Like many epiphanies, mine came after alcohol consumption. In this case it wasn’t excessive as I was the designated driver at a cleanskin wine tasting.
Now cleanskins are a way for small vineyards to sell their product and for larger vineyards to offload excess wine without jeopardising the exclusivity and price point of their brands. If you are lucky and know your cleanskin seller, you can scoop a top notch vintage in disguise for half the retail price. If you are unlucky you might end up with something you wouldn’t even cook with.
We had an excellent host during the tasting. (Shameless plug to Scott at WA Cleanskin Cellars Doubleview.) The wine and conversation flowed freely. We laughed at the different palates around the group; some wines we all agreed on yet there were times when some of us despised what others adored. There were no brands to be concerned about. We simply liked the wine or didn’t regardless of where it came from or how much it cost.
We asked what makes one bottle of red worth more than another? They all cost roughly the same to produce. Grapes are grown, picked, produced and bottled with varying degrees of skill and efficiency, but mostly at a similar base rate. So price really comes down to flavour and popularity, although they do not necessarily rely on each other.
It turns out that price really comes down to branding. People are so blinded by the brand that they don’t question the taste. In the end the marketing is so good that it hardly matters what the wine tastes like.
So I can’t help comparing Kanye West to an overpriced bottle of wine.
- He is inconsistent in everything except his overriding fruitiness.
- You swish him around for a while waiting for things to develop, but it’s hard to know whether to spit or swallow.
- His finish is often poor or just leaves an unpleasant lingering aftertaste.
But Kanye has a strong brand following and a well known label. The marketing team and distributors do their jobs well; the advertising campaign is intense and the market is flooded with so much product you can’t help but be exposed. The promotional tour is full of surprises to keep the interest strong.
So you purchase a bottle of Kanye red.
You are unsure but everyone tells you it’s amazing so you drink it anyway and try to move on.
Kanye brings out another vintage. You are hopeful this one will be better. The hype is good so you buy a couple this time.
But sadly it’s confusing and again disappointing. You use the dregs of the first bottle in your next midweek spaghetti bolognese sauce and stash the other in the wine rack. You bring it out during your next dinner party once everyone is sober enough to appreciate the brand, but drunk enough not to care what th e hell they are drinking.
Let’s have a toast to the douchebags