There are many reasons why we underrated, underpaid, under-appreciated and under-the-bus thrown wine writers choose a particular wine to cover.
It may be unrequited lust for the winemaker, like mine for Ontario’s Sue-Ann Staff.
It may be a passive-aggressive need to mock and disparage a celebrity wine, even if it’s really, really good.
It may be pay-for-play, like Natalie MacLean’s latest scandal, wherein it is alleged that she makes wineries buy a subscription order to have their wine reviewed.
It may even be because the winery puts out a decent product. Yeah, right.
But here’s a new one on me, so probably you too: The sole reason I am writing this review is because I think that the marketing rep who contacted me has a very cool name.
So when Capel Kane of Laforce + Stevens in New York suggested that I review Thorny Rose Wines, I did not hesitate to agree—even though I sort of expected the Constellation brand, low-end, appeal-to-younger-drinkers to be somewhat forgettable.
Which it is—but to my surprise, remarkably drinkable, refreshing and recommended prior to the onset of my memory loss.
It seems likely that Thorny Rose is a sort of corporate effort using purchased grapes, mostly from Washington, and one—sauvignon blanc—from New Zealand. Both places turn out some scrumptious products.
I’d tell you more about the winery, the winemaker—and especially, about whether or not there actually is a winery and winemaker rather than somebody just bottling wine already made and labeling it—but I can’t.
Aye, There’s the Rub…
Why? Because I can’t figure out how to navigate their goddamn web page, that’s why.
Now, I’m not claiming to be the sharpest shiv in the murder kit, but I look at dozens of winery web sites every week, and when I want to know about the winery, I go to the tab labeled ‘About’. If I want to know who makes the wine, the ‘Who We Are’ or ‘Winemaking Team’ tabs are the usual ticket.
I challenge you to go to http://thornyrosewines.com/ and tell me what is going on in this clusterbleep of a site, and if you can, I will send you a ski mask and a free roll of duct tape as a reward.
What little I can find out about Thorny Rose comes from a Société Perrier article about the wine’s launch party at Hollywood’s ritzy Spare Room bar; that’s about all I could locate on line that was comprehensible.
And even that is a little suspect. Here’s the opening line, by Romina Rosenow:
‘You may be used to sipping wine from Napa, France or maybe Argentina if you’re daring, but there’s a new kind of wine in town: They’re here to say that Washington can grow good grapes too, damn it!’
If I’m an editor reading this, my first comment is, ‘Romina, dahlink—even if you are not aware that Washington is the largest wine producing state after California and New York and chunk out 24 million gallons a year—chances are that your readers will. Maybe revise?’
Then I might add, ‘BTW, Romina, baby—also, perhaps, toss in something about why Thorny Rose, if they are so intent on ballyhooing Washington, held their launch party in California.’
But then I Googled Romina Rosenow and damn if she isn’t as lustworthy as Sue-Ann Staff, so if she wants to not know about Leonetti, Betz, Quilceda Creek or Cayuse Cailloux, power to the p-word.
But that’s rude and infantile and offensive, and likely one of the reasons I find myself so underpaid and under-appreciated.
So, before I dig my grave deeper with the requisite murder kit shovel, I will sign off by saying that I did, in fact, find the wines fun, flavorful and fittingly frivolous, and appreciate the column idea from the gnarly-gnamed Capel Kane (cool initials, too, but I’m a bit biased there), who I also Google Imaged, and the photo on the left came up.
Holy Christ, People… Homina³
I’d thereupon henceforth mention Capel in the same breath as Sue-Ann and Romina, but I figure if I use the word ‘lust’ three times in the same column where I mention murder kits, somebody might begin to get the impression that I’m a bit creepy.
Thorny Rose Wines, Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, 2011, about $8.50: Sweet, with a solid apple-driven focus; also nuances of pear and citrus folded into a creamy mouthfeel.
Thorny Rose Wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, 2011, around $8.50: Big bright fruit type cab—plum, cherry, dark berry—and surprisingly vivid at the price point.
Thorny Rose Wines, Red Blend, Columbia Valley, 2011, about $8.50: Rare the red blend with a vintage on the label? Like the cab, the wine relies on fresh fruit, with cranberry and black cherry at the forefront. If I hear this kind of wine described as ‘pizza-friendly’ one more time, I’m gonna start taking hostages—oops, not going there. Figure it pairs well with Lahma Bi Ajeen.