaux is launching its first red wines in the UK since the estate was bought by AXA Millésimes five years ago. A range of single varietal

wines with an rrp of £16.99 will be launched alongside the Coteaux du Languedoc range, which consists of two blended wines - Les Coteaux (rrp £16.99) and Sainte Hélene (rrp £21.99).

Educating upwards

PLB 's latest wine brand is designed to educate consumers about the

effect that trading up will have on their palate. Tiers will initially include three Chianti wines from Tuscan producer Piccini - a Chianti, Classico and Classico Riserva - starting

with an rrp of

more than £5. "On the front label we set out the points of difference the consumer can buy into, and on the back we explain what these differences will give them in terms of taste," explain ed PLB's Claire Summersby. Bordeaux and Rioja ranges will be rolled out in 2008.

'Spectacular' charity auction

Red wine sales rose a "spectacular" 38 per cent at the 147th Hospices de Beaune auction. Overall sales at the charity auction on Nov 18 increased by 27 per cent to £3.3 million, despite there being

fewer barrels up for sale than the previous year. Maison Albert Bichon was the biggest buyer at the auction organised by Christie's. The Beaune-based merchant bought 103 barrels for €814,500.

Cyder sampling


Cyder producer Aspall is aiming to target more women drinkers under the age of 45 by sampling its blackberry liqueur and cider blend Peronelle's Blush at this year's Clothes Show Live. Specially-designed cocktails using Aspall

Cyder will also be available to try and buy. The event runs in Birmingham from Dec 7 -12 and is expected to attract 200,000 people.

Ball's a winner

The Northern Benevolent's Ball committee has raised £25,000 for The Benevolent charity with a Swinging Sixties-themed party. The annual event was held at Tatton Park in Cheshire on Nov 16 and was attended by more than 430 people. It included a cocktail rec eption, four-course dinner, casino, live entertainment and an auction.

Chilean blend debuts

Chilean producer Viña Ventisquero has added a Carmenère/Syrah blend to its range. Vertice 2005 is a joint collaboration between Ventisquero's Felipe Tosso and Australian winemaker John Duval. The grapes are hand-harvested from Ventisquero's vineyards on the upper slopes of Colchagua's Apalta region. After blending, the wine is aged for 18 months in French oak barrels. Vertice has an rrp of £19 and will be distributed in the UK off-trade by PLB.