Friday, April 27, 2012

Montepulciano Part 3; Constellation Part 4

Who's OCD?  Just because I conclude a couple of blog series and then remember something I should have talked about in those series and then can't stop thinking about the stuff, that doesn't mean I'm OCD.  Well. maybe just a little.  The Montepulciano series of two installments was from April 14-16; the Constellation Wines series, from March 13-15, if you want to read them first. 

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is the great Italian red wine from the town of Montepulciano in the province of Sienna in southern Tuscany.  The wine is made from 100% Sangiovese grapes.  Our Montepuciano series concerned Montepulciano d'Abruzzo the easy drinking soft red from the eastern coast of Italy made from Montepulciano grapes.  Since I had mentioned my own confusion about the two wines earlier I thought I should clarify in print that the two are indeed completely different wines.

Our Constellation Wines series was largely taken from their own website which chronicles their incredible growth over 64 years to their achievement of becoming the largest wine company in the world.  I think some analysis here might be helpful.  Constellation both purchases wineries and creates wine brands using huge facilities in their possession.  All mega-wine companies do this in "mondo vino", circa 2012.  The marketing of wine brands into uibiquity is what separates the very successful companies from the commercially less successful. 

So here's what I am getting at:  If Constellation buys a brand and can increase sales of it ten-fold without greatly diminishing quality, then they are to be congratulated.  If they create a brand and that brand shows good character and reaps critical and commercial acclaim, then that is all to the good also.  But when a label is purchased and it has a solid pre-history only to become a shadow of its previous incarnation because the juice sourced to maintain the marketing plan (saturation) is not that good or the essential character of the wine is diminished, then there is a problem in my opinion.  Of course the price could be dropped and the consumer should by then figure out that Chateau XYZ is no longer, in fact, the old Chateau XYZ.  This is essentially my problem with the modern era and mass marketing. 

Today at the store we host Stan Fenner of Artisan Vines as he offers us a tasting of Spanish and Portuguese reds and whites.  If you are at all curious, please join us from 5 to 7pm.  The wines are quite good.

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