A Bordeaux negotiant has released the ‘world’s first’ Coca Cola flavoured wine. Wine merchants Haussmann Famille, based in Bordeaux, launched Rouge Sucette at VINEXPO recently. Sucette means ‘lollipop’ in French. Rouge Sucette is 9% abv, is designed to be served chilled and is made from grapes, water and cola flavouring.
Wine-Searcher reports that Haussmann Famille have already been successful in this sector with their Rosé Sucette Fruits de la Passion (Passion fruit flavoured Rosé). These wines are targeting younger drinkers, women and sweet-toothed Asian consumers (red wine mixed with cocoa cola has been popular in China).
I was really surprised to find out that Nathalie Larraqué of Haussmann Famille is actually related to none other than Baron Haussmann (1809 – 1891), the man who was responsible for famously transforming Paris for Emperor Napoleon III. The Baron owned Chateau de Rouillac and Paul, our Financial Director, wrote about it recently – it’s now owned by ex-footballer Laurent Cisneros (you can read his blog about it here). What the Baron would think of coca cola being added to claret I am not sure but his descendants reject the idea that flavoured wines could seriously tarnish its image:
“This product is entirely different from what we offer in parallel. And we are proud of the result”.
Haussmann Famille are part of Chateau En Bordeaux and own several Bordeaux estates producing a range of red Bordeaux Superieur, rosé, white and moelleux (semi-sweet) from 370 acres of vineyards. The Haussmann Cuvée Baron Eugène range is made in honour of the Baron.
According to the The Drinks Business Rouge Sucette goes on sale throughout France next month priced at €2.95 a bottle and is currently being considered for a listing by UK supermarket Sainsbury’s:
“The French are developing a thirst for flavoured wines – according to industry estimates, 30 million bottles will be sold in the country this year, up 50% on 2012.
Sweet wines are also driving sales in the US, with sweet red blends continuing to make headway and Moscato now accounting for 6% of volumes sales in the country, up 33% year-on-year.”
Oddly enough there is another link from the distant past that associates Bordeaux with Coca Cola. The original Coca Cola was once made with Bordeaux wine. The recipe for Coca Cola was invented by John Pemberton in Georgia in 1885 and he named it Pemberton’s French Wine Cola. However his French Wine Cola was an imitation of Angelo Mariani’s blend of Bordeaux wine and coca leaves called Vin Mariani, created in 1863. Mariani’s beverage achieved extraordinary success in the 1880s, inspiring a host of knock-offs, of which Pemberton’s was merely one of the more successful.
Vin Mariani was very popular in its day, enthusiasts included Queen Victoria, Pope Leo XIII and Thomas Edison (Pope Leo even awarded a Vatican Gold Medal to the wine and also appeared on a poster endorsing it). With the introduction of prohibition in 1886, Pemberton had to make a non-alcoholic version of the popular drink so he substituted sugar syrup for the wine, changed the name to Coca-Cola, and advertised it as the ideal temperance drink. Vin Mariani disappeared into the history books . . .