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One of the most expensive modern decanters presently on the market is entitled 'Petit Coeur' ('Little Heart'). There are only eight examples each signed by the sculptor Etienne Meneau, and it has been described as "funky but functional". Made of what is called "borosilac glass", better known as pyrex, it costs a mere 1,500 Euros plus the price of shipping.
What does seem certain, apart perhaps from the lack of keen purchasers, is that it will not be used to decant the latest offering from the Languedoc-Roussillon region, whose label reads "Le Vin de Merde" ("Crap Wine"). This fruity seven-Euro rosé is in fact anything but rubbish, and the label is a marketing ploy by local vintner Walter Valgalier, tired of the uphill struggle to sell his products. His description may have been borne of desperation but has paid off handsomely: stocks are exhausted.
Walter Valgalier and his crap wine
Five years ago a French magazine was ordered to pay almost £200,000 damages for printing the outspoken comments of François Mauss, president of the Grand Jury of European Wine-Tasters about a particular Beaujolais, “C’est un vin de merde.” (“It’s a crap wine”.) It seems safe, though, to let Monsieur Mauss loose on the latest, self-derogatory, libel-proof product.
From our November 2008 newsletter