Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Mariah Carey shows me the way

Actually, I've changed heart. I don't blame you anymore. Any of you. If there's a market for a $1,000-a-bottle Champagne to be created from nothing, and people are willing to buy it, then great. Good luck to 'em.

Because Mariah Carey is endorsing a Champagne called 'Angel', it costs $980 a bottle (for the cheapest), the packaging looks suspiciously like Jay-Z's Ace of Spades, and much like Ace of Spades, there is no indication of provenance (other than that it uses Grand Cru vineyards), it seems no-one has tasted it and the only recommendation is that Carey likes it.

She wants the winner to feel extra special and this champagne is certainly one way of making sure that comes true.

Now I'm going to make a prediction here: it's not that good. Now I know I haven't tasted it, so I'm out on a bit of a limb but for the most part I can tell you that no wine that costs $1,000 a bottle is worth $1,000. And, considering it's endorsed by the artistic void that is Mariah Carey, this only reinforces my prejudice.

All it does is open up the whole bloody problem, from Champagne to Bordeaux to Napa to Picpoul de Pinet. Anyone about to attack Angel (and yes, that includes me) has to look at the value of all the wines they pay for. Is Pétrus really worth it?

But there's another, much more worrying trend. You know how annoying it is when your friends ask you 'but how much is it' when you pour them a glass of wine? Well, now you can tell them it's Mariah Carey's favourite Champagne. Or Christian Audigier's wine. Or it was in Jay-Z's video. Your friends will be able to relate.

There is a market opening up for celebrities to get their own wine, or at least to endorse it. Wine experts and their views don't count, but the PR and the marketing does. Experts are annoying, fickle, know what they are talking about, and have tasted a lot of the stuff. Why let the possibility of a dodgy rating get in the way? Get Mariah to tell the press she loves the stuff and it wont matter what some bloke called Bob in Maryland (or some nerdy magazine for old people) thinks, because Mariah's got more of a following than any of them.

You are witnessing the fantasmagorical world of celebrity crowbarring itself into the cosy world of wine. You wait til Sarah Jessica Parker buys a 'castle' in Bordeaux. It will be a very questioning time. For all of us.

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