Dan Aykroyd "Discovery Series" Cabernet-Merlot 2006

At my local LCBO, two shelves below the Wayne Gretzky Unoaked Chardonnay, I found Dan Aykroyd’s wines dangerously close to the salt and snow stained floor.
One thing to be understood about Canadians is that essentially we are Marsha from The Brady Bunch. Just as in our cinema, when it comes to wines Canadians have to be coaxed into believing they’re good enough, smart enough and pretty enough. This means selling Canadian wines to Canadians is probably harder than it needs to be. In comes the recent rash of celebrity wines to lend a solution to that problem.
So I put on my Bill Murray Clothing Shirt and cracked a bottle of Dan Aykroyd Discovery Series Cabernet Merlot 2006. At $16.95 (+$0.05 bottle deposit) this prices it just about in the dead centre for an Ontario produced and cellared wine. Other than an iridescent microphone the label isn’t silly or kitsch. This wine wants you to take it seriously, so I did.
The nose has something in it. I think it’s strawberry? It’s faint. It could be blackberry or other berries. But it’s hardly present. Huge oak flavours and way too much sulphur. It’s retarded how sulphuric this stuff is. Afterwards some mouth feel and residual sulphur remains. And that’s about it. It’s like licking an oak tree while somebody farts in your face. The sulphur is very chemical, industrial even. Reminds me of the treated well water at my uncle’s farm.
I waited an hour for the sulphur to off gas. Eureka. Suddenly this is a different animal. The strawberries are gone and a little more typically berry flavoured. The bottle still smells like strawberries and sulphur. The tannic oaky flavour is still a bit strong for my taste but suddenly this is more like a bottle of cab-merlot that should cost $17, probably less. Not horribly remarkable but not bad at all. What was with the initial sulphur? Weird. It finished like a cheap date with that acidic feel on the teeth and not much of a taste other than, well, acid.
I’m glad Dan Aykroyd is investing in the wineries here on the Niagara Peninsula. But I think the whole idea behind the “Discovery Series” is to introduce people to wines they’ve never tried before. That makes sense. But I’m wondering if people who drink wine and buy $17 bottles at the LCBO have never had a really bold cab-merlot before? I guess that’s where lending a celebrity name comes into the picture.
If it had the Ghostbusters logo on it I’d review it better.
Dan Aykroyd [but really Lakeview]Price: C$16.95Closure: SyntheticDate tasted: January 2008

4 thoughts on “Dan Aykroyd "Discovery Series" Cabernet-Merlot 2006

  1. Welcome to Full Pour, Brodie, and thanks for your first guest contribution! Canadian wine is certainly something we don’t see much of here in Australia, though I do hear occasional murmurings about the local ice wines.

    The whole celebrity endorsement thing sounds interesting, though not entirely without precedent. It might, perhaps, be even more interesting if the quality of the wine were better?

  2. Thanks Julian I’m glad to have this opportunity.

    Ontario wine is a funny thing. Because here big Australian wines sell very competitively with locals. The business of making wine here is big but comparatively small. Local people are however thoroughly marketed to think Ontario wine is a big deal around the world. And it’s totally not in my experience. I still think there is good wine being made locally but I want to find out for myself.

    Ice Wine is candy.

  3. I searched high and low for a review of Dan Ackroyd wines that hadn’t obviously been swayed by generous bribes from the ontario ‘buy local’ produce board, and here it is. Thank you.
    I have yet to find an inspiring ontario wine, but I took a chance on Ackroyd’s Riesling if only for his performance in Trading Places (putting to the back of my mind his almost psychopathic endorsement of crystal skull vodka).
    It had that typical Riesling interesting ‘mouldy’ edge, but mainly teetered on the line between full and just plain sour. I’m guessing the fifteen dollar price tag is to convince people that normally buy twelve dollar wines that this is something superior.

  4. Hey thanks for the feedback Ben!

    Yeah Ontario wines are by no means horrible but definitely not amazing. The VQA (“Vineyard Quality Association [barf]”) is a marketing board from the province and actually not particularly related to the produce board. They’re more fancy than the potato farmers. Fancy in a fake way because really they sell a scaled commercial product at provincially regulated booze stores for a lot of money. Which is fine, I think wine is rad when it’s accessible and selling the drama is part of the marketing. Writing tasting notes is an expression of written drama just the same as the marketing promises.

    As per Akroyd… at this point now that he’s shilling Crystal Head Vodka and after a particularly unflattering interview on CBC I’m pretty much convinced I should just feel sorry for him.

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