Personally I don’t follow fashion or trends but I consider myself ‘normal’. I’m sat at my desk this morning with the door open, wearing a fleece top for warmth – which happens to be embroidered with ‘Italy v Wales 2001’. Is it really that long since I bought any new clothes? Now I come to think of it, I’ve only been into a clothes shop twice in the last ten years! But I know what I like, and that’s all I buy. I’m not controlled by advertisers with glossy magazine and TV ads, trying to part me from my money. I’ve never watched ‘Strictly Dancing’ or the ‘X Factor’. I really am out of fashion.
However, these people who tell us how to live our lives are partly responsible for one of the biggest sins of the 21st century – ‘Anything but Chardonnay’ – they’ve made Chardonnay unfashionable. Of course it’s only the feeble minded who let themselves be controlled by the media, but this still has a serious affect on wine sales in restaurants, hotels and bars, which filters back up the chain all the way to the producers.
Wine and fashion should not mix! Fashion is all about getting weak people to part with their money. I’ve watched teenage lads wearing woolly hats in 25 degrees this summer, with baggy jeans hanging around their knees – at least that might keep them cool. All the teenage girls look like they’re auditioning for the next Star Wars film, with knee length furry boots, baggy white tops and a 10″ wide belt made from roofing felt, tucked underneath the boobs which serves no apparent purpose whatsoever. Would you take advice on which wines to drink from the people responsible for this?
I suppose the probem began when celebrities began naming their children after grapes. There are over 1000 different grape varieties so what’s the odds of picking Chardonnay first? What’s next? Verdelho? Gewurztraminer? Probably ‘Albarino’ as it’s the latest fashionable grape along with ‘Gruner Veltliner’ but that’s hardly a name for a pretty girl!
The downside of all this of course is that it’s had a negative effect on Chardonnay sales. We have some ‘fashion conscious’ friends who will simply refuse to order Chardonnay if we’re out for a meal, although they love Chablis! Personally I love a good Chardonnay, it makes some of the best white wines in the world. A lot of people are missing out on the joys of a good wine because they listen to the media. Pinot Grigio has benefitted of course, as it’s star has risen as Chardonnay’s has fallen. Our friends will automatically order the first Pinot Grigio they see on a menu, and this can be a big mistake. Chardonnay is generally a rich, full wine, often buttery with some oak. Pinot Grigio can be delicious if you find a good one, (such as Santa Margharita) but there’s a vast amount of inferior Pinot flooding the market, weak and insipid, and often not from Italy despite having an Italian name! Watch out for names like ‘Don Luigi Pinot Grigio’ and such like – closer inspection is likely to reveal that it actually comes from somewhere such as Hungary or Croatia, and very often it doesn’t even contain any Pinot Grigio, just cheaper grapes!
For those of us who may have strayed from the path and forgotten just how nice a good Chardonnay can be, here are a couple of recommendations. Try these wines – Morton Estates White Label Chardonnay & R H Philips Toasted Head Chardonnay, and I’d like to bet you’ll be proud to fly in the face of fashion and choose your wines for the right reasons – taste, quality and value. And let the crowd with the woolly hat and baggy jeans happily fritter away their hard earned cash on over priced Eastern European Garganega!