More words from the vineyard and tasting room:
- Wines produced outside of the Napa Valley can no longer use "Napa" in their names, now that the European Union has formally granted geographic indication status to the region. Napa Valley Vintners, a trade group, had been irked by coattail-riders such as the UK's Clos de Napa and Spain's Varon de Napa. (Hat tip to JRC.)
- On the other hand, California wineries see nothing wrong with using European appellations such as Burgundy, Chianti, or Champagne to describe their wines. We can't say sparkling wine, whined Korbel Champagne Cellars owner Gary Heck to NPR's Shirley Skeel: "You go into other parts of the United States [besides California or New York], you ask somebody what sparkling wine is, they're gonna tell you it's wine with club soda added. It would be very detrimental to our brand to put 'sparkling wine' on it."
- And what would you call Port wine (named for the city of Oporto, Portugal) if you couldn't use the P-word? One Central Valley winery, Quady, has risen to the challenge: its Port-style wines are called Starboard--starboard being the nautical opposite of port.
- Another small California winery, Newton Vineyards of St. Helena, found a creative way to advertise in Wine Spectator magazine that probably saved a lot of money: it bought space in the narrow territory between the magazine's binding and the text margin--an area known in the industry as the "gutter." (That's right: wine in the gutter.) The copy reads: "To find wines of this quality, you have to look a little harder." The ads were created by the Los Angeles office of Dentsu America, which, according to an article in the New York Times, boasted that the ads "look as though they are integrated into editorial." That's precisely the problem, complained Roy Peter Clark, a respected blogger and vice president of the Poynter Institute, a journalism school. “It’s interesting that they’re bragging about having pulled a fast one,” said Clark. “Instead of being transparent about the separation between editorial and advertising content, there is an attempt to blur distinctions.”
- Elsewhere in the Times story, it's noted that the current issue of Wine Spectator describes a certain South African cabernet as having notes of “grilled beef, charcoal, hot tar and truffle.” Mm-mm-good!