Fergie has a wine. Yes, it’s true. She has her name on shoes, fragrances, Black Eyed Peas, and now grapes. It almost feels as if Fergie is running around sticking her name on everything she can, sort of like that question-mark sticker in the 2003 “Where Is The Love” video. But the question mark is: can she make wine?
The answer: She can’t.
Like most celebrity winemakers, aside from being the face of the brand, she has nothing more to do with the making of her wine than she does the stitching of buckles onto her line of shoes, or dripping of her armpit sweat into tiny fragrance bottles. Sorry, Fergie fans.
Now, I can tell you that her father actually grows the grapes on their small, six-acre Solvang estate, rather than purchasing premade wine in bulk. And I can say that she smartly hired winemaker Joey Tensley to make the wines for Ferguson Crest, whose personal wines have earned impressive scores for years and graced the pages of Wine Spectators TOP 100. But do you care? No, probably not. What you want to know is if Ferguson Crest Wines are any good:
To answer that question I’m going to take an unorthodox approach.
A recent study by Heriot Watt University suggests that background music has a significant effect on how wine tastes to the listener.
Since Fergie just released her new single “L.A. Love,” perhaps the best way to write about this wine is to do so while listening to her new song. Or why not listen to a few different songs and record my tasting notes to compare?
As a control, here's an assessment, made without listening to music, of Ferguson Crest “Fergalicious” red blend, $40. It consists of 56 percent syrah, 25 percent merlot, 13 percent grenache and 6 percent cabernet sauvignon, with 800 cases produced:
Dark ruby and opaque in color, Ferguson Crest’s “Fergalicious” red blend plumes alcohol on the nose, with notes of overly ripe red and black berries and a hint of blueberry, followed by clove and cherry cola. Medium-bodied and relatively soft on the palate, the wine offers flavors of stewed blueberries, red currant and black pepper mingling together with dusty sprinkles of tannin — the pepper coming alive towards the rear. Notes of spice hover for a second as an accent on the finish, which fizzles out and vanishes quickly.
Tasting while listing to “L.A. LOVE” by Fergie:
Oddly enough, as I listen to Fergie’s new single I don’t notice the alcohol as much, and I can pick up a unique note on the nose of soil and plastic. On the palate there are notes of sour cherries rolling into a tart, tin-like aroma of canned cranberries. The palate is mute with no spice near the finish as there was before, but there is a slightly sour and tangy acidity.
Assessment: Not the best bottle to open if you’re in a place that’s playing ultra-poppy pop music. Due to the combination of the music and wine I’m finding myself oddly overwhelmed with the urge to walk outside, twerk for a few moments and then punch someone in the throat.
Tasting while listing to “Born in East L.A.” by Cheech Marin:
On the nose you can smell nothing but alcohol, as if you’re taking a whiff of Everclear mixed with purple drink. Soft on the palate with notes of raisin, cranberry and warm cherry preserves, delicate flavors of clove and black pepper pop out on the finish.
Assessment: “Fergalicious” is a great bottle to drink if you’re planning to have stupid fun. The sort of fun where you’re hanging out with old friends talking about things that nobody else would think are at all funny.
Tasting while listening to: “Why Don’t We Get Drunk & Screw” by Jimmy Buffett:
On the nose I’m picking up a note of leather and red Jolly Ranchers that follows onto the palate with dusty tannins and a hint of eucalyptus. The finish is still short but the spices seem to be humming back to life for longer than before.
Assessment: A great wine to drink if your hanging out with someone and you don’t want a complex bottle, but want something that’s still good enough to smooth the rough edges. If the goal is less about food and more about getting drunk and … well, this bottle truly is “Fergalicious.”
Tasting while listening to: “Fergilicious” by Fergie: (How could I not?)
On the nose the alcohol seems to be less obtrusive, but at the same time there isn’t much at all to pick up, as if whatever you can smell is vapid and hollow. The palate, like the song says, is “not easy and not sleazy,” but I sort of want it to be at least one of the two. Like the music, the wine tastes like a headache waiting to happen and I either want the glass to be empty, or the song to be over, whichever comes first.
Assessment: See “L.A. Love,” above.
I’m not a music critic, and I haven't been a pop music fan since I was 12, but the music isn't the issue with Ferguson Crest's “Fergilicious” red blend.
The issue is that it tastes like a $15 bottle of wine, and the winery price is $40. And to pay $40 for a bottle of “Fergilicious” one really has to be more of a Fergie fan. And if that's the case and $40 is right in your wheelhouse for this keepsake, then you'll be pleased to know that you can order a limited edition Fergie signed bottle of “Fergilicious” red blend that comes in a wooden gift box for the low-low price of $155.
Next time you’re in Solvang for a weekend grab a bottle of Ferguson Crest and listen to some of your favorite music, and then listen to a song that isn’t really your style. I think you’ll be surprised by how what you hear relates to what you taste. But then again, sometimes drinking wine is more about the experience you have drinking it than it is about what’s inside the bottle.
(Ferguson Crest's total production is 1,200 cases and offers viognier, syrah and a cabernet sauvignon that have not been tasted prior to this article, but will be reviewed at a later date.)