I want some Chateau Margaux, some Cheval Blanc, some DRC…
I wish I’d said that…
Monsieur Wregg’s sympathetic take on a recent marketing strategy in Bordeaux
More words, words, words and some skewed definitions.
If you really want to know your Alsace from your Elbling here is a sideways squint at the real meaning beneath the language of wine…
Randall Grahm, the man once described affectionately as “crazy as a cup of waltzing mice”, has shocked the world wine community by releasing a Chardonnay in a bottle with a conventional label. “It’s a pastiche not a parody”, he explained helpfully.
A Californian micro-winery claims that it has created the perfect wine “in the image of God”. Robert Parker was unavailable for comment.
A computer bug called Phylloxera has attacked all wine web sites across the world resulting in the dramatic loss of no sales whatsoever.
A restaurant manager in London who marked up a bottle of Cloudy Sauvignon five times the cost of the bottle has apologised. “It was meant to be seven times”, he conceded.
Industrial caterers and cleaning agencies have been complaining about the quality of grande marque champagnes. “They’re definitely not what they are cracked up to be. They’re just not getting those stubborn stains out.” A spokesman for one of the major champagne houses replied: “We’re very happy with the current product. Any less bottle age and the contents would be too toxic to use in a closed environment”.
On the subject of sparkling wine Cloudy Bay have released the new deluxe brand “Thesaurus”, as they have run out of superlatives to promote their own products.
- Skullit it has come to my attention that alien grape varieties have been the abducting the market share in California.
- Nonsense, Mulledwine, this is just another one of your conspiracy theories.
- Well, Skullit, look at the facts. In 195- a flying cigar-shaped object landed in a vineyard in Southern France. 35 years later a long-haired Californian, called Randall Graham, began creating pictograms of unknown origin on wine labels.
- Sheer coincidence, Mulledwine. There’s a perfectly logical explanation for this. Randall Grahm went to Berkeley University in the 60s. He wants to believe like you that there’s something out there.
- I disagree, Skullit. There has to be a link between this alien landing and the sudden increase of Rhone Ranger activity in the San Fernando Valley.
Hmmm. vatted Merlot, marvellous - VAT 69, Pope’s phone number, wasn’t it? Sweet plums and chocolate liqueur, always the last one in the box or is it the coffee cream - offering it to the lady wife with a cheeky grin - marvellous! Here’s a claret. Expensive, mon cher, I should cocoa. Ah the clarets - West Ham at home, blowing bubbles, blowing games - the Happy Hammers - especially if you’re auctioneer! The prices, isn’t it, aren’t they - tremendous? Thomas Jefferson, wine collector, cultivated footballer, two Lafite wasn’t it (or was it two left feet?).
A revolutionary wine survey about wine surveys has once again exposed the vast chasm in our knowledge about the drinking habits of Joe and Joanna public and thereby pointed out the irrefutable need for more wine surveys. Incontrovertible research demonstrates that people living below the poverty line tended to spend less on a bottle of wine than plutocrats, Russian oligarchs and Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was further discovered that drinks advertising aimed at babies and people in a vegetative state tended to be less effective than that targeted at impressionable twenty somethings and alcoholics. Other extraordinary revelations include the fact that all women drink Pinot Grigio to a man, that Australian wine is physically louder than French wine and Chateau Latour would sell far more bottles off supermarket shelves if it were varietally labelled Posh Frog Cabernet Merlot and sported a day-glow back label explaining that the wine could be drunk with red meat or poultry or quaffed as an aperitif.
The most touchingly resonant images in Mondovino are established at the beginning of the film with shots of vineyards in Jurancon and Sardinia where growers eke out a precarious existence amongst their vines. As they talk we realise that theirs is the language of true passion, of personal commitment - having invested their lives in it these people are as part of the terroir themselves, rooted in the very landscape that surrounds them.
Delightful as these fleeting vignettes are, we are soon disabused of this Arcadian view. Wine, after all, is big business, and business demands global models and standards regarding the qualitative homogenisation of the product. At the one end of the market spectrum this manifests itself as the ongoing corporate battle for wealth, for influence, for prestige, for land. To acquire influence one must play the game: wine is thus made (tweaked, amplified) to conform to a perceived notion of excellence, tracking the palates of influential journalists. The product thus becomes a means to an end: firstly, a desire for critical approval, to be the smartest clone in the class; secondly, to perpetuate the notion that anything can be achieved by facsimile winemaking procedures. In short: meet the Stepford wines.
Buck Trends, a restaurant critic and social commentator with superhuman powers of trivial observation and a nice line in antagonistic rhetoric has been thawed out from the state of cryogenic suspension in which he�d been placed by an irate restaurateur who had received one too many sneering reviews. Many centuries have passed…