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Tag Archives: pinot noir

Cupcake wine review 2013

cupcake wine review 2013The Wine Curmudgeon has discovered the flaw in the Cupcake Vineyards marketing juggernaut. It’s almost impossible to find the wines in a store, whether grocery or wine, that has any kind of inventory. It took me 10 minutes to locate the two bottles for this review, scuttling between aisles at my local Kroger; would a less determined consumer have done as much?

Maybe they would. Cupcake is the post-modern wine business success story, eclipsing even Barefoot and its millions and millions of cases. Three years after it started, Cupcake was named wine brand of the year, and its sales increased 67 percent in 2012, according to one market research firm.

Cupcake, as Blake Gray wrote last year, approaches wine from a different perspective. It markets its brand before it markets its products, so its customers don’t buy on varietal, like pinot noir, or region, like France, the way most of us do. Rather, its customers buy Cupcake first and worry about varietal and region later.

In this, the wine is marketed almost like women’s clothing, where Cupcake is the designer that shoppers look for before they look for a specific item like a dress or a skirt. That’s why Target has long offered designer collections, whether from Isaac Mizrahi, Jason Wu, or Phillip Lim.

None of this, of course, takes into account whether the wine offers value. That’s why I’m here – this year’s take is after the jump:

The revolution in cheap pinot noir

The moscato and sweet red wine trends have received more attention, but the revolution in cheap pinot noir may eventually be just as important to the wine business and to consumers.

That’s the gist of a story I wrote for the Beverage Media trade magazine. Pinot, traditionally the province of oenophiles with deep pockets, has long been considered fine wine more than mass wine for two reasons: The grape was always difficult to grow and difficult to turn into wine. Neither is especially true any more, and these changes have allowed winemakers to produce millions of cases of pinot that costs less than $15 a bottle and is clean and professional – if sometimes not very pinot-ish in taste.

In addition, the popularity of these wines is another indication that U.S. wine drinkers are looking for fruitier, less tannic, and less alcoholic options than merlot and cabernet sauvignon, and this ties into the moscato and sweet red trends. The tremendous growth in the popularity of these three wines hints at larger changes in what wine drinkers want, though it’s probably too soon to know more than that.

The story’s highlights and a few other thoughts, after the jump:

Fourth of July wine 2013

Fourth of July wine 2013

I’m drinking a less alcoholic, less tannic red wine because it’s hot out. But I can’t show my face, because that’s not a manly wine choice.

It’s hot. It’s sticky. So how many of you will drink the biggest, most tannic, most alcoholic red wine possible to celebrate July 4?

Which, of course, is fine with the Wine Curmudgeon, since I believe that everyone should drink what they want, and rules be damned. But, if you don’t mind a suggestion, live dangerously. Try something lighter and, dare I say, more pleasurable – a porch wine, even. Because the only thing I ask is that wine drinkers be willing to try something different.

Which leads to these suggestion, after the jump:

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