You may have just felt a disturbance in your Instagram feed: Yes, blue wine is coming to the States. Last year, the bright indigo wine took European social media by storm, until authorities in the producers’ native Spain decreed that the product was not actually “wine.” (Details!) Now, the producers are cleared to export to the U.S.—where the product will be once again labeled and sold as wine. (Phew?)
Unsurprisingly, the concoction is not a specific grape varietal or style. In fact, the producers, Gïk, flaunt a disregard for “the ancestral traditions and inherited rules that make wine drinking so complicated.” No, sir. Instead, they start with both red and white grapes from Spain and France, with an emphasis on La Rioja, Zaragoza and Courthèzon. Then . . . things get interesting. Two must pigments, Antocyanin and indigotine, are added to create a distinct neon blue coloring. Finally, “non-caloric sweeteners” are thrown into the mix for flavor. (These guys must be prepping their molotov cocktails.)
A friend of Neat Pour was kind enough to provide tasting notes based on first-hand experience, which are not encouraging: “strong notes of Boone’s, with hints of Bartle & Jaymes on the finish.” ABV is listed as 11.5% and pH clocks in between 3.2 and 3.7. Gïk’s own tasting notes tout an “easy and fresh wine scent” (always what one looks for in “wine”), and describe the flavor, somewhat threateningly, as “slightly acid, with a sudden cheerful sweet burst.” The producer suggests pairing with sushi, guacamole, or “whatever.” OK!
The ambiguity of Gïk’s tasting notes is in keeping with the company’s character. “We are not vintners. We are creators,” boasts the team of 6 twentysomethings behind the blue wine. “It’s not about grapes, it’s about the people.” #Disruption at its finest!
Given Gïk’s cavalier attitude, their troubles with the detail oriented European regulators may have been inevitable. Earlier in 2017, the Basque section of Spain’s Agriculture Ministry cracked down on the product, fining Gïk and forcing a temporary suspension in sales. European Union regulations dictate that wine can only be red or white—not blue. After rebooting, Gïk began making their beverage with a mix of 99% wine and 1% must. Likewise, it is no longer sold as wine.
However, in America, the slightly-more-lax-towards-wine Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau was willing to accept the product as wine. Bottles will soon be on shelves in Florida, Massachusetts, and Texas. New York, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, California and Washington are slated for the second wave, according to the company. We’ll be monitoring our social feeds with extra caution.