Sunday, January 17, 2010

Osborne Solaz

This is one of those wines that we knew nothing about when we ordered it at a restaurant. We were grabbing a quick bite to eat with Mr. D. before hitting a movie and the wine was reasonably priced and sounded interesting. I'm not familiar with this sort of a blend. I don't if it's becoming more common or has been so all along.

We never expected it to be out of this world - after all, under $30 in a Vancouver restaurant doesn't get you too much. It turns out, however, that it's a nice little burger wine, but, more than that, there was a whole lot of interesting story behind the winery.

328. 2006 Osborne Solaz Tempranillo/Cabernet Sauvignon (Tierra de Castilla - Spain)

In this case, it's not the wine that offers up the story but, rather, it's the history behind the winery, the label and its marketing history. Grupo Osborne has been producing wines in Spain for over 200 years and is best known for its sherries and brandy. But the real story, for me, was the tale of the Osborne bull.

The company started placing the bull on their labels in 1956 and, as part of their marketing plan, they placed large "bullboards" along the Spanish roadways. The first bull was erected in 1957 and there were over 500 in place by 1964. The bulls eventually evolved into metal structures, 40 feet in height, and it almost became a local right of passage for the young to climb a bull, while others decorated the bulls or painted them.

In 1988, however, the Spanish government passed a law to forbid advertising that was visible from the public highways. As decrees to remove the bullboards were being made and enforced, a movement that crossed all aspects of the cultural spectrum started to try and "Save the Bull."

By this time, the bull had become almost synonymous with Spain. Spanish flags emblazoned with the bull are stalwarts at football (soccer) games, t-shirts are found everywhere, as are stickers, keyrings and the like. In 1997, the movement saw the Spanish Supreme Court declare that the Osborne Bull had become part of the Spanish landscape and order that it could remain.

There are currently 90 Bulls still found in Spain and the bull is arguably the best known trademark in the country.

As for the wine, we were in no hurry to finish it off and we lost track of time a tad and ended up missing the movie that we were intending to see. We arrived at the theatre about five minutes prior to the start and it was sold out. So, rather than wait three hours until the second show or just pick another movie, we decided to just walk Mr. D home and make a little stop in at Marquis Wine Cellar. They didn't carry the Solaz but that didn't stop us from buying another couple of Spanish wines that will eventually end up on The List as well.

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