You can’t always drink what you sell. So here’s a Veuve Du Vernay review of a sparkling wine made in France. No, not Champagne. More on that…..
Hi, all Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures so I’ll hold this up so you can get a look at it. So this is a Veuve Du Vernay, and you’ll have to excuse me. My French is not nearly as good as my Spanish, and probably my Italian, too. But, I thought this was interesting for a few levels.
So first, so let’s see if I can get this up there. So this is from France, but if you look on the back, it says sparkling wine, and that kind of gives you a couple hints. So the Veuve Du Vernay is sold kind of mass-market here in the United States. It’s a French sparkler, but they can’t call it champagne because it’s not from the Champagne region of France. So that’s something that I think throws people off sometimes is that you can be a French sparkling wine, but not a champagne. And so, often what that entails is that the grapes are coming from a less expensive wine region than that.
So this brand, they make a kind of single vineyard because nobody really does that for champagne or sparkling wine. But, they make something from the lower valley, which is kind of the higher end. So you’re going to get some more fruity here, which is kind of the coldest occurring climate in France. It’s where they a lot of Cab Franc, but then, also a lot of white wine ingredients as well. But then, you’re also going to get other kind of lesser-known regions in France and more kind of the bulk wine market. I think that’s where this is kind of interesting.
So the wine retails for, call it eight or nine bucks at kind of a huge place like Total Wine. We have a little, teeny, tiny grocery store, kind of market-style thing, down from the house and it’s maybe 12 bucks in there. So this is actually brought into the country and produced by Bronco Wine Company, which is the same folks that do Two Buck Chuck for Trader Joe’s. They do a number of other kind of huge brands, too, and that’s kind of their profile and what they look to. And I think this is part of the challenge for sparkling wine, is that it is so much more darn expensive. Because if you think for a company that’s doing three, four, and five dollar bottles of, say Cabernet and Pinot, and then, all of a sudden, you have a sparkler that’s coming in at 12, it’s a pretty big price point step forward.
This is actually a really, kind of good introduction to sparkling wine in a lot of ways. It’s light, it’s crisp, it’s refreshing. It works, probably best as an apéritif, as opposed to being paired with food because it is pretty light. You’ll see it described as [inaudible 00:02:26]. I don’t think that kind of does it justice. I think it’s a lot lighter, citrusy, and zingier than that, which is I think not so bad when it comes to a sparkler.
So in any case, a couple of things, I think if we can take anything away, yes, you can have sparkling wine from France, that’s not champagne. It just comes from a different region. They could have some champagne grapes in there. Obviously, at this price point, I don’t think that’s a realistic possibility. Two, mass-market wines do exist internationally, and there are American wine brands producing these wines internationally and bringing them into market. The Bronco Wine Company does do a good job of that. I think that’s fair to say. And three, you do see one of these huge brands that come in, you do see a pretty significant price point difference between your local small store and the large national or international retailers. And often, I think this is pretty consistent, it can be 50 percent or more per bottle difference. Like, you might think, for mass marketed wines, mass sales lead to lower pricing.
So it’s a good sparkler, and it’s something that if you needed it for say, a Christmas party or a large gathering of people where you needed a case or two, I think this is a great choice. It’s not going to offend everybody, it’s not going to be a bottle where you walk home and you say, “Hey, that was a great sparkler,” but it’s completely reasonable as far as palate goes. You can pair it with pretty much anything, and everybody will walk away and say, “Yeah, that was good.” And I think that’s really all you can ask for ten bucks or so in a sparkling wine coming from France.
So once again, Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures. Obviously, not coming in a wine of the month club, but I think it’s interesting to talk about how the wine industry actually works in practice, and I think this is a good example of that. Thanks again.