Musty August 2002
By Musty Bunches | 5 August 2002
Musty would like to begin this month's ramblings with a simple pair of questions: namely, why anybody would bother a) exhibiting at and b) visiting the Vinexpo Asia Pacific event in Tokyo.
I mean, let's face it, visitors had to brave Tokyo prices (high), Tokyo heat (high) and European football fan (lowest of the low) for the dubious opportunity of seeing about a quarter of the exhibitors who take stands at London, Prowein etc.
Meanwhile, exhibitors had to put up with all this extraneous hassle, plus pay astronomical stand rental space for the privelege of showing off their wares to about a dozen visitors. Even allowing for PR exaggeration, the official visitor figures for 2004 are about as impressive as George W's IQ tests.
Not only that, but the visitors were almost entirely Japanese (90%) - so it wasn't remotely the pan-Asian booze fest the organisers claimed - or the exhibitors bought in to.
Officially, there were a grand total of 26 Chinese visitors during the show, which works out at one an hour - something that may have been connected with the Japanese reluctance to grant them entry visas.
Still, with such a tiny consumer base, Musty is sure that none of the exhibitors would be particularly interested in cracking the Chinese market anyway…oh, no wait a minute…
Such fripperies wouldn't bother those nice people at Coca-Cola, since their drink is, now, officially more popular than oxygen (are you sure about this? - ed). Having officially Taken Over The World, the fizz moguls have turned their attention to the worthwhile past time of, er, scotching rumours and debunking myths on their website.
Musty has had a quick look at the urban myths that have built up over the years and would like to offer her readers a quick quiz to test their soft drinks domination knowledge.
Only one of the following is true, which one is it?
- Coke donates profits to Israel
- Coke dissolves teeth left in a glass overnight
- Coke still contains cocaine
- Coke can make an eco-friendly alternative to gasoline
- Coke makes you instantly more attractive and can help infertile couples to conceive
- Coke tastes like crap
Answers on a postcard to the usual address.
More news from the world of the corporate giants who lumber round the earth like mastodons with a laptop. Musty is delighted to see that Diageo has finally offloaded Burger King. After many years of trying, the booze to burgers monolith has finally accepted $2.2bn from a consortium that clearly hasn't heard that the days of selling processed nose gristle in a six-week-old bun are long over.
As a jubilant trade journalist friend of Musty's put it: "This is great news for Diageo. Now they can concentrate on what they do best: spending billions of pounds on Smirnoff Ice ads and running small Scotch brands into the ground."
Talking of hugely expensive and unproductive investments, Musty was intrigued to see that the British Royal Family has done its bit to help out the poor beleaguered population of the UK by cutting back its spending on drink for the year from £107,000 to £45,000.
Some cruel souls have suggested that this new royal abstemiousness may not be unrelated to the demise of Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother, neither of whom was averse to a drop or two to ease the pain of being stupendously wealthy.
Musty, however, takes a more charitable view, that ye Royals have belatedly tuned in to the benefits of New World wine and now prefer a nice glass of Turning Leaf to Chateau Latour.
One advantage of New World wines, of course, is their go-ahead use of artificial closures in place of cork, the latter practice having caused much rending of garments and gnashing of teeth the world over thanks to the egregious cork taint.
So Musty was delighted to discover that research carried out by the Wine and Spirit Association (a neutral body) in the UK has come to the frankly baffling conclusion that cork taint affects less than 1% of all bottles.
Given that just about anyone who works in a sector of the wine industry that involves large tastings on a regular basis puts the figure at around 5%, these findings have, not surprisingly, attracted everything from raised eyebrows to out and out ridicule.
But still, it's heartening to know that in the 21st century most people still think that the most effective way of closing a bottle is with a lump of old tree.
Finally, Musty would like to finish this month with a challenge to her readers: namely to send in the most ludicrous (genuine) tasting note that they have ever seen. This challenge has been sparked off by a tasting note in a menu at a corporate event recently, in which a Pouilly Fumé was described as having aromas of "bamboo and soju" before the writer reflectively concluded that the wine was "somewhere between a cress and a rebel". Presumably, this must mean that there are other wines out there that are also mid way between a type of herb and a social dissident. And if anyone has ever tasted, say, a Shiraz that's "between tarragon and a Luddite" or a Chardonnay that has "elements of a young Tamal Tiger with a hint of mint' then Musty wants to hear about it.
Frankly, though, she thinks you'll be hard pushed to beat the note attached to a hapless old claret from some bow-tie wearing buffoon in London five years ago, who described it as having the nose of "a sixteenth century Flemish tapestry."
How impressive, not only to pinpoint the exact era of said hanging, but to nail so precisely the corner of northern Europe from which it would originate.
Can you do better? The Tasting Note Nonsense Challenge is on…
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