Wine Trader Magazine

Chateau au Verwelm: An Extraordinary Cabernet

We pulled out all the stops when we uncorked this one! About the same time that the Mars Pathfinder released its first exciting pictures from the red planet to an eagerly awaiting world, Chateau au Verwelm made exciting news of its own when it launched its own eagerly-awaited red wonder, a full-throated Cabernet Sauvignon so incredibly good that the winery will very likely not release another one, since no other wine could possibly live up to this unique standard.

All of us at the winery believe that Chateau au Verwelm is so remarkably, darkly, deeply complex that it needs a resident psychiatrist to open it up; so intensely, immensely, ardently seductive that you must promise us never to drink it alone for we cannot be responsible for the consequences; so unctuously rich that there will likely be an excise tax imposed on it and so critically worthy that we are modestly predicting that the wine will receive at least an average of 97 in those publications that are slaves to the point system. All distributors, retailers and connoisseurs out there who only care about high scores, are advised to buy this one before it's history!

As a help to understand this wine and the fact that it might leave you speechless, we thought we would offer you the following list of adjectives from which you could choose in writing about it: unique, precious, superb, splendid, admirable, praiseworthy, laudable, inspired, estimable, divine, celestial, godly, reaching new heights, the greatest, almost impossible to describe, sublime, unthinkable words to that effect. Or, after you taste it, feel free to improvise and come up with new adjectival combinations, but please keep in mind at all times this is the finest wine we have ever made so don't stray too far off the point.

According to winemaker Justin A. Gest, "The grapes came from specially selected vines, harvested bunch by bunch in the middle of the night by hand. We lost some pickers -it was really dark- but if that's what it takes, that's what it takes. And, although we are well aware that many winemakers achieve great results by "listening to the grapes," we do no such thing. In fact, we do the opposite. We constantly shout at our grapes, exhorting, cajoling and, in some cases, cheering them on to keep up their sugars and not drop their acids-we want them to achieve their ultimate destiny and we make it clear to them in no uncertain terms that we will brook no hanging around wool gathering."

After harvest, the grapes are fermented in especially small French oak under zero gravity conditions, which allows the wine to flow horizontally. After the ultimate time in oak, the wine is bottled and set aside to be aged in perfect aging conditions in caves decorated by the noted interior designer Mark Hampton. Here, quiet is the key. The wines are resting to gather strength for the onslaught by our legion of wine lovers who are chafing at the bit to start collecting and raising the prices.

The wine is then packed in mahogany boxes which, with a little work in a woodshop, can be turned into an 18th century-style nightstand.

Speaking of that, the suggested retail price is $100 a bottle, depending on a lot of factors, both psychological and market.

Gest closed by noting, "What more can we say except to ask you, the media, to use this press release in its entirety?"

Edwin J. Schwartz is a public relations practitioner who maintains his sense of humor. This piece on the fictional Chateau au Verwelm is dedicated to all those clients who constantly exhort their p.r. types to use ever more and grander adjectives and hyperbole.

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© Copyright 1997 Jerry D, Mead, JDM Enterprises and Wine Investigation for Novices and Oenophiles; all rights reserved.

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Latest Update: December 10, 1997