Selling Wine – Must you love what you sell??

I’ve recently begun to work with a wine distributor. As part of my work I visited a store that is among the distributor’s top customers. I spent a good amount of time with the general manger at the store and I noticed that he wasn’t carrying a certain wine. The GM explained that while he is a big fan of most of the wines this company distributes, this particular wine, a Viognier, is not to his liking.

Which led to my homework for tonight. I’m pretty sure that I had previously tried the wine in question, and I remember liking it, but I wanted to re-taste it. Based on this producers track record and my strong affinity for just about all of their wines I was sure that it would be a case of my disagreeing with the GM. After all, I do believe that all of our palates are unique, and just because I like something, doesn’t mean this GM has to. Then again, if I felt strongly enough about the wine I decided that I would encourage the GM to try stocking the wine again – that although it was not to his liking, it was a nice wine and his customers would surely enjoy it.

Well, sure enough the wine was not much to my liking either. OVER OAKED…

oak barrels

Viognier is a wine that typically displays very pretty floral aromas. It is a wine that is sometimes added to red wines such as Syrah (in small quantities) to soften the wine. While not a wine with great acidity, it is a wine that is generally best consumed young, and in my (very amateur) opinion best when left unoaked (or only lightly oaked).

Tonight’s wine did display some nice floral notes. It also had very interesting apple notes – red apple. Possibly the first time I REALLY picked up on specifically RED apple in a Viognier. But, the structure of the wine seemed a little off to me. I am far from a Viognier expert, but some of the Viognier that I have had and enjoyed has been made in a simpler, light (or no) oak style, allowing the purity of fruit to show.

It is entirely possible that this 2006 Viognier is simply not showing well right now. It is also possible that I got a bad bottle. And I fully believe that there are many people out there that would thoroughly enjoy a wine such as this one. But the bottom line is that I agree with the aforementioned GM on this one. Not my favorite.

I hope I have not just made any enemies at this company I have just started with. Did I mention that I absolutely love all their other wines…

Happy (pressure free) Wine Tasting!



Apparently Wine Spectator’s Kim Marcus tried and reviewed this wine.  Either he and I have very different palates or I did indeed have a flawed wine.  Marcus said this wine has “rich flavors of peace, smoke & apricot” and gave it a score of 90!

Just goes to show ya..

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