A rocket slide from the genuine to the crassly artificial

Wine is a funny (read “odd”) business. As a buyer, I get to see its many levels, from the sublime to the ridiculous. We do our best to avoid the ridiculous but today I ran smack into it.

Currently, I’m putting together a very large Champagne and Sparkling Wine tasting, offering over 120 wines – count ‘em 120+! – to 400 wine-loving people at Wine World & Spirits in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood this Saturday, December 6th.

The selection process has been going well; we are assembling a well-rounded offering of bubbly from around the world through the entire price range.

Too many Proseccos, of course. I’ve seen troops of desperate sales reps, gamely trying to explain why their Prosecco is the best or why it is a bargain. I like Prosecco but new brands seem to crop up like weeds in an ultra competitive market.

We had just tasted two fine grower Champagnes and the remarkable 2010 Analemma Blanc de Noir Atavus Vineyard. All was right in the world. I fancy I had a serene smile on my visage as the last drops of the Analemma disappeared from my tongue.

Then, three suits from a very large wine broker strolled in. It appears someone had arranged for a blue sparkling wine to be poured at the tasting. The bottle contained a lambent, limpid blue concoction whose color was not to found in nature but rather in the dusty attic of a marketing hack’s mind.

The product (I refuse to call it a wine) in question is a blueberry-flavored (extract, mind you) sparkling Chardonnay fermented in tank with 19.8 grams of glucose/fructose. The product is from California but graced with a pretentious French name labeled “Blanc de Bleu Cuvée Mousseux Brut.” And it will be poured Saturday.

I know I sound snobbish but Blanc de Bleu appears to be crass, a beverage without sincerity. I smell a cynicism here, marketing graduates looking for an attractive line extension, trying to carve out a big slice in the artificially flavored alcoholic beverage category.

Ridiculous has a new color and it is blue-like.

What do you think?

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