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So I hear the Gallo family are unknowingly involved in a wine scandal. They have been sold inexpensive French Merlot and Syrah as Pinot Noir and thus commanded a higher retail price for the product. This will not be a first. It is a well known fact that twice as much Italian Pinot Grigio is sold than actually grown and you only have to taste the bottom end to realize that any connection to grapes is entirely coincidental. In many parts of the world it is permitted to call a wine by a single grape variety provided at least 85% comes from that variety - however this does not seem to apply in the examples outlined above.

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We were rather stunned and amazed when a potential supplier became rude and abusive following a tasting of his wines. He was, he informed us, a serious and experienced wine maker who had studied for the highest exam in the wine trade. This it would seem gave him the right to tell us what we should enjoy. The wines were simply dreadful with only dried up fruit flavours and a nasty smelling nose. Apparently we did not understand the grape or terroir, but as far as we were all concerned they smelt so foul that our customers would have had them down the sink before returning for their money back. The arrogance of the man left us all quite stunned but being a pretentious git is one of the dangers of being in the wine business.

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I watched a TV program whilst on the running machine at my local gym recently. It was all about a ghastly group of people travelling around France in a bus and being booted off when they became particularly unpopular. It's the sort of mindbogglingly awful show you expect to find on at 3.30 in the afternoon. About twenty of these people were given a wine talk by the famous Chablis grower William Fevre. Their inability to listen, concentrate or respect him was embarrassing. They mostly hated his wine and were not afraid to tell him so before searching out German Niersteiner and fish and chips. I don't often feel sorry for the French but...

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How refreshing to come across Adi Badenhorst, the lively young eccentric former wine maker at Rustenberg. Adi has broken away to do his own thing and talks modestly about his achievements. He makes four interesting and characterful wines all highly lauded by Jancis Robinson yet he is the least stuffy and most refreshing wine maker I have ever met. When asked about blending he simply remarked that he "just chucks in a bit of this and a bit of that" but I suspect there is a little more to it than he suggests!

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Oddbins have been making a great play of the fact that they have reduced Laurent Perrier Rosé by 20% down to £44.99 on a special offer. Why is it then that we have had this same wine on our list all year at less than this even before our additional case discount? Is this just another example of companies over inflating their prices so as to appear to be offering a great deal to their customers?

Date: 01/05/2010 | Author: Ted Sandbach