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WineStyles “Rare Red”

Everyone loves a good urban myth, right? Well, I had a wine at a holiday party last weekend that definitely qualifies, and I’m itching to find out the true story.

I heard the rumor before I tried the wine. A friend had heard from a contact at WineStyles, in West Portal, that a high end winery had called recently with a problem. “We have, well, kind of a cash flow issue,” they’d said, “and we need some help. Can we sell you some good stuff under the table? You can’t say it’s ours, but you can put your house label on it, or whatever. It’ll sell.”

I don’t know why all the secrecy – taxes, contracts with distributors, public relations – but it made for a great story. More importantly, the wine itself was fantastic. The label said only “Rare Red,” without appelation or vintage, and the description on the back was totally inscrutable.

We went to WineStyles the next day, hoping to buy a case, but it had sold out. The people there commiserated, but claimed they didn’t know where it had come from either, only that word had spread like wildfire.

Internet searches have turned up an online Australian store, winestyle, with a similar Rare Red house label, but as far as I can tell, they’re unrelated. Does anyone know the real story? If you do, I’ll happily buy you a bottle or three!

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One thought on “WineStyles “Rare Red”

  1. I’ve heard of stuff like this happening a lot recently, although not this specific story…there was actually an article in some newspaper (NYT?) a few weeks ago about it, but I can’t seem to find the link now. :(

    On the flip side, I saw a case in Mollie Stone’s the other day that was some innocuous red with a normal name, etc…for maybe $10/bottle. They’d posted a review above it raving about how good it was, great value, etc…but there was no data on the bottle about where it came from. Unfortunately, the headline on the review gave it away…”New Franzia blend wins in blind taste test.” Doh!

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