Heavy Metal

If you’re a wine producer how do you make sure your wine gets noticed, talked about and, mostly importantly, bought?

  1. You send a sample to wine writers and hope they actually get round to opening it.
  2. You send a sample to wine writers, hope they actually get round to opening it and like it.
  3. You send a sample to wine writers, hope they actually get round to opening it, like it and then write about it. Favourably.

But this is stuff of dreams.

You’re really proud of what you’ve achieved. You think it is better than some of the other wines you make and certainly better than your neighbours. To your mind, it’s unquestionably better than many of the wines on the supermarket shelf and decidedly better than all those brands and own labels but how is the consumer to know this? Your bottle looks pretty similar from the outside but yours is more expensive. You know it’s worth every penny, how do you make the consumer buy it so they can taste that it is.

You slap a bit of bling on the bottle.

From left to right:

heavy metal wines 2Gran Lorca Opalo Blend 2008 94 Parker points and highly praised by Steven Spurrier. Unoaked with a large dollop of Syrah added to Bordeaux grapes. £25 from  Goodwineonline

S  Familia Schroeder 2007 Oak-aged Pinot Noir and  Malbec (an odd blend but it works) from Ellis of Richmond

Fin del Mundo Special Blend 2008 Silver Medal with International Wine and Spirit Competition A Bordeaux blend with a typical Argentine high dose of Malbec (40%), aged in French oak for 18months, available from ND John Wine Merchants £19.95

These three bottles stood out for me at a recent tasting. When you have a table of over a hundred red blends to choose from, what is it that makes you taste one over another? I tasted these three because they caught my eye and I realised that the winemaker was trying to tell me that he thinks these wines are so good they deserve to stand out, to be noticed. The heavy metal labels have done their ‘PICK ME!’ job. If the wine in the bottle stacks up, which they did in all three cases, then why wouldn’t I want to grace my dinner table with a bottle like this? I wasn’t expecting shrinking violets, subtlety or delicacy and I wasn’t disappointed. These are big, bold but certainly not brash wines.

Sometimes you need a bit of Black Sabbath rather than a gentle symphony to get the public’s attention.