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  pbryon 03/01/2010 at 13:04 PST

You sound exactly like the person I spoke with on the phone... no really, word for word...

Anyway, I completely disagree with you that Montesquieu wines are about "exclusivity." Exclusive wines are well known, coveted, highly regarded by experts in the industry, and not widely available. Montesquieu's wines, by contrast, are not rated by any reputable sources, at least not that I have found. They aren't coveted or sought after- considering the name on the label is NOT the name of a vineyard. They are available to anyone and everyone on their call list in their telemarketing centers. And exceptional winegrowers? Let me tell you a little story.

I bought wine from Montesquieu. I admit it. I have a soft spot for high end wines. The telemarketer/ broker originally called an administrative employee in my accounting office ($12/hr associates are very exclusive customers, after all). When that person made it clear that they do not, and cannot, purchase such pricey wines, the broker worked their way through our company directory to me (CFO). One of the cases I ended up purchasing was a pinot noir from the Umpqua valley in Oregon, called "Eaton." The wine was decent- 3/5 stars. Definitely not worth $40/bottle, but price is relative when it comes to wine.

I happened to take a trip to Oregon wine country shortly after that purchase, and I visited SEVERAL wineries in the Umpqua valley. I thought it might be enjoyable to meet the winemakers behind the case of wine I had purchased. So, you can imagine, I was a bit shocked to learn that there is no "Eaton" winery in the Umpqua valley. I asked around- other winemakers, tasting room associates, restaurant owners, even simply members of the community. No one had ever heard of this "Eaton." I asked if perhaps it was a side or pet project of a winemaker or just someone in the area. A resounding "no." The only possible explanation I could gather was from a winemaker who told me that there are occasions where vineyards will sell grapes on the market at a deep discount if they have a surplus- it's better than letting the birds pluck away at their vines.

A little bit steamed, I started to do my research. The broker called me again and launched into a pitch about a wine called Aragon Meritage. I held her off by telling her to call me back, and started searching for this Aragon vineyard or winemaker. Nothing. Pretty spectacular when even Google fails you. The only results I got were from or about Montesquieu. So I started going down their list in the archives section of their website. One after another, I found the same thing: no vineyard. No reviews other than from Montesquieu.

So, pinotfemme. The only "secret" about this wine is where it actually comes from. I assume it operates on a business model similar to Trader Joe's. Buy the grapes during various stages of production from several sources. Complete the process as they see fit- mix the grapes, barrel them however and in whatever location (in Montesquieu's case that would be San Diego), then label and sell direct. The only difference between Trader Joe's and Montesquieu is the price tag.

If you're looking for EXCLUSIVE wines, and you don't care about the price, go to a reputable boutique or wine dealer in your area. They will get you the wines that are ACTUALLY in demand. Wines that come from either renowned or boutique wineries, from REAL winemakers who put their hearts and souls into their juice. I would think that any true wine enthusiast could get out of their chair for that.

We would really like to hear what you have to say
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