Sheepishly I will admit that, in the past, I have bought wine based on the label, and I don’t mean the back label where they tell you all the important things like the vineyard, the alcohol content and what to expect from the taste. I mean the front label where the product marketing has taken place. It’s the graphic designer in me. I am a sucker for a beautiful or quirky wine label design. I am also a sucker for names that are quirky and fun. I guess that’s the writer in me.
Not all of the selections have been successful but some certainly were. Now to be honest, I don’t buy expensive wine. I can’t afford expensive wine–you know those $1000 bottles that give certain people bragging rights. I peruse the aisles meant for us common folk. The mass produced liquor store selection that provincial sommeliers, employed by these establishments, figure will sell the best in our mostly middle class country. And I am ok with that because if I had an extra $1000 or even $500, I wouldn’t put it towards a bottle of wine. My bottles might top out at $30 but even that is rare. Part of the reason that a bottle would be as expensive as $30 is because a lot of the price is Canadian taxes. One of my favourite Zinfandels, 7 Deadly Zins, which costs about $14 in the US is about $25 here in Nova Scotia. And by the way this is one of those wines that I originally tried based on the name and the label. Gotta love a tongue and cheek name on an antique looking label.
Wine and I don’t always get along. It has something to do with the fact that my taste buds like to go wonky. The little tongue inhabitants sometimes flare up and appear, as well as feel, as if I drank scalding water. Other times I will lose my taste entirely, which I just hate because it spoils my meals, and I like to enjoy meals more than wine. So at times I just buy a wine which works and doesn’t upset my tongue then stick with it for a while. My current long-term friendly grape is Yellowtail Jammy Red Roo. One The Doc picked up for me to try; and I, bitchy as I can sometimes be, gave him grief for going away from my regular type. It turned out that I really, really like it. And so does my tongue.
Anyway, because of this, it has been a little while since I went to the liquor store. I have been having The Doc pick up some Roo when he goes to get his beer. But a couple of weeks ago when he was away I had no Roo and ventured into the store where I got a little carried away and excited about all the labels. Employees began to eye me strangely and offer to help so I asked them if I could take pictures since I was sneaking shots anyway. They said yes!
So here is where I share some of those pics with you:
Freaky wine. I am freaky enough thank you. I don’t need wine to help me get there.
Las Hermanas. This one looks like a 1960’s craft project, but I have to admit that I like the colours and the illustration, especially her expression. From a marketing standpoint, bright green or pure yellow paired with black are intended to denote cheap. Oops I mean economical.
IONOE. My apologies for not finding the proper Greek Alphabet. But what a pretty lable. It reminds me of spring. Or perhaps bubble bath depending on your state of mind.
The 3 Monkeys. Not sure monkeys would encourage me to buy wine. Bananas maybe but not wine.
Thalia. I am loving the colours of this artwork and the deep purple cap. This wine is from Crete where winemaking dates back over 4000 years. That’s a lot of experience. I may have to test this one out in the future.
Fat Bastard. I love the name of this wine and did purchase a bottle several years ago based on their original label which had a little gold rhino crinkling the label from it’s weight. At that time, my tongue didn’t like the wine, which was a little sad because I do like Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cats in space gear… I am speechless.
Arrogant Frog. It’s from France. I am betting they wouldn’t sell much of this in Quebec.
Art De Vivre. Also from France. I have to admit that I do love this bottle and art. Plus it looks interesting enough to attract wine-testing attention, except that I prefer red wine.
Bossy Boots Sauvignon Blanc. Sorry, this wine from Australia looks and sounds too much like a bossy wine-drinking elementary teacher. I keep imagining my grade five teacher with an Aussie accent instead of her Newfoundland one.
Some labels just make me feel good even though I will probably never buy the wine. Blueberries and the beach. Two beautiful representations of things that make my day. I have had blueberry wine before and it is quite good so I should never say never when it comes to purchasing this. Especially if I get the opportunity to drink it on the beach.
And finally, Luccarelli. There is nothing more beautiful and refined than an understatement. These Italian labels are, I my opinion, a perfect example of less is more.
I am happy to report that I didn’t purchase any of these wines. I left the store with a couple of bottles of Yellowtail Jammy Red Roo. Exactly what I went in for. And a bottle of McManis Petit Sirah. Not part of the original plan but I like this wine and thought I would let my taste buds tell me if they still do. One day they did and the next day they didn’t. Welcome to my world of wine. Some days, if I can’t enjoy the wine, at least I can enjoy the labels.
Cheers and thank you for reading.
Photo: Jenn Stone except The Beech House and 7 Deadly Zins LCBO because they were taken when I was trying to sneak shots with poor results.