OK, so after previously posting on what I thought (as a marketing professional) of marketing wine to women by using stereotypical means instead of something a little more creative I was contacted by one of the main companies selling this wine – Beringer Blass Wine Estates. My previous train of thought was actually simple – make a good wine first, then market it to women without the condescending names but using marketing channels and messages that appeal to women. So when BBWE contacted me they offered a sample of White Lie for review so that I see could for myself what it was like. The BBWE spokesperson enthusiastically said “you can write about your White Lie wine experience”. I figured why not.
Now, a little backgrounder on this wine. BBWE put a “low-calorie” wine together with an all woman marketing team to come up with a tightly targeted product for women. The result was “White Lie Early Season Chardonnay”. Their research told them women wanted less alcohol, less oak [which is a general desire today I think], and more crisp fruit.
White Lie is actually lower calorie and alcohol and it does this basically by picking the grapes early on (hence the ‘early season’ trade mark) before they have too much sugar (which translates to alcohol) and doing a little more in the fermenting process. The end result is a wine with somewhere around 25% less alcohol and calories.
So to the wine. One of the first things that worried me reading through the material I received is an analogy that BBWE draws:
White Lie is to the Wine Industry as Bud Light is to the Beer industry (not a quote, just italicized for effect)…
To put context on that, they were talking about marketshare, not taste. But still…
I was expecting a lighter, fruitier wine from all the descriptions so I cooked an Orange Roughy dish with a light Jamaican Jerk marinade. I thought a little spice but a mild overall taste would probably go well with a fruitier, light wine. Kelly was willing to give it whirl as well (she’s pregnant so she only took a couple sips – but her sense of smell is like a blood hound right now). We cracked it open and here’s what we thought:
Appearance – Very light for a Chardonnay. Straw yellow color.
Aroma – the aroma was floral with a hint of grapefruit (Kelly). I found the smell reminded me of bananas and flowers but since pregnant women have super smell I’d default to Kelly’s interpretation.
In the mouth – Refreshing level of acidity (i.e. I can imagine it being better chilled more on a hot day) with a very thin body and an apple taste, no signs of oak (mission accomplished there) but virtually no finish to speak of.
It did compliment the slightly spicy fish dish that I grilled up so I think it works with food.
What the hell does all that crap mean? Well, for $10 (or less) its not bad but I don’t love it. I think Kelly put it best. She said if its a hot day and we were laying out by the pool and the wine was chilled more it would make a nice refreshing drink. But probably not something we’d reach for with the average dinner (as opposed to other sub-$15 chardonnays).
As for the analogy? Being a former micro-brew fan from NY and Boston long ago, I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is Bud Light, but it is Chard Light.
Enjoy the Wine Life!