Saturday, May 29, 2010

House Wine Merlot

Whereas my last post appears to have been about a winery that has since disappeared, this one involves a winery and its mother corp that just keeps getting bigger and bigger - and some would say "better" as well.

461. 2007 The Magnificent Wine Co - Red Table Wine Merlot (Columbia Valley - Washington State)

The goal behind The Magnificent Wine Company was to bring "magnificent wine into people's homes at a magnificent price." Unfortunately for us Vancouverites, The Magnificent Wine Company is a Washington State winery. Once you cross the 49th Parallel and the border, our provincial government (and its monopoly on wine distribution) doesn't have the same philosophy on wine and pricing. The only thing that's magnificent about our liquor board is the amount of tax its pricing policy brings into government coffers.

Known for its savvy marketing and graphics, as well as its wine pricing, Magnificent Wine partnered with Precept Wines in 2006. Precept is the largest privately owned and the third largest wine producer in Washington State. Precept sold over 600,000 cases of wine in 2007, but very little of it included Magnificent Wine's bottles in BC. The Magnificent brand still isn't found in our provincial liquor stores, although a few of their wines - particularly "House Wine" and "Steak Red" can be found in some of the private stores. Both Red Table Wine and House Wine sell for $10 in Washington, but House Wine sells for $28 up here. Catch my drift about the magnificent tax regime?

Red Table Wine is "mostly" Merlot. I didn't see any reference to what other varietals might have been blended in for the 2007 vintage. I saw some references to 5% Syrah in a previous vintage, but I don't know if that was the same thing for this bottle.

During my trip down to Seattle in the new year, I picked up a case of mixed wines at Costco, including this bottle. At $10 (or even $15), I could see this as an easy drinking, staple wine for mid-week. If it's going to hit you for $28 up here though, I don't think it would have the same mass appeal. I'd love to give it a taste up against some of the wines that do manage to make it into our market at the $15 point. I'm not so sure that such a day will come however. Anyone got any pull with pricing at the BC Liquor Board?

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