Thursday, 13 November 2014


In his book  BURGUNDY  Anthony Hanson said:

"Great Burgundy smells of shit. It is most surprising, but something the French recognised long ago, Ça sent la merde and Ça sent le purin being common expressions on the Côte. Not always, of course; but frequently there is a smell of decaying matter, vegetable or animal, about them." 

There's some truth in this but perhaps it's due to wine making faults and poor winery hygiene rather than any pure expressions of the Cote. Brettanymyces, over-cooked fermentations and the smell of gumboots can also be found in Pinot Noirs from Oregon to Yarra Valley although, thankfully, better wine making practises are eliminating these characters.

Nowadays the 'merde' is more likely to be the horseshit that's written on the back label rather than the wine inside the bottle.

Tonight I tried a Vidal Reserve Pinot Noir 2013.

 This is from the Villa Maria Stable with fruit from Marlborough (Vidal, the company is based in Hawkes Bay). There's no indication that the wine was made in Marlborough at Villa Maria's excellent winery which has a great reputation for Pinot Noir or whether the grapes were shipped to Hawkes Bay for processing. I imagine the former as this makes more sense. The wine in this case is most likely not batch-made for Vidals but part of the tiered range of wines that Villa Maria produces.

I've no problem with this as the wine is pretty good in the classic simple berry-like Marlborough style.
No, my problem is more in the marketing hype (horseshit) that accompanies it.

"This elegant and distinctive wine offers exceptional quality and true regional identity"

screams the opening statement on the back label after the mandatory wine identification.


Certainly and I think that if it was true then why would Villa Maria put the wine in a lesser label and one that commands a much lesser price than their Villa Maria Black label Reserve wines.
"Beautifully fragrant red berry and floral aromas combine on a silky finely textured palate'
is the follow up statement.


Grammar aside, what the fuck does this mean?

Berries being fragrant?- Check. typical Marlborough fruitiness.
Floral aromas? - Check. There is a hint of violets.
Combining on a finely textured palate? Well, maybe, but what about the taste, really?

The wine is good, don't get me wrong. I bought it on special at one of those bastard supermarkets and will buy more next time that I see them ripping the heart out of one of New Zealand's better winemakers but how the hell does the above description tell me what the wine will taste like?

Just like almost all other New Zealand Pinot Noirs this one is well made, clean, fault-free and a delight to drink.

The 'merde' is not evident at all, at least not in the wine.

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