Friday, March 13, 2009

What happens when you just don’t dig the wine?

Nice people are everywhere. I have even been accused of being a nice person from time to time (shhhh, do not tell anyone!). There are even nice people in the wine world, lots of them. And nice people make it very hard to not like their wine.

I will name the winery in a few paragraphs, but I want to go deeper into the how simple courtesies make such a difference in how you view the products of a company. It’s one of the reasons why so many people are so adamant about how wine publications should taste all of their wines blind. I think for a true professional, they are so used to being treated well that it really only sticks out in their minds when hospitality is lacking.

A major example of this was when a few bloggers went to go visit Domain Chandon. The experience was posted by WineDiverGirl, and then joined by her friends at Shana, and the Luscious Lushes. It then kept rippling with other bloggers, such as the Wannabe Wino, with mentions and notes about how Domain Chandon treated their friends. Domain Chandon then did their best to correct their mistake with WineDiverGirl, which is really the least they could do. I would bet there was a pretty serious meeting with the tasting staff after that (and it goes to show just how bloggers can shake up the world a little). There was a similar incident that happened with the writers of the Wall Street Journal wine column, when they visited some of the best restaurants in New York and were almost completely ignored and rushed out the door.

But enough giving shout-outs to other bloggers that I read (and you should too), and back to the problem of nice people. A PR representative contacted me and asked me if I wanted to stay at a hotel in Napa on their dime in order for me to review my stay on my blog. A very nice offer, but since I have no plans to be in Napa anytime soon, nor do I really have the means to take a spur of the moment vacation right now, I declined. Being the good PR person, he said no problem and then actually read what I write about (ok, so he was good but not a great PR person) and asked if I would like some samples from a winery client of his. I said of course and he then sent me three desert wines from Quady Winery.

Quady is a family owned and operated winery and has been making wines since 1975, and only dessert wines. When I tasted the wines I was struck by the very manufactured feeling in the wines. I feel like these were an attempt to create a wine instead of allowing the fruit to show through. I tasted the wines with a group of coworkers and when we tasted the Orange Muscat wines not a single person could come up with a fruit to describe the wine. In a dessert wine you should always be able to pick out some type of fruit! In fact, that could probably be said for any wine. All we could find was notes of fruit roll-up and other artificially flavored fruit snacks. It then got a bit weirder as we tried one that had been infused with mystical plants and aphrodisiacs. Definitely not wines for me, although someone else might like them.

The one I liked was the Black Muscat, the Elysium. It was a breath of fresh air after the other wines, with fruit that showed through, some cherry and raspberry. It was something that would have gone quite well with a piece of chocolate cake, or a dark chocolate mousse.
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