Wine is big business. On the other hand, it can be as personal as your neighbor making wine. Both have virtues, both have faults. But when it comes to knowing what exactly is in your wine, it helps to be able to talk directly with, face to face, the person that made it.
When you get to the level of E. & J. Gallo Winery, it’s unlikely you’ll ever even know who made it or where it came from. Case in point is the recent scandal over Gallo’s Red Bicyclette Pinot Noir. Turns out the wine isn’t so Pinot after all!
Back in the Languedoc region of France, where the wine was made, the winemakers weren’t adverse to adding a dash of Merlot or Syrah to cheapen the wine. You can throw a lot of stuff into wine!
In their defense, the French winemakers said that the Americans with their gauche wine palettes didn’t even notice the difference. Not a single American consumer complained,” said one attorney. Another defense lawyer argued that the wine had delivered “Pinot Noir characteristics.”
So what is it? Brew something up that reflects “characteristics” or offer an honest wine with all its faults? I prefer to know what I am drinking. And getting out to our local wineries I can find that info out first hand.