Fifty Shades of Purple

This won’t be a very informative blog, I am sorry to say, but it will lay the groundwork for next month’s, which should be quite interesting!

I recently received in the mail, from a winemaker friend in California, a small sample (see photo) of the mysterious Mega-Purple. I requested it from him for an experiment, and he was happy to help me with.

IMG_2536 (002)

If you know what this additive is, and you know my evil sense of humor, you can see the devious plan I have devised beginning to take root! If you don’t know of Mega-Purple, it is simply a grape extract (not like the vegetable extract vegemite, thank goodness!) that is used in winemaking. Yep, an additive.

Look at its name, and you can figure out what result you would get if you used it. And it gets used with regularity. My guess, and I am NOT a winemaker and nobody ever told me flat out that’s what they are using, is that it adds a depth of color (thus the name) and a good dose of richness and supple fruit to the recipient wine. I would also guess that if you see wines labeled as ‘black’ or ‘dark’ or any other variation on this theme, there is a chance the wine was enhanced with this stuff. I ain’t naming no names.

I few weeks ago I bought a bottle of wine at Walgreens. I am a very good customer at my ABC stores, but I was out of wine at home, had a houseful of my daughter’s friends over and after they all went home, I needed a glass of wine. The one I bought, which was $12.99 ($10.99 at ABC) was so hugely colored and fruited that is simply could not have been natural.

It tasted, and I am ashamed to say, like a vigorous young garage wine from somewhere in France where they love Merlot. I didn’t hate it! Probably acidified, probably had tannins added, and without question, it showed the influence of Mega-Purple.

Enough said! Anyways, my plan is to (unknown to my crash-test audience) open 2 bottles of wine, both the same wine and both bagged up so nobody is the wiser, and leave one as is and add a healthy dose of said additive to the other – then have an open discussion about each, maybe even going as far as to have any brave soul guess the provenance. Told you I was devious!

Shayne Hebert, Wine & Spirits Sales Manager

Follow me on Twitter @abcwineShayne

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