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Faulty wines 11


#1

I was going to resurect the faulty wines refund thread but this is not about refunds.

M&S have, or had a very good award winning (silver medal) Decanter, Spanish carignan red on offer and I availed myself of some bottles for everyday drinking, all was well until I got a bad bottle, nothing intrinsically wrong just nowhere near the same as the other bottles, and I have a few more to go so have no idea if it is a batch problem.
As my good lady was going into town to visit M&S for other items ! I tagged along and took the offending bottle back for a refund, and this is where it got interesting.
Customer services had no problem giving the refund but the manager in charge of the wine in this big store happened to be on hand and again no problem but he spoke about “bad” bottles.

This would appear to be a not infrequent occurence outside of the tainted, corked segment, and he openly stated that they often get batches that in honesty it would be difficult to believe were the same wine.
It is something I have come across over the years with many lower end award winning wines and not the first time I have mentioned it, in fact with a similar WS bottle I queried if the batches were tested and was assured they were, though obviously all bottles cannot be tested for authenticity it would be a logistical and impractical no go.
But again I ask how many award winning wines that go on sale are the same as the ones put up for competition, this is a serious question as it has happened on so many occasions that there is no correlation between what accolade has been heaped on a particular wine and what was purchased over the counter and I am not talking subjectivity but straight comparison.

In the past on this subject I have used the famous Sainsburys own label champagne case that was found to be because of demand substituted and allowed to retain its awards in a bizarre trading standards verdict, but in reality how often has that happened, there is no doubt in my mind with the returned bottle above and many others over the years, with the rise in counterfeit wines from China, that are an increasing threat on a big scale we are right to be cynical, but can anything actually on a practical basis be done about it.
There was an article by a respected wine writer on the subject some time back yet no more was heard, I suspect protected interests come into play with something like this, but it is an interesting adjunct to the wine trade fraud problem nonetheless.


#2

I can update this post with a recent addition to the award winning wine problem.
Last year I purchased a Peter Yealands SB that had a gold medal award from Sainsburys, it was as good as I have had at that price point so purchased more on the next visit all were drunk bar one that was in my “cellar”.
At the end of the year the vintage changed , but I gave a bottle a go on the strength of the previous, it was not in the same league and in fact was not very nice at all, on a subsequent visit the 2016 with gold medal stickers was on the shelf with the new vintage so I purchased three bottles .
When I opened the first it tasted exactly like the new 2017 vintage, nothing like the earlier ones despite being in identical bottles with award and vintage ie the same wine.
But I had an original bottle in my cellar so to prove to myself I was not imagining all this I invited my next door neighbours round last week to sample the two different wines in a blind test, they were simply asked to say which of the two they preferred, the answer confirmed what I knew and the original bottle was praised and the other was thought to be not very good, when I showed them two identical bottles they were puzzled to say the least until I explained.
In essence these were two different wines, of that there was no doubt but sold as the same awards and all.
Of course I can only say allegedly !


#3

If I understand you correctly, what you’re alluding to is the fact that as wine is a ‘living’ thing, a reflection of its terroir, it inevitability captures a specific weather, in a specific year (i.e. the vintage), as well as the vilification process in that same year. It is not an object, mass produced using a solid template, which is unalterable from year to year. So in essence a medal or an award should only be applicable to the specific vintage which was tasted. For the new vintage to ‘inherit’ the awards of a previous one is at best careless, at worst intentionally misleading. But maybe the difficulty is that we’re all swayed by awards and accolades, even if in reality they relate, as you say, to a different wine than the one we’re buying. This is definitely a thought provoking conundrum! :thinking:
My other half likened it to buying a book which states “a Pulitzer winner”, only then you find out that the prize was given to the author for a different book…


#4

On reflection, I wonder if what you meant was that the wine of the later vintage was a different wine altogether??.. In which case, we’re talking about wilful deception! Is this what you’re alluding to?


#5

I think you have confused yourself we are talking about two bottles of the same wine same vintage, both purchased at different times, I also had a back up bottle of the later purchased wine that was exactly the same as the poor version.
If you read what I said in my first post you will see the famous case of the Sainsburys own label champagne that was found out as having been substituted after the good stuff ran out, I have no idea if the same thing has happened here , but it was not the same wine.


#6

OK, I’m with you now. So it is possible, in this case, that we are talking about fraud/deception, although at which point in the chain of production/supply will be difficult to ascertain…?