If you’re like me, at one point in time or another, you’ve selected a wine based solely on the label. In fact, before I expanded my wine knowledge and palate, that is most often how I chose wine. Until a recent trip to Napa, I would have never admitted that to anyone, as I always thought it was a true novice’s way of selecting their vino. However, during a wine tour in August, I learned from Sarah Quider, the Executive Winemaker for Ferrari-Carano Vineyards, that quite a bit of thought went into three of their wine labels. (I’m sure quite a bit of thought goes into all of their wine labels, but she mentioned these three during our tour.)Our tasting order went from light to dark and we started with the Ferrari-Carano Fumé Blanc. As she was pouring, she pointed out the label was designed specifically to look like a wedding invitation. The purpose was to invite you to the shelf. I must say, they were spot on! The simple, yet elegant white, gold and silver label is reminiscent of a wedding invitation. Inside the bottle is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc grapes from various appellations in Sonoma County. It has a crisp, freshness about it and pairs well with a variety of foods, also making it the perfect choice to serve at a wedding.
One of the next wines we sampled was Tresor, and the fiery orange and red label immediately grabbed my attention. Sarah explained the label was inspired by the sunset at Laguna Beach. I’ve never been to Laguna beach to compare, but I am a lover of beach sunsets so I can appreciate the notion. Behind the label is a beautiful blend of the five classic Bordeaux varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Both blends – the juice and vibrant colors the sunset – are wonderful tributes to California. The winery’s tasting notes describe Tresor as having “lingering sweet oak notes of crème brûlée and dark chocolate.” Sunset, crème brûlée and chocolate are certainly treasures in my book, making the name Tresor, French for treasure, very á propos.
As Sarah poured from the third bottle, Siena, I looked at the label and said to myself this looks like an Italian wine. But we’re in Sonoma County, California, so I knew I couldn’t be right. Then Sarah starts to speak about the wine label and sure enough, it was designed to pay homage to the winery’s co-owner Don Carano’s Italian heritage. In fact, the winery is named after Don’s paternal grandmother (Ferrari) and his family name (Carano). Siena is a Sangiovese-based, easy to sip red blend that pairs perfectly with, yes, you guessed it, savory Italian food.
So the next time you find yourself in the wine section of ABC, I recommend spending some extra time taking in all the beautiful wine labels. After all, they really are your first clue as to what lies inside the bottle.
Lisa Bowes, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits Marketing Director