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Truly sassy wines

On Wednesday December 7th, 2011 the New York Times printed an article about wines behaving badly, so to speak in the piece aptly named Wine Stops Minding Its Manners. The picture features two wines, the same two wines depicted above, Bitch and Fat Bastard. I must say, it’s clever and cheeky and an absolutely brilliant way to market. When something is pushing boundaries, people talk and it spreads.

The article was interesting discussing the “budget friendly” wines and how the label markets itself. The name is so catchy and saucy, how could it not catch someone’s eye? I have often seen Bitch at the Hops and Grapes in Glassboro, often very curious of the contents sealed by the cap.

“It’s actually a good place to see cultural fault lines shift,” said Robert C. Lehrman, whose compnay Lehrman Beverage Law, advises clients on government regulations. “Because of a series of commercial speech decisions, not many things are off limits anymore.” says the NYT article

The piece inspired me. I purchased the two wines, with the question in the forefront of my mind– are the names overcompensating for a poor product? That question is generally applied (in the most cliched way possible) to the male persona of gaudy cars and certain body parts, in the same turn, can it apply to wines? Wines with ‘tude and nothing to back it up.

I took my sleuthing skills to the local liquor store and purchased a 2009 Aragon Grenache Bitch, whose pink label on the back, by the way, is hysterical (with repeated “bitch” filling the back), and the pink Fat Bastard with a gold hippo adorning the label. Bitch will put you back $11.99 while Fat Bastard will keep your wallet feeling heavy after spending a mere $6.99.

The first wine I tried was the Bitch, I’m always up for good confrontation and I figured I would get her sassy attitude out of the way. Let me tell you, she was less confrontational than expected. In all honesty, she was okay. You get what you pay for, which is an acidic and alcohol aftertaste of red wine. It’s okay to drink but not terribly high quality. It’s slightly bitter and dry. Don’t misunderstand me, it isn’t a horrible wine, it just isn’t great. It’s very much a “drink to get drunk wine.” After a few glasses you might go from proper lady to bitch in 3.5 glasses.

Fat Bastard was next, and while it didn’t ask me to “Get in my belleh” the pink of the label and the actual wine were slightly overwhelming and thus it was enticing, especially as a female. If I didn’t know any better I would think the wine was marketed towards both my age group and gender. The back label explains the name equipped with the French accent that coined it, “Now zat iz what you call eh PHET bast-ard!” (read in a French accent, really over do it.)

Fat Bastard wasn’t as much of a bastard as I expected. Price isn’t everything, folks. This money saver is a light, well-rounded wine. It drinks easy and doesn’t make you want to cringe. I’m honestly very pleased with it and would recommend it for anyone, especially on a tight budget.

I was interested in what my readers had to say and took to Twitter about the matter of vulgarity and wines.

@Blonde_Penguin: @Shanny99 doesn’t bother me. I’ll buy anything if it has good reviews.

@MikePatota: @Shanny99 I think their target audience is younger folks, and for that I wont touch it.

@deabruzo: @Shanny99 I’m intrigued & consider purchasing, it appeals to the non-conformist in me. But I don’t expect it to be good. Quite the opposite.
Whether you agree, or not, these wine companies understand how to market. Even if it’s off-putting I know there’s no way the consumer is not interested. Even the novelty of owning the empty bottle is enough for some people to purchase these wines. Buy them, fulfill your curiosities and shock house guests, but know what you may be getting into. Whether it’s an overcompensating Bitch or an unexpectedly charming Fat Bastard, you have to make your own choices as a consumer.

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Fifth generation family-owned and operated land, award winning products, beer, food, people and music, all variables adding to the wonderfulness Heritage Vineyards offered during their Grand Finale Concert Saturday Sept. 24.

“We are trying to overcome that stigma that New Jersey doesn’t make good wine. But when people come to an event like this they’re convinced.” said event coordinator Rich Heritage.

I was certainly convinced and welcomed upon arrival with a wine glass, beer cup and program. The beer cup contained 5 tickets to taste the craft beers, which were limited per customer, unlike the wine which was flowing freely.

The area behind Heritage’s main building was set up with tents, a stage and a great, large crowd. The tents consisted of beer tasting/for purchase provided by Flying Fish Brewing Co., the Barnsboro Inn which had food for purchase, and Heritage’s plethora of wine. Heritage debuted their Moscato wine which went to shelf  Sept. 22nd, the Thursday before the event.

The wines were, as always, exquisite. I spoke with wine maker Sean Comninos, who gave me a wonderful and insightful tour, which will be a full length feature coming soon. (I learned so much that I need to share it in an article all its own.)

When asked about how he felt about his wines being award winning, “Well it’s nice to gain recognition, we’ve been awarded Winery of the Year from the state for 2011, which is quite an honor” he said.

“The awards that really matter to me more are the general public liking our products. We’ve gotten a few really positive reviews from the Wall Street Journal.” Sean said.

I tried three wines that I particularly loved, Painted Horse Cuvee, Chambourcin and a 2006 Chardonnay. The Cuvee is a mixture of Heritage’s Syrah, Merlot and Chambourcin. It was slightly dry with a bit of sweet that finished with a mild bite. It is the perfect red to use for hosting dinner or pasta parties. Not everyone appreciates red wine due to the heaviness it may have, however, the use of Painted Horse for those pickier dinner guests is perfect. It was deep in flavor, and a good fit for ‘new’ red wine drinkers.

The Chambourcin was sweet and dry. It was made in a French/American Oak blend cask and the deep flavor of the oak is easily tasted with each sip that the wine offers. The 2006 Chardonnay was the only white I really tried and in the nature of a true white wine it was light and sweet. I recommend it to any white wine enthusiast.

Thankfully the rain held off and guests brought personal tents and chairs set up creating an inviting atmosphere. There were farm animals roaming around their pens for all ages to enjoy. Parents were walking around with their children tasting the food, drinking the wine and venturing to pick apples. I say the event was ten dollars well spent for guests, there was so much to savor.

“We love doing it, everyone is having a great time” Rich Heritage explained, summing up the overall feeling of the event.

Heritage Vineyards final Happy Hour will be held this Thursday Sept. 29th. Their next big event is the Holiday Wine Trail Weekend November 25, 26 & 27 from 12pm – 5pm. To learn more visit http://bit.ly/dBsmhk

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Recent news and interesting stories relating to wine! I hope you enjoy.

Take a moment or two to read up on Heritages Vineyards. For those attending the event, or interested in my follow-up, the story will be helpful both in background and accolades.

A look into Heritage Vineyards in New Jersey Monthly: http://bit.ly/nPSa8R

Sports and wine, what more could you want? http://bit.ly/pzIulT

Wine vending machines?!  http://buswk.co/pKUyVs
(too bad it’s ending)

Comment and let me know what you thought of the articles.

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This weekend I will be attending Heritage Vineyards Grand Finale Concert. It runs from Saturday Sept. 24-Sunday Sept. 25.

I am excited to not only experience local wine so close to Rowan, but enjoy local beer as well. Flying Fish Brewing Co. located in Cherry Hill, NJ, will be offering it’s select craft beers to those in attendance. Of course great wine and beer could not be enjoyed as much without the accompaniment of delicious food. The Barnsboro Inn located in Sewell, NJ, will be providing food as well as BBQ items from Hawg Daddy BBQ.

The event rounds itself out by offering music.  Standard Deviation plays on Saturday and Sunday Mike Dugan & the Blues Mission will perform.

Admission is $10.00, a very reasonable price for what is being offered. Underage admittance is $3.00. I encourage some younger students (18-20) to go, especially those close to turning 21. I say this because this is a great way to discover local food and music. When you turn 21, this will give the opportunity to try quality beer and wine products, locally. You may not be able to drink, but you can learn about the process of both beer and wine, giving you a smarter outlook before legally consuming alcohol. Important note taken directly from the site: IDs will be checked at event entrance.  No one under the age of 21 is permitted to consume alcohol.  This will be strictly enforced at entrance, serving tables and all other event areas. So, if you look remotely underage do not forget your ID.

Parents should not carry concern for lack of activities for their children, hay rides, apple picking and a petting zoo will be at the event. Parking will be plentiful and more importantly free!

What to expect: Great local food, wine and beer for tasting and purchase. Rain is a possibility, so come with rain coats and umbrellas ready in the car if the event arises. Don’t forget to bring some extra cash to buy all the products offered for tasting.

I will definitely be in attendance Saturday Sept. 24th and I am expecting a great turnout, as I’m sure Heritage is. If you are planning on attending tweet me with the hashtag #HeritageGrandFinale, your tweet or opinion of the event may end up on the follow-up, TwitPics are encouraged!

Interested in going? Tickets can be purchased upon entrance and here.

As always, tweet me @SassyVine

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Welcome one and all to my new blogging endeavor!

My name is Shannon Caulfield and I am a Rowan Journalism student currently in my senior year. Welcome to my new adventure!

Many visiting this site may be familiar with me through the years of NHL-centric blogging I have taken part in. This site, however, is something I am not only doing to branch out, but to get that ever-elusive A+ we all yearn for in our college days.

I am so happy you are here to join me! I have a lot of learning to do, not only with blogging but with my new and hopefully growing audience.

I plan on taking you all on a journey of wine. Southern New Jersey has a plethora of local wineries, especially around Rowan University. I will be visiting said wineries, tasting the wine and talking about how to pair various wines with food in a new fun way amongst an array of other activities that may lead to misadventures.

These next few weeks my blog will contain content ranging from photos, interviews pieces, satirical commentary on the stigma with wine and much more!

My hopes are that you can appreciate what I have to offer, give me tons of feedback and join me in the madness!

Lets get sassy!

My first question: What is your favorite wine and why?
Feel free to comment your answer and tune in next week!

Tweet me! @SassyVine

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