"There is something I would like you all to see…"

by Katie Pizzuto on February 2, 2009

in Labels

Regardless of how often someone might tell you that what they find most attractive about the opposite sex (or the same sex, depending on whom you’re talking to) is a sense of humor, intelligence, sensitivity, blah, blah, the initial attraction is nearly always physical…it has to be, because most times you see a person before you have a chance to speak to them. Obviously, if there isn’t any internal substance once they open their mouths, the attraction quickly fades but nonetheless what you are first drawn to is the exterior. OK, OK, I’m sure there are some who tolerate inferior content for the sake of the package, but we’ll save that for another article…on jackasses.

Despite my rants about packaging and marketing that insults consumer intelligence, I’m drawn to great wine labels as much as anyone else—sometimes it’s the humor, sometimes it’s the beauty, and sometimes it’s simply uniqueness. It goes without saying that if the juice in the bottle doesn’t live up to its label I won’t go back for seconds, but I’m game to try any wine at least once as long as no marsupials or reptiles grace its face. To those of you who cling blindly to the notion that serious wine can’t possibly come with a silly label, I’ll gladly leave you to your stately chateau, your picturesque landscape and your gold-foil stamping. I’m sure I’ll contradict myself at some point in the future and rant about how much I despise goofy wine labels but remember: my blog, my prerogative. chaos

Case in point: I’m looking to buy some new bubbles for a Friday evening, and nothing is grabbing my attention until I see a bottle of M. Lawrence’s “Sex”. Sorry, but you’ve gotta be one cold fish for that not to make you stop and pick up the bottle. And for $14, I’ll admit that I was perfectly willing to give that sparkling rosé a go, if for no other reason than to be able to say, “The Sex is great, isn’t it?” or “Would you like some more Sex, hon?” Turned out it was a great bottle of wine, well worth the price, that I’ve bought a few times since.

So I think it’s about damned time that we give props to wine labels that grab us, shake us and stir us. Here are a couple that are part of my “this is friggin’ genius” collection…chime in and tell me what your favorites are:

cnwLe Terrazze’s “Chaos”
This one may not quite do it for you, but for a geek like me who has studied chaos theory, fractals are mathematical art. I’ve collected each vintage thusfar, and the juice inside is a delicious red blend from the Marches. In fact, IMHO, this winery has helped put that Italian wine region on the map.

Vinum Cellar’s “Chard-No-Way”
Two dudes hitchhiking with a “will work for chenin” sign is my kinda label! If you’re part of the “anything but chard” crowd, it’s bound to grab you, regardless of whether or not you are interested in picking up some chenin blanc, and more likely than not you’ll buy this (like I did) just because it pokes so much fun at California chardonnay. Again, this was a bottle worth buying twice.

heretiquesChâteau d’Oupia’s “Les Hérétiques”
Hey, any wine that calls itself “the heretics” will catch my eye, period. I’ve talked about this wine before as it’s one of my favorite “weekday wines” but I’ll admit that I first bought it simply because of its label. The map of the constellations, the monochromatic design…all very cool. The story behind the name is even cooler: It commemorates the massacre of Minereve in 1208 which was only one of the many Crusades led by the Roman Catholic Church, who, calling the Cathari ‘heretics,’ persecuted them in town after town. The Cathars’ story, one of the unquenchable spirit of man, juxtaposed with the inhumanity of man, imparts new significance on Languedoc’s ruined towers and castles…All this, not to mention that the wine is a great VdP made from carignan and syrah. It’s a great value, and what with Chicken Little telling us that our economic sky is falling, value is what we need.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Linsey February 3, 2009

I am your classic label looks good buy it! type – basically coz i know nothing about wine

so for me the Heretics label would be an immediate draw – namely coz of the nite sky picture on it and damn what a cool name!

I am also a got a little gold thread mesh buy it as well type too

lol

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2 Katie Pizzuto February 3, 2009

The first time I saw the Les Heretiques label, Linsey, I actually bought it JUST for the label. I thought it was so cool that for the 9 bucks it cost I was willing to buy it just to add it to my collection of interesting bottle art. Didn’t expect much from the wine but I loved it as well!

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3 Coupe 60 February 3, 2009

Since you would expect no different from me…I’ll ask it…

Did you buy the Magnum of the M. Lawrence wine…

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4 Katie Pizzuto February 3, 2009

Nope, the Jeroboam, Coupe.

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5 Coupe 60 February 3, 2009

LOL…thats why I love reading your blogs…that and the overall excellent writing

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6 Katie Pizzuto February 3, 2009

Thanks, Coupe, but what a shame you can’t vote for me for the Annual Wine Blogging Awards on Fermentation’s site. Why? Because there’s no category for “best new blog” or such, only those that have been around for at least 1 year…eh, blow me!

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7 The Wine Commonsewer February 4, 2009

I swear I left a comment here this morning……I must be losing it.

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