Some Acerbity for a Monday Night
A few years ago, LVMH, the luxury goods empire whose baubles include Château Cheval Blanc, opened a hotel in the French Alps called Cheval Blanc. The swank ski resort, which appears to cater mainly to Russian oligarchs (go figure), includes a restaurant called 1947, a tribute to the château’s most acclaimed vintage. Had I been blogging or Tweeting at the time, I am reasonably certain that I would have posted something snide about this cheesy attempt to exploit Cheval Blanc’s renown. Now comes word that LVMH is creating a collection of Cheval Blanc hotels, adding properties in Paris, Oman, and Egypt. Surely, China can’t be far behind. I recognize that luxury marketing is what LVMH is all about, but it is disheartening to see the Cheval Blanc name put to such crass use. The St. Émilion château is one of the world’s great wineries; you’d think its owners would show it a little more respect. Cheval Blanc isn’t a lifestyle brand, you vulgarians, it is a wine.
The University of California, Davis is known in wine circles for its Department of Viticulture and Enology. At the moment, however, it is making headlines for a very different reason: last Friday, campus police pepper-sprayed a group of students holding a peaceful demonstration in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The crackdown was caught on video, naturally, and the video quickly went viral. This is a wine blog, not a political blog, but I don’t think I’m being the least bit partisan in saying that what these police officers did was appalling. Some people should lose their jobs over this incident, beginning with UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi.