Saturday, July 23, 2011

Drinking and cycling

We were invited for dinner yesterday evening, and I was tasked with picking up a bottle of wine. The most convenient store on the way to dinner was this humungous Auchan I'd never been into, and it was fun looking over a new wine selection.

When I'm looking for a new wine, it's hard to tell what might be good. If you know your stuff, you can look for reputable vintners or reliable combinations of year and region. But I don't know very much about wine, so I rely quite a lot on labels. If it's an old-school design with gothic lettering and hackneyed clip art on it, I figure the vintner isn't up on the latest wine-making techniques. If the design is more contemporary, but just badly put together, I might assume it's some neophyte winemaker who hasn't learned the craft.

I went up and down Auchan's 100-metre wine aisle trying to decipher what all these labels were telling me -- and then I hit on this one, "Tour de Dúzsi." Looks promising, I thought. Inspecting the text on the back, I read: "Támas Dúzsi (the vintner), a former competitive road cyclist, honours wine drinkers with a cuvee that gives an imaginary bike tour with true Szekszárd flavours. This bottle blends the region's most characteristic varietals, and makes for a pleasant accompaniment for bicycle tours."

Which brought to mind a weekend bike excursion among the wineries of the rolling hills of that part of southern Hungary. It's a clever bit of marketing, a piece of text with no objective connection to the product, but a very effective emotional evocation of a kind of good time you can have with wine. It sure had me pegged, anyway.

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