Shopping by Labels?

I cannot tell you how many times a week I hear a guest say to me, “I’m just looking. I tend to shop by the label.” It makes me go a little crazy sometimes. There is a theory that wineries will disguise “bad” wine with a cool label to attract attention and sales. But this blog is not about to supprt that theory. In fact, I'm here to disprove it. Here are five examples of amazingly great tasting wines with fabulous labels!

  1. I love a good rosé, but oftentimes they are too light with little flavor. Not Buoncristiani Rosato from Napa. This blend of Malbec and Syrah has six months of barrel aging to give it body, depth and character. Floral perfume, ripe raspberry, exotic spices and black cherry make this a must-try. Not to mention the gorgeous pink rose label with ladies' faces hidden within…Look closely.
  2. Next up is Playtime Red, a crazy good value and a crazy good wine with a risqué retro pin-up girl label. It’s a delightful blend of Zin, Grenache, Petite Verdot and Barbera. It’s fruity and juicy, but not heavy. Serve slightly cool and it’s great for summer drinking too! Oh and let’s not forget that Playtime also makes a Chardonnay called Blonde with an equally cool label.
  3. Let’s move onto Italy. You know I adore Italian wines, and this 2008 Barbaresco from Traversa is sure to please. Each label is handdrawn and unique and comes in an extra tall thin bottle. The wine has an orange tint, notes of rose petal, tobacco and herbs; medium body with a long silky finish.
  4. This next wine has probably the most beautiful label design in my store. Not to mention the impressive size and weight of the bottle. It is truly extraordinary. But what is truly amazing is the beautifully aged 2006 Tuscan blend inside. Querciarossa Fulgente is perfect. The wine is lush and rich with black fruit notes of currant, plum and chocolate with a touch of spice. This vintage is running out, but trust me, the next release and it is sure to please too!
  5. Last is Frenchie Chardonnay Marie Antoinette. The label is a portrait of the owner’s French bulldog dressed up as the doomed Queen. Truly outrageous and the wine is a perfect California Chard with tropical fruit and a mild creamy finish. And let’s not forget they also make Frenchie Red Blend and a Cabernet!

So my friends, in closing let’s remember that I would normally say shopping by label is risky. But you can rest assured that the above mentioned wines are a safe bet–they appeal to not only your eyes, but to your palates as well! Salute.

Bill Knowles, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits wine supervisor

Follow me on Twitter @abcwinebillk

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