This is a slight departure from the "true mission" of the Lab. These reports are intended to enlighten and educate. We are not in the business of giving scores or choosing favorites (except in the yet-to-be-announced category of BUBBLEDOME, where we will, in fact, make a very subjective effort to find our favorite sparkling wine). We are certainly not here to tear anybody down.
But as a by-product of our recent experiment with the Parducci Sustainable Red 2005, we made a little game of guessing the varietal (which kinds of grapes were used to make the wine) as the bottle says only Red Wine. I guessed Petite Syrah, Merlot and Viognier. I couldn't really detect the Viogner, but I've noticed it's often used as a blending grape and I thought this made my guess sound more sophisticated. My wife guessed, "You are such a dork. Seriously."
To see who had won, I typed in the web address printed on the back of the bottle. It re-directed me to the main page of the Mendocino Wine Company. They have awarded themselves a ribbon for being the first carbon-neutral winery. On the surface of it, they seem to be doing good things: using solar power and recycled materials, employing sustainable farming practices, and swapping out old, incandescent bulbs. But they are also buying carbon credits. I don't understand this. I get that companies should focus on core competencies (apparently, like polluting) and that out-sourcing things like planting trees allows for improved economies of scale. But I still don't get carbon credits. Can I buy sobriety credits? Say I go out to a boozy dinner and get pulled over on the way home. If I've pre-arranged to buy sober-credits from my kids who are too young to drink, can I keep swerving my way down the road? You can well imagine, there are some guys at the Lab who think this would be a terrific idea.
Anyway... you're probably wondering who won our little "guess the grape challenge." So I'll tell you: No one!
There is exactly zero mention of Sustainable Red at the smugly green Mendocino Wine Company website. Not in the Our Wines section. Not in the Buy Our Wines section. Zip. Nada. If you were going to produce self-congratulatory wines to celebrate your carbon-neutrality (there is also a white version: Sustainable White) and you went so far as to register a product-specific domain for each (www.sustainablered.com & www.sustainablewhite.com) wouldn't you at least have some mention about the actual wines on the website?
My wife says this is proof she won.