“I needed somewhere to hang my head, without your noose…”

by Katie Pizzuto on October 14, 2008

in Labels,marketing,Regulations,Wine

Perhaps it’s the full moon tonight, but I’ve just come across another winery that deserves the Brass Set Award. Anyone familiar with the Languedoc region in southern France knows that it’s forever been the black sheep of the wine family. Many people will tell you that all Languedoc wine is, in fact, crap. (I disagree, by the way, and usually want to wet willy anyone who generalizes a wine region, but that’s beside the point.) So in an effort to differentiate his product from the oceans of wine coming out of southern France, Jean-Mark Speziale put himself out on a limb and decided to call his wine “Le Vin De Merde” (aka crap wine). It even has a big fly on the label, as if it were sitting on a pile of dung. Calling his wine such a provocative name, he says, is a way for him to change popularly held clichés and make people understand that wines from Languedoc need not be jealous of their famous brothers in Bordeaux and Burgundy. Brilliant marketing paradox? Suicide? I’m not sure about the long term, but he has sold nearly his entire production (5,000 bottles since July) despite France’s tightening advertising restrictions.

I’ve said it a million times before…a wine has every right to throw off pretentiousness and use their label as bait. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they take their winemaking as lightly as they do their packaging. But if the juice sucks, you best believe consumers will not return for Le Merde Part II. The wines (red and rosé) retail at EUR39 (about $57) for a case of six bottles, but aren’t currently available in the US. I doubt that will be the case for long, though, given the publicity it’s been garnishing. Question is, would you try it? Would you walk into your local wine shop and ask where they keep the crap wine? Hmmm?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 smokenmirrors October 14, 2008

Would you walk into your local wine shop and ask where they keep the crap wine?

Actually I think that I will ask the pretentious bastard who works in my LWS that question next time I am in!
That said …. yes I would probably try it at that price. Languedoc regional wines are the adopted step sister that
no one really pays much attention to.
yet there are some great producers out there
and they are generally a good quality bargain

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2 Katie Pizzuto October 14, 2008

Couldn’t agree more, Mike. There are some great bargains out there to be had from the Languedoc, and the quality has been getting better and better overall, by leaps and bounds. In fact, one of my favorite weekday wines from the region is Les Hérétiques from Chateau d’Oupia.

As for my question above…I think if I asked where they keep the crap wine at my local shop they’d point to most of their California section, unfortunately. 🙂

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3 erikagwen October 14, 2008

One of my favorite wine shops was in Ithaca, NY. They had room in the back with a sign over the door that said “Cheap French Wine.” And it was. Everything in there was $12 or less and all was from France.

Les Hérétiques is a huge hit in my house, we buy it by the case.

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4 Katie Pizzuto October 15, 2008

Erika, based on my bank account, I think I should move to Ithaca!! Glad to see another fellow Hérétiques fan!!

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5 Rachel, from California October 21, 2008

When will this wine be available in the U.S.? It’s creating a buzz and a lot of people are becoming interested!

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6 Katie Pizzuto October 21, 2008

Exactly what they were trying to do, I guess, Rachel. But as I said, he sold his entire current production. The best we can hope for is that he has a good harvest this season and look forward to his next bottling. I promise that I will stay on top of the industry news and post about it here as soon as I know anything!!

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