Saturday, August 30, 2008

When the best isn't good enough

One of the definitions in my Concise Oxford Dictionary of the word 'premium' is 'of best quality. This seems to have escaped those who sell wine. Today, wines touted as 'premium' products are usually bog-standard, entry-level fodder.

So what's above premium? First there was super-premium. Then ultra-premium. Then Icon. This last was a bit of an an unfair tactic in the Premium game, just not cricket etc. And it wasn't long before people were asking whether Icon was one word or two. So profound thanks to Michael Mondavi for returning to playing by the rules. His new Napa Cabernet, set to be released this autumn, will be called M by Michael Mondavi, and it is to be, wait for it, a super-ultrapremium wine. Has Mr M jumped a category in labelling it thus? Is super-ultrapremium better or worse than ultra-superpremium? Discuss. Oh, and it'll be $200. A super price. Or maybe an ultra price.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Château N'Existe Pas

A lovely story has broken of how the US magazine Wine Spectator has paraised a restaurant that doesn't exist. American author Robin Goldstein invented sent details of the fictitious Osterio L'Intrepido in Milan to the magazine, along with a fee of $250 and wasn't surprised to receive one of the magazine's Awards of Excellence. Read more about it here.

Reminds me of an April fool that Farr Vintners put out a few years ago in which all the wines were ones that for whatever reason had never been made, such as 1992 DRC Montrachet and 1984 Château Musar. Lay the phoniness on sufficiently sticky, and some of it somewhere will stick. Not of course with North of England-based wine writers, oh no. Never. Honest. But the 1978 Le Pin we drank last night was superb...