Biagio Cru & Estate Wines, a vegan-friendly wine distributor based in Roslyn Heights, NY, has announced the release of Égalité—the first wine ever created to support equal rights for words whose first and last letters both contain an accent aigu.
Now, here please note that the French have taken a perfectly good word like ‘ague’—meaning malaria—and made it all Frenchy-sounding and italicky.
Just as, in 1935, Donald Watson—a mummified Englishman who looks like he should be in a sarcophagus in the Ancient Egypt wing of the British Museum—decided he could start making up words like ‘vegan’ to replace the perfectly serviceable and easy to understand term ‘non-dairy vegetarian’.
The Biagio Cru & Estate Wines Slogan is: ‘No animal derivatives are used in the wines that we produce for Biagio Cru’
How funny is that? A Mission Statement bragging that your wine contains no shrew entrails, cat sphincters or antelope gonads?
Well, it gets funnier—part of the inevitable stumble into
bullshit hypocrisy that trips up your garden-variety vegan every time.
Biago’s web site contains detailed descriptions of each wine in its vast vegan portfolio, and yet, here are verbatim excerpts from a few, hand before God:
Biagio Chianti Riserva: ‘…Pairs well with grilled meats… Also great with tuna steaks.’
Biagio Prosecco: ‘…perfect as an aperitif and also paired with fish…’
Biagio Moscato Torrontés: ‘…It’s great poured over vanilla ice cream…’
And perhaps—nay doubtless—this is the classic:
Biagio Ribeye Red: ‘…compliments your favorite cuts of steak…’
Not sure whether to be more amused or confused.
Anyway, About That Égalité:
In fact, having just re-read my first sentence, I realized that I made a horrible syntactic error in my transcription of the opening lines of the Égalité press release. It should have read:
‘Please see below news release about the launch of Égalité sparkling wine—the first wine created in support of equality for gay Americans.’
Darren Restivo, a Biagio principal, maintains:
“With same-sex marriage now legal in states from Maine to New York and Iowa to Washington, this is a time to recognize the hard-earned progress that has been made in pursuit of equality. There is no better way to celebrate love, marriage and now equality than with this spectacular sparkling wine.”
Here is the point where I lay off the jokes and raise a glass of Égalité for their support of gay marriage, which gratefully, is finally getting the attention and respect it deserves. And when a couple of the conservative old fucks on the Supreme Court like Justice Anthony Kennedy decide to die off, there may be a real chance of overturning that antiquated, homophobic, insane DOMA—the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
And obviously, for couples, straight or gay, who support that cause, there could be no better wine to drink with your lover on Valentine’s Day.
Now, It Suddenly Gets Funny Again
Of course, precisely why—other than the name—Égalité should be a particularly gay-friendly wine is hard to understand, but Biagio goes to great lengths to try to make me understand it.
The claim is made that the wine was only produced after ‘exhaustive research by a focus group that brought together gay and straight participants with diverse backgrounds, including leaders in the fight for same-sex marriage…’
Don’t know about you, but a single focus group does not sound too exhaustive to me, though more to the point, it sounds like Biagio got together a bunch of people based on their sexual orientation—who may or may not know the first thing about wine—and asked them to define their wine.
Way to drop in the double-éntendré, Biagio.
In any case, Égalité is a dry, single accent aigu Crémant from Burgundy; nicely aromatic with overtones of peach blossoms; lively bubbles explode and toasty hazel nuts and crisp citrus flavors show considerable complexity, in part due to the Burgundian requirement that a Crémant remain on the lees for nine months.
It retails for around $23.
As further incentive to travel down this humanitarian road on Valentine’s Day, Biagio will make a contribution of $1000 each to The Trevor Project, The Ali Forney Center, Equality Maine, Center on Halsted and the GLSEN. Additionally, for every bottle of Égalité sold, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to organizations dedicated to helping LGBTQ youth conquer life’s challenges.
So, again, jokes aside: Three cheers for the végans, the Frénch and the légalité of same-sex marriage.