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Chamarré set for US launch

Chamarré, the brand which is trying to revolutionise the image of French wine in the UK, is now set to launch in the US.

The wine, the child of start-up company OVS, consists of three lines. The Reserves are varietal blends – Merlot, Cabernet, Shiraz and Grenache, for example – from different regions of France. Then there is an AOC Bordeaux and Jurancon, and a line of blends of two varietals: a Cabernet-Grenache, a Shiraz-Merlot, Chardonnay-Sauvignon and so on.

Chamarré has a bold future mapped out for it. UK export director Vincent Norguet said he was confident sales will hit 1.5m bottles in the UK in 2006. ‘And we would expect 1m cases by 2010,’ he added. The wine is also in two French hypermarkets, Leclerc and Monoprix

And in October Chamarré hits the US. Most of the wines will stay the same, though there will be significant changes to part of the range.

The Chardonnay will spend six months in oak in order to achieve a ‘fatter, more buttery texture,’ Hubert Surville, president of OWS, the American arm of the company, said. ‘American wine consumers expect Chardonnay to be aged in oak,’ he told decanter.com.

There will also be an entirely new range, the Grand Reserve, based on varietals. ‘As we know, the US is driven more by varietals than by blends,’ Surville said.

He will be offering a Chardonnay, a Pinot Noir and a Cabernet Sauvignon. These are vertical blends: the grapes will be sourced from all over France.

The Chardonnay comes from Meursault, Pouilly Fuissé, Chablis, Macon and the south of France, the Pinot from a similar range of Burgundian appellations as well as the Ardeche and Corsica, and the Cabernet from St Estephe, St Julien, St Emilion and the south of France.

Adding grapes from the south gives the wine ‘more fruit and more supple tannins,’ Surville says.

The wines will be launched in October or November in about seven states, at around US$11.99-12.99 (€9-10).

Surville expects to sell some 500,000 cases in 2007, rising to 1m in 2008.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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