I like Celebrity Wine Labels! Graham Norton’s Wine.

What do you think? Celebrities like to add their names to products. This works on so many levels. Well, perhaps not in Beckham’s underwear! Punters like to follow their favourite celebs and often fasten themselves onto ‘stuff’ their heroes are fond of. I liken it to ‘product stalking’. Why else would you go out of your way to find a range of disparate labels held together by nothing other than the celebs name?  It does sound like fun though.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    Christy Jr signing his wine 2009

Wine is sexy. Wine gives pleasure. Wine has labels. Wine has attracted a host, a venerable host, of  famous names over the years who have added their name to its labels. Mick Hucknell, Christy O’Connor Jr., Angelina and Brad, Bob Dylan, Nick Faldo and on and on…..

Yesterday I received a sample of a new wine to the stable. Da Daaaa … Thank you Graham. (Well, thank you SuperValu and Centra)

Graham Norton’s Own Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Marlborough New Zealand

Now. Do I critique a wine like this in the same way as I might one made by a resident wine maker in New Zealand such as long established Villa Maria or, indeed, the more recent Peter Yealands? Well, it depends.

Does the celeb make ‘wine maker’ claims (Sam Neill in New Zealand is expert) or does he/she  let us know who made the wine (Nick Faldo and the legend that is Wayne Stebens at Katnook Estate in Coonawarra in Australia)? Is the intention to make a very serious wine intended for sale at a very serious price (Angelina and Brad – yes; believe it.)

Graham’s wine is on sale at SuperValu and Centra for the very reasonable €12.99 and ALL of his proceeds from sales of the wine will be donated to ‘Dogs Trust Charity located across Ireland and the UK’ . Within that scenario does it really matter what it tastes like (- so long as its OK)?  Probably not.

IMAG1221Critique 1: Love the label. Very clever. Won’t need too much marketing as Graham continues to sit in front of a glass of wine from this winery (Invivo) on the telly every week! Simple but defined tropicality/gooseberry on the bouquet followed by a crisp, quite long palate. Good Value for Money for a label of this sort. Enjoy.

Graham describes it well on the back label as ‘ That’s it! My perfect blend….and its lovely. Tropical fruit, a bit of a zing ….cheers to that!

I should stop here …….. Actually Graham should have stopped there!!!  He didn’t.

Who convinced Graham to describe himself on the label as the ‘Chief Winemaker’? This is just plain silly play acting. Just as ‘A Dog is Not Just for Christmas’ wine making is an art and a learned skill and the title is an important one. Its proponents need to be judged so that they stand or fall by their creations. ‘Wine making’ is not ‘blending’ as suggested by the Press Release, ‘Graham has gone hands-on and added his ‘Norton Hemisphere’ magic to the New Zealand winery’s Southern Hemisphere grapes and personally blended his 2015 limited edition New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, under the expert guidance of one of Invivo’s winemakers, Rob Cameron. With the support of the Invivo team, Graham blended his own wine from scratch ...’ Great wording but it doesn’t hide the fact that Graham has helped to blend the wine only. How do I put this with out offending? He is not the winemaker!

Super marketing. Graham becoming a New Zealand winemaker in London! All good fun in aid of a very good cause.

Last year Graham stomped some grapes in a small barrel on his show. These were supposed to be part of his wine! This made him the winemaker! Did the mush make it back to NZ? Does it matter. No. The wine is a  multi medal winner at many competitions including the very prestigious International Wine and Spirits Competition.

Go Graham.      Chief Blender.       Go Rob Cameron.       Chief Winemaker.

Critique 2: Simple tropicality – winemaker could have looked at a few more grapes that lent some regional personality to the wine – as it is this wine could come from almost anywhere. Accurately made; very clean but errs on the acidic side lending sharpness to the finish. Watch this space to see how this winemaker progresses his career with the 2016 vintage.

front GN_Bottle 2015‘That’s it! My perfect blend….and its lovely. Tropical fruit, a bit of a zing ….cheers to that!

Available throughout Ireland from SuperValu and Centra at €12.99