Barefoot and Knee-deep

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The say that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Well, one has to wonder what one of the largest and most powerful producers of wine could and would do in order to sell a product.  In this, I am talking about some of the latest releases from Barefoot Wines, a company owned by E&J Gallo.  Now, I feel sorry for them in that their Red Bicyclette Pinot Noir turned out to be mostly not Pinot Noir, as they were scammed themselves, but this time, they are scamming their first customer base, and that is the American people.

Just for the hell of it, I chose to pick up a bottle of their Pinot Grigio “Champagne” which was the start of the lie right there.  For those of you that don't know, champagne – with the exception of Renault Winery in Egg Harbor, New Jersey – can only be produced and labeled as such in the Champagne region of France.  Second, only three grape varietals can be used in it, none of which is Pinot Grigio.  Third, the method of secondary fermentation, by which it gets its bubbles, must happen within the bottle.  This wine lies on so many levels that someone needs to be slapped. 

There are two bottles that scream “you lie” the loudest, and that is of course the Pinot Grigio and the Moscato Spumante.  Now, if you look to the left and to the right of the word Champagne, the next thing that you read is Sparkling and California.  But wait, if you look underneath that, you see that it uses the Charmat Method, to which secondary fermentation is not in the bottle.  This is almost as bad as getting a kit car that is supposed to look like something else; you can get these in Southeast Asia easily.  You can get something like a Toyota that looks like a Ferrari, but in this case, right up under the Ferrari label, it would say something like “made in Japan.”  And under that, you might see something that reads “Four cylinder supercharged engine not to be confused with horizontally opposed eight cylinder engine with sequential turbochargers.”  This makes me think of the time I was driving in Manhattan and saw a BMW 8 series that someone placed the BMW Motorsports ‘M” on.  My buddy thought it was all that, but I had to tell him that BMW doesn't make M versions of their 8 series cars; alas he was still too stupid to believe me.

So, aside from producers labeling wines as being of reserve quality when they aren't – you'd be surprised on this and I have sat at the table while producers have discussed this -- some folks are outright trying to bamboozle you all around.  Really, this reminds me of the old Joe Isuzu commercials.  The question is whether I am the only one that noticed this.

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