jamie goode's wine blog: Rosemount Cabernet

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Rosemount Cabernet

Brands have a life span, or at least this is what marketing dudes tell me. Marketing dudes are usually smarter, better dressed and considerably richer than me, so I should listen to what they say.

Anyway, it goes like this. You build a brand. If it takes off, there is a growth period. You want this to be pretty fast, but you also want it to keep on going. Then there's a plateau period, where a successful, mature brand continues to sell well. The smart dudes reading this will be thinking that this is the phase you want to milk for all it's worth. Stretch it. Because next comes the decline phase. Your brand loses influence and sales. It's suddenly uncool, or boring, or out of touch.

Rosemount was a wine brand that recently, some commentators suggested, had entered the dreaded decline phase. Urgent action was called for to salvage it, and FGL Wine Estates revamped the range, paying attention not just to the liquid, but also the packaging. A simplified, elegant label and a square based bottle are the key design features in question.

What about the liquid itself? Well, the reason I'm blogging on this topic is because I'm drinking the Rosemount Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. And I'm impressed. This is not a geek wine, but I reckon they got the winemaking just right for this sort of brand.

It's deep coloured, with a forward, perfumed nose of sweet red berry and blackcurrant fruit, with a bit of spicy presence. There's a subtle herbiness, too. It is pretty refined. The palate shows sweet ripe blackcurrant fruit, with just enough spicy structure to counter the sweetness of the fruit. Any rough, slightly herbal edges are papered over adequately with the fruit sweetness. I reckon there's also a bit of residual sugar here, which rounds the palate, fleshing it out a bit, and making the wine a lot more accessible (I'd love to know how much - it's notoriously difficult to judge by taste alone because of the way sugar interacts with other components of wine, such as acidity). Look, this isn't the sort of wine that the readers of this blog are going to want to rush out and buy in quantity. But for a commercial style, it's extremely well done. It's tasty; it tastes of Cabernet Sauvignon; it's extremely well made; it avoids the obvious confected or green character a lot of commercial wines in this style display.

So here we have it. A wine I'm impressed by, but which I wouldn't buy. And the brand owners are probably relieved to hear this, because they aren't trying to sell to me.

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At 11:29 PM, Blogger Robert McIntosh said...

I would suggest that they wouldn't mind at all if you rushed out to buy it, no matter whether you are the target or not. However, I am sure they are happy you approved.

As for the packaging, I remember the hoo-ha around November when this first came out. I don't think that the reason for the shape is clear enough to justify the "surprising" packaging. I wonder what the actual target consumers really make of it.

My guess is that it has not helped enough (or at all) to justify the cost of producing it.

At 9:11 AM, Blogger Peter May - The Pinotage Club said...

That squared bottle is really naff though...

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Alex Lake said...

I don't think that counts as a re-branding at all. The name and the label shape are just the same!

At 11:02 AM, Anonymous mambo said...

If you're enjoying the wine why wouldn't you buy it?

At 10:37 PM, Blogger ~ Phyll said...

Re-branding? The new label has the same outdated impression as the old one.

Case in point of an effective re-labelling, I think, is Rosenblum Cellars for their different tiered selections.

Are they in the "milking" phase?

At 11:13 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Some good points - why wouldn't I buy it? Because I think that a wine is more than just what's in the bottle, and as an enthusiast, the story behind the wine, and the wine's authenticity (in the sense of its ability to reflect its origins) add a great deal of value for me. This Rosemount wine tastes good, but it doesn't have any appeal to me beyond the initial hedonic rush. It is a placeless wine with little story to tell.

At 5:02 PM, Anonymous KyNam said...

to mambo, life is a million enjoyments, however, you've only got space for a handful =(.

I tried a pinot noir of theirs just for kicks since it was $7 and carrying a bib reading "90+ points by wine advocate blah blah." It's definitely not a 90+ point wine (though even the point ratings have come under fire recently) but it's good for $7 and would make great house wine. I ended up using 1/3rd of the bottle in cooking 2 meals and it turned out fantastic.

Sadly however, the base was round.


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