A new wine debate has emerged: No, it has nothing to do with tannin content or Europe vs. U.S. wine quality. We are discussing the Vice Presidential nominee that happens to share a name with a syrah.
The wine, pronounced "pay-LEEN sih-rah," comes from a small winery in the Limari Valley in northern Chile.
The wine has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with moose-hunting Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Interest in the wine has risen since Republican presidential hopeful John McCain picked Palin as his running mate.
"I've seen an uptick in interest and an uptick in sales," said David Hinkle of North Berkeley Imports, the West Coast importer for the Palin syrah. The syrah is a certified organic wine and priced at around $13 a bottle, as well as two other Palin wines.
Some San Franciscans apparently have found Palin wine hard to swallow. Chris Cavelli, co-owner of the Yield Wine Bar says the wine was selling well before Palin was nominated, but dropped sharply afterward.
"They would just basically say, Oh, I don't want to drink that. That's too close. It reminds them too much of Sarah Palin," he said. "It's created lots of conversation at the wine bar."
He does not intend to drop it.
It appears that not everyone in the United States wants to put a cork in Palin Syrah.
Houstonians has been gobbling up Palin Syrah at Cepage Noir Wine Company. The store, located in the Republican stronghold of Texas, once had cases stacked 20 high, but now only have 74 bottles left.
The sales have also been surprisingly strong even in solidly Democratic New York City. Appellation Wine and Spirits has carried Palin Syrah for about six months, and sales have jumped since Sarah Palin hit the national political scene.
"I think is that some of the reason is that some people are going to buy it and cross out her name and maybe write Obama or Biden's name," shop owner Scott Pactor said.
Celine Guillou, co-owner of the Yield Wine Bar has stated that the wine, which is from a boutique vineyard in Chile, was once a strong seller but now it's an outcast in the City by the Bay because its name comes way too close to the governor from Alaska.
“Before McCain made his announcement it was selling very well, because it's an affordable wine and it's from South America," Guillou said. "Then he made his announcement and we hear people making comments constantly about the wine."
Each wine on the Yield Wine Bar's list has a description, and Palin Syrah is described as: tastes of "white pepper" and "madrone" - an evergreen found in the Pacific Northwest.
Guillou said customers have now begun re-naming their own descriptions. "People started making suggestions like gunpowder, moose meat, hockey mom - the list goes on and on. It's funny, but it's all we've heard for the last couple weeks."
"Who knows? Eventually the sales could be tied to how she does in the polls. You have to appreciate San Francisco for what it is, I guess."
Photos provided by: therpmuse.blogspot.com, appellationnyc.com and wineclass.net.