Tragically Hip: Great Band But the Wine That Bears its Name?: Canadian Rock n Roll Wine!

Record sales certainly aren’t what they used to be. It is concert revenue and merchandising that bring in the revenue. In this case the Tragically Hip has lent their name to a brand of wines hoping to cash into their name. They may be great musicians but what do they know about wine? Marketing does not care about such things hoping for profit. Now the downside may be minimal to The Hip as fans are more interested in their music than in a wine named after them. Nonetheless if the result is swill that can’t be good.

Who are Hip fans? Many Canadians are but the core demographic fan just may be in their 50’s. You know the “old folks” at a revival show of a band hot in the seventies and eighties. The age indicative of those who have already received their first dose of COVID vaccine. Chances are Hip fans are not wine newbies so their discernment may be sharper than most younger music fans. The two Hip wines I picked up had a deep 30% discount on them usually decided by a manager of a Liquor Control Board of Ontario store to make way for new stock or because the wine is not selling well.

We try out a Tragically Hip Fully Completely 2018 Reserve Red and there is no indication on the label of the composition of the blend. On the nose cherry, raspberry and a tad of chocolate. It is sending off notes of Cabernet Franc which Ontario does so well. There must be Merlot as there is a note of plushness in the wine. This vintage is no longer listed on the Stoney Ridge Estate Winery where the Hip wine is made. But their website indicates the 2019 Red Grand Reserve is 40% Cabernet Franc, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon and 29% Merlot.

On the palate it is moderately tannic with thin notes of black cherry but lacking complexity, finesse or depth. Happy to listen to the Hip but the wine neither accompanies their music or does justice to their talents as blenders. Their chance for gold would have been a straight Cabernet Franc. A lesson I remember as a teenager taking a bus to school in Montreal sitting behind two ladies having a conversation about a shampoo that the late Farah Fawcett was endorsing. One said with all seriousness, “If she says it is good it certainly must be.” Hey ladies follow the money.

Not a wash out wine but plenty of tickets left unsold. Best served with lamb or beef burgers or home made pizza.

Drink now.

The LCBO description stumbles badly on this saying it can be aged 5-7 years and that it suits grilled beef! And calls it impressive. The LCBO often trumpets wines like this when it can’t find any 90 points plus ratings. CREDIBILITY PROBLEM!

(The Tragically Hip Fully Completely 2018 Reserve Red, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Stoney Ridge Estate Winery, Vineland Ontario, $ 17.30 (before discount $24,95), Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 411595, 750 mL, 12.5%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 86/100).

Lets Hip hop over to an “Ahead by a Century 2019 The Tragically Hip Chardonnay”. Gold in colour. On the nose apple, pear, melon, honey with a bit of butterscotch. On the palate there is oak but pleasantly so. The caramel builds on the moderately long finish. There is a bit of creaminess on the palate but enough acid to keep the creaminess in check. Lots of apple, pear and some pineapple.

Drink now. Try with beer breaded haddock and home baked fries tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper and turmeric.

(Ahead by a Century The Tragically Hip 2019 Chardonnay, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Stoney Ridge Estate Winery, Vineland, Ontario, $15.20 (30% markdown from $21.95), Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 483875, 750 mL, 13%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 91/100).

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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