The Customer Knows Best – Your Insights on Wine

Regular followers of my blog will know that I have been clocking up the miles showing Bordeaux wines at wine and food festivals up and down the country practically every weekend for a number of months now.

It’s hard work but it’s been a fantastic opportunity to meet folks who enjoy good food and drink. I also learn a lot from them and the insight into what makes customers tick is invaluable. The old saying ‘the customer knows best’ could not be more true.

It’s a no brainer that folks are fed up with paying through the nose for wines in supermarkets that aren’t worth the money spent on them.

There has been quite a bit in the media about the supermarkets practice of inflating the prices of wines and their dodgy deals. A lot of the people I have spoken to are annoyed that they are being taken for fools by the practice.

The good news is that Bordeaux wines are going down well and that people are remarking on the difference between them and the wines on offer in the supermarket. I’m glad Bordeaux is getting converts as the region has so much variety to offer.

The latest surprise at the shows has been what is ‘hot’ at the moment. I had thought that some of the more expensive wines would be passed over in the current economic climate. Far from it. Once people have tasted them, they buy.

Bordeaux Grand Crus are selling like hot cakes! Take Chateau Gloria for instance. This wine comes from AOC Saint Julien. This appellation is home to 11 Grand Cru Classés. These are well respected wines; some are more famous than others but they are all wines with a hefty price tag.

However, Chateau Gloria is owned by Henri Martin – who also owns the Grand Cru Classé Chateau Saint Pierre. Chateau Gloria therefore benefits from the same wine making expertise as its renowned sibling but costs less as it is not a classified growth.

Gloria also benefits from the same terroir as its sibling and the surrounding Grand Cru Classés. Henri Martin bought up land for Gloria’s vineyards from them all over the years. He bought 14 acres of vines in 1942 and painstakingly expanded his vineyards, buying and trading land row by row, parcel by parcel, until he had assembled 123 acres.

He was a able to accumulate different soil areas from Grand Crus Classés Chateaux Beychevelle, Léoville Poyferré, Gruaud Larose, Léoville Barton, Ducru Beaucaillou and Duhart Milon – a feat made all the more difficult by the fact that Saint Julien only has 2,200 acres all told and almost all of these belong to the 11 Crus Classés in the appellation.

Many people have tasted Chateau Gloria at the shows and loved it. The vintage I bring with me is the 2008. This is a 90 point wine (scored by Robert Parker) and his tasting notes sum it up very well:

“2008: A stunning sleeper of the vintage, this beautiful, already irresistible, plum/garnet-colored 2008 is a wine to purchase by the case. It possesses a dense plum/purple color, a glorious perfume of Christmas fruitcake, cedarwood, black currants, jammy cherries and licorice, medium to full body and a silky personality. It will provide both a hedonistic and intellectual turn-on over the next 10-15 years.”

It costs £28.99 a bottle. And I am running out of stock as once people have tasted it they are happy to pay the price. It offers ‘real’ value for money and at the risk of echoing a famous commercial . . . ‘it’s worth it’.

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