The company is comprised of four drinks-industry experts who have worked together to release the Cabernet/Merlot blend, Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé wines
The co-founders of Lucky Barrel Wine Co (LBWC) are Michael Ballantyne (creator of Storywood Tequila), Gregor Maclean and Ramone Robertson (Huffman's and Crag & Tail Gin) and drinks-brand designer Craig Black.
Maclean and Robertson are at the helm of the distribution, with Black designing the brand, and Ballantyne ageing and blending the wines. The quartet have also joined forces with global growers and distilleries local to their hometown in Scotland, where they source the oak barrels in which the wines are aged.
Ballantyne explains the use of ex-spirit barrels in the ageing of their three wines as being both sustainable and contributing to the uniqueness of the flavour. 'Whilst many would think that the key reason for ageing wine in whisky barrels is to get whisky flavours that really isn’t the case for LBWC,' he said.
When asked about the concept, Ballantyne said: 'Innovation is great, but it only means something when it has purpose. Our purpose is for two reasons. Firstly, we all love whisky, but it’s usually ordered after the meal. We wanted to create an alternative option for whisky drinkers to enjoy the flavours they already love, but in a different style of liquid that’s better suited with food so you can enjoy that whisky after.
'Secondly, for every new barrel used to age wine is another tree cut down. We feel strongly about trying to minimise that process so we’re reusing some of the best oak casks from Scotland.'
The wines have been specifically crafted by ex-chef Ballantyne to enjoy alongside food, especially barbecue.
The Red Blend (14% abv; 50% Cabernet, 50% Merlot) is said to work best with beef and pork. On the nose, Imbibe found notes of dark fruits (cherry, blackcurrants) and spiced oak, while being highly tannic on the palate alongside spices such as cinnamon and cloves. The Sauvignon Blanc (12% abv) is floral on the nose with elderflower and hints of green apple, while toasted oak and citrus come through on the palate. Finally, the Rosé (12.5% abv) is strong with strawberries on the nose, while on the palate come slight vegetal notes and a pleasing amount of acidity.
The LBWC range has also been designed with sustainability in mind with regards to packaging and process. 'Our winery and farmers we work with have the highest accolades when it comes to sustainable practices; we needed our packaging to match that,' said Black. 'From our cotton made labels and recyclable glass to our hand-selected whisky barrels and biodynamic grapes our focus is to get everyone as passionate about our wine as we are with the understanding that there is also a more environmentally friendly way to create it.'
The range is already stocked at Mac & Wild venues across the UK, as well as on Mac & Wild founders Andy Waugh and Calum Mackinnon's new Restaurant Kits delivery service.
Trade prices start at £8.50, Lucky Barrel Wine Co/Huffmans, luckybarrelwineco.com/huffmans.co.uk