Mon 29 Sep 2008
… I won’t name the winery whose back-label I’m about to quote here and, frankly, hold up to ridicule. The wine is a merlot that costs $35 a bottle.
We have selected this classic Bordeaux varietal from vineyards nestled on the gentle slopes of Sonoma Valley to produce an exquisite wine that rivals the very best Pommerol chateaus.
This brief screed offends me on so many levels that I feel it way down in the murky pools of my Behavioral Sink, but then I’m a sensitive guy.
First, and most evident, is the misspelling of Pomerol. I mean, really, people writing copy for wine labels shouldn’t misspell the names of wine regions, especially a wine region that’s a world-famous avatar of its grape and style of wine. I mean, Pomerol is to merlot as La Tour d’Argent is to pressed duck, as Wagner is to mytho-poetic Teutonic selfhood, as Tarantino is to violence. Pomerol is, in several words, the cradle of merlot, the Promised Land, the ne plus ultra.
Second is the fact that “varietal” is an adjective, not a noun (“variety”), but I’ve fought this hopeless battle before.
And third, the claim that this “exquisite wine … rivals the very best of [Pomerol]” cuts such a huge swath of unrealistic hype that it’s breathtaking. Confidence is good, of course, but delusion is treatable, one hears. The very best of Pomerol includes some of the — let’s say it — very best and most expensive wines in the world. These include Petrus, Lafleur, Le Pin, La Conseillante, Trotanoy, Certan de May, La Fleur de Gay, L’Eglise-Clinet, Clinet, L’Evangile, Latour-a-Pomerol and Vieux-Chateau-Certan.
Does the wine of which I speak here measure up? In one word, No. It’s well-made, attractive, tasty, with moderate complexity and weight, a shoo-in for a Very Good+ rating from me. (Shouldn’t a wine that sells for $35 rate better?)
But come on, let’s show a little common sense about these matters. PR is PR, marketing is marketing, these things we know are true and take with typical heaps of salt, but let’s not be stupid about them.