Friday, June 23, 2017
   
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Preaching to the Converted

Wine Industry

So many of the wines I taste on a daily basis are insanely boring. Aimed at the willing and forgiving, this wine marketing agenda darts out like a generic grocery store pie with no arrival gate, full of fructose corn syrup and white-bread recipe lists. I recently attended a high-end tasting, presented mostly to restaurant buyers, where I became more and more frustrated as the evening carried on (as I usually do). I never get over the nothingness and offensive pricing of so many wines. Highly sought after wines! If these wines were actually tasty, I’d be much less concerned. What a missed opportunity to turn your clientele on to killer juice. If you are after a certain ‘taste’ profile, there are thousands of wines out there at a much smaller percentage of the price of most of these cons. Try these wines blind!

 

One of the main reasons I play in this realm is for the experience of life. Sharing in two directions what we all know or don’t know. The Epiphany Community. I think there is a place for Velveeta. I like Velveeta when the time is right (did I say that out loud?). But when I eat Velveeta (queso, anyone?), I am aware that I am eating Velveeta. It’s honest.

 

I’d love to post a list of the auction-priced Velveeta wines that offend me, but they sell. I, in fact, sell them on a regular basis to private cellars. I always inform the buyer that I believe these particular wines to be obnoxiously over-priced and offensive under-performers, but it may be worth the experience since their peers and dinner guests probably get excited by the ‘brands’. Anyone can play with brands. Just pick up a magazine. You don’t need clever and experienced palates finding jewels for you, just let the colorless green do the suggesting. In that scenario, you definitely don’t need me to tell you what will be will be.

 

I spend my entire wine-journey searching for what I consider to be Best-of-Breeds of every style, category, and price. I taste blind nonstop. I live for it! I love it! When I’m wrong, I’ll let it be known. (This obviously ignores the ’story’ of a wine or winery relationship, but that’s a different ramble.) Right now, there is an unnamed inexpensive French Pinot Noir (gamay, anyone?) from a negociant/producer that I find to be demonic, a bully, and most importantly do not want to support. I dig this little Pinot Noir. I sell this Pinot Noir. I tell this story every time I sell it. I will also tell folks that a particular wine is $125 over-priced, but that they need it in their life. I will also tell folks that a particular wine with a particular varietal listed on the label doesn’t taste anything like that varietal, but that it is a fun bottle of wine, anyway. I happen to live in a city that has many wine options. Several of our wineshops sell 2,000-5,000 different wines. I want to take advantage of experience and those options. If you went to a particular winery on your honeymoon and hold a sentimental slot in your heart for a producer, then buy that producer. It fits in like a good friend. Sometimes friends let you down, but you keep’em anyway. It’s about the big picture in the relationship.

I don’t eat at Burger King. I don’t want my wine to taste like Burger King. I want grandma’s cookin’. I want some love in my kitchen. And in yours. Less of the plastic and fake wines… and these artificial/manipulated wines do sell. So, too, do many other ‘products’. The brands are brands for a reason. Just because the 1996 of a wine was out-of-control brilliant does not mean that the 1997 or 2007 will be. Hopefully vintage matters. Hopefully the earth and chef do too. Hopefully, wine producers aren’t in their lab creating Coca-Cola wines. Or are they? Hello, brands!

Talk to your local ‘wine-guy’ and demand “no more plastic passion. Please turn me on, wine-guy!” (… later that day, when you’re looking out the window of the psychiatric wing, you can think of me drinking that Pinot Noir…
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