May 16, 2017 – Rosé has been roaring and is set to reach new records this summer but nipping at its heels is blue wine, acclaimed the next big thing by several popular publications in the U.S.
The blue wine causing such excitement in the U.S. is Blumond made of prosecco, the Italian sparkling wine, with peach flavoring and a dose of blue curaçao liqueur to give it its Listerine appearance. It is bubbly, sweet and only seven percent alcohol by volume (ABV). Not quite sure how adding liqueur keeps the ABV so low but maybe the peach flavoring cuts the alcohol.
The makers, Fratelli Saraceni are an Italian family from Tuscany. In winespeak, when referring to ‘a Tuscan’ blue wine does not come to mind. You’re thinking Sangiovese or a Super Tuscan blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The company makes these regular Tuscan reds, but their web site showcases a line of fun wines. In addition to Blumond, there is Perlé Sparkling Merlot, Volaré Pinot Grigio and pink Grapefruit, Fragolino Splendida Strawberry and Mario! Sparkling Limoncello. The latter is neon yellow. The others are less jarring. All are sweet and low alcohol.
Blumond is being released in the Italian market this year to critical acclaim, “critical” being the operative word. It is considered an outrage and an insult. Wladimiro Gobbo, a member of Italy’s Sommelier Association dubbed Blumond “an insult to our wine tradition”. He told the Daily Mail “It’s embarrassing. These are not wines but colored liquids, dumb-downed hybrids with a watered-down percentage of alcohol.” In fact, since Italian law says that wine must be 10 percent alcohol by volume in order to be called wine, Blumond and the others in the fun lineup at seven percent do not qualify as wines.
And in defense of prosecco, Fabio Lantieri de Paratico, co-founder of the Franciacorta Consorzio and producer of the traditional method sparkling wine, added: “These do not belong to our world. They’re just whims and trends that come and go”.
The Italians aren’t the only ones having a conniption about blue wine. In Spain Gik Wine introduced a neon blue wine in 2015. The Spanish blue is the result of two natural ingredients, indigo dye and anthocyanin, a pigment found in grape skin added to wine made from red and white grapes. It is less likely to be mistaken for mouth wash. But Spain’s agriculture ministry fined the company and forced it to remove “blue wine” from its label. The wine cannot be sold in the European Union because under its oenological regulations, blue is not an approved color.
Gik was suspended temporarily but is now back in business with a new concoction that is 99 percent wine and one percent grape must. So far Gik ‘s market has been in various Asian countries and Brazil but it is not available in the U.S. as yet. The company does have this market on its radar screen.
Blumond is available in the U.S. priced anywhere between $14.95 and $20.00. It’s not a bargain when compared against readily available prosecco but then regular prosecco isn’t blue. Imagine the fun table décor with red, white and blue wines at national celebrations like Fourth of July. It would be hard to resist.
Will it stick around? Sure it will. It’s a fad but it’s fun and an awful lot of people really enjoy sweet wine. So go for it, have some giggles and enjoy the shock value while it is still a novelty. However be ready for the party clown who starts gargling claiming he thought it was Listerine.