I saw something in the sports section this week that had me shaking my head in disbelief. A California winery has introduced a line of boutique red wines called the Vicktory Dogs Wine Collection. That is not a misspelling on Vicktory. It is spelled that way because the bottles feature portraits of 22 pit bulls confiscated from Michael Vick’s sordid kennel that provided combatants for illegal dog fights.
Well, if they can put Michael Vick’s pit bulls on wine bottles, I guess it is not so strange that Elvis Presley’s name and image adorn a line of wines. Graceland Cellars wines were introduced in 2004 and obviously have been a success. Back in March 2005, I wrote about Graceland Cellars in just the seventh article in the young life of ElvisBlog, so now might be a good time to do an update.
About a week ago, a press release was sent out announcing the special edition Blue Christmas 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. At $18.99 suggested retail price, Blue Christmas is touted as “a serious wine in a fun package.” The key here is “serious wine,” and I’m starting to think all Graceland Cellars wines can truly be thought of with this designation.
One way I recognize a serious wine (without actually tasting it) is to note how much of the wine-metaphor-description-thing it gets. I love the interesting ways the experts think up to describe wines, however, I’m not sure the spin for Blue Christmas Cabernet sounds so good: “a complex, structured wine with hints of leather, cherry, cedar and smoke.” Leather, cedar and smoke?
Another gift idea from Graceland Cellars is the Elvis Presley Party Pack. For $34.99, you get three wines in special packaging with Elvis trivia on the side panel, and a bonus Elvis Christmas CD inside.
The Party Pack includes Jailhouse Rock 2006 Merlot, Blue Suede Shoes 2007 Chardonnay, and The King 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. Here’s what they say about Jailhouse Rock Merlot: “Young and vibrant. Aromas of berries and fresh herbs are followed by varietal characteristics of red currant, green olives, sage and wild berries.” Did you think you would ever hear green olives mentioned in the description of a wine?
The Blue Suede Shoes Chardonnay spin says: “…has attractive floral, citrus, pear and appley aromas followed by a rich, complex beam of apple pie, fig, apricot and peach flavors.” Hey, this is an Elvis wine; let’s get some banana and peanut-butter aroma in there.
The King Cabernet Sauvignon has more fruit references in its description: “This wine is lush, ripe and juicy, with intense black cherry, current and blackberry fruit that’s smooth and focused.” We certainly don’t want any unfocused wine now, do we? I wonder why wines don’t smell and taste like grapes.
There are other Graceland Cellars wines available for holiday giving, including the Stuck On You 2005 Shiraz, a bargain at $9.99. I must admit I have no idea what Shiraz is, but it sounds yummy: “Crafted in a fruit-forward, ripe style, our Shiraz is brimming with red berry, pepper, and chocolate aromas. Spicy tannins layer with vanilla and cedar to build flavor upon flavor in this medium-bodied red. A perfect partner to outdoor grilling or to Memphis style slow cooked ribs.” Sorry, I would rather have beer with my ribs. Barbeque sauce on a beer can is OK, but it looks bad all over your wine glass.
Graceland has another product they recommend for your holiday partying. It is aptly named the All Shook Up California Champagne and is available for $14.99, or in a 2-bottle set for $29.98. I guess they don’t need to give us all the jive about aroma and taste. Just drink it and have fun.
Graceland Cellars offers a few special selections that definitely fit into the “serious wine” category discussed earlier. The picture above is the limited edition Velvet Elvis 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Only 3,600 individually numbered jet-black velvet-label Magnums were produced, and they go for $99.99 each. According to a Graceland Cellars spokesman, “We blended the popular craft of velvet painting that became synonymous with Elvis’ image along with our best Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and bottled it into a stunning package.” If you buy one of these and drink the wine, I’ll bet the empty bottle will be a keeper.
The same can be said for the top of the line Etched Elvis 2005 Limited Production Cabernet Sauvignon, which goes for $119.99. That picture you see etched on the bottle is one of the popular Elvis images done by EPE artist Joe Petruccio. A good portion of the price has to be for his artwork, but I’ll bet the wine is spectacular, too.
The last Graceland cellars wine I want to mention is the Jailhouse Rock 2005 Merlot I received as a gift last Christmas. In a few weeks, I will be going to the annual Christmas party for my local writers group. Two of the members are devoted Merlot drinkers, and they don’t believe a wine with Elvis’ picture on it could be any good. I’m taking my bottle and serving it to them, and then I’ll get their evaluation. In particular, I want them to describe its fragrance. If they say it has aromas of green olives, sage, and wild berries, I’ll probably faint.
© 2008 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net