Friday, September 30, 2011


.... on Selaks Heritage Reserve 2010 Chardonnay as I am awaiting some information that I requested on this wine but I will start proceedings.

..... historically have been the wines put aside year to year in case the following year's vintage fails and, in time, came to represent the best that a winemaker was producing. The word on the label 'Reserve' meant something to the purchaser and consumer and prompted purchasing and drinking decisions.
Wikipedia is helpful with its description here:

"Reserve wine is a term given to a specific wine to imply that is of a higher quality than usual, or a wine that has been aged before being sold, or both. Traditionally winemakers would "reserve" some of their best wine rather than sell it immediately, coining the term.
In some countries the use of the term reserve/reserva/riserva is regulated, but in many places it is not. Sometimes, reserve wine originates from the best vineyards, or the best barrels, making it more special. Additionally, reserve wines might be made in a style suited to longer aging periods. However, in regions where the use is not regulated the mere presence of the term "reserve" on a wine label may be nothing but a marketing strategy. Indeed, in the case of one of the largest-selling premium wines, Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay, every single bottle produced is "Vintner's Reserve." To indicate a genuine reserve wine, Kendall-Jackson had to resort to "Grand Reserve," which has caused some confusion among consumers."
Now I am a wine marketer and have been 'adventurous' in my descriptions of commercial wines when writing copy for back labels and wine notes. This is called hype and I guess is expected else why would anyone buy any commercial product from toilet paper to cheap cars based solely on advertising. When it comes to the more serious offerings where serious money is outlaid however I am a bit of a stickler and refuse to 'be adventurous'.

With regard to the accused - Selaks Heritage Reserve Chardonnay 2010, this is one in a new range released by Selaks brand (brand owners Constellation New Zealand). I bought it in a supermarket 'on special' at $13.99 and it has a recommended retail price of $19.99. Unfortunately nowadays these prices whether 'reccommended' or 'on-special' are all over the place and there is no longer a reliable guide to be followed by looking at the price of a wine and by that determining its quality. You either have to have some inside knowledge or be prepared to experiment by buying and trying (unless of course the wine is being 'tasted' in-store which I thoroughly support). The back label tells me that the wine is fair bursting with fruit flavours and to underline that mentions stonefruit, citrus, white peach and nectarine with a passing mention of Chardonnay. It also has an even more fleeting mention of the wood that a quality Chardonnay should experience by either barrel fermentation or maturation or both. It tells me, before the "crisp and lingering finish" that the wine has "a touch of oak". Great. Did the winemaker accidently bump into the tank when he was wheeling around his new oak barriques or is this spin doctor speak for the fact that some oak chips, oak planks or oak beans were added to the stainless steel tanks-full of Chardonnay somewhere during the process? The wine is fresh and does show good Chardonnay fruit characters that I expect from Hawke's Bay. It does not show good (and particularly not $19.99 RRP worth of) wood usage. As for the 'Reserve' part I can only think of the TV show Extras and the 'Are you 'aving a laugh' by-line.
As I said I am reserving judgement at the moment but all I have to go on is endorsement from the marketers.

"This is our best 'Reserve' wine and, by the way, our priests have never fiddled with little children"


Angry Jesus said...

I think my present pope should have stopped at two glasses.

Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

Never trust a marketer.

You should know.

Actualy, thank goodness you didn't eventualy get that Chinese job, otherwise we'd all be drinking Shanghai Shardon, flavoured with delicious ethylene glycol.

Richard [of RBB] would probably love the stuff.