Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Getting Past The Packaging

I drank so many fabulous Pinot Noirs last week while exploring the Williamette Valley in Oregon. It's one of the most common grapes used to make Champagne and sparkling wines; so I was expecting to taste more bubbles than I did.

I asked one winemaker why more was not produced. Besides the fact that making a sparkling wine takes an entirely different effort, he confessed, in general, it is not as profitable. Bubbly takes longer to make and takes up valuable storage space.

When someone in the Eugene area suggested trying the sparkling at Domaine Meriwether, my travel partner and I were all about it. The tasting room was spacious, open and ruled by the Captain; the vineyard dog, who greeted us with a tennis ball in his mouth.

It was our last stop of the day, two sparkling wines were open along with some still wines. The NV Discovery Cuvee (blue label, $20) was acidic with flavors of pear; the Captain Clark Vintage Cuvee (green label $25) had some pleasant citrus notes and reminded me of sweet tarts. Both were enjoyable as well as affordable.

Too bad the thing we focused on while pulling away was the labeling. Yes you should buy wine based on what is inside of the bottle, but lets face it, packaging is important. Especially with the amount of good juice on store shelves. The font and text is classy, what one would expect from nice bubbly. The colored border is what my companion could not get past; wondering about the challenge of convincing someone to buy, when lined up next to other sparklers.

The point may seem petty to some, but not to those in the media, marketing, advertising, food and wine business. Looking back, if this was the only complaint of the day.....I'll take another please!

If you can get past the packaging, give Domaine Meriwether Cuvee's a try. I think you will like.

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