Vichyssoise and the Art of Spin
Yesterday I made one of my favorite summertime meals, one I’ve not executed in a very long time: Vichyssoise and Crostini with roasted garlic, goat cheese and parsley.
I set down the meal on the table, called the family to supper, sat down, watched my son dig into the Vichyssoise and then heard him declare:
"What is this?"
"Vichyssoise!," I responded.
His retort: "Isn’t it just cold soup?"
And there I realized that I had inadvertently raised a boy who is likely to lead a life unaffected by the very work his father engages in: Spin and PR.
I wonder how many people out there upon reading or hearing a description like this—"rustic, bold, intense bottling with dark berry notes, licorice and cocoa flavors and hints of pencil lead"—want to respond as my boy did: "Isn’t it just Wine?"?
Too many for my taste I’m guessing.
It’s probably a good thing that I’ve raised a boy who at 14 can see through words and get to the heart of the matter. However I was a little concerned with his follow up:
"Can we heat it up?"
"Yes," I told him. "But then it won’t be Vichyssoise".
"That’s OK." he said.
Send him to me in a few years. He has all the right stuff to be a historian!
Wasn’t there a big wine co running a campaign on this theme a while back? The meme was something like “don’t be that guy” who describes wine in highfallutin terms – just knock it back and enjoy.
When you tout, the “it’s just wine” view, you end up with people wanting to warm up the Vichyssoise.
They want soup (which they expect to be hot) rather than Vichyssoise.
So it is with wine. It requires some knowledge and understanding. Most importantly, it requires the enthusiast to com to it. It should not be expected to conform to the expectations of the taster.
I think of all businesses the wine business has the most refined, complex, and highly developed art of the spin. If you don’t think so, hire a large, high ticket New York based PR firm and see what they produce for your winery. Their work will seem crude and unsophisticated. They will not be able to write copy that will satisfy you. You will have to re-write it for them. I think that our art of spin has developed over a couple centuries and continues to be refined as we attempt to distinguish our wine in the marketplace. Oh, and the other way, of course, is when we sustainably grow our wines on living soil using bio-dynamic practices producing natural, hand crafted wines by a methode ancien with a terroir focus using only indigenous yeasts aged sur lie and bottling them unfined and unfiltered.
You forgot the part about adding back water…
That doesn’t appear on the label, and I’d call that reverse spin, no?
Actually, there is a way to spin it. Let’s say you make a dead vine wine by breaking back, a wine that smells mostly of ethanol. You just describe it as “fruit forward.”
Give your boy time. The grape doesn’t fall far from the vine.
Great story. My kids are the same way, but they are learning.
Morton Leslie, you are my new hero. After Tom’s kid, of course.
(There we have both spin AND equivocation! We’re good to go!)
Just so long as he doesn’t ask for ice in his wine when he gets older. . . lol.
From the mouth of babes…