Sour Grapes

I’m not a fan of French wines. Er, let me rephrase – I don’t appreciate French wines. My palate for bottles of the red and the white has traveled as far as Napa (Chardonnay and Cabernet) and California’s Central Coast (red blends) but nowhere further unless I count the occasional bottle of Chianti from a college year in Italy. I can’t even name a French wine, other than a sparkler like Dom Pérignon. But maybe it’s time for a change, my friends. I’ve taken a sudden interest in a new Viognier… you know, the wine from the vineyards of Grey Poupon?

But does it “pass muster”?

You read that right.  Grey Poupon, the maker of Dijon mustard, wants to be a maker of fine wine as well.  Described as “bright hints of spice and pronounced citrus” and “floral characteristics”, a bottle of Grey Poupon white “pairs ideally with charcuterie boards and sandwiches”.  Of course it does, because there’s an infusion of crushed mustard seeds in every glass.

Mustard-flavored wine.  Sounds like sour grapes, doesn’t it?  Mustard wine sounds as appealing as the scoop of Goat Cheese Beet Swirl ice cream I can get right up the road in Denver.  And if you think the name on the Grey Poupon bottle sounds fancy – La Moutarde Vin – think again.  Translation: mustard wine.

I don’t expect to stock my wine cellar with bottles of La Moutarde Vin (once I have a wine cellar, that is) but I do stock my frig with mustard.  Despite endless baloney-and-mustard-on-white sandwiches in my grade school days, I bounced back as an adult and reembraced mustard.  The yellowest of condiments is delicious in potato salad.  It’s ideal on bratwurst or a hot dog.  And mustard wins out over mayonnaise any day on a ham-and-cheese.

For all the attention ketchup gets (for some reason Batman and Robin come to mind here), mustard has been around longer and comes in more varieties.  In typical fashion, Americans first flocked to its most basic version, “yellow mustard”, before maturing to the spicy brown varieties of Europe.  Mustard was created in Dijon (France) in the 1800s.  Anyone who knows the taste of Dijon knows it’s a wholly different animal than the yellow.  Why so different?  Dijon mustard is made with white wine.  And there’s the role reversal in a nutshell.  Now we have white wine made with Dijon mustard.

[Trivia break: A popular brand of mustard in America is French’s.  Where in France did it come from?  No, no, no, back up the truck.  It’s just yellow mustard.  It has nothing to do with France. But it has everything to do with the guy who invented it: Robert Timothy French.]

We Americans adore mustard so much we built a shrine in its honor.  The National Mustard Museum in Middleton, WI proudly boasts the world’s largest collection of mustards and mustard memorabilia.  I have no plans to visit, but I do wonder if they’ve added a bottle of La Moutarde Vin to their display.

As long as I’m grappling with American vs. Dijon or mild vs. spicy, let’s address another challenge with mustard.  It’s a branded color, as in mustard yellow.  Sure, I get it – the yellow evokes the bright blooms of mustard plants.  You’ll even find mustard yellow in a box of Crayola crayons.  But what if you’re a kid in France?  How does a French mom explain to her kid why his mustard yellow crayon looks like bright sunshine instead of Grey Poupon?

Grey Poupon’s La Moutarde Vin is a limited-edition product, sort of a “cheers” to the wine used in the mustard.  At $30 a bottle, it’s reaching the high end of what I typically spend on wine.  But with every bottle you also get a free jar of Grey Poupon.  Okay, so maybe I have a taste for mustard wine after all.

Some content sourced from the CNN Business article, “Grey Poupon wine now exists”, and Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia”.

Author: Dave

Three hundred posts would suggest I have something to say… This blog was born from a desire to elevate the English language, highlighting eloquent words from days gone by. The stories I share are snippets of life itself, and each comes with a bonus: a dusted-off word I hope you’ll go on to use more often. Read “Deutschland-ish Improvements” to learn about my backyard European wish list. Try “Slush Fun” for the throwback years of the 7-Eleven convenience store. Or drink in "Iced Coffee" to discover the plight of the rural French cafe. On the lighter side, read "Late Night Racquet Sports" for my adventures with our latest moth invasion. As Walt Whitman said, “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” Here then, my verse. Welcome to "Life In A Word".

13 thoughts on “Sour Grapes”

  1. ummm … mustard in wine … mustard in wine … okay, sure. So that is a drink to complement hot dogs? Or perhaps a nice German sausage? Maybe a trip to the mustard museum would clear that up for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, not a bad idea with the sports arenas; at least, the luxury boxes. I second your “bleh” but I’m guessing the infused mustard is more gimmick than taste. Regardless, I’ll stick to my favorites.


  2. Well, we were just in Oktoberfest that wine would be PERFECT! I think it would be interesting if you have a wine/cheese party – add salami, mortadella, prosciutto, sausages, etc. I think it might be nice. Ham/swiss french bread sandwich would work with this wine. I might give it a try, but I don’t drink much wine. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was in a wine shop this afternoon and was so tempted to ask the proprietor, “Pardon me sir, but do you have any Grey Poupon?” Heh. Seriously though, I’m not even sure where you FIND this wine. Better left to those who don’t know what to do with their rainy-day dollars.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Very interesting. 👍Personally, my favourite wine is the kind that comes with free stuff. I have everything from sunglasses to a lemon zester to a tape measure to wine aerator, plus so much more! Drives my husband crazy. 😏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been missing out! The jar of Grey Poupon is the first time I’ve heard of a “freebie” paired with wine. I’ll pay more attention from now on 🙂


      1. Maybe it is a Canadian thing. As much as my husband thinks my wine freebies are wierd, he gets free stuff with his Molson Canadian beer all the time. T-shirts, socks, flags, touques, etc. ☺️


  4. A mustard museum – that is interesting Dave. I used to love that Rolls Royce and Grey Poupon commercial. My father was German, so I grew up with rustic bread or crusty rolls with a wurst of some type, along with a nice mustard. A simple meal, but oh so satisfying.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. In hindsight, the Rolls Royce ad campaign was savvy marketing. Didn’t mean much to me at the time but now I have this irrational impression Grey Poupon is more upscale than yellow mustard. No. They’re just condiments, similarly priced.


  6. Hmmmm, my Mrs found something called “champagne mustard” that she liked, so I wonder if mustard champagne is next?

    With certain foods, nothing but mustard will do. Hot dogs, bratwurst and potato salad come to mind. But I have yet to experience the food where nothing but wine will do to go along with it. Either a good beer or a cocktail of some sort almost always elbows wine out of the way when it comes to a drink with a meal. I doubt that mustard wine would be any better. You could almost say that such a wine would not cut the mustard. Sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m inclined to say nothing pairs with cheese better than wine but then I think about a good Saturday football spread with all the finger foods (including cheese). Beer wins that scene every time. As for champagne mustard, all I can say is “Pop Rocks” 🙂


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