“Wine-speak” from the 2010 Vancouver International Wine Festival

I didn’t want to leave this year’s wine festival without a few final comments on what was an otherwise excellent experience.  Specifically, I heard some “wine marketing” comments that almost drove me crazy…so wanted to pass them on to everyone else!

1. “It’s a food wine” – Oh boy, I don’t know how many times I heard that over a couple of events…had to really bite my tongue a couple of times, especially with one marketing rep. He was pouring an expensive French Burgundy that — given the winery and price — should have been stunning.  Instead, it was light, with very little fruit.  His response to my query was “Oh, it will go great with food…” The fact is, if a wine doesn’t taste good by itself, food isn’t going to do anything except mask the taste…

 2. “It’s a lighter vintage, but will develop for years” – Same winery, same rep. I pushed back on this one, saying there  wasn’t enough fruit to develop any further…he just smiled. I also should have asked if it was a lighter vintage, why didn’t he drop his price?

“3. This is so much better than those high alcohol wines” – that comment — a fair one if you don’t like alcohol — came from — surprise, surprise, a German wine rep! His wine was very nice, but talk about comparing apples and organges…and interesting that he didn’t comment on how sweet his wine was…I liked it, but too sweet for most tastes!

4. “It is probably worth $60 – $70, but we wanted to keep it affordable at $40” – This one nearly killed me for a couple of reasons.  First, the winery was from  B.C., and there are very few wines that, from a quality point of view, should be more than $40 (and that from me, a huge fan of B.C. wines!). Second, whoever decided $40 is affordable is dealing with a very small wine buying demographic.  But the biggest problem with the comment was the fact the wine just wasn’t that good…mostly oak, quite tannic, and would dry out before it was really drinkable. I smiled and walked away.

5. “I honestly don’t know how long it will age” – Let’s end this one on  a positive note! An Argentine producer poured a new wine they were making with an Italian winemaker, trying to emulate the style of Amarone (which is rich, almost sweet and very long lived). I quite liked it, but asked how long it would age and develop.  And, to his credit, he said he didn’t know…it was only the second vintage and they had no track record for the wine. Honesty…how refreshing!




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