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22 June 2007

Memo to Marquis

Memo_1 Memo

To: Rémy Pannier 

From: Basic Juice 

cc:  Growers (from the 500 of you viticulturing in 63 different appellations) who contribute grapeage to Marquis de la Tour's Rosé Sparkling Wine 

Date: 22 Jun 07

Marquisdelatouri Re: Future branding/marketing of Marquis de la Tour Rosé (NV, $9) sparkling wine


Dear Sirs/Madames:

Seeing as how Rémy Pannier is the Loire Valley's largest wine producer, I'm sure your company employs a number of smart, aspiring marketing wizkidz.  No doubt, one of them has already pitched the idea of rebranding Marquis de la Tour bubbly in order to make it more appealing to the US consumer.  I can picture the pitch in my mind....."look, we'll use those Budweiser frogs.  And instead of 'bud-weis-err' the amphibs can ribbit, "De-La-Tour!" 

Allow me to be the first to nip the aforementioned idea in the proverbial bud.  I'm sure the folks at Arrogant Frog are joyed to the max with their decision to leap into cute, crittery labeling.  However, your A+-value-priced, sparkling Rosé needs no such gimmicky hoo-ha.  I am happy to recommend a couple label modifications, free of charge:

  1. On the front label, include these two succinct, highly descriptive adjectives in large, bold font (in English, as I and my fellow citizens no parlay much francais, if you catch my drift): DRY, SPARKLING WINE
  2. On the back label, feel free to indulge the creativity of your marketeers.  Let them craft a nifty taste description (e.g. Marquis de la Tour Rosé is a lovely salmon-colored bubbly full of straw- and rasp-berry scents.  De la Tour's taste is divine with creamy texture, apple cider notes and a pleasant floral-berry finish) or pairing suggestions (e.g. Marquis de la Tour is the perfect accompaniment to summertime produce-enhanced dishes such as grilled tomato, basil and goat cheese sandwiches or lamb chops & farm fresh veggies)

I guarantee that five years down the road, you won't look back in shame at a label sporting pink frogs gussied up to look like something of a cross between Zoro and the Scarlet Pimpernel.  Rather, team Marquis will stand tall with pride at its simple, classy and info-rich label.  Heed me now; thank me later.

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07 May 2007

1 + 1 =! 3

What exactly do you think this label is attempting to convey?


An unexpected value?
A rule-breaking, iconoclastic Spanish bubbly?
A jab at arithmetic?
A very poor 1st grade teacher?

Would that this mathematical expression equated to super tasting value Cava.  1+1=3 is a very serviceable sparkling wine.  However, at $13, I'll take the S to the V at ninedamndollars (or $6!) every day of the week.  It's just as good, and to my palate, it offers a bit more yeasty/toasty goodness.  However, if you're a grade school teacher, you may feel compelled to buy every bottle of "1-plus" in the store just so you can correct the label.


A more apt & honest label.

11 March 2007

Bubbleicious March 29 @ 6:30

Ccork_3 Attention Salt Lake City-based Basic Juicers.  Come, get your bubble on...

The details:

Bubbleicious (or how I stopped worrying and learned to love sparkling wine because it goes with everything)
Thursday, March 29. @ 6:30 PM
Kimball Distributing Showroom (2233 South 300 East)
Cost: $40 (payment by cash or check due at tasting)
Quetions/RSVP by Monday, March 26 to beau[At]basicjuice[D0t]com
Class size limited to 20

Sparkling wine is a beautiful thing. It goes splendidly with almost anything you’re having for dinner tonight, or the next night, or next Tuesday, get the picture. Sample various styles of sparkling wine with a host of munch-able flavors. In addition to Champagne, discover the great taste and value of sparkling wine from Spain and Italy.

08 December 2006


Ccork_1 Time for an episode of, "Let's dispel some wine dogma."

I recall in the early days of my oenological oeducation there was always one exception to the following article of faith:  There isn't necessarily any relationship between wine quality and price."  In other words, pricey wine isn't always tasty wine.

But then, nearly every wine guru would add the 'Champagne exception'.  The Champagne exception goes something like this:  Champagne is a labor-intensive wine; each house can blend dozens of reserve wines to produce a consistent style, and thus, even though it's pricey, Champagne quality is reflected in its price.  Put another way: Champagne is good, and you get what you pay for.

Really?  I think not.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been experimenting with entry level bubbly from some of the major Champagne houses.  And I'm here to testify that the aforementioned little chunk of wine dogma w/r/t Champagne & price is total hooey.  Why should one pay thirty or forty bucks for mediocre, one-dimensional sparkling wine?  While I think some Champagne in this price range is definitely worth the money (e.g. see: J. Lallement & Fils), There is no steadfast rule of relationship between price and Champagne quality.  It pays to do your Champagne homework, and ask questions at your friendly neighborhood wine shop.

Do you know of any wine dogma, which needs to be dispelled?

24 September 2006

Sparklepoll Results

Apparently, a majority of you think Champagne is overpriced.  Yet 49% of ya'll suck it up and buy the bubbles because they are so tasty.


I have to agree.  Yes - it is expensive to produce.  However, by and large, Champagne is likely a wee bit overpriced.  Yet, I'll suck it up, plonk down the extra cash and pop the cork.

Stay tuned for another wine poll.

Bonus, post-poll Youtube fun:

15 September 2006

Poll: Champagne Truth

Ccork I love Champagne.  You love Champagne.  It's difficult not to be beguiled by the stuff.  However, occasionally, I feel a bit let down by the bubbles.  I know bringing up this topic may make me a wine heretic.  Don't get me wrong; if I only had one mixed case of wine on a desert island, 2 of the 12 wines would be Champagne - Krug and Salon Le Mesnil.

I was thrilled to discover that the theme for WineBloggingWednesday #25 was Champagne (the real deal, from France).  I tracked down a new-to-me marque:  Lenoble.  For $55, I took home Lenoble's 1996 Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs.  What could be better than sipping vintage bubbly on a rainy Wednesday night?

The wine was good.  That was the problem.  Technically, it was well-balanced, good flavors, yadda, yadda.  However, I just spent a fifty-five bucks.  Shouldn't it be really good? Shouldn't I be lying in bed searching for a cigarette?  Or, at a minimum, shouldn't I have heard one or two angels singing?  The bubbly was good, not great.  That makes me uneasy.

When I first began learning about wine, the following caveat was drilled into my head from a number of "experts":

Spending more money doesn't necessarily equate to better wine.  However, a notable exception is Champagne.  The relationship between price and quality is rock-solid.

The more Champagne I taste, the more I find the above statement to be baloney.  I love the bubbles, but I trust them less and less each day.

What do you think?

The price of Champagne is generally..

Create Free Polls

See results here.

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26 June 2006

Baths of the Rich & Famous

Thermenestate Austria's Thermenregion (Thermal Region) is situated just south of Vienna.  As the name suggests, this region is home to numerous natural spring baths.  At one time, the Thermenregion was the summer frolic spot for those with cash in Vienna's societé.  This area, once home to soggy rich folks, is also the birthplace of sparkling wine in Austria, not to mention the home to a mysterious red grape variety.  There is more history here than one can shake a bottle at...

  • In 1770, the Earl of Fries (whom I picture looking something like Mayor McCheese) developed large vineyards in this area for the purpose of selling red wine to customers in Vienna
  • In the 18th century, Emperor Joseph II ruled that most anyone could open wine taverns (called Heuriger in German).  A vibrant wine-tavern culture sprung up in the Thermenregion after this imperial decree
  • Robert Schlumberger, director of Ruinart Champagne, yearned to produce bubbly in Austria.  Why? He fell in love with a Viennese woman, whose mother forbade her to move back to france with bubbly Bob.  Schlumberger settled into Bad Vöslau, a town in the Thermenregion, and began producing Champagne-method-made wine
  • Blauer Portugieser is the 'bulk' red wine grape of the Thermenregion.  It's origins are murky.  Two wine industry people I spoke with in Austria indicated that a Graff (royal) was said to have brought this variety from somewhere in France.  However, neither source knows why it carries the "Portuguese" moniker.  Wine from this grape is best sampled in a Heuriger

  • Two unique white wine varieites, Zierfandler (spicy, lively) and Rotgipfler (sort of Gewurz-like, slightly flabby) are grown here

Continue reading "Baths of the Rich & Famous" »

01 May 2006

Nectar Imperial Analysis

My highly scientific analysis of Moet & Chandon's Nectar Impèrial


(click to enlarge)
Still trying to work out some of the kinks in the sensors..

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29 April 2006

Weekend Wine Picks

Lawnmower_1 A mixed case full of weekend wine picks:

Now go get some sun (but not too much).

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21 April 2006

Mauzac to our Ears

(Editor's note: This is the second in a series of posts by guest authors whose own blogs are under-appreciated/under-visited.  If you are new to wine blogging, or host a blog out in the remote reaches of wineblogistan, contact me with a post proposal, and we'll see if we can't deliver more winos to your site.)

9b_blanquette_w Guest Author: Caryl of Château Rives-Blanques

Talk about challenging names and
have-to-be-hand-sold wines ... what about a mauzac called 'Xaxa', then?

In fact, what about Mauzac period/full stop?

Mauzac is an old traditional grape variety of the Renaissance, which used to be widespread throughout the south of France and even featured in Antiquamareto's Livre de Raison  in the early 16th century -  but today exists in only two appellations (Limoux and Gaillac).

The one thing mauzac does really well is, it sparkles.  Some time around 1500 the Benedictines  in a monastery  in Limoux, close to Carcassonne, were blessed by a happy accident (or was it divine intervention?) and  found that out for themselves.  They went into business, and no wonder: at that time, a sparkling Blanquette (the original name for mauzac) was worth twice as much as a non-sparkling wine, so they were on to a good thing.  This all happened over 150 years before another Benedictine, a certain
Dom Pérignon  passed by on his obligatory pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella, and probably had his first sip of their famous bubbles on the way.   (Am I implying he stole, or at best borrowed, the recipe - or in this case, méthode?  Well ... perhaps.  Besides, even Robert Parker says that Blanquette de Limoux is much, much older than champagne, so the story must be true.)

Continue reading "Mauzac to our Ears" »

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