For the uninitiated, there is a certain character in George R.R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones” fantasy series named Jon Snow.
Before the nerds descend: I haven’t read the books, but I’m all up to date on the HBO adaptation of the series (meaning I watched three seasons in two and a half weeks over the summer). And from what I can garner, Jon Snow’s two salient features are 1) very non-committal facial hair and 2) illegitimate birth.
Jon Snow can’t really enter a shot without everyone within thirty feet pointing at him and crying “Bastard!”, so – though the actor who plays him is quite fit – I couldn’t help thinking of J.S. when I selected a Fat Bastard merlot ($9.99) at Harris Teeter.
(I’m willfully suppressing all Austin Powers references).
Here’s the origin of Fat Bastard wines, as summarized from the label: two guys, Thierry (French winemaker) and Guy (British “wine industry rebel”) “created Fat Bastard almost by accident” – a claim seeming to indicate an attempt to imply a parallel between this wine and, like, penicillin.
Evidently, Thierry was doing some unorthodox methodical experimentation in his wine cellar, and the product caused him to exclaim “Now zat iz what you call eh Phet bast-ard!” (the label suggests this exclamation be “read with a strong French accent”).
We are given to assume that “Fat Bastard,” a primarily British idiom, was a result of Guy’s British influence. The expression “perfectly described the wine’s wonderful color and round rich palate, so that’s what they called it.”
Complementing this riveting story is the wine’s logo, an unexplained and coyly smiling hippopotamus, which a few friends of mine have declared “cute” but which I perceived to be somewhat sinister and capable of evil.
Given F.B.’s tongue-in-cheek marketing strategy, I had no misgivings about drinking it out of disposable plastic cups at my buddy Peter’s birthday celebration this weekend. It was a solid merlot, and fulfilled its promise to be “remarkably full-bodied.” But I think what’s more remarkable is the amount of F.B. swag available for purchase from the website.
“Hippo Couture” includes shirts, caps and wine accessories, which we are advised to “wear and brandish” as “an endorsement of enjoyment and handsomeness.” This attitude appears manifest in the winery’s motto, which is, put simply and potently, “live large.”
Did I feel I was living large during my consumption of F.B.? I don’t know, because I’m not positive what living large is meant to indicate.
Does it mean to drink F.B. with a captive audience of my peers in order to validate my good-time-havingness? Does it mean to drink F.B. while jumping out of a plane? Does it mean to drink F.B. while weighing 800 pounds?
I did none of these, but there’s time yet.
If the hippo doesn’t kill me first.
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