Remember the steamy covers on 1960’s and 1970’s Harlequin romance novels? The famous producer of spicy romance books is now producing spicy wines, “Vintages by Harlequin” with equally sensational descriptions and labels:
“She was bright, delicate and just a touch acidic. “Where have you been all my life?” I murmured. “Shhhhh,” she whispered. “You’ll spoil the mood.” I pulled her closer, and the scent of fresh-cut melon tickled my nose. As I savored the taste of honey and herbs, I knew I’d be back for more.”
In an interview with Farah Mullick, Marketing Director of Vintages by Harlequin, I discovered the secret ingredients to the recent success of their wines: a veteran winemaker, vintage salacious labels, Amazon.com sales, and a captured audience. Nancy Walker, winemaker and master blender, has produced award-winning wines for 22 years for California wineries including: Purple Cow, Fetzer, Cosentino and Middle Sister wines. Nancy now produces an unoaked Chardonnay, a Red Blend, and a Cabernet Sauvignon for Vintages by Harlequin–sold through Amazon.com.
Of course book clubs are a prime audience for these wines. Harlequin even has their own, featuring recent authors like Susan Mallery, author of Fools Gold and Chasing Perfect. “Vintages by Harlequin” was launched less than a year ago in September of 2015 and the brand has proven to be a success. Farah Mullick notes,
“Customer response was so validating. They love the packaging. You always wonder if your target market feels the same. But, they really hit home. We made the right choices.”
The Vintage by Harlequin Wines Collection
Tasting Notes: A restrained Chardonnay, with full apple, citrus, and orange blossom notes. Minerality adds freshness and strength.
Food Pairing: Salmon, poultry, halibut, pasta dishes.
Tasting Notes: A smooth-as-silk palate with jamming red and black fruits of black cherry, fresh blackberry and cassis with overtones of cinnamon, tobacco, and nutmeg. Dry finish.
Food pairing: Grilled meats, mushrooms, lamb, beef, and barbeque chicken.
Tasting Notes: Generously fruity, with notes of strawberry jam, cherry cola, and spicy black pepper. A round palate that offers a silky, fruity finish.
Food pairing: Tomato-based dishes, slow cooked fare. Beef stew or chicken cacciatore.
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