Last Friday I was wondering what I might write for my 300th blog. Then I went to an amazing Paul Simon concert down at the 02 and bought (for the princely ransom of €6.50 per plastic 175ml) two baby bottles of B&G Merlot Reserva from the Languedoc. It was the only wine option. Both were semi oxidised and, from the first to the last drop, difficult to drink and not at all enjoyable. The lady next to me (I talk with neighbours...) was very satisfied with her white B&G Sauvignon Blanc. She even went so far as to tell me that, "It's easier to keep white wine fresh, you know." Didn't know but, bless her, she was a good neighbour.
What to do about my poor wine?
What to do about my poor wine?
Bring it back
Not possible as there were quite literally hundreds of fans coming in behind us blocking up the entrances and then, when the concert began, well, who wants to trade (expensive) concert time on a wine complaint? The point here is that in this day and age, of learning and technical know-how, this should never happen, can be avoided all of the time and, to be honest, shame on the vendors for not recognising that it is happening.
|Paul Simon was brilliant - the wine was woeful!|
Should never happen?
Oxidation is avoidable. Everyone (?) knows that the 187ml bottle is a poor way to deliver wine as it has a very short shelf life. So, the experts/distributors should be extra vigilant. In addition this is not any old product. It's a branded product that has adorned itself with the title Reserva to make a grandiose (but vacuous!....) claim to being in some way superior to other Merlots from the same region. I don't think I am being unreasonable by then asking that the brand owners involved take care to make sure that their job continues all the way through the wine making process right up to the point to when I drink and enjoy the wine.
Can be avoided all of the time?
Surely both the distributors and vendors have a quality control programme in place. Clearly they don't because part of any wine quality programme are regular taste tests. As 187ml bottles are prone to problems these should be tested even more often than other bottles! Oxidation will be the first problem noticed. Yes, it can be avoided all of the time. Don't tell me they would be happy to serve strange smelling Guinness and not notice?
Shame on the Vendors?
€6.50 a pop for something that began its journey along the distribution chain at about .20 cent should allow for some degree of care towards the eventual customer. Leaving pricing aside though one suspects that vendors don't have any idea what they are selling. It's just a commodity. Now, I can't blame the guy at the counter but I can blame someone in management. If you're selling something like this, week in and week out, you should make sure that you and your staff are educated to know right from wrong! Education in the Irish wine trade is pitiable since the trade abandoned the Wine Board of Ireland a few years back. The wine trade seems not to care whether its work force is educated or not. The end result is that consumers are served oxidised wines at scandalous prices (remember this is equivalent to charging €26.00 for a full bottle of wine that retails for less than a tenner in the supermarkets!) and no-one in the supply chain could care less. That's shameful.
What to do?
Keep on your toes. Tomorrow's Profit is Made Today!
Get rid of baby bottles? I don't think so. They're handy and they work in a concert situation. Mind you I think small pouches would work a lot better, look fantastic and keep the wine better.
I'm sorry this had to be B&G. I'm a fan of what they've been doing over the past few years with fruit forward and quiet luscious styles from France. It could easily have been another brand. But that's the way it goes when you're succesfully selling a brand in a lot of fast selling outlets. You do get noticed and need to be extra vigilant.
That's my 300th! Thanks for Reading