The place for all things wine, focused on serious wine discussions.
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Bob Ross » Thu Nov 09, 2006 12:58 am

Witham Wines.

Regards, Bob [scratching head]
User avatar
User

Robin Garr

Rank

Forum Janitor

Posts

17548

Joined

Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm

Location

Louisville, KY

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Robin Garr » Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:10 am

Shiraz? No stranger than the fair number of California producers who now use "Shiraz" as an alternative varietal term for Syrah, presumably when they want to signal a big, fruit-forward Aussie style item. I doubt that the Vin de Pays regs forbid it, Bob.
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Bob Ross » Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:21 am

I suppose that's right, Robin.

But it's unusual to see a wine variety on a French wine label -- or at least has been. And it strikes me even odder that they would use Shiraz rather than Syrah when they do.

I suppose, though, it's made for the export market.
User avatar
User

Robin Garr

Rank

Forum Janitor

Posts

17548

Joined

Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm

Location

Louisville, KY

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Robin Garr » Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:47 am

Bob Ross wrote:I suppose that's right, Robin.

But it's unusual to see a wine variety on a French wine label -- or at least has been. And it strikes me even odder that they would use Shiraz rather than Syrah when they do.

I suppose, though, it's made for the export market.


Bob, it's not at all unusual to see varietal labeling - usually the American "fighting varietals" - on vin de pays d'Oc. And yes, it does appear to be aimed largely at the export market. That's frankly why it didn't surprise me to see the "Shiraz." It's consistent.
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26957

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Jenise » Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:54 am

Tonight I was at a catered/hosted event. One had a choice of three wines; the red was a Dunham Cellars Syrah, spelled 'syrah' and made in an overtly restrained style. I was therefore amused that, as if unable to decide between the Aussie and domestic versions of the name, the pourer pronounced it "shir-RAH".
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
User avatar
User

ClarkDGigHbr

Rank

Ultra geek

Posts

485

Joined

Sat May 06, 2006 8:16 pm

Location

Gig Harbor, WA

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by ClarkDGigHbr » Thu Nov 09, 2006 3:25 am

Robin Garr wrote:
Bob Ross wrote:I suppose that's right, Robin.

But it's unusual to see a wine variety on a French wine label -- or at least has been. And it strikes me even odder that they would use Shiraz rather than Syrah when they do.

I suppose, though, it's made for the export market.


Bob, it's not at all unusual to see varietal labeling - usually the American "fighting varietals" - on vin de pays d'Oc. And yes, it does appear to be aimed largely at the export market. That's frankly why it didn't surprise me to see the "Shiraz." It's consistent.


Our tasting group ran into this at a red Burgundy tasting earlier this year. Here is my note from the warmup wine we sampled.

    2003 Jean-Claude Boisset Pinot Noir ($15): This is a very light tasting, mass-produced Pinot Noir that is bottled for the American market by this giant negotiant winemaker. After all, when was the last time you saw a bottle of French Burgundy that was actually labeled Pinot Noir ? These folks are reportedly riding the post-Sideways Pinot Noir wave, having shipped double their normal amount of Burgundy Rouge to the U.S., and backfilling for DeLoach winery (one of their holdings), who completely sold out of Pinot Noir last year.


Does this mean the French winemakers have finally started studying Marketing? :lol:

-- Clark
User avatar
User

Peter May

Rank

Pinotage Advocate

Posts

2195

Joined

Mon Mar 20, 2006 12:24 pm

Location

Snorbens, England

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Peter May » Thu Nov 09, 2006 6:53 am

There's a lot of southern French wines labelled Shiraz. Most famous example is perhaps Fat Bastard.

Shiraz is what people want to buy.

Also there's an inceasing amount of Burgundy with the variety name on the front label. At first, I believe that was for export and in breach of AC regulations, but I seem to recall that AC rules have been recently relaxed to allow it.

I'm in UK where we are bound by EU labelling rules, but in the USA you're not.
User avatar
User

Robin Garr

Rank

Forum Janitor

Posts

17548

Joined

Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm

Location

Louisville, KY

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Robin Garr » Thu Nov 09, 2006 9:51 am

Peter May wrote:Also there's an inceasing amount of Burgundy with the variety name on the front label. At first, I believe that was for export and in breach of AC regulations, but I seem to recall that AC rules have been recently relaxed to allow it.


I can confirm from experience that "Bourgogne Pinot Noir" and "Bourgogne Chardonnay" have been common labels (in the US, at least) since the 1980s at least. I don't think I've ever seen it on a label with any more specific Burgundy AOC, however.

Of course the other major French exception is Alsace, where varietal labeling goes back a long way.
no avatar
User

Thomas

Rank

Senior Flamethrower

Posts

3587

Joined

Wed Mar 22, 2006 5:23 pm

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Thomas » Thu Nov 09, 2006 10:02 am

ClarkDGigHbr wrote:
Robin Garr wrote:
Bob Ross wrote:I suppose that's right, Robin.

But it's unusual to see a wine variety on a French wine label -- or at least has been. And it strikes me even odder that they would use Shiraz rather than Syrah when they do.

I suppose, though, it's made for the export market.


Bob, it's not at all unusual to see varietal labeling - usually the American "fighting varietals" - on vin de pays d'Oc. And yes, it does appear to be aimed largely at the export market. That's frankly why it didn't surprise me to see the "Shiraz." It's consistent.


Our tasting group ran into this at a red Burgundy tasting earlier this year. Here is my note from the warmup wine we sampled.

    2003 Jean-Claude Boisset Pinot Noir ($15): This is a very light tasting, mass-produced Pinot Noir that is bottled for the American market by this giant negotiant winemaker. After all, when was the last time you saw a bottle of French Burgundy that was actually labeled Pinot Noir ? These folks are reportedly riding the post-Sideways Pinot Noir wave, having shipped double their normal amount of Burgundy Rouge to the U.S., and backfilling for DeLoach winery (one of their holdings), who completely sold out of Pinot Noir last year.

Does this mean the French winemakers have finally started studying Marketing? :lol:

-- Clark


Maybe the rest of the French have started marketing, but when I worked as a distributor rep in the early to mid 1990s one in our book was the Boisset product line: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Viognier too, I believe--and they came in 1.5 liter bottles as well as 750. No Shiraz, though.
User avatar
User

Paul B.

Rank

Hybrid Guru

Posts

2024

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:38 am

Location

Ontario, Canada

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Paul B. » Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:33 am

Bob, the thing that I noticed as weird wasn't the use of Shiraz on a French label, but the claim that the wine is "mellow". I don't know what a mellow Shiraz (or Syrah) is, but it sure doesn't sound anything like what I expect from the grape.

Besides that, I guess this marketing will be received by the target audience - I just hope that circumstances don't force changes in AC laws that would see all of France go the kitschy route.
Hybrid Wines Online:
http://hybridwines.blogspot.ca
no avatar
User

Thomas

Rank

Senior Flamethrower

Posts

3587

Joined

Wed Mar 22, 2006 5:23 pm

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Thomas » Thu Nov 09, 2006 12:10 pm

Paul B. wrote:Bob, the thing that I noticed as weird wasn't the use of Shiraz on a French label, but the claim that the wine is "mellow". I don't know what a mellow Shiraz (or Syrah) is, but it sure doesn't sound anything like what I expect from the grape.

Besides that, I guess this marketing will be received by the target audience - I just hope that circumstances don't force changes in AC laws that would see all of France go the kitschy route.


After studying the words used to describe wines by PR people, I've come to equate mellow with low acid, a touch of sweetness (sometimes more) and about as much of an interesting character as a television network sitcom.
User avatar
User

Paul B.

Rank

Hybrid Guru

Posts

2024

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:38 am

Location

Ontario, Canada

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Paul B. » Thu Nov 09, 2006 12:17 pm

Thomas wrote:After studying the words used to describe wines by PR people, I've come to equate mellow with low acid, a touch of sweetness (sometimes more) and about as much of an interesting character as a television network sitcom.

Extremely well said!!!

Or, to use Mike B.'s great phrase, it's all about "aggressive mediocrity".

It seems that more and more products get marketed with the goal of aggressive mediocrity nowadays. If that's a true reflection of what most people actually aspire to, then it's really kind of sad when you think about it.
Hybrid Wines Online:
http://hybridwines.blogspot.ca
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Bob Ross » Thu Nov 09, 2006 12:49 pm

Well, I guess I'm the one off base. Saint Jancis has now opined "It's interesting to me that California seems virtually the only wine region/country to stick to the word Syrah instead of the arguably more marketable Shiraz."

Maybe I'll catch on to this wine thing in time.
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Bob Ross » Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:00 pm

For folks interested in the OED, the word "Shiraz" has had the secondary meaning of wine since at least the 1989 edition:

2. The name of a variety of grape from which red wine is made, grown orig. in the Rhône valley of France; the wine made from this grape.
The French name for the grape is syrah (scyras, sirrah are also found). The Eng. form is app. an alteration of this, influenced by the belief that the vine was brought (by Crusaders) from Iran and is therefore to be identified with that from which Shiraz (sense 1a) is made.

[1908 E. & A. VIZETELLY Wines of France 140 For red Hermitage the vine..is the Ciras, Scyras, or Sirrah, a corruption, it is alleged, of Shiraz, the tradition being that the hermit of the mount brought some vine cuttings with him from the East. The Ciras is, at any rate, a distinct variety.] 1927 A. I. PEROLD Treat. Viticulture v. 271 Shiraz, the grape of Hermitage,..produces a fine, famous red wine. 1966 Courier-Mail (Brisbane) 25 Oct. 2/10 He thought his 1952 shiraz was of such vast quality there was no bottle in a restaurant cellar to equal it. 1973 ‘E. FERRARS’ Small World Murder viii. 102 They drank one of the Lyndon's own wines, a Shiraz. 1977 A. SCHOLEFIELD Venom I. 38 Replanting areas with shiraz vines.


What's more interesting is the draft entry March 2006 of the phrase "Petite Sirah":

Forms: 18- Petite Sirrah, 18- Petit Sirrah, 19- Petite Sirah, 19- Petite Syrah, 19- Petit Sirah, 19- Petit Syrah.Also with lower-case initials.

Forms: 18- Petite Sirrah, 18- Petit Sirrah, 19- Petite Sirah, 19- Petite Syrah, 19- Petit Sirah, 19- Petit Syrah.Also with lower-case initials. [< French petite Sirrah (1845 or earlier; earlier as petite scyras (1827 or earlier)) < petite, feminine of petit (see PETIT adj.) + Sirrah SYRAH n.]

Any of a number of distinct varieties of vine yielding black grapes used in winemaking, and originating in the French Rhône region; a grape of one of these varieties. Also: the red wine made from these grapes.


In California, Mexico, and South America the name is commonly applied to the Durif vine, although the name has been applied to other vines, particularly Syrah or Syrah crosses; Petite Sirah proper is now thought to be a seedling cross of the minor variety Peloursin and Syrah.

[1872 J. L. W. THUDICHUM & A. DUPRÉ Treat. Orig. Wine xv. 493 Names of French Vines... South-east, Dauphiné... Grosse et Petite Sirrah.] 1887 N.Y. Times 30 Jan. 3/1 Poulsart, Ganray, Chauché Noir and Chauché Gris,..Petite Sirrah, Malbeck, [etc.]. 1913 A. L. SIMON In Vino Veritas iii. 95 At Hermitage, the Petite Syrah vine is responsible for the finest red wines. 1923 Woodland (Calif.) Daily Democrat 3 June 1/1, $55 per tonZinfandel, Grenacho, Black Burgundy,..Petit Sirah and Malyoisie. 1963 Amer. Jrnl. Bot. 55 1110/2 Shoot tips and tendrils were collected from healthy, greenhouse-grown plants of ‘Zinfandel’ and ‘Petite Sirah’ varieties. 1999 Observer (Nexis) 21 Nov. 1 This dark, brooding, profoundly coloured Petite Sirah (known as Durif in France) is..a big, foghorn blast of a wine.


If memory serves, this entry is incorrect in certain respects -- the OED is grateful for any corrections -- perhaps we could make it a little WLDG project to improve the definition. I'd be glad to act as secretary.
User avatar
User

Peter May

Rank

Pinotage Advocate

Posts

2195

Joined

Mon Mar 20, 2006 12:24 pm

Location

Snorbens, England

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Peter May » Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:11 pm

1927 A. I. PEROLD Treat. Viticulture v. 271 Shiraz, the grape of Hermitage,..produces a fine, famous red wine.


Pinotage - created by Professor A I Perold by crossing Pinot Noir and Hermitage ;)
User avatar
User

Mike B.

Rank

Ultra geek

Posts

370

Joined

Fri Aug 25, 2006 11:56 am

Location

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Mike B. » Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:13 pm

Paul B. wrote:Or, to use Mike B.'s great phrase, it's all about "aggressive mediocrity".


Glad to see that phrase is getting some mileage.

I believe there are a couple of British Columbia wines sold as Shiraz, as well. I'm kinda split on it. On one hand, it seems like a cynical marketing ploy, but if you're trying to increase sales you sometimes have to play to the market, I guess.

Though I have little problem with French wines putting the varietal on the label - it can be intimidating for a novice trying to figure out what's what. But Shiraz does seem bizarre.

Of course, there's always the Rosemount Balmoral, labeled as a Syrah.
User avatar
User

Hoke

Rank

Achieving Wine Immortality

Posts

10691

Joined

Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:07 am

Location

Portland, OR

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Hoke » Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:41 pm

Bob:

The difficulty in defining what the accepted name of each grape variety will be is in the practice of each little locality preferring its own version of the grape name.

In Europe it is not uncommon to move from region to region, province to province, sometimes even village to village, and encounter a noticeably different dialect. And each time we change the dialect, we end up with a different grape name. Oftentimes even in the same area a given grape might go by different names, with all the names being used at different times.

For instance, the Carmenere from Chile: the first bottling of Carmenere from that country was not allowed to be identified as Carmenere (largely for political reasons, it is said, for what most people thought was Merlot was actually Carmenere and the Chileans didn't want to question that then trendy grape). But another name for Carmenere, used locally in Bordeaux where it was first famous, was Grande Vidure, so that is what the first Chilean Carmenere was called. The Grande in the name was to distinguish it from another local grape called Petite Vidure...perhaps better known now as Cabernet Franc!

Words, and the etymology thereof, are fascinating, aren't they? Just when I learn about one grape name, I learn there are usually at least three more terms for it.

As to the varietal identification: the French many years ago changed (loosened) the regulations on varietal identification of wines. It's been common practice in the Languedoc-Roussillon for many years, while the AOC designations have been somewhat slower to adapt to varietal id. But Burgundy has been producing wines from Bourgogne (Bourgogne Blanc and Rouge formerly) that are now legally termed Bourgogne Pinot Noir and Bourgogne Chardonnay, for some years. And let's not forget that we've always had the varietal id of Bourgogne Aligote!

And yes, varietal id is mostly for the export market, not the domestic. Now, anyway.
User avatar
User

Robin Garr

Rank

Forum Janitor

Posts

17548

Joined

Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm

Location

Louisville, KY

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Robin Garr » Thu Nov 09, 2006 3:28 pm

Bob Ross wrote:Well, I guess I'm the one off base. Saint Jancis has now opined "It's interesting to me that California seems virtually the only wine region/country to stick to the word Syrah instead of the arguably more marketable Shiraz."

Maybe I'll catch on to this wine thing in time.


With all respect, Saint Jancis isn't entirely accurate here, Bob. There's a small but growing number of "Shiraz" labels in California these days, usually either reflecting an Australian wine maker (Geyser Peak), or - as apparently with your d'Oc - seeking to market a wine to a market niche that appreciates a "mellow Shiraz."
User avatar
User

Hoke

Rank

Achieving Wine Immortality

Posts

10691

Joined

Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:07 am

Location

Portland, OR

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Hoke » Thu Nov 09, 2006 3:35 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Bob Ross wrote:Well, I guess I'm the one off base. Saint Jancis has now opined "It's interesting to me that California seems virtually the only wine region/country to stick to the word Syrah instead of the arguably more marketable Shiraz."

Maybe I'll catch on to this wine thing in time.


With all respect, Saint Jancis isn't entirely accurate here, Bob. There's a small but growing number of "Shiraz" labels in California these days, usually either reflecting an Australian wine maker (Geyser Peak), or - as apparently with your d'Oc - seeking to market a wine to a market niche that appreciates a "mellow Shiraz."


Absolutely correct, Robin. And that's from an ITB living in California and repping California wines.

The "common practice" now is to refer to a wine as "Syrah" if you want it to be perceived more as a French style, and to call it "Shiraz" if you want it to be perceived as an Aussie styled version. Both terms are perfectly legal and accepted by the feds and state authorities.

Same grape, but the different names are used for marketing reasons.

And you're of course right that more and more of the CA Syrahs are becoming Shirazes. Especially at the lower price points, or so-called 'fighting varietals', because of the overwhelming popularity of the Aussie wines in that price range.
User avatar
User

Robin Garr

Rank

Forum Janitor

Posts

17548

Joined

Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm

Location

Louisville, KY

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Robin Garr » Thu Nov 09, 2006 3:43 pm

Hoke wrote:Same grape, but the different names are used for marketing reasons.


Mirroring a similar two-track trend in the US with Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio, neh?
User avatar
User

Sue Courtney

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

1967

Joined

Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:33 pm

Location

Auckland, NZ

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Sue Courtney » Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:28 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Bob Ross wrote:Well, I guess I'm the one off base. Saint Jancis has now opined "It's interesting to me that California seems virtually the only wine region/country to stick to the word Syrah instead of the arguably more marketable Shiraz."

Maybe I'll catch on to this wine thing in time.


With all respect, Saint Jancis isn't entirely accurate here, Bob. There's a small but growing number of "Shiraz" labels in California these days, usually either reflecting an Australian wine maker (Geyser Peak), or - as apparently with your d'Oc - seeking to market a wine to a market niche that appreciates a "mellow Shiraz."


Also, it should be noted that just about everyone who produces wine from Shiraz/Syrah grapes in NZ labels it Syrah, even where a combo of French and American oak has been used.

Cheers,
Sue
User avatar
User

Robin Garr

Rank

Forum Janitor

Posts

17548

Joined

Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm

Location

Louisville, KY

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Robin Garr » Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:42 pm

Sue Courtney wrote:Also, it should be noted that just about everyone who produces wine from Shiraz/Syrah grapes in NZ labels it Syrah, even where a combo of French and American oak has been used.


I remember discussing that during our trip to Waiheke Island, Sue. I got the impression that the producers wanted to distinguish the NZ product from that of the "West Island."
User avatar
User

Sue Courtney

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

1967

Joined

Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:33 pm

Location

Auckland, NZ

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Sue Courtney » Thu Nov 09, 2006 5:02 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Sue Courtney wrote:Also, it should be noted that just about everyone who produces wine from Shiraz/Syrah grapes in NZ labels it Syrah, even where a combo of French and American oak has been used.


I remember discussing that during our trip to Waiheke Island, Sue. I got the impression that the producers wanted to distinguish the NZ product from that of the "West Island."


Exactly!
User avatar
User

Peter May

Rank

Pinotage Advocate

Posts

2195

Joined

Mon Mar 20, 2006 12:24 pm

Location

Snorbens, England

Re: Does anyone notice anything odd about this wine label?

by Peter May » Thu Nov 09, 2006 5:23 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Mirroring a similar two-track trend in the US with Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio, neh?


There's an Alsace Pinot Grigio on the market here...
Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google [Bot], Majestic-12 [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 4 guests

Powered by phpBB ® | phpBB3 Style by KomiDesign