Keen to learn what British women in their twenties want to drink? Get a bottle of Blue Nun. You will also learn that you might not want to spend too many 'Heavenly Nights In' or 'Wicked Nights Out' (to quote the Blue Nun website) drinking with the Blue Nun girls. Well, you might want to, but then it better be not only about the wine.
Blue Nun is a well known wine label in the UK and it was once one of the most popular brands. It was also respected for high quality, with some of the best wines lasting for many decades. Towards the end of the 20th century Blue Nun fell out of favour in the UK, but the brand has recently been relaunched, after it was bought by German wine producers Langguth. The marketing campaign for the relaunch seems to have been reasonably successful, or as the BBC Business News noted in 2003:
The key, Mr Hammond argues, is to find out what your market is and target it ruthlessly. "It isn't necessary to spend vast amounts of money on television advertising. With Blue Nun we said we are going to go for women in their late 20s, and we didn't spend our money anywhere else. We just narrow-cast the media that was relevant to them," he told BBC News Online.
So there you have it. As part of our ongoing campaign to taste supermarket wines in the UK, I bought a bottle of Blue Nun 'Original', the entry level range for UK supermarkets (ASDA, Sainsburys etc.). The wine is classified as Deutscher Tafelwein. It comes in a blue bottle (that some find stylish and others off-putting) and is labelled as 'fresh, crisp and fruity'. So what do you get for £3.99?
The colour is very light, almost liked faded hay. It is not unpleasant in the nose, but also not very memorable. There is something a little yeasty-bitter which at first I mistook for a cheap alcoholic smell. The Blue Nun is fruity on the palate with some citrus fruit acidity and, if you keep it in your mouth for a little longer, a hint of mineral. It leaves a pleasant zingy sensation on your tongue, but the finish is not impressive, especially as it leaves a slightly bitter taste. Not much depth here and quite sweet. I mean, I adore fruity wines, but there has to be something to balance the sweetness and I cannot find much of that in the Blue Nun.
If you imagine yourself at a garden party with a non-offensive, light and fruity wine, well, then you can go for the Blue Nun. However, as soon as you pay attention to it you might realise that it has not too much going for it. The bitter notes in the finish I found a little off-putting. Drinking a glass of Blue Nun Original makes you want to have another one - but one of the many, nice, clean and fresh Rieslings Germany has to offer, wines that have much better balance and that you can import from Germany for almost the same price as this one or buy from a wine merchant for a couple bucks more.