Friday, September 18, 2015

Blasted Church may be leading you astray

Photo: This might offend you if you have a religious thin skin.

A few weeks ago, a man who only identified himself as a “Christian” called me to complain about a Blasted Church wine called Jesus Murphy.

“That’s blasphemous,” he kept insisting.

He had already vented to the manager of a Liquor Distribution Branch store and he was letting off more steam to me. It was suggested that, as a wine writer, I could do something to get Blasted Church Vineyards to, well, repent.

Fat chance of that! This is a winery with a portfolio that includes Bible Thumper, Cross to Bear, Holy Moly, Nothing Sacred, OMG, Swear to God and Amen.

These are all the inventions of Brandever, the Vancouver design and marketing agency that helped the new owners of Prpich Hills rebrand in 2002 as Blasted Church Vineyards. That was a great success.

The name was inspired by a church in nearby Okanagan Falls that had been moved there in 1929 from Fairview, a mining ghost town. The movers had to loosen the nails in the beams with a small charge of dynamite.

Many of the Blasted Church labels include a caricature of a preacher performing various activities. For example, he is blessing two mixed race couples on the label of Mixed Blessings.

The preacher on Jesus Murphy looks exasperated enough that you can imagine him cussing. Preachers are human, after all.

I don’t know whether my caller actually bought the wine. It is exclusive to the Liquor Distribution Branch and is listed in 144 stores, which means Blasted Church is contributing to alleged profanity across the province. Even more alarming to my caller will be the news that when the LDB sells all of the 2012 Jesus Murphy, it will begin selling the 2013 vintage. It is already up on the LDB website.

My caller will really blow a fuse if he comes across the new Lost Inhibitions series of wines from Church & State. There are dozens of provocative labels also designed by Brandever. Two of the milder examples: Namaste Bitches and This Is Effing Epic. I am told the wines are selling at one helluva pace.

Here are notes on some Blasted Church wines:

Blasted Church Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (Sold out; only 437 cases were produced). I wish I had encountered this delicious wine earlier in the season. The wine begins with lovely tropical aromas of lime, guava and peach, which echo on the luscious palate. The wine has a crisp and lively finish. 90.

Blasted Church Mixed Blessings 2014 ($16.50 for 850 cases).  This wine also is labelled Viognier because that variety is 90% of the blend. The wine is completed with seven per cent Ehrenfelser and three per cent Pinot Gris. The wine begins with aromas of peach and apricot. These are echoed in the flavours. The wine has a spine of minerality that enhances the rich weight on the palate. The finish is crisp. 90.

Blasted Church Jesus Murphy 2012 ($16.99 for 1,300 cases). This wine is a blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Malbec and 12% Merlot. The wine was aged 24 months in French and American oak, 30% of it new.  It has aromas of cassis and black cherry with generous (but not too much) oak. On the palate, there are flavours of blackberry and bell pepper. It is a medium-bodied red, quite pleasantly quaffable. 88.

Blasted Church Syrah 2013 ($23 for 1,823 cases). The wine has aromas and flavours of black cherry and vanilla. The texture is ripe and generous with appealing red fruit and pepper on the mid-palate and the finish. The good natural acidity gives the wine refreshing and lively appeal. 90. 


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