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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

GOSH: Mr. and Mrs. Smith to open a wine tasting rehab centre in Niagara


"Investigators became suspicious in 2008, after realising that a large amount of Pinot Noir was being exported from the Languedoc-Roussillon."

-- News Report


TRAWNA – GOSH Wine News Services has just learned that a meeting at top levels of Constellation Brands Inc. (A Constellation Company) and E & J Gallo seems to have produced stunning results in wine tasting in an attempt to defuse a looming scandal.


A year-long investigation into passing off Syrah and Merlot wines from Languedoc-Roussillon as local Pinot Noir resulted in jail terms and fines for 12 French winemakers and dealers. All of these wines had been passed off to U.S. buyers for Constellation Brands Inc (A Constellation Company) and E & J Gallo (Gallo had it as part of their Red Bicyclette line, which also, incidentally, had bottles of Merlot and Syrah).


Top investigative wine reporter Brett Grimsby has been following this story for days now, and he files his report based on several interviews with Miffed Mole, the collective name for our sources who are familiar with the situation, and who spoke to him on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge details while they were very close to the centre of discussions and while the matter under consideration had not yet been finalized nor announced to the public. While the decisions may or may not have been finalized internally, and while an announcement on the matter may or may not be imminent, possibly within the next week or two, that specific timeline is not really known.


What GOSH Wine News Services has learned is this: the top levels of Constellation and Gallo (Jean-Charles Bosseit and Gina Gallon, respectively and also known as "Mr. and Mrs. Smith") have begun a seek and destroy mission designed to ferret out the tasters responsible for the purchased wine.


"Obviously," said one source, "the wine had been tasted before its purchase, to check on its decency and consistency with what Pinot Noir should taste like in the South of France. But these tasters screwed up because they were not used to tasting Pinot Noir from a hot climate. They just assumed that such a wine would automatically taste ripe and rich and fruity because of the heat, and that puts the taste into the Merlot-Syrah-Shiraz complex of flavours."


But a second source said: "You can quote the English wine writer Harry Waugh, who was once asked if he had ever mistaken a Bordeaux for a red Burgundy. His reply: "Not since lunch." Professional tasters can screw up. I think the French used some reverse osmosis technique -- the French are tricky that way."


Said yet another expert source: "Pinot Noir can taste like Merlot and Syrah if you overcrop, introducing some vegetative elements that, in a hot climate wine, can be pleasant enough to evoke a more modest Burgundy."


A fourth expert source said: "Maybe they bumped up the final acid a bit to make the wine taste sort-of Pinot Noirish."


The website for Red Bicyclette itself says "And, no other wine tastes quite like Red Bicyclette from France - taste for yourself…" Hmmmmmm.


Tasting, though, will no longer be a problem for the importers as terminators Mr. and Mrs. Smith give the current tasters who are still on staff a choice: either be fired or be sent off to a rehab tasting school in Canada. GOSH has learned that a huge tasting laboratory is now being built on the site of the Closer Dan winery-that-was-to-be.


Mr. and Mrs. Smith will begin tasting classes as soon as possible while both companies go into complete damage control mode. Adjunct instructors will include members of the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada, selected by a tontine, which has not yet been banned in Canada.


Said Mr. Smith, in his ebullient French accent: "We'll get to the bottom of this barrel, one way or the other, and our tasters will emerge stronger than ever."


Still, there is wonder at how it all started. As one source said, "Anyone who has any idea what Pinot Noir tastes or smells like would not be fooled with Syrah or Merlot, regardless of tricks."


Another highly placed source said, "There are those who would know immediately it was not Pinot Noir because they know Pinot Noir, and those who don't have a clue what Pinot Noir is now have the idea that this mislabelled wine is what Pinot Noir is like."


And from another source: "What does this say about the American wine consumer and what does this say about the French wine industry's opinion of the American wine consumer? Besides, Pinot Noir is the perfect pairing for a film noir -- this situation has all the filmic elements, with desperate people in despairing situations, slugging through a dense, dark chunky setting."


The fact that both Constellation Europe (A Constellation Company) and Gallo have pulled out from this year's London International Wine Fair is entirely co-incidental and is not related to this story at all.


The LCBO (Liberal Control of Beverages in Ontario, A Clown, er, Crown Corporation) has refused to comment.


More on this story after freelance apologist Tiger Woods (who has been employed to make the vinous apology to the American people on behalf of the two companies) speaks on live television tomorrow in prime time…He could make a career out of apologizing for corporations.


1 comment:

Marybin said...

Hey Dean, you should get on The Daily Show...I think you've got the perfect tone!!
Very good story.