3 Things – Feb 12th, 2012

What’s on my mind this week you ask?  Well here you are.

1) Burgundy and Bordeaux
Burgundy and Bordeaux in France are easily the two most famous and prestigious wine regions in the world.  With big and historic producers often commanding hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars a bottle, they are also the most expensive.  Here in Ontario we really don’t even see the best of the best unless you order privately or special order through the Vintages collection and pay the premiums.  There just isn’t an everyday market for it.  What I wonder is if there is really going to be a market for it at all in the future, at least at the current price structure.  The largest purchaser of first growth Bordeaux (1st growth being the 5 so called best chateau’s) is now China, where it is really a strong status symbol among the upper class Chinese.  But around the world these two regions are facing fierce and formidable competition.  In business you always go after the power houses and Bordeaux and Burgundy have been the power houses of the wine world for centuries.  Burgundy being the benchmark for all premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and Bordeaux being the benchmark for all Cab Sauv/Merlot/Cab Franc blends.  All wines are judged against these two regions.  The thing is the rest of the world is catching up.  New world regions like California, New Zealand, Australia, Chile, and Argentina are all producing top quality wines from the noble French varieties and selling them at a fraction of the cost.  Experts and average consumers alike are starting to recognize this and eventually France will suffer.  The New World really starting making headway in wine sales through strategic marketing. They labelled the bottles with the grape varieties and formed catchy brand names so consumers could relate and understand exactly what they were buying.  It worked and while they are still cunning marketers the quality is present more than ever before and as simultaneously I think the sigma and status of buying Bordeaux and Burgundy is on the decline.  Don’t get me wrong Bordeaux and Burgundy produce exceptional wine.  There is a reason they are the true bench marks of wine production.  But as wine consumers continue to become more knowledgeable I wonder how much longer France will be able to command these ridiculous prices.

2) Coolers
I hate them.  I didn’t even like Mike’s hard lemonade when I drank it in high school.  I am really not a fan of mixed drinks as it is so sugary coolers are certainly not for me.  The only time they seemed to make sense was during the “icing” fad of 2010.  I get it though, they have their market.  They actually sell extremely well around the world.  But I just can’t imagine anybody who actually likes the taste of good alcoholic beverages drinking coolers on a regular basis.  Plus they give you massive headaches the next day because of the sugar content.  I’m not seeing a lot of positives here.  (End soapbox rant.)

3) Carolans Irish Cream Liqueur
Although I often rip on liquers and sweet alcohols I do love Bailey’s in coffee and from time to time on ice.  If you agree you should try Carolans Irish Cream (LCBO #108357).  At $24.95 for a 750ml bottle it is $5 less than Baileys and in my opinion is actually a better flavour.  Essentially the exact same product Carolans is a bit less sugary than Baileys allowing the smoothness of the typical Irish Cream flavour to come through.  Try it.

– Mark
Follow me on Twitter: @towineman 


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